Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hey followers!

So I recently had some problems with spammers coming to my site and with Blogger itself so I decided to move on over to Wordpress to continue blogging. After a day of learning how to use it (not as intuitive as blogger), I registered a domain name so I now have my own permanent website address. So cool!

Please come on over and follow me at !!!! I am so happy to have so all of you readers so I hope you come over to my new site and follow me there!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unique Race Alert: The Color Run

Today's Workout: 45 minute elliptical, stretching

 Even though I'm not running right now due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm trying to think positively and hope to be back ASAP. In the meantime, I'm always on the lookout for unique and super cool races to put on my bucket list for the future. I'm not talking just "themed" races like the NYRR Scotland Run (which was totally fun by the way!) but something incredibly original and out there. For example, the crazy Zombie 5K race and obstacle course. This one, of course, will never come close enough to NYC. Why? Because I want it to. Grr.

 Maybe if I ask nicely the race organizers will create an Zombie race near me. I may have to use the puppy dog eyes for this one.

So when I'm totally bored I usually peruse the web aimlessly and see where the wind blows me. Usually it blows me to pinterest, this blog, or to some random video of a baby laughing or something. What can I say, YouTube really gets me hooked!
Recently in my internet pursuits, I pulled myself away from YouTube and came across a race called the Color Run. For those who haven't heard of it, its a 5K race where you wear a white shirt and basically get sprayed by color as you run the course. According to the website, it works like this: 

Each kilometer of the event is associated with a designated color. 1k is yellow, 2k is blue, 3k is green, 4k is pink, and the 5k finish is a “Color Extravaganza.” As the runners/walkers hit the Kilometer COLOR RUN Zones, they will be blitzed by our volunteers, sponsors, and staff with COLOR.  The color is a special “elf made” recipe of magical color dust.  All products are 100% natural and safe.  You can eat the stuff if you’d like (we have tried it and don’t suggest it, it is surprisingly high in calories and leaves a chalky aftertaste).

To illustrate...

 And I'm guessing this is the "Color Extravaganza". Just a guess.

So I don't know about all of you, but I would LOVE to do this. Definitely a change from the normal Central Park loop, I'd say. This is probably more of a race just to have fun at and not think about a PR, which is probably good for everyone to have every once in a while. A change of pace! Literally. I figured I would mention this race because... drum roll... it is coming to New York City! Yes, a cool race like this is coming to me! While there isn't any information about exactly where it is going to be held, they did say it will be on August 25. So keep your calendars open New Yorkers.

And if you are currently on the fence... tell me this video doesn't make you want to run it.

In other news, be sure to register for the NYC Marathon lottery. Registration is only open until April 23rd so if you are undecided, get a move on it. I'm not running it this year but will be next year (ah!) after I complete my 9+1 for guaranteed entry. Good luck to all the applicants! PS. I totally love their slogan for this year. Who else likes it?


I know I promised to update you all about the quinoa and black bean burgers I made for dinner yesterday. Well, I'm doing that now and I have to say... they were SO GOOD! I was actually surprised how much I liked them. Karl even told me he would order them over a regular burger (since you don't know him, Karl hates health food and loves meat... so that's a huge compliment coming from him).

The only edit I would make to the recipe would be to add another egg white to the mix just to help it stay together a little better. The ends of the burger kept trying to fall apart. But overall, its a winner. I liked it so much I made the leftover mix into a patty for lunch today. When I like a food, I eat it so much that eventually I get seriously sick of it. That's a habit I need to break or else I'll have nothing left to eat in my life pretty soon! Plus, I want these burgers to stick around..

I had the burger with one of my flaxseed smoothies. So filling!

 Have you run or found out about any unique races?
Are you registering for the NYC Marathon lottery?
Anyone else doing the 9+1 program for the 2013 marathon? What races are you running?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My "Megan Day": Eating My Way Through Trader Joe's

Today's Workout: stretching, yoga video, 30 minute elliptical

Much to my dismay (and after a pathetically pointless internal struggle) I've finally admitted to myself that I will not be running the NYRR Run as One 4m race on April 29. I still can't run for about 2 weeks because of my dumb IT Band, so this race is seriously not happening. But I'm not giving up yet on my May races... I'll cross those theoretical bridges when I come to them.

