Aside

Run as One – 4 miles in Central Park

Oops, I did it again.  I raced in sneakers that I had never run in before.

Last week I got some hand-me-down Mizuno sneakers from Carla because they aggravated her old Achilles tendon injury, and decided that they were the perfect shoes for the Run as One 4 mile race in Central Park, a race that supports lung cancer research.  I’d heard amazing things about Mizunos and had been wanting a pair for a long time so of course I would run in them for this race, right?  I mean, I wore them on that long bike ride yesterday and they felt great so I figured I was ready to run in them. Maybe not the best logic, but it worked out today!

Here they are:

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(I probably would have gone for a slightly different color scheme, but it’s all good – they were free!)

The temperature was predicted to be in the 60s today, but at 8am it was still pretty chilly so I wore shorts and a long-sleeve shirt with my Mizunos and got to the appropriate corral about 20 minutes before the start of the race, along with over 8,000 other runners.  Katharine ran this one with me, so I guess she helped make sure I wasn’t late and rushing to the starting line like my last couple races.  We started together, but I decided that since this was “only” 4 miles I would try to beat some kind of personal record.  Fastest mile? Fastest 5k even?  Something!  Olympian Steve Prefontaine once said “The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.” (He also ran a mile in under 4 minutes. ) Whatever – I planned to run the hell out of this race.

I started off pretty fast with 30 Seconds to Mars blaring in my ears.  The race started near 68th Street and went counterclockwise around the inner loop of Central Park, which meant that the Cat Hill was right there.  I sprinted up, glaring at the cat statue (as I usually do) and continued on my way.  My Nike+ watch had me at an 8:35 pace on the hill, so I started going faster – to a 7:48 pace.  It’s no Steve Prefontaine level, but it was all I had in me this morning (and I was digging it)!  Before the first mile was over, I had to do something that I’ve never had to do in a race before – pull myself over to tie my shoe.  In all my races, my shoelaces have never untied before but apparently my left Mizuno didn’t get the memo.

I slowed down a little bit near mile 2 because we were turning onto the 102nd Street Traverse and there was kind of a bottleneck since the street got a bit more narrow and there was a water station there.  I noticed that the Mizunos were heavier than what I was used to – most of my other sneakers are really lightweight and flexible, but these aren’t.  But they were still comfortable, so that’s a plus. And they offered much more ankle support, which might actually be better for my foot.

Before I knew it, mile 3 was behind me and I was wondering what kind of food they had at the finish line.  Probably the usual bananas, but hopefully they had muffins.  I was really in the mood for one a poppy seed one.  Maybe a bagel, but those tend to be too heavy for after running.  No, definitely a muffin.

And then I realized the laces on my right Mizuno had come untied.  Really, Righty?  You didn’t learn your lesson when the left one untied?  I had only about half a mile left and wondered if I could just run through it but, as I felt the sneaker get looser, I ran to the side of the road for a second time, tied it up, and finished the race.  My fastest mile was 8:12 (not a PR, but I was happy with it) and my overall pace was 8:24.  No records were shattered, but there’s always next time!

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(Katharine crossed the finish line a couple minutes later with her very own personal record!!)

Tomorrow officially starts week 6 of triathlon training, which means one thing: our first of many BRICK sessions (which is running right after biking) begins this week.  I guess now is as good of a time as any, so bring it on!

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Dodging Cabs and Pedestrians: The First Outdoor Bike Ride of the Season

Triathlon training just reached a whole new level.  I can finally start training outside on a real bike instead of stationary bicycles at the gym and in my living room, and the occasional spin class!  Aside from all the candy and homemade Polish food that I had last weekend, an Easter Bunny named Mom surprised me with a shiny new bike!  (Actually it’s Katharine’s old bike from high school that my mom had fixed up and triathlon-ed out, but it was all new to me!)

Ain’t it purdy?

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I couldn’t wait to get out there and try it, and today was the day!  Of course, my mom made me PROMISE, pinky swear, and solemnly vow to get a helmet before I rode the bike. Which I did.  Remember when I thought I looked like a nerd in my one-piece bathing suit, goggles and swim cap? Well, this helmet felt pretty close to that.  I really wasn’t feeling it, but I am feeling this whole living and staying alive thing so I wore it, knowing that cabs and pedestrians would be out in full force today.  It was beautiful out there – sunny and nearly 70 degrees – so the majority of the city (myself included) seemed to be flocking to Central Park.

