Sunday, April 29, 2012

The High Rock Challenge

My running buddy, Jenn, and I decided it would be fun to sign up for an obstacle course race in Staten Island as a good way to prepare us for Broad Street. Fun is the operative word here.

Leading up to the race all we knew was that we would be running about 8 miles through trails with a number of 'mystery' obstacles along the way. It couldn't be that hard right?! Wrong!

We showed up Saturday morning and while we waited for our start time we were surrounded by athletes that looked like they were ready to do battle. Apparently we had no idea what we were in for as we donned our hot pink and green spandex and sparkly shirts.

* Note to self: Always do a rehearsal run in whatever costume get up you expect to run at least 8 miles in.

The race started with us crawling through mud on our hands and knees under some netting. It continued with what I suppose you could call a run through the woods but it was really more a walk for fear we would trip over one of the many roots or rocks in our path. The next obstacle we came across was 'Mount Moses' which was basically a very large cliff that we had to climb up with the help of a single rope. After slipping a few times I finally made it to the top. A little more 'running' lead us to a lake which we had to kayak across. Just picture it, two small girls with not a lot of upper body strength attempting to paddle! We must have been quite the sight to see!

After we finally made it to the shore, sopping wet, the run continued through the mud. And more mud and more mud until we found ourselves running for a half a mile through a stream.

I think it was around this time where I noticed that the coolness I felt on my butt was not because I was wet but because my pants had split. Thus the reason for the note to self. Thankfully with some quick thinking I turned my shirt into a skirt and ran in just my sports bra on top. While it wasn't the best solution it was the only solution.

But, back to the stream, which wasn't a dried up stream, it was freezing cold water up to our ankles that made us numb! And just when we thought we were done with the stream we were lead to a drainage pipe that we had to shimmy through on our hands and knees. Once again the water was freezing and the cement was hard (we have bruises on our knees to prove that!) but we made it through to find out we had to continue to run through the water! At this point we were about halfway through the race and I think Jenn and I both wanted to cry.

As we continued to run we came up to our next obstacle which entailed us having our arms tied together while we carried a 25lb bag of sand. We were given a map of this wooded area with 5 checkpoints. Three of these checkpoints would give us a number for the combination of our lock. Of course we weren't lucky enough to find our combination in the first three checkpoints and had to go to all five! Once we finally navigated out of the woods and unlocked our lock we were unlocked from each other and left the bag to some other sorry team to carry around for 30 minutes. If we weren't drained before, we were completely spent after that one.

About 3 miles and a couple of brain teasers later the finish line was in sight! I'm not sure which of us was happier but very quickly that happiness vanished as we found out we had one more obstacle to complete. We had to climb up a wall and then get across some netting to then climb down the other side.

As we finally made it across the finish line we hugged and laughed and said NEVER AGAIN!

It was great to experience something different and maybe if we were more prepared it would have been a bit easier on us, but for now we may just stick to road races. We ended up finishing in 2 hours and 44 minutes which put us 314 out of 634 total teams and 56 out of 184 female teams. Not too shabby especially with a hole in my pants for more than half the race!

Now I need to focus on restoring my muscles and my energy to Broad Street! Only 6 more days til the race that I've spent 10 weeks preparing for!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Personal Records

I'm currently sitting on a train on the way to Boston for a very special friend's bachelorette party. Knowing that I was going to be away for the weekend and that it was two weeks before my big race I decided to take a half day so that I could get a run in. Once again it's all about making the time. I know some of my friends aren't training like I am for this race and that's fine, but this training is keeping me motivated and helping me to see that I can do this!

Since last Saturday I wasn't able to complete my 7 miles I put that in mind as my goal. I knew that if I can run 6 miles, I can definitely run 7 and if I can run 7 then I can hopefully run 10!

Well, I pushed myself more than ever and am proud to say I killed my 7 mile run today. I ran my regular route but found that 3.5 miles from my apartment leads me right under the Brooklyn bridge! I really wanted to keep running across to the West Side but time was just not in my favor so I swiftly turned around once I got to the bridge. Thankfully there are water fountains along East River Park so about every two miles I was able to hydrate. I'm going to have to remind myself that I need to stop at all of the water stations even if I'm feeling fine!