Today I was off from grad school classes so I sort of made it into a "Megan day". Really its just a day where I try to relax as much as possible and do pretty much whatever I feel like doing. A much needed one, I might add. After a nice sisterly morning chat with my long-lost sister Jen on skype (she's away for medical school), I reluctantly changed out of my super comfortable PJs and decided I should do something with my life. So I put on normal people clothes, and in my world that means athletic clothing, and foam rolled the heck of of my leg. Felt good in the painful sort of way.

  My foam roller. I love to hate it. This photo is during one of our happier times.

I also did some stretching and one of the yoga videos I posted recently (the one from I was slightly better at the video this time around, which isn't really saying much at all. My balance is pretty bad in a lot of the poses, which helps explain why I'm always walking into things. But I do feel like this will help my legs and body get stronger if I keep up with it consistently. My sister Jen is really into yoga, so I'm banking on her to keep me motivated.

Since I was home today I decided to make myself some nice meals. Usually for lunch I have an almond butter sandwich or turkey sandwich at school. Gets seriously boring day after day but I'm so lazy with making lunches. So today I had an egg with whole wheat toast and greek yogurt with flaxseed and honey for breakfast. Both delicious and surprisingly filling. Kept me full all morning and until my late lunch!

 No Lean Cuisine for me today, NatalieDee! Although this is such an easier option than making my own food.

My lunch was basically an advertisement for Trader Joe's. Seriously... everything I ate (besides the walnuts) in my delicious salad was from TJs. Guess you know what my favorite food store is. Check it out..

BEFORE: TJs Arugula, tomato, fat free feta cheese, grilled chicken strips, and dressing. I should join their marketing department.

 AFTER: Those ingredients became this.. which eventually went into my belly. Yum.

Tonight I'm planning on making quinoa and black bean burgers with the quinoa I bought from Trader Joe's the other day. I'll let you know how those turn out. I'm not the cooking type of girl per se, so its always risky when I choose to do the cooking in the house. Hopefully I don't burn down the apartment or my eyebrows or anything like that. Seriously, that happens. Gwyneth Paltrow once burned off her eyebrows making a duck rotisserie. See... it IS possible. And I guess that's why a lot of celebrities have personal chefs.

The rest of the day I'll probably keep reading the Hunger Games, watch crappy but addicting daytime TV shows like Extreme Couponing (or anything on TLC for that matter), and continue to spend the day with hanging out with my buddy the foam roller. That is, until Karl comes home and I can hang out with a real life person and not a bright orange piece of foam and plastic.

Have you ever had any kitchen accidents?
What did you have for lunch today?
What's your favorite thing to buy from Trader Joe's?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Treating The Dreaded IT Band Syndrome

Today's Workout: stretching, lower body strengthening, yoga video, elliptical 30 minutes

The past few days have been absolutely gorgeous in NYC and its been killing me that I can't run. I've been watching all the happy frolicking runners with the smiles on their faces and secretly saying not-so-nice things under my breath. No, I am not cursing at the runners themselves but they are a reminder that I am sidelined. I am just jealous! Its as simple as that. I really, really want to rewind to a time when I was a happy runner... like 3 weeks ago...

NYC Half 2012. A happier time.

You may be asking yourself... "Megan, what happened to you?" For those of you who are new to my blog, unfortunately a week or so ago I was "officially" diagnosed by my doctor with IT Band Syndrome (even though I self-diagnosed myself at least 2 weeks ago). Since that time I've become slightly obsessive in learning everything I can about this injury and reading blogs, medical websites, and forums to see what the best treatment techniques are. I need to get healthy and back to running ASAP! You understand, right?!

I hate you IT Band. We are not friends.

Since this is a common injury, I know many people probably are wondering what they can do for it. I already described the causes and symptoms of IT Band Syndrome in a previous post, so I'm assuming this information is mainly for those of you who already know you have it.  I've decided to compile some of the information I know about this condition and tell everyone exactly what I've been doing for treatment.

 Treatment strategies

Disclosure: these are things I have found that helped me, but everyone is different. Also, I am not a doctor (the schooling takes too long) and these recommendations are only from personal experience. I recommend that you visit your doctor for additional information about your own injury.

Anyone with this injury will tell you that the first step in recovery is stretching, and lots of it! I found a lot of good stretches around on the internet, and this video below summarizes pretty much all of the major ones I use. I also do the pigeon pose (yoga pose), but be careful with that one at the beginning. Also, this stretch is great but its another one that I don't recommend doing while your injury is still really acute.

These stretches I do daily at least 2x each. You can do them while watching TV, but its crucial that you stretch for this condition. Its the only real way to recover and prevent it from coming back again. 