There are no bikes allowed on NYC sidewalks (unless the rider is twelve or younger), and the thought of riding in the street was a little intimidating, so my helmet and I walked my bike to the park. 

See, Ma?

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The park was crowded but I got on my bike, wobbled for about 3 seconds before getting a feel for it and remembering how those gears worked.  Before long I felt like I was ten years old as I was speeding down a hill at the northern part of the park.  What goes down must come up, and I was ready for the giant uphill that followed.  I was out of breath at the top, but I kept pedaling along. I was half listening to an NPR broadcast about an 18 year-old gang member that one of the Associate Directors at my job recommended and half watching a dad and his young daughter ride up that hill.  He encouraged her the entire way and congratulated her when she, also out of breath, made it to the top.  She was so excited that she did it and didn’t stop when it got too hard like she wanted to. It reminded me of learning how to ride my bike a million years ago on a road that led up to what may or may not have been a haunted orphanage, or when Katharine learned on a highway (a closed highway, but we always like to leave that part out when we tell that whole story). 

As much as I loved riding the bike, I actually found myself a little jealous of the runners.  But I have a 4-mile race tomorrow morning, so I’ll be one of them again soon! There were tons of tourists and the west side of the park was SO crowded.  I had to slam on my breaks once when a group of them stopped suddenly in the middle of the street to take a group photo.  After that I found myself weaving around the crowds and only narrowly dodged pedestrians once or twice more.  The lawns were filled with shirtless men, girls in bikini tops, and tons of people playing catch and throwing Frisbees underneath trees exploding with white blossoms.  Spring in the city – only second to summer in the city!

I ended up doing a little more than 3 outer loops in the park – about 19 miles – before deciding to attempt riding on the road.  I exited the park just before that big northern uphill and turned into the street, right behind a city bus.  (I think as I made that turn I was mouthing the words “ohgodohgodohgodohgod.”) By the end of the street another bicyclist pulled up next to me.  He looked like a pro and like he knew all the rules of the road, so I totally followed him for a few blocks and let him pave the way for me.  I wonder if he knew…

 I got the hang of it and decided to attempt it on my own.  I didn’t really have to dodge any cabs – the street was relatively quiet.  There were lots of potholes though so, naturally, that triggered several more ohgodohgodohgods as I went down the street.  I did a total of 20.4 miles before getting off the bike and walking the rest of the way – there were some pretty major hills coming up and figured I’d had a pretty good first run on the old bike!

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I wanted some Starbucks, but ultimately decided against it because I didn’t have a lock for my bike and I figured my mom wouldn’t really understand if I told her that it was stolen the first time I took it out while I waited in line for a Venti unsweetened green iced tea.  Instead I found a bench and rested with my feet up and the sun on my face – my favorite way to be!

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Not a bad way to end the first outdoor bike ride of the season!!

Sugar, City Sports, Swag, Swims and So On!

Well, Easter left me in a sugar coma that seemed to want to stick around forever.  I don’t know what it is about Easter that makes it seem okay to eat about 3 years worth of sugar, but that’s exactly what I did on Sunday.  So, on Monday I skipped my workout and instead headed on over to City Sports on 5th Avenue to try on their newest line of CS by City Sports apparel.  I had been contacted by them to try out the line and was really excited! I spent some time with the awesome assistant manager and she helped me pick out some super cool stuff while we talked about running and triathlon training.  In the end, City Sports let me keep 2 tank tops, a pair of shorts, and capri-length running pants as gifts! It was much harder than I thought it would be to pick the bottoms because they all fit so well – I usually have issues with running shorts and tights because I am super picky, but I had about 5 that I wanted and choosing only 2 was no easy task!

I am not affiliated with City Sports in any way but I am a fan.  (Even more now!)   Check them out – they’re a Boston-based company that focuses on outfitting the ‘urban athlete’ and have a great selection of athletic gear. Thank you, City Sports (and SS)!!

I went to Muay Thai yesterday in my new CS pants and tank, and loved everything about everything.  The class was great, the clothes were great, not getting kicked in the face was great, and the playlist during the class was great.

