MARATHON UPDATE: TWO WEEKS TO GO & SPECIAL ASICS GIVEAWAY

And just like that, it became marathon season. The Marathon flags are up in Central Park. The air is crisp. The temperature has dropped quite significantly. I swear the trees shed their leaves almost overnight. Besides the fact that the change is seasons a part of life, for me, this change in climate is closely associate with the New York City Marathon. I’m currently in taper mode having run my hardest run last week, and only ran 16 this past weekend.

IMG_5070.JPG
Hat: Everysport Cap Top: NYC Marathon Thermopolis Hoody

I always get butterflies around this time of year. Yes, I’ve run this race several times before but in my opinion it’s almost worse because I know exactly what (kind of pain) to expect. And now that I’m tapering and not running as much, I begin to worry that I didn’t do enough…even if I followed the training plan. And the worst thing I could do at this point is run more.

Having experienced some really tough long runs, I’ve been nervous about a few things: my right hip, my tendency to cry around mile 16, and my bowel movements (yes, I said it). My friends say I have nothing to worry about. I’m glad they believe in me, when I’m starting to question my efforts and training. I’m so grateful for the faith of my friends. Their faith carries me during times when I have none.

This past weekend was a really strong run. I was able to run 16 miles in under 2:40 and if I am able to replicate this, I am on track to set a PR at this year’s NYC Marathon. I owe the credit to my friends Nick, Lisa and her husband, Matt. They came out on a chilly Sunday morning to run with me.

When your faith is lacking, lean on the faith of your friends. It WILL carry you. My training period has been full of ups and downs, but I’ve never felt more ready.

In the spirit of Marathon Season and because the folks at Asics are amazing, I’m giving away a pair of the NEW Asics GEL-Kayano 21 to one reader. I love the GEL-Kayanos. I wore them last year when I set my marathon PR.

Giveaway

(More Please)

THE TOP NYC HEALTHY LUNCH SPOTS

Lunch is probably one the things I look forward to the most during my work day. I am not afraid to admit that! We New Yorkers eat out a lot and that’s not only heavy on the waist line. If you’re looking to lose or maintain weight, never leave the house not knowing what you’re going to eat throughout the day. You are bound to make poor choices if you don’t have a plan. When your blood sugar levels are low and you’re starving at 3 pm, you’re just not going to pick a salad. It has nothing to do with will power, but rather lack of preparation.

Always have a plan. I keep a running list of healthy lunch options that are “pre-approved” when I’m thinking so I’m tempted to cheat. For those days when you don’t know just don’t know what to eat, refer to my list of the top healthy lunch spots in New York City.

Dig Inn NYC

Dig Inn
Dig Inn Seasonal Market is known for their farm to table foods, sourcing local and organic meats and vegetables. There are nine locations across Manhattan that allow you to make your own plate with lean meats, grains, and three sides. As their name would suggest, their menu changes depending on the season. I always get variation of small veggie plate with spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, and broccoli with a side of guacamole, or the small plate with spicy turkey & beef meatballs, spinach, kale, and cabbage slaw. Cost, approx $7.

Fresh & Co
I don’t know when these Fresh & Co places started popping up around the city but all I know is one day my gross Cafe Metro was there and the next it was rebranded as Fresh & Co. It really is fresh! In addition to the usual salads, sandwiches, and soups that all NYC lunch spots have they have quinoa bowl bars. My favorite is the Bangkok Quina Bowl with turkey, diakon, cabbage, cilantro, green onions, and chili sauce. Yum! Cost, approx $8-10.

Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien is my go-to spot for healthy business lunches. It’s fancy enough without the hefty price tag. I love the communal seating – it reminds me that dining is a ritual to be shared and enjoyed with people you love rather stuffing your face alone at your desk. My favorite meal at Le Pain Quotidien is the smoked salmon tartine. Cost varies.

Olive’s
This cute little storefront has some of the best sandwiches, salads, and coffee in New York’s trendy SoHo area. While this cute and cozy storefront has some great salads, this is also my favorite breakfast spot. I usually stop by Olive’s for coffee and a breakfast sandwich after yoga on Sunday mornings. It’s the best. There’s no street traffic and I get to sit on the bench outside all to myself. It’s my regular Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment. Cost, varies.

Juice Press
If we’re connected on Instagram, you know that my Saturday morning ritual is that I run for free juice with Juice Press. But my favorite juice place also has vegan, gluten-free, and raw food options at all 18 locations across the NYC-metro area. My favorites are the quinoa nori salad and coconut ceviche. Cost, $10-$11.

The Little Beet
The Little Beet in new to NYC with one location in midtown-Manhattan. This place is very similar to Dig Inn with specialty items like quinoa oatmeal and hand rolls. The trade off is that you also pay a little more. Can’t wait for them to expand as the current location is a bit too close to Times Square for me.

Whole Foods
Three words: 4 for 4. I specifically go to Whole Foods for the 4 for 4 deal where you get four vegetarian sides, which change daily, for $4 from the cold foods/deli section. There is no better deal than this one! End. Of. Story. Just last week I had creamed kale, beets, broccoli rabbe, and quinoa salad as my four picks. The meal was filling, fresh, and satisfying.