The other major thing I do is foam rolling. I use The Grid foam roller, but you can pick up a cheaper one at most stores like Target. Usually, I foam roll for 5 minutes then take a break and do 5 minutes more. I do that 2-3x a day. Usually while I'm watching an inspirational show or something.. like Millionaire Matchmaker (hm, not inspirational you say? I beg to differ). Honestly though, with foam rolling the more often you do this, the better. It WILL hurt like hell at the beginning but after a week or so the pain won't be as bad.
***This might be one of if not THE most important thing you can do for this injury.***

Ice baths and ice packs are also recommended since this is an inflammatory condition. The main goal here is to reduce the inflammation and ice is the way to do that. You can put ice packs on the side of your knee where the pain is a few times a day for no more than 15 minutes at a time. I usually take 15 minute ice baths instead since it covers the whole length of the IT Band. Once you are in there for a minute or so, your legs get numb and you'll barely notice the cold. It's not as bad as it sounds. Plus, feel like it's helped me so it might be worth a try.

No idea who this is but ice baths aren't this horrifying!
Also, there's no need to put ice up to your neck. Ever.

It is also possible that muscle weakness in the core and lower extremities played a role in your IT Band syndrome. The condition will only return if you don't focus on strengthening the weak muscles. Specifically, the most important areas to strengthen are your glutes and thigh and leg muscles. I have been following a really great routine that was posted by a runner. It provides 6 different exercises to use in order to properly rehab the IT Band (below). Do these exercises only when your acute pain has diminished or you may continue to irritate the band. I do these every other day 2x each.

Also, even though its a small muscle the gluteus medius is crucial to running, but is weak in most runners. It's job is to abduct the hip and stabilizes the pelvis. When it is weak, it can cause tension in the IT Band which can lead to inflammation (see the photo below).  I have been working on strengthening this muscle and have been using these awesome exercises. I typically do these every other day (to allow the muscles to repair themselves) along with the other strengthening exercises.

Imagine your IT Band stretching over your hip and knee joints in photo B. Not good.

Core strengthening is also recommended during rehab, since a weak core can have negative effects throughout your body and lead to injury. Since I definitely have a weak core (watch me do a plank... I'm pathetic), I have been doing yoga for this and also for general stretching. In a previous post I provided two yoga for runners videos that I do every few days as possible.

Once the acute phase is over and your pain diminishes, you may want to try some light crosstraining (e.g. elliptical, bike, swimming). I highly recommend swimming since it put the least amount of stress on your IT Band. But if you do the others, take it easy with minimal resistance. And ease back into these exercises slowly. DO NOT do any of these if they cause you any pain, you will only make your condition worse!

Other suggestions to help heal your IT Band include: taking anti-inflammatories (daily from a doc or Aleve), checking your shoes to see if they could be causing misalignment of your lower body, and eating right. A friend suggested to eat more protein during the healing phase so I am trying that (not sure if it works, but hey I'll try anything). I am also making sure to take my multivitamin, my random assortment of vitamins, and also Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been said to aid in healing, so why not give it a try.

Don't we all just love our vitamins?!

If you really NEED to run or are just returning to running after this injury, you can check out the IT Band strap. It helps distribute pressure to minimize friction of the IT Band over bone. This should not be used as a permanent solution by any means but is an option for some situations.

I really hope this information helps some of you. I will keep you posted on my recovery and how all these strategies are working for me. Heal well everyone!

Summary of treatment strategies:
stretching, foam rolling, ice baths/ice packs, lower/core body strengthening, yoga, light crosstraining (especially swimming), taking anti-inflammatories, IT Band strap, eating right, checking your shoes.. and just hoping your body cooperates!

Any other suggestions for IT Band Syndrome recovery?
What injuries are you dealing with at the moment?
What types of vitamins do you take?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Runner's Rule Book

Today's Workout: stretching, 25 minute elliptical, 12 minute bike

The foam roller was my best friend today. We have a really nice relationship with one another, even though it put me through hell at the beginning. Just like any normal relationship, right? Not.

 "The Grid" foam roller. That's not me on it, obviously. I look far less graceful that this girl.

I decided to take advantage of this beautiful Sunday by spending lots of time taking care of my IT Band Syndrome by stretching, strengthening, rolling, and working out. I even took a nice 15 minute ice bath tonight to decrease any inflammation after I spent some time at the gym (Thanks Claire@ Let's Go on a Living Spree for the suggestion!). I feel like the bath ices the entire IT Band, which a typical ice pack can't do. Plus you stay cold for a while.... I'm still defrosting from my ice bath.