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The CS pants are so soft – I think I kept absent-mindedly feeling my legs, but that’s fine as long as no one noticed, right?  The back of the pants have a nice little butt zipper, which I usually don’t really like because sometimes the pocket can bunch up and look a little lumpy, but this one didn’t do that.  Phew!  I kicked and punched my way through Muay Thai and was super comfortable – the tank stayed in place and I didn’t have to keep readjusting the pants.  I just concentrated on my form and tried to improve my technique.  Now if only I could learn to keep my chin down as I kick and punch.  One thing at a time, I guess.

We also squat jumped, push-upped, and jump roped (among other things) our way through class.  Since I started Muay Thai I realized something: the worst pain is the pain you feel when you’re jumping rope barefoot on the mat and the plastic jump rope hits your toes.  Holy. Moly.  (My toes got another beating last night when I took my pointe class, but it was a different kind of pain – a familiar one that I could tolerate.)

Today should have been a swim day, but I did 10 miles on the stationary bike instead.  The Yankees and Red Sox were playing and I needed to be parked in front of my tv.  Priorities, you know?

Since I took a few days off from working out for Easter and the inevitable sugar lull that followed, I feel like I need to step it up again.  I haven’t gone swimming yet this week so I plan to go tomorrow and Friday before work. (Now that I wrote it and it’s out there, I have to go!)  My TNT coaches said that we should be practicing our weakest event 3 times per week, and swimming (as we know) is definitely mine.  I swam with my trainer, Jr, (who is not affiliated with TNT) last Friday though and he was impressed by how much I had improved in the month since I last met with him.  It’s still a work in progress, but he said that my upper body is calm and relaxed and the motions are much more efficient. (Thanks to swimming lazily!)  My breathing is also better.  I still have to work on my kicking and lower body but Jr gave me some pointers, and the TNT coaches always have good advice.  Jr had me swim with flippers for a few laps to help with my legs and it was totally different!  It was weird at first, but I glided through that water at turbo speed (or like a sprinting turtle) and tried to figure out how to get my giant size 9s to act as my own personal flippers.  I felt like I could swim halfway to forever with those things.

Ducks are so lucky.

Zen and the Art of Kicks to the Face?

Here’s what triathlon training has been looking like this week:

Monday: swim day. It seemed harder than last time and was much more exhausting. I wished I had my trainer or TNT coach there so that I could ask if I was doing anything wrong or differently than before, but since it was a solo swim I tried to pay attention to my body and remember everything my coaches had taught me. I got through about 35 minutes before a water aerobic class came in and took over the pool. I was glad that I did the swim but felt a little discouraged that it wasn’t as easy breezy as the last time. I did learn an important lesson though – invest in some good waterproof mascara. No one likes to look like a raccoon. Or, I guess, wash off my mascara before I get in the water. But who has time for that?

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I wanted to put in some miles on the bike after, but my legs were a little sore from the half marathon I did on Sunday so I decided to give them a rest. They did well in that half and earned a night in sweatpants in front of the tv!

Tuesday: cardio day. I chose to do Muay Thai. My legs were rested and I had some aggression to take out!  My sister and I took the class together, as we do every Tuesday, which always makes us more competitive (shocking, I know).  We switch partners regularly throughout the class, so there was a time when Katharine and I were together. At one point she was kicking and punching while I held the pads. Our rivalry increased with every punch and kick. She wanted to outshine me, and I wanted to prove that she couldn’t. Everything was working well for me until she kicked over the pads and got me right in the face. My sister – my TWIN SISTER – kicked me in the face.  Now it’s war. Tuesdays just got waaaay more competitive.

The rest of the class was great – jabs and crosses and roundhouse kicks with various conditioning in between – burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, jailhouse push-ups, and more. To say I was sweaty was an understatement. No matter – I transitioned into ballerina and headed to my pointe class! (With my brand new pointe shoes!!)

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30 minutes of pointe was enough to both put my toes into a state of shock that I hadn’t experienced in about 15 years and make me feel like I needed a white tutu and Swan Lake music STAT (or a black tutu since I’ve always been the more “evil” twin).  I almost felt my feet breathe a sigh of relief when the half hour was up, but the rest of my being wanted more. I promised my teacher that I wouldn’t try anything at home between now and next week, but I may or may not have had my fingers crossed behind my back. She’ll only know if I come in next week with crutches, right?

