Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Confession

I have a confession to make and this seems like as good of a place as any to make it.

Back in December I spoke on the phone with a running coach at our local Y. My mom had run with him in the past and really enjoyed his program. But of course, being a typical daughter, that wasn’t good enough for me. I had written off his 6-day a week running commitment as crazy, something I could never do. I was convinced that if I tried, I’d instantly get hurt. Then, I met his girlfriend and started to give more serious thought to joining his group. She was my physical therapist and I started to look up to her like a big sister.

Which is why on that December day, there I was giving him a call. I have to laugh when I think about that conversation. I was a) convinced I couldn’t run 6 days a week and b) convinced that his program didn’t allow me to run long enough. Seems like those two things are opposites, right? I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my boot camp classes and would get out of shape “only” running 30-45 per day.

Basically I was scared that I couldn’t do it. He asked me to try and run 6 days straight while I was on vacation, just 15-30 minutes per day. I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t do it. Granted, I got sick and was still in physical therapy for what I thought were shin splints, but I couldn’t do it. When I got back, I thought about going to the program, but I was too scared to start late. So I ran on my own and kept doing what I was doing. When the Y’s spring schedule came out, I registered for the program. I figured if I registered I couldn’t back out. (Forget for a second that it’s free, lol.)

I’m now almost 10 weeks in, and I haven’t missed a one of my 6 days each week. I still go to boot camp, though I’ve given up my Saturday class and traded it in for a long run. And I’m loving it. I feel faster, stronger, more fit. The two days of boot camp give me the strength to get through the workouts, and the progressively longer runs are boosting my confidence. We did a tempo today and I was able to average 7:15/mile. I’ve never run that fast in my life.

So I was wrong and I’m admitting it here. Julie – thanks for reminding me that running is fun, pushing me to try Kevin’s program and for being someone I can look up to. Kevin – thanks for running an amazing program. I’m officially a convert and I totally believe in what your doing.

I thought I was nervous for the Mountain Goat. Now I can’t wait to see how it goes. It’s like they used to tell us in gymnastics. If you’ve done the skills day in and day out in practice, then you can be happy with what happens in the meet because you did the work. Can’t wait till Sunday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CNY Race for the Cure

Anyone who knows me or has had to spend any length of time around me over the past few weeks has probably had to put up with me talking endlessly about the Race for Cure. This has always been one of my favorite races (despite the deathly boring course), and for the last few years I’ve been the captain of a team of gym families. It is so much fun for me to share my love of this event with all the kids at the gym. The last few years, our participation has grown and we’ve turned crossing the finish line on our hands into a tradition that everyone looks forward to.

CNY Gym Centre Team - 2010

In the past, we’ve participated in the event because it was a good cause, a fun chance for
the gym families to get together outside of the gym and for some, because this disease had touched them more personally. This year, it has touched us all personally. I can’t wait for race day, for the craziness and busyness of organizing what will hopefully be close to 80 people and for ‘blocking’ while the kids walk across the finish line on their hands.

However, in order to get there, I need your help. I’m begging you for your help.
Join my team, donate to me, to the team, to some other participant. I don’t care how you get involved, just get involved. It doesn’t even have to be a Komen event. Just do something. It’s amazing how good it feels to do something completely and totally selfless.

Here’s how you can help:

Choose either the Competitive Run or the 5k Fun Run/Walk

Any little bit helps — even a dollar (not to mention seeing a whole bunch of $1 donations would make me giggle and show me that people are out there, and they care)

Ok, getting off my soapbox now. I don't know why this cause became so dear to me 10 years ago, but this past year has shown me that that the work Komen does is truly important. This year to me personally. Thanks, you're all amazing :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Great Run and an Even Better Recipe

Today was one of those days that reminds you it’s always better to just get out and run, no matter what you have going on around you. I felt stuffed up and run down all day, but I’d still been looking forward to running outside after work since I’d shunned the treadmill in favor of the pool this morning. Just my luck, it started to rain the instant I walked out the door of the office. I was in no mood to face the crowds at the Y and the 30-minute time limit on the treadmills, so I headed home.

After some Matzoh Ball Soup (Jewish penicillin) I looked outside to see it had stopped raining :). So I laced up my sneakers and headed out for a run. Yes, my shins hurt and my nose was like a leaky faucet, but as I headed down the last hill for home it occurred to me what a great run it had really been. It wasn’t my fastest, it wasn’t magically pain free (I keep hoping), and the sun wasn’t shining. But the temperature was just about perfect, the rain had washed away most of the pollen and was nice enough to hold off long enough for me to get my whole 45 minutes in. It was one of those shiny, running makes everything better moments. It’s like one of my favorite people always says, “just run it out.” Consider me convinced you can run out almost anything :) I’m not really sure what made it so good, but maybe since I wasn’t expecting much, it was able to surpass my expectations and that was enough?