So since I am still not running I decided to share some running wisdom from The Runner's Rule Book by Mark Remy. Its a great little book that has little tid-bits of information for runners. Plus its super funny and always gives me a good laugh. I would definitely recommend reading it and adding it to your running book collection, especially since its pretty cheap on Amazon (~$12).

Here's some funny and true excerpts from the book:

Rule 1.2. Expand your definition of fun
As a runner, your definition of fun--which previously might have included such activities as visiting water parks, watching screwball comedies on DVD, and scrapbooking--must be... well, let's call it broadened. For runners, fun might include:
-Waking up at 5:30am to run 10 miles
-Running in blistering heat
-Running in the rain
-Running in 400 meter circles
-Feeling as if your lungs are about to explode
-Paying a race director good money for the privilege of turning your own toes black and blue
-Any combination of the above

Rule 1.11 Signing up for a race is instant motivation
A race--weeks or months away--is the proverbial carrot, dangled out there for you to pursue. Even if you don't plan to really race your race (in the "run till you feel like puking" sense), registering for an event that is 6 or 10 or 26 weeks down the road remains the single most foolproof way to motivate yourself to get out there and run day after day.

Rule 1.26 Running plans must go on the fridge
...Nothing can replace the printed-out training plan stuck to the refrigerator... So put the plan on the fridge. Remove a child's artwork to make room, if need be. We won't judge.

Rule 2.32 Do whatever it takes to finish ahead of a costumed runner
Because being outkicked by Elmo is too much to bear.

Rule 3.5 Save the race shirt for post race
Wearing the official race shirt during the race is like wearing a U2 t shirt to a U2 concert. Not cool. Don't do it.

The Runner's Rule of Thumb (excerpts)
1. If you see a porta potty with no line, use it. Even if you don't need to.
3. If you have to ask yourself, Are these shorts too short? The answer is yes.
17. Whenever possible, begin and out-and-back run into the wind.
31. A long-sleeve shirt and shorts will always look better than a short-sleeved shirt with tights.
37. No one sleeps well the night before the race; the night before the night before your race is the important one.
51. If you even care a little bit about being called a jogger versus a runner... you're a runner.

Those are just a few examples of what's in the book. I definitely recommend getting this one, its a fun and light read! Plus, if you are a new runner there's some good running tips in there. Anyway, spring break is over for me and its back to the grind tomorrow!

Also, good luck to all the Boston Marathon runners this marathon weekend! Supposed to be a hot one, but just keep an eye out for this...

Have you read any good running books lately?
Got any good tips for fellow runners?
What were your workouts this weekend? 
Anyone running or watching Boston?!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Some Vitamin D

Today I didn't have a major workout, just some stretching and light strengthening exercises. Since it was around 70 degrees in NYC, I decided to make it a rest day and get my pale self outside. I need some Vitamin D... stat! Karl and I took a nice long walk around the neighborhood and went to the park to read. Even though I planned to swim today, one thing led to another and that never happened. So I'm counting the long walk and the stretching as my exercise for the day.

Our first stop was Starbucks in DUMBO. While I usually never drink coffee, I don't consider a Mocha Light Frappuccino actual "coffee". Its more like a milkshake, which suits me just fine. Plus, I had a gift card so my frappuccino and Karl's iced tea thing were free. I love when things are free. Sweet!

 Nice cold drinks on a warm-ish day. Aren't we cute?!

We scarfed those babies down on our way to the Empire Fulton Ferry Park at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which was recently updated and is beautiful. The park is right in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. So you can imagine that the views of the bridges and the city skyline are amazing. People are always taking wedding pictures down there or shooting TV shows. Pretty cool stuff. They even restored a 1922 carousel and brought it back to the park for people to ride. We saw a bride and groom taking a ride on it. So adorable!

Jane's Carousel

How gorgeous! And I clearly don't mean me. Blah my hair is a mess.

 Afterwards we walked over to Pier 1 (Brooklyn Bridge Park) and sat on the lawn there to read. I was secretly jealous of all the happy runners I saw running loops around the park. Actually, I wasn't so secret about it and kept complaining to Karl how much I wish I could run today. He kept trying to cheer me up but eventually he kind of gave up. I think I just needed to sulk about it. But I got it out of my system and I've moved on. Sort of.