Wednesday: more swimming.  I didn’t want to go.  I was tired and a little anxious about it. You don’t have to go. I told myself. Just swim at the gym by yourself like the other day and get help from the coaches next week. Go home. Take a nap. Missing one day won’t make you drown in the Hudson.  I fought with myself until I got to the moment of truth – the stop on the subway where I either headed home or crossed the platform to the local and continue uptown. I felt like I was going through the stages of grief and was on bargaining stage. Ok – if the local train is there, I’ll go. If the sign says it will be at the station in less than 2 mins, I’ll go. But if there’s a longer wait or if it’s super crowded, I’m going home. Fate doesn’t want me to drown in the Hudson, I guess, because there it was: a nearly empty local train at rush hour sitting in the station, doors open and waiting for me. Ok, triathlon gods – you win this one. And off I went.

We started swimming laps and I struggled with it like I did the other day.  I could do it, but it was exhausting.  And the thought of doing it in a body of water where I wouldn’t be able to stand up if I had to made me even more anxious.  Plus, there were more people this week and I had to narrowly dodge some kicks to the face on several occasions. (What is it with kicks to the  face this week?)  When I got to the wall after a particularly tiring lap, one of the head coaches was there to give me some advice.  He said that I was reaching too much on my stroke, that I was actually working much harder than I needed to. Then he said something that really resonated with me: Be lazy with it. Learn how to just be lazy. Whaaaat!? I wanted to jump out of the water and hug him.  Finally something I understood!  I could be lazy!! If there’s one thing in this whole world I know I can do well, it’s that I can lazy. It’s an art that I perfected years ago. I know you can’t tell with the triathlon training and the masters degrees and big-girl job and boxing and whatever else I do, but underneath all of that is just a little girl who wishes she was taking a nap.

Once he said that and demonstrated what he meant, it just kind of clicked and I swam lazily, but better. Much less tired and out of breath at the end. Way easier. Why was I trying so hard before? I wondered. No one likes an overachiever. (I tell that to the interns at work all the time.)  Once again, I left feeling better, more confident, more like an athlete.

A triathlete.

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**AND thanks to all you generous folks, I am 44% done with my goal of raising $4,000.  If I don’t make my commitment goal, this whole triathlon thing may not happen for me.  Don’t let all this training be for nothing!! 🙂  Donate here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri14/meredith

Run Like a Girl – the More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon!

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Today was the day – the More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon!  I’d never run this one before, but a couple friends from work did it 2 years ago and still talk about it, so I knew it was going to be a good one.  It was in Central Park so I had home field advantage since that’s usually my go-to place to run.  I feel like I know the outer loop of that park so well – down to the hundredth of a mile.  Every incline, every turn.  I know exactly where I am, how far I’ve gone, what’s coming up, and how long is left to go.

I prepared yesterday by spending the day at Yankee Stadium with my sisters, mom, cousins and some others watching my Red Sox (they lost, but it was still a good time!) and then carbing up with the usual pasta alla vodka, this time while watching Glory 15.  If you don’t know about Glory then you are missing out.  They have some of the best fights ever, and it’s pretty impossible to not get caught up in it all.  I am always ready for Glory!! (Too bad the Red Sox and Glory have nothing to do with tri training or I would just talk about those for the rest of this post!)

So, my alarm clock loudly and violently woke me up this morning at 6:30, and I immediately thought Nooooo!!!! I’m not going to work this morning. Wait, it can’t be Monday yet.  What’s happening?  Why am I awake?! And then I remembered – I have a race to run!! I got up, had some oatmeal and a protein bar, threw on my Team in Training shirt (gotta represent!) and shorts (YESSS!!!! shorts.on a beautiful morning – I’ve been waiting for this since about September!)  and headed out the door.

I broke a cardinal rule of racing today.  I knew a few days ago that I was going to break this rule and no one could talk me out of it – my mind was made up.  I wore new sneakers that I had never run in before.  Yikes – what a little rebel, huh?  That decision had potential to be disastrous but once my mind is made up there’s usually no turning back.  But look at them!  They’re lightweight, flexible, and say “I fly you to the finish line” on the inside.  I am a sucker for marketing gimmicks, and I was in the mood to fly!