My first two miles were super fast coming in at about 8:50 and then 9:10. I knew that I was moving too fast and that if I wanted to accomplish my goal I was going to have to slow down! So eventually I got into my grove and finished my 7 miles with an average pace of 9:49! I mean how freaking amazing! My goal for Broad Street is to maintain a 10 minute mile so it looks like I'm right on track.

After my run I picked up a salad and a jumbo Zico water to hydrate and quickly got ready to head off to Penn Station.

Tomorrow we're having a spa day so I'm treating myself to an hour long deep tissue massage. I think I've deserved it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Everyone loves some sunshine!

Last week was another busy yet productive week.

If any of you out there are Biggest Loser fans you know that this season is the season of no excuses. Well that's exactly the mindset I was in this week. I didn't want to sacrifice my social life but as we're getting closer to the race I need to make sure I am on schedule with my training!

Last Tuesday I had dinner plans with the girls I volunteer with because one of them sadly (but happy for her!) left us for Florence for the next year. While dinner was a 10 min walk from my office I decided to make things difficult for myself. I brought my running shows and tied up my laces and ran home from work! Of course I ran the long way home! I thought I knew the path I was taking but I actually shot a little off and ended up running 3.85 miles instead of 3! I guess I can't complain since it was a beautiful night and I didn't mind keeping my legs moving! I swiftly showered and ran to catch the bus and was only about 5 minutes late to dinner! No bad for getting in a workout!

Thursday night I was off for another run but this was a little less enthusiastic. I had been out late Wednesday night for happy hour and combined with the wonderful Passover diet I just didn't have the energy needed. I ended up with a normal 3 mile run that a normal person wouldn't complain about, but of course I wasn't too thrilled.

While Friday is supposed to be my off day I decided to get some yoga in. Since I'm of the new mindset that yoga the day before a run helps me I thought, why not! I tried a new studio near my office and the teacher was great. She helped adjust me in a few positions and even convinced me to try a few poses I didn't think I could handle. Overall I left feeling rejuvenated with some extra flexibility especially in my hips.

Saturday I woke up to beautiful blue skies and couldn't wait for my run. Sarah and I had planned to go to Central Park to get our workouts in and we couldn't have asked for better weather. She's training for the 40-mile 5-borough bike tour so her goal was to do 3 of the big loops while mine was to do one which is about 6 miles. Well, I'm not sure if it was the heat, Passover or just the hills but my 6 miles was anything but spectacular. I had to walk a fair amount and was hydrating like crazy but I did finish it in less time than my last 6 mile run so I guess that's a positive. It was still great to be out and about and of course I was feeling it in my hips once I was home! I decided to treat myself to a manicure/pedicure afterwards and boy was that a treat. Nothing like someone rubbing your feet after you've pounded them into the ground!

This week isn't as busy but I am headed to Boston for a bachelorette party this weekend so still not sure when I'll get my big run in.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weather as much as I am! As well as the hundreds that flocked to the park this week. Oh I can't wait for summer in the city!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Reservoir

Today was deemed 'Family Fun Day' by yours truly. While the weekend already consisted of a lot of family time, it's always nice to try something different! Oddly enough, 3 out of the 4 of us have never been to the Reservoir even though it's basically in our backyard.

I was told it was about 3 miles around the red loop so my mom, dad and Josh set out to walk one loop while I was going to run two in order to hit my 6 miles. Little did I know the loop was just like one big hill! As we all know I don't really run many hills in NYC so I wasn't sure that I was totally up for the challenge.

After about 2 miles I thought I was going to give up. I kept telling myself I could push through each hill but they just kept winning. I decided to run back and find the family. About a half mile later I found them and my water bottle and handed off my zip up. I told myself to suck it up and get a move on. So move on I did and found myself running another 2 miles before getting to the beginning of the loop. At that point I had run 4.6 miles and I knew that I could finish this run strong!

I ran back to find my family (and my water!) and by the time I did I hit 5.4 miles. I quickly grabbed my bottle and ran back to the beginning of the loop finishing my 6 miles in just under 66 minutes with a 10:58 average pace. It definitely wasn't my best run or my most graceful, but I was ecstatic that I finished!

The scenery at the Reservoir is breathtaking both literally and figuratively! Overall it was a great weekend with the family and I was so proud of my run. Next week is 7 miles!