So since I am injured I lazily laid there and read the Hunger Games, even though I just saw the movie recently (Nothing beats reading the actual books in my opinion!). This laying and reading thing would have been incredibly peaceful if it weren't for all the gross flies hovering above me. Karl says flies like the color yellow, which was ironically the color of my shirt. I don't think I believe that, but I buttoned up my sweater to hide my yellow shirt to test the theory. Didn't work.

What you can't see are all the flies above me... yuck.

 Eventually the flies creeped us out so much that we decided to do some exploring and find food. I am always ready for food. I've been wanting to try out a restaurant in Brooklyn Heights called Siggy's Good Food. The chef was on Chopped on the Food Network once and I've heard good things about this place from other Brooklyn-ites. Its organic, healthier food so of course I had to sort of talk Karl into it. I'm glad I did because the food was great (and he agreed)! I had the 3 bean butternut squash soup with carrot-apple juice to start. The free bread was also pretty awesome.

Fresh, homemade soup.

 After I cleaned the bowl, of course, we had our main dishes. Karl had a beef burger and I had the organic chicken cutlet hero. Both were fantastic. Plus, I'm not sure what is in the 'vegan mayo' that was on my sandwich but it tasted really good. Just like regular mayo but better. Definitely recommended!


 Now, its time for movies with Karl for our date night after a really nice afternoon. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a long run... 2 weeks and counting!

What are your weekend plans?
Did you eat at any new restaurants lately? Any cool new dishes?
 If you live in NYC, did you take advantage of the nice weather today?

Friday, April 13, 2012

More Magazine Half Expo and Flaxseed Smoothies

Today's Workout: yoga, stretching, 25 minute elliptical/bike

Today I volunteered to work at the expo for the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon, a women's half marathon being held this coming Sunday in Central Park.

 Welcome to the Expo!

I gave out race bibs as my volunteer credit for the NYRR 9+1 program. The program works like this: if you run 9 NYRR qualifying races and volunteer once in a calendar year, you qualify automatically for the following year's NYC Marathon. So I am doing my 9+1 to qualify for the 2013 NYC Marathon. I think its a pretty good deal... 4+1 down, 5 races to go!

So the More Half Expo was pretty big and vendors were located on two floors, which was more than for the NYC Half. After I was done working, two of the other volunteers and I walked around to take a look at what was being offered. We got some protein bar samples, Fitness and More magazine copies, and a few other goodies. We also got to keep the race shirt we wore during volunteering. In case you wanted to know what it looks like, I provided a wonderful self-portrait below. Actually, I look like a dork as usual but there's the shirt. And the free Fitness Magazine with the flawless Elle Macpherson on the cover.


The Expo also had "fashion shows" throughout the day and guest speakers. One of them was Nicole Sullivan. For those of you who don't know, she is an actress who had roles on King of Queens, Sh*t My Dad Says, and she was in Scrubs for a bit too. You'd recognize her if you saw her. She was there talking about her recent weight loss. Overall it was a nice expo and I liked that it was geared towards women (as it should have been). I also briefly met Jess@ Fit Chick in the City while giving out bibs. Have a great race, Jess! And good luck to all the runners this Sunday!

Nicole Sullivan speaking on stage.


Yesterday I did a little grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. Even though they have some awesome food and cheap prices, it gets seriously crowded in that store! And at the one in Brooklyn people get pretty aggressive about getting all their organic, vegan, super-antioxidant groceries. I think people will seriously run you over with their carts and leave you laying out on the floor just to get the last bag of organic nuts or something. Craziness.

 This is the TJs in Brooklyn. It's in an old bank so its actually really pretty.
The aisles are super super narrow though, which makes everyone crazy and ignites the evil in certain people.

I went there mainly because I had to get myself out of the house somehow and buying food seemed like a good option. I'm one of those weird people who actually loves food shopping. Not sure why that is but I'm guessing its a combination of loving to eat and try new foods and also loving to spend money. What great interests I have. My boyfriend is one lucky guy!

I also really need to eat the right things since my body is in the healing phase, so I decided to get some high-protein foods like tofu and thinkThin bars (20grams of protein! Holy cow). I also need to rid my body of the 20 pounds of Easter candy I probably ate in the last few days and replace it with something healthy. I've been meaning to try to use flaxseed in my foods and eat more Quinoa too. My friend Kristine who I went hiking with recently eats these all the time and suggested I try them out.

thinkThin bars. So tasty, especially for high-protein bars.