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I was running a little late and was slightly worried that I would miss the start of the race, but then I got off the subway and saw crowds of fellow racers rushing to the park.  If there’s one thing you can count on the rest of humanity for, it’s that they will also be running late.  Us tardy folks are never alone.  I got to the starting line just as the Star Spangled Banner was beginning, and heard Hoda Kotb’s remarks before the official start of the race.  I had my music this time, so I turned on one of my running playlists and waited to get going.  There were TONS of women running and it took 2 full songs to get to the actual starting line and begin running.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in one race before!!!

What started as home field advantage slowly began to feel a bit negative because, well, I feel like I know the outer loop of that park so well – down to the hundredth of a mile.  Every incline, every turn.  I know exactly where I am, how far I’ve gone, what’s coming up, and how long is left to go.  I tried to forget about all that though – I felt great, my feet felt great, and I was ready.

Around mile 3 Bon Jovi starting singing in my ear.  Oohhh we’re halfway there. What?!Get it together, Bon Jovi – no one likes a liar.  We’re no where close to halfway there.  I lip-synced along to the chorus and looked around at all the colorful outfits.  Lots of pink and fluorescent.  Some tutus.  A ton of sparkles.  There was even a Batgirl and a Wonder Woman.  I’m not one to run in outfits like that, but if it gets you through a half marathon then more power to you!

Green Day, Avicii, and Eminem accompanied me through the next few miles. I was really feeling that playlist!

By the time I made it to 6.5 miles, volunteers on bicycles were speeding by with whistles telling us to keep to the left because the frontrunner was coming through. She flew by us with ease.  People on the sidelines were clapping and cheering for her. Us runners clapped and cheered for her.  She was on a roll, and it was really impressive.  More impressive, though, was the camaraderie of the runners.  I was surprised to see all the support everyone was giving each other.  It wasn’t a competition, just a ton of girls running together toward a common goal.  That’s probably the thing that stands out the most, and what will probably make me do this half marathon again next year.

Back to the sneakers, which needed to be broken in a bit.  I realized around mile 7 that they were juuuuust slightly too small.  My toes were starting to hurt a little but I’ll take that over blisters or ankle pain so I powered through.  Besides, DMX was barking and growling in some throwback song from high school, which threw me back in time to when I was about 15 years old – that was way more fun to think about than my toes.

At 9.5 miles, I took a Gatorade energy chew (fruit punch, my favorite!) and had some yellow Gatorade.  The last big hill was coming up, and I dreaded it.  But the next song pulled me through it.  It’s the moment of truth and the moment to lie. The moment to live and the moment to die. The moment to fight, the moment to fight. To fight, to fight, to fight. Yeah, 30 Seconds to Mars!!! You always know the right things to say.  It was like Jared Leto was talking directly to me. I could totally picture it – those eyes, that hair.  I debated the pros and cons of both his man bun and free-flowing beach waves.  Those were a good few minutes.

I started to hit a wall around mile 10.5, but at that point I was practically done so I just listened to some Rihanna and 2 Chainz and enjoyed the run.  I sprinted the last half mile while Bon Jovi sang me through to the end. This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted. No silent prayer for faith-departed. I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.  The cheers of the crowd overpowered Bon Jovi and I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and  bounce in my step.  (The bounce could have been due to my hurting toes, though.) 

I got my medal and an apple and walked home (partially because it was a beautiful day and partially because the train wasn’t running again.)

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And just like that, week 3 of triathlon training is complete!!!  Since this half is over I am going to concentrate more on swimming for the next couple weeks.  Now time for some 4 cheese pizza (with no sauce!) to celebrate my 3rd half marathon of 2014!