What are some of your favorite, healthy go-to lunch spots? Who am I missing on this list?

MARATHON UPDATE: THREE WEEKS TO GO

This past week was the toughest training week. Not only did I have an insane amount of mileage to cover, but the day of my longest training run (22 miles) I woke up to pouring rain. Somehow I mustered the courage and motivation to get dressed and leave my apartment. It was cold, but the rain felt really good, almost cleansing, washing away the dirt and grime from the past week. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself…until I stepped in a giant puddle before I reached mile two.

IMG_4865.JPG

Top: Favorite 1/2 Zip Shorts: Everysport Short II Shoes: GEL-Lyte 33

Here I was at mile two with shoes so soaked that they were making that uncomfortable squishing noise. And with every step it was getting worse in the rain. I swear that I was pressing water out of my shoes with every stride. Somehow I was able to block out the squishing noise. I, instead, focused on my breathing and the pitter-patter of rain drops. Like the week prior, there were very few runners out in the rain on Saturday morning. The city was quiet. This is one of the things I love about running in the morning, especially in the rain: you have the entire city to yourself.

As I was just entering Central Park at mile six, I was hit with a terrible stomach ache with no bathroom in site. I was in one of those places where I was equally far from the restroom I had already passed and the restroom I was going to pass. I was just shit out of luck. Literally. (More Please)

MARATHON UPDATE: FOUR WEEKS TO GO

ASICS Editor's Challenge

ASICS's Editor's Challenge

ASICS Editor's Challenge

This is my fourth time training for the New York City Marathon and the butterflies are still there. It doesn’t really get easier I have to admit. The discipline of training gets easier, but the actual work doesn’t get easier. In fact, it becomes harder in my opinion. I’ve definitely gotten faster, but with speed comes its own problems. It’s almost as if training becomes harder as I advance. When I first started running, I only worked to finish. Now, my mind is all over the place working on speed, posture, breathing, stride, nutrition, resting, and doing it better each and every time. Normally I would think about gear and what to wear during a run, but Asics has taken care of all that for me.

Yesterday I ran my fastest Half-Marathon and set a personal record (PR) by :50 seconds. I should have been happy that I set a PR yesterday, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t shave more time. :50 seconds just didn’t seem like it was enough for all the work I had put in.

I alluded to my disappointment on Instagram and my Insta-friends were quick to remind me that a PR is still a PR, and their comments quickly gave me an attitude adjustment. While on a walk with my boyfriend, he reminded me to:

Stop being so hard on yourself. There are enough people in this world who will do it for you.

ASICS Editor's Challenge

ASCIS Editor's Challenge
Top: Asics Favorite 1/2 Zip Shorts: Asics Distance Short Shoes: Asics GEL-Lyte33

I’ve got four weeks to tame my ‘tude because running is not about proving anything to anyone. It’s about doing YOUR own best.

How do you keep things into perspective and keep your attitude in check?

THE MUST-DO AB EXERCISE

My problem area is my lower abdomen. It’s normally soft and mushy, and the first to tell me I’ve been eating poorly. Like many of you, I dream of having six pack abs a mid-section I’m not completely embarrassed by. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but something flat and smooth would be nice and I’m the closest I’ve ever been. Doing 1,000 crunches won’t help. The one ab exercise you must do? The plank.

The One Ab Exercise You Should Be Doing

The One Ab Exercise You Should Be Doing : The Plank

The One Ab Exercise You Should Be Doing : The Plank
Top: Asics Favorite 1/2 Zip Shorts: Asics Distance Short Shoes: Asics GEL-Lyte33

The plank is one of the absolute best exercises for your mid-section because it targets ALL the muscles in your core: the rectus abdominus (the vertical six-pack area), the transverse abdominus (which lies under the six-pack and supports your ribs and spine), the internal and external obliques (you know what those are), hips, and back. It’s important to strengthen ALL of these muscles not only for a tighter stomach but to improve stability, support everyday movements, decrease back pain, and improve posture. Not only is it great for your core, but it also tones your legs, butt, and arms. This one exercise has helped improve my running tremendously! I swear by it and do it almost every night.

If you’re just starting out, try the traditional plank on your forearms. Pull your belly button to your spine, engage your glutes, and flatten your back. If you’re looking for something more difficult, hold for a longer period of time or raise one leg. If you’re raising your leg, be sure to lift from your core and not your back. Fire up those glutes! Everything should be burning EXCEPT your back.

One tip: if you have trouble flattening your back, push through your toes. This should bring your head closer to your hands and straighten your body.

Practice the plank for 30 second intervals and repeat three times. Increase time as you advance. It may be difficult at first, but it’s fun seeing how much longer you can go each time. I like singing to myself or listening to music while I time my planks on my iphone. I tell myself to get through a certain chorus of the song and before you know it, two minutes have passed. In my opinion, six minutes of planks is far easier (and less time consuming) than 1,000 crunches. And that soft, mushy mid-section? Won’t be a problem any more.