Can't wait to eat these!
She even gave me this cool recipe for a flaxseed, banana, and peanut butter smoothie that I tried out this morning before the expo. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter but that's just because I have it in my house. It is yummy!! Once in a while I had to get some of the flaxseed grains out of my mouth in between sips but overall I really like this. Plus, its super healthy for you. Also its filling enough to have for breakfast or during that afternoon time when I'm usually starving while waiting for my boyfriend Karl to come home for dinner. So no matter when you plan on drinking this during the day, you might want to try this one out!

Anyone running the More Magazine Half this weekend? Or any other races?
What new foods have you been eating lately?
Do you have any good recipes for Quinoa or flaxseed?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Namaste: Yoga for Runners

Today's Workout: yoga video, stretching, lower body strengthening

I will be the first to admit that I am as flexible as a pencil. My body is just tight all-around, which probably helped lead to my recent injury. Ugh, that sucks to admit. So since I can't run for a while (2 weeks, 6 days and counting..) I've made it my personal mission to become more flexible so something like this injury doesn't happen again.

Step one of my mission: try to do yoga at least 4 times a week.

I've never really done yoga before even though pretty much everyone I know does it and tries to talk me into going to classes with them. My problem is that I just really like sweating and moving alot when I exercise. Yoga requires me to pull myself back and go super slow in the workout. For me, this is incredibly difficult which is probably why I was never thrilled with yoga. But I think its time I gave it a chance, for my body's sake. I want to be like a rubber band, not a pencil. Yes, another school-supplies reference.

I'm trying to be like the girl in the pink rather than the girl in the blue. Although I could go for a drink right about now...

I did some online searches for yoga videos for runners. I hope that by following a video geared towards runners, it will help open up my hips, stretch all the important leg muscles, and improve my balance which also is pretty pathetic. During googling, I found two pretty good videos that I tried today. While I wasn't amazing at them by any means (and I realized just how inflexible I really am), I seriously felt the stretches and think it will help me out for the future. Also I realized while doing all the warrior poses and lunges that my quads aren't as strong as I thought they were. Whats up with that? Anyone else notice that, too? I guess running doesn't necessarily make the quads stronger, it just makes them look like they are.

These are the two videos I tried out:

 Yoga for runners: 25 min

Yoga for Runners: Injury Prevention

I'll definitely try to keep up with these two videos and see if I can get any better at them. Honestly I think I can only get better at these anyway since I pretty much stink at the moment. Imagine the worst person you've ever seen doing yoga and I bet I'm at least twice as bad as them. Yup. But other than yoga, I've been foam rolling the heck of of my IT Band and doing any stretch that I can find for it. I'm also working on strengthening my glutes, quads, and abductor muscles. I've read that all of this helps with recovery for this injury for anyone else interested. Claire@ Let's Go on A Living Spree also suggested ice baths, which I may try out tonight. Thanks Claire!

Since I am still on spring break this week, I also spent a good chunk of today catching up on the TV shows that I missed the past few days. I know I should have done something more productive like read or make something, but I like TV. I'll admit it. The two main shows I watched today were the newest Glee episode (Fox) and Hart of Dixie (CW11).

Glee seems like its dragging a little bit to me but I'm hoping the season will improve. Also, they keep picking on certain characters. I mean how much more crappy things can happen to Quinn? Leave the girl alone already! Hart of Dixie is also a cool show that is slowly creeping to the top of my favorites list. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. Seriously! NYC doctor goes to the South, yeah its one of those shows. Plus Rachel Bilson is the main actress and shes pretty cool.

Such a cute show.

Do you use any yoga videos for runners? If you do, post it below!
What TV shows are currently on your rotation?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Official Diagnosis

Today's Workout: stretching, lower body strengthening

Today was the day I saw my family orthopedist. He diagnosed me with what I sort of knew all along: IT Band Syndrome. He also prescribed me some anti-inflammatories, taught me some stretches, and told me to take about 3 weeks off from running. 3 weeks?!! I know that 3 weeks in the great span of things isn't that long, but right now it seems like forever. And now I'm definitely not going to be able to run my 4 miler on April 29th and this is putting my Brooklyn Half Marathon hopes at risk, too :( This is truly a very sad day. At least I still have my Easter candy to get me through this. Or maybe the rest of this AMAZING egg cake...

My dad always know what will cheer me up.

These are the real eggs I colored with my mom. My fav is the speckled egg.