**Don’t forget to please donate to my cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  They provide coaches for me to train for the triathlon, allowing me to achieve my personal best so that blood cancer patients can achieve theirs.  I am 42% done with my goal of raising $4,000 – please visit my donation page! http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri14/meredith

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

I guess you could say I’ve always been drawn to odd combinations. The poetically tragic, the beautifully damaged, the hopeful cynic, the compassionate criminal. As a kid I was a girly tomboy – I loved my easy bake oven and creepy crawler machine equally. I had just as much fun with my stuffed animal collection as I did with my remote control cars (and that one remote control John Deere tractor!).  I loved playing baseball in the street or speeding down hills on my bike or getting grass and mud stains all over my clothes as much as I loved the drama club or playing with paper dolls or cheerleading. And the right hip hop song can amp me up just as much as the right classical piece.

I guess it only follows suit that I have a love for ballet and boxing?

Today was a cardio day on my triathlon training calendar (well technically it was a running day, but I’m switching things up this week since I have my half marathon this weekend) and I took my Muay Thai class, which was amazing as usual. It is impossible to leave that place without a trail of sweat following you. (Which I also love!) I got to kick and punch guys and pretend I was in the octagon with them. (In my head I am the biggest baddest fighter in all the land. In reality, a squirrel could probably beat me. A really big squirrel.)

After Muay Thai, Katharine and I – drenched in sweat and ready to fight anyone – headed off to a ballet class. Not quite the place most people would go when they want to fight, but luckily we are not most people! The teacher for our Sunday ballet class had talked us into joining her pointe class (it really didn’t take much convincing – we jumped at the opportunity!) and today was the first day.  We didn’t do much, just started to get reacquainted with pointe shoes.

It’s quite a change to go from boxer to ballerina, grappling to graceful, but I think we can make it work!

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Tomorrow will be less of a contradiction – I’m just swimming with the TNT team, and then tapering off until half marathon day on Sunday!  Swimming might be less of floating like a butterfly or stinging like a bee, and more of flailing like a whale (whales can flail, right?) but whatever it looks like, it will be a little better than it was last week! 🙂

Week two: check!

First thing first: I finally got around to looking at pictures from the half marathon I did a few weeks ago and immediately realized 2 things:

1. My favorite running sneakers really do accentuate my big “flipper feet” (as they’ve been called).  I hadn’t really noticed before but there it was in photographic proof right in front of me – those big ol’ size 9s.  (Sometimes 8.5, depending on the brand.)  Here is a picture of the sneakers when I first got them last summer.  I don’t think my feet look particularly clown-y here at all, but I guess when those babies are in motion it’s an entirely different story! Maybe I’ll just pretend that every single picture was taken at a bad angle – my feet are small and dainty, damnit!  (But these sneakers are seriously amazing and flippers or not, I’ll run in them until their soles can run no more!!)

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2. I looked as bad as I felt!  It was like looking at pictures of the living dead.  100 years from now my picture from that half marathon in Queens will be in history books as proof that the Zombie War began in Flushing Meadows.  Sorry, future students of the world, for the misinformation but the Zombie War did not, in fact, begin on that day.  (I’m all about having my picture in the history books one day, but hopefully it will be a slightly more flattering one.  And it won’t be because I’m a zombie.)

Never fear – I have the More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon next Sunday so there is yet another chance for the elusive amazing in-race photo!  Since the half marathon is in Central Park, I headed over there yesterday for a quick run to remind myself where all the hills are (like I could ever forget!!).  It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and my sunglasses were on, and I was doing the usual linking satellites dance with my watch.  I was relieved when everything was linked and ready to go because I was getting a bit chilly waiting around.  But to be fair, if it is less than about 85 degrees outside, I feel like I live in a perpetual state of cold.

Ok, satellites were linked and I had my Jekyll and Hyde Pandora station on.  Seriously.  Broadway tunes will get you through any workout, I promise.  For example, during  one of the tougher hills This is the Moment (from Jekyll and Hyde) came on.  If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.  So I ran to some J&H, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, Rent, and Wicked, (lip-syncing my way through, of course) and was just about to stop at 6.2 miles when Phantom of the Opera came on – my grandma’s favorite!  I took it as a sign to keep running, and ended up doing 7.3 miles before calling it  day.

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Not too shabby!

Today was a quick ballet class earlier and then a 16 mile bike ride on the little pink stationary bike while watching In Time with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.  (Totally loved it – watch it if you haven’t.)  In the next couple weeks I should have a real bike of my very own.  I’m fairly certain that I’ll get run over by several cabs before the triathlon, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see!