Only 4 more weeks til race time.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Well, my plan of being accountable by blogging has clearly failed. Today is the first day that I am actually sitting and doing NOTHING. It's been a hectic last couple of weeks but thankfully now life is going to slow down a bit!

If we rewind back to before Italy, I made the decision not to go to volunteering the day before my trip. I needed extra time to pack and I wanted to get into a relaxation mode so I found myself at yoga. It was a great class where I found myself really getting in tune with my breathing.

Tuesday was travel day! Our flight wasn't leaving until 6:30pm, but I took the entire day off so that I wouldn't be stressed out. I woke early and laced up my shoes for a 4 mile run. I've been finding lately that every time I follow up a yoga class with a run my run is better than ever. I finished in under 40 minutes which is always reassuring! After my run I enjoyed a delicious sushi lunch with Derrick and finished some last minute packing before we were off.

In one word, Italy was amazing. After meeting my aunt and cousin Orit in the airport, we were all off to my cousin Eli and his wife Idit's apartment in Rome. They've been living there since September and have another year and a half in their jobs before they'll be back to Israel. We spent 4 nights in Rome and 2 nights in Florence. I was definitely partial to Florence though as it was just such an intimate city. It was so easy to get around and I felt like I knew it within just a few hours. Rome was also nice but there was just something about it that made it feel overwhelming. The public transportation was a bit difficult to get down and there were just do many people every which way you turned that it was too much. Overall though it was a beautiful country and I hope that one day I'll get to go back to explore more of it.

Of course while I was in Italy exercise was not on my mind. Instead the gelato was! I excitedly ate two scoops a day and enjoyed many a glass of wine and a cappuccino. While I may not have been running, I was walking! I wish that I had been counting my steps because I'm sure that I had done a few miles a day. So at least I was still moving!

Our vacation came to an end too soon as most vacations do and it was back to reality. Jet lag reared it's evil head and I wasn't able to do much those first couple of days back. By Friday I decided to head to yoga to get myself back into the swing of things. I definitely limbered up and spent the rest of the night curled up with a salad and catching up on some TV.

Saturday morning I woke up with the gloomy clouds of NYC. I was scheduled to run 5 miles and didn't want the weather to get in my way so I got myself dressed in the best rain proof gear I had and set out. It was more windy than rainy and at first I was extremely discouraged but I just kept telling myself I could do it. After about 3 miles I started to get a bit tired since it was my first run in 10 days so I took a minute to walk. Then what came on my iPod but Ke$ha! I love when a song pops on that I have a personal connection to because it drives me more. So I started to run again and I finished my 5 miles in just under 51 minutes. I was a bit bummed I didn't keep at least a 10 minute pace but I kept reminding myself I hadn't run in 10 days and the conditions were anything but ideal!

Saturday night I was rewarded with a girls night out! It was such a fun and random night with some of my favorites! We were out too late, danced a lot and laughed even more!

Sunday turned into a lazy day. Dominika had spent the night since headed off to brunch and then my afternoon was spent with Christian Grey. If you haven't been reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, get going! I'm into the third book and keep wondering what am I going to do when I'm finished!!! Sunday night I finally got to see The Hunger Games. It was enjoyable but not amazing. I'm not sure there has been a book turned movie that really lives up to its written version so I wasn't expecting anything amazing. It was fun to see it come to life though.

Monday started my regular weekly routine. It was so great to go back to volunteering. It's really amazing how it sets the tone for my week. Without it, I really get lost and sometimes think its still Monday when it's really Tuesday! I was still a bit tired so headed home right after and finally got a good nights sleep.

Tuesday I had a couple drinks with an old coworker. It was good to catch up and here what had been going on at FactSet, just continues to reassure me that I made the right decision to leave. After drinks I made the smart decision to go for a run. I was honestly craving one and so at 8pm after 2 Bud Lights I ran a great 3 miles in 28:48. Not too shabby!

Wednesday was back to boxing for me and oh what a work out that was! If possible, I'm still sore today. It was another moment this week where it felt great to be back in my routine. I still have 7 more classes which excites me because I truly love these workouts!

Unfortunately, between my soreness and Passover I haven't had another run since Tuesday, but I have big plans for tomorrow. And this time I promise it won't be 2 weeks in between my posts!

Pictures from Italy will be up soon and I plan on taking a lot of pictures tomorrow! Just wait!