In happier news, I have been at my parents house on Staten Island for the past few days after I spent Easter here. I am on spring break from school (woohoo!) and decided yesterday that I seriously needed to do some spring cleaning. It was incredibly overdue. I had a ton of clothes here that needed to be sorted through, most of which I honestly hadn't worn in years. I am afflicted with "Well, I may need to wear it someday"-syndrome. But this weekend I was on a mission and instituted the 1 year rule: if I haven't worn it in a year, I will throw it out. I threw out some outfits that I couldn't believe I ever, ever wore out in public. There's some embarrassing things in these bags...

Four bags to donate. There was also one bag (not shown) that just went right in the trash.
Man, I am good.

That's what happens when you put your mind to something. Look at all those clothes. The sad part is that I still have a TON both at my apartment and here at my parents house. Where did I even get all these?!!

After the clothes were sorted, my mom and I moved random clothes from closet to closet to better organize where everyone's stuff is. None of my siblings live at home anymore and each of us has clothes randomly located throughout the house. I probably had some things in every closet in the whole house. Totally unnecessary. So my mom and I successfully remedied the situation.

We also went through my little sisters room and threw away her old furniture. Her furniture has been around probably since before I was born (for reference, I am 23). Some of the drawers didn't even open anymore so it was about time this stuff went. This was no simple task since we had to empty everything and lug the pieces outside for the garbage men to pick up. That stuff was heavy and I immediately counted it as my workout for the day. Who needs to life weights when you can lift furniture instead?

All the trash outside, and yes a photo of Johnny Depp on my sisters old drawers.

Although spring cleaning was alot of work, it felt really good to get rid of all these things. It also helped keep my mind off of not being able to run. I am easily distracted. And gullible. You can probably make me believe anything if you are semi-convincing.
Anyway, when I get back to Brooklyn later today I'll have to start swimming and using the elliptical again. Blah, so boring compared to running. But at least I can do something to get my endorphin-fix. Swimming and elliptical will have to do for now!

What types of running injuries have you had? What helped you get through them?
How's your spring cleaning going?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

2012 Scotland Run 10K Review

On the Thursday before the 2012 Scotland Run 10K, I went up to NYRR on 89th street to get my super cool Scottish swag bag (click there for some pics and a description). I know its not a huge deal, but I was a little disappointed at being in the 8000s for my bib number with a record 9:03/mile pace. I think the bibs went up to the 10 or 11000s, but still! Oh well.

I was debating whether or not to run this race because of my recent injury, but I decided that I'd been looking forward to it for so long that I couldn't miss it. I mean, there were bagpipers. How can you beat that?! I'm a sucker for anything Irish/Scottish since both are part of my heritage. Plus, their culture in general is just super awesome, they drink a lot of really good beer, both countries have pretty rolling hills, and they love to party. Sounds good to me.

The morning of, I just couldn't pull myself out of bed when my alarm went off so I decided to hop in a cab to get to the park. $17 cab for 20 minutes extra sleep: worth it. The atmosphere in Central Park was great and there was a Scottish festival going on before the race start (the same festival was going on at the end too). There was a kilt contest, Scottish face painting, they were giving out little Scottish flags, and the band that played after the race was setting up. It was a really nice way to start the morning!

Apparently it was Scotland week, too.

This race was different than the usual CP races because we ran in the clockwise direction rather than the normal counterclockwise flow. I have never run the full loop this way before so it was pretty cool! The hills hit you in different ways. Overall I would say it is less challenging than the counterclockwise direction, but still very hilly. 

 At the start of the race and at each of the mile markers there were bagpipe players, which made the race seem more authentic and exciting since I wasn't expecting it. There were also a significant amount of men in kilts which was certainly a sight to see, let me tell you. Luckily none of the men wore kilts that were too short. Whew! Aside from being distracted by the random sexy man leg I was seeing from the kilt-wearers, I pretty much spent the race concentrating on my form to try to minimize pain in my knee. I also used an IT Band strap which helped alot for this run. Its not a permanent solution AT ALL but my pain was minimal throughout the race. I did have to stop and adjust it a few times but that was a small price to pay, I suppose.

 Bagpipers at the start of the raee

As usual during NYRR races, there was a significant amount of fluid stations throughout the course. I think I may have stopped for a few seconds at 3 of the 5 stations to fix my strap and/or rest my knee for a second. Worked out pretty well and I got to quench my thirst on top of it. For the most part, the major hills were early in the race between miles 1-3, but there was a slight hill at mile 5 that had me thinking, "Damn, another hill...come on!". It wasn't as bad as it looked but I could have definitely done without that one. I was happy to run down the main Harlem hills though rather than up them, what a nice treat.