Anyway, it was a great way to start the week. The Mountain Goat is 5 days away! But for the 6th run in a row, I was able to get in more than 5 miles in my allotted 45 minutes, so I’m feeling really good about the possibility of finishing this race in under 90 minutes.

Now for that even better recipe. This is going to be one of those no recipe recipes, so bear with me. It came out fantastic and was really easy to throw together. The idea I had in my head was a baked, breading-free Eggplant Parmesean. So I bought some eggplant and a few other vegetables and got to work. Bear with me, I’ve never written a recipe!

Rough ingredients:
1-lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast
1 jar tomato sauce
2 graffiti eggplants, sliced ¼-inch thick
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced or shredded
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach
Shredded Cheese
Spices, to taste

Turn the oven on to broil (high)
Spread the eggplant slices on a tray and put them under the broiler for 5 minutes. Flip and broil 5 more minutes.
Brown the turkey over medium-high heat, then add turkey and sauce to a sauce pan.
In the same pan you browned the turkey in, sauté the onion in a little bit of olive oil with the garlic.
Add the onion and garlic mixture to the turkey and sauce mixture.
Sauté the spinach with a little more olive oil (plus I used some red pepper flakes).
Switch the oven to bake @ 350 degrees
Spread the spinach across the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Spread ½ the sauce on top.
Layer the eggplant on top of the sauce.
Then a layer of zucchini.
Add the rest of the sauce and cover lightly with cheese (I had some shredded mozzarella and a mixture of parmesan / asiago so I used both)
Bake 40 minutes, covered.
The last five minutes, uncover so the cheese gets nice and brown.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Starting Fresh

It’s funny, but it’s been exactly two years (give or take a day) since my last blog post. To look back and realize how much has changed in such a relatively short time is crazy. I’ve been contemplating bringing back the blog for a while now, and today seemed like a great day to resurrect it, seeing as it’s Easter and all. Not that I celebrate Easter, but it’s finally Spring, we’ve almost made it through Passover and I’m about to kick off a summer full of racing and I wanted to have a place to document my training.
I’ve got four races lined up so far this summer and I’m hoping to PR at all of them.
  • Mountain Goat 10 mile — Old PR: 99 minutes/Goal: under 90 minutes/Actual: 90:50
  • Komen CNY Race for the Cure 5k — Old PR: 24 minutes 45 seconds/Goal: 23 minutes/Actual: 22:04 (2nd place in my age group!)
  • Athleta Iron Girl Triathlon (600m swim, 18.6mi bike, 5k run) — Old PR: 1 hour, 56 minutes/Goal: 1:45:00
  • SkinnyMan Triathlon (800m swim, 14mi bike, 5k run) — Goal: 1:45:00
I’m also thinking about the Boilermaker 15k, but I’ll have to see. Sometime before the end of my gymnastics career, I managed to fracture my back. A doctor (finally!) found it this past February. I’ve gotten the ultimate vote of confidence from this so-called medical professional, “I don’t think you’re doing any more damage.” Well anyone who knows me knows that that’s all I need, so I’m still running.
Right around the time I found out about the fracture, I started running with a coach at the Y, hence all the lofty goals of four PRs in four races. (Though that last one’s a guaranteed PR since I’ve never raced that distance before.) Despite the fracture and a new job, I’ve been running more than ever, which is a good thing because I love to bake, cook and eat :).
Actually, since I just PR'd by over 14 minutes at the NYC Half Marathon in March, I guess it's 5 PRs in 5 races.
Then, people have started telling me I should open a bakery. It’s always been a pipe dream, but they’ve got me thinking about it more lately then ever. Typical, right? Tell a Jewish girl she should start a bakery during Passover. So over the last week, I’ve been thinking about all the recipes people have raved over that I never bothered to save. I’m hoping this becomes a place to document trials, failure and hopefully a few successes along the way. Then if this pipe dream ever becomes a reality I’ll have an archive to look back on. If it doesn’t, hopefully a few people will learn from my mistakes or triumph from my success.
So that’s where I am in my story. Documenting the trials and tribulations out on the road and in the kitchen (and probably in a doctor’s office or two, unfortunately). I don’t know if anyone’s out there reading this or not. But if you are, take a minute to say hi!