Towards the end of the race the crowds started to grow. For the last .2 miles of the race (which are always the most challenging in a 10K because you always think you are done when you see mile marker 6), there were a lot of cheering fans. After I passed the 6 mile marker I decided to push myself a little bit to the finish because to my surprise my watch was telling me I was on my way to a PR. I crossed the finish line while listening to some awesome bagpipers and was immediately happy to walk it off. My official finishing time was 56:13 (9:04/mile pace)... a 10K PR!!! I did that completely by accident and honestly think that subconsciously I just wanted to finish sooner to rest my knee. Who knows? Either way, I'm happy.

Woohoo 10K PR! Wonder what I would have run if I wasn't injured...
After the race I got my knee wrapped with ice in the medical tent (thanks medical tent workers!), got my bagel, apple, and oat bar, and went to the festival. What a view of the city...

 The Scottish band with a beautiful city backdrop

 They were still giving out goodies at the festival so I grabbed a Scottish flag on my way out. I also took another swag bag for my sister (who I went to Scotland with) because they had so many extra at the end. I'm sure if anyone would appreciate a blue Scottish beanie, it would be her. I hung the little flag on my wall near my "Run Like a Girl" race medal display (very fitting display based on the name of my blog, eh!?).

 Go Scotland! 
PS. I tested out the Lululemon Pace Setter skirt during this race and its amazing so I ordered another in blue.

This was a really fun race that I definitely want to run every year. Highly recommended! I'll update this post if I get some pictures of myself running with my eyes open for once. I'm not hopeful that will happen since I usually look crazed or pissed off in my photos, but you never know!

UPDATE: photos came in and as usual I ruined them

 Photo 1: evil eye to the camera-man

Photo 2: Eyes closed as usual

I'm just so photogenic when I run, aren't I?! Wish I could look like this guy.
I think the skirt looks cute, at least and thank God I got some good pics at the NYC Half where I look like a human.
Did you run any races this weekend? Tell me about em!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday's Plans: Running and Hiking

 Yesterday's Workout: lower body strengthening for my injury & lots of stretching
Today's Workout: Scotland Run 10K and ~2.5-3 hours hiking

Today I ran the Scotland Run 10K in Central Park and had a blast (and a 10K PR!). I'll write a race review soon and post it ASAP with some photos. It was a gorgeous day and there was great Scottish entertainment. I bought an IT Band strap and it helped a lot to get me through the race without much pain. Now its time to go cold turkey from running for probably around 2 weeks while I stretch and strengthen. Boo! I'm not sure if I'll be ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 19 but I'm crossing my fingers in the hopes that I'll be able to. Injuries seriously suck! But we will see, I definitely want to rehab this knee right.

I know I've mentioned IT Band Syndrome a lot lately and during my frantic hours of research about causes, treatments, recovery, etc., I found this awesome stretch. Apparently, IT Band treatment is A LOT of foam rolling, icing, and you guessed it... stretching. Unlike some of the others, I feel this one down my whole leg and even on the side of my knee. Check it out!!


After the Scotland Run I went to meet up with some undergraduate college friends in Highlands, NJ for a hike. The four of us spent the day walking and wandering around the trails and had a great time catching up. Pretty much I went from running in the morning to walking all afternoon. I am going to sleep well tonight!

During the hike we got lost a few times but to our defense, the trails were really poorly labeled. Seriously! The day was great. Its so nice to see friends you haven't seen in a while, and when you do hang out its as if no time has passed in between meetings! Plus it was a really nice day out weather-wise and these trails were right near the beach, which made it even more pretty.

 A pier near the bay

 This was when we actually found the right trail. This was how the trails were labeled, by having one of these posts every few miles or so.

J, K, and me. 
L was taking this picture and I'm still waiting for one of the four of us!

Between the race and the hiking, this was a very outdoorsy day for me! My body is a bit sore to say the least, but it was totally worth it. After the hike, we had dinner at Chili's then got some fro-yo and Starbucks, with lots of girly chit-chat throughout. Afterwards we went our separate ways and I tried not to fall asleep while driving. If you were wondering... I made it home alive. My knee is not feeling so great at the moment so its time for some serious icing. And since I'm at my parents house for Easter... Easter candy it is! Yum. I think I earned it today.

What did you do this weekend?