Pub Run with DetermiNation New England

I always joke after a long day of skiing that other sports really should get follow the  lead of the ski world and embrace the concept of “apres ___”. I definitely enjoy a beer after a road race, why not after a casual run with friends?

Apres Corporate Challenge

As I have mentioned before, I am involved in the American Cancer Society DetermiNation Program as a mentor and committee member. For those who aren’t familiar, DetermiNation is the American Cancer Society’s nation of athletes determined to end cancer. This powerful and inspiring movement saves lives by enabling athletes to dedicate their training and participation in marathons, triathlons, cycling races, and other endurance events to a lifesaving effort to fight a disease that has already taken too many lives.

DetermiNation has been very powerful in many communities and nationwide, but the New England chapter is relatively new and is working towards increasing it’s presence and footprint in New England. Katy Meagher, the Community Executive for DetermiNation NE (as well as one of my oldest friends), has organized a Pub Run series leaving from The Point in order to bring together runners from the Boston area and spread the word about DetermiNation New England!

The first run is happening on 2/24 at 6:30pm leaving from The Point Boston, 147 Hanover St Boston, MA (The corner of Hanover and Union Streets) and heading out for a 5 mile run throughout the city and enjoying some beers and good conversation afterwards. Runners of all abilities are welcome! RSVP on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/eL6lvV. I hope you see you!

Happy Friday and Congratulations to Ray Allen

Happy Friday everyone! Is it just me or was this week pretty painfully long? In keeping with the spirit of reaching this weekend quicker, I’m going to list out some noteable things that happened this week:

1) Duke beat UNC. All was right in Foxy’s world. (SIDE NOTE: I was brought up to HATE Duke because some of my family members went to Georgetown University. However, since Foxy is a Duke Alum, he has slowly transitioned me from called them “Puke” to actually rooting for them. So Yes, now I am a Duke fan)

2)A Body was found washed ashore on the road where I walk to my gym…apparently my awful walk Tuesday night could have been significantly worse.

3)I went for a run after work and legitimately thought I was getting frostbite in my hands. Note to self, bundle up! Even though I was crying from the pain, it felt nice to detach myself from the confines of the treadmill. Added Bonus: An absolutely amazing sunset

4)Ray Allen broke Reggie Miller’s 3 Point Scoring Record shooting 2,561 3’s. NUTS. Ray, Ray, we salute you!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odhrP6czCL4]

5) Today is my good friend Courtney‘s Birthday!!!!! Happy Birthday Court 🙂

6) Boston survived a whole work week without a blizzard and some snow banks actually melted – HOORAY!

I’m looking forward to a great weekend of skiing, some yoga, solid time at the gym and organizing my apartment!

What is everyone doing this weekend? How are you dealing with the Cold?

Gym Rage

I apologize in advance for this being an extremely long, rambling post…If you’re not a fan of whining or self deprecating humor, I suggest you exit now…

My routine for getting to the gym this winter has been a bit interesting, but last night’s journey definitely takes the cake.

The actual mileage between my office and the gym isn’t far, roughly 1.2 miles

So, on nice days OR days when the buses are experiencing delays, I walk. Otherwise, I pay $1.25 for the bus to take me a few stops to avoid completely freezing to death, and then walk the remainder of the distance down Pappas way to my gym. A small price for warmth! For the most part, both of these options have been treating me well.

However, last night I decided that this winter had made me tough, and opted to walk the entire way to the gym rather than catch the bus. BAD IDEA. It started out chilly, and I just repeated positive thoughts to myself to keep me from going nuts. Then, when walking past the Boston Convention Center, the wind was so strong I seriously thought I was going to blow away. BOO WINTER! I tightened my hood on my sleeping bag coat, and trudged on.

This isn't my coat, but I really wish it was

Then, I reached a cross roads. There is a small section (probably 20-30 feet) RIGHT before the turn onto the road my gym is on that is one gigantic snow pile. Yup, no cross walk available. FML for walkers like myself who risk their life to oncoming traffic due to this major safety hazard.

So, do I risk my life walking in the road? OR, do I try to get crafty and find a quicker, non-life threatening route? Feeling crafty, I opted to blaze an urban trail and find a new route.

[Read more…]

Resisting the Urge to Register for a Marathon

Does anyone know how to resist the urge to run a marathon? I am all ears because I seriously need help…

I’m obviously beyond excited for everyone running Boston, but it’s hard to track everyone’s training and not wish that I was going through the same thing. Pangs of jealousy. Then, last Tuesday, registration opened for the 2011 Chicago Marathon and watching others excitedly sign up and talk with their friends came with even more emotions. Waves of disappointment and guilt for pulling out of this marathon in 2010 come over me every time I hear it mentioned. I know someday I will run this, but 2011 is not the year.  Even though I know I shouldn’t register for another marathon, it doesn’t mean the urge to do it isn’t there…No Kim, no! Don’t do it!

As more and more races open up for registration, I know the temptation and the urge to register is only going to snowball. So, my strategy? Keep Busy!

  1. Fill my schedule with shorter races and focus on speed and setting goals for each distance. Anywhere from a 5k-13.1 Miles
  2. Add in several more Triathlons to add some variety to my schedule
  3. Finally join the L Street Running Club
  4. Go on long runs with friends who are training for marathons and live vicariously through their experience

I’m hoping that if I accomplish everything above that it will make my next marathon a much more fulfilling experience. However, if I can’t fight the urge and become absolutely dead set on running a full marathon,  I will register for a smaller race that doesn’t require an expensive flight or hotel room, but rather one that is an easy day trip.

Any tips on how I can resist the urge to register for a marathon?! I need HELP!

Safety on the Slopes – A Case for Helmets

When I first got back into skiing in ’09, I used to think that wearing a helmet wasn’t necessary for a slow poke like me. I thought that they were simply reserved for people who tore down the mountain, did tricks or liked skiing through glades. Since I was none of the above, I figured I was perfectly fine pizza pie-ing down the mountain sans helmet.

That was until I took a few falls while skiing last winter. This was in large part due to starting to challenge myself to start trying tougher terrain. You can’t improve without challenging yourself, so as I felt more comfortable I pushed the bar a bit. So I started to casually look into helmets and price them out online. Since I was still a casual skier, I felt like I didn’t want to pay $100 for a helmet, so I kept up the search for a good deal. Unable to find one, I decided perhaps renting a helmet to see which one I liked best might be a good solution.

I rented this little gem one weekend:

It was during that ski trip to Stowe Mountain Resort that one of my friends, who was a very experienced skier, took a bad fall by hitting a patch of ice shortly after getting off the chair lift. She was skiing at what was probably her slowest speed of the day, and with extreme caution because of the crowded trail. I wasn’t there when it happened, but her boyfriend told me that she hit a patch of ice, went flying straight forward and hit her head extremely hard on the packed ice. The fall was so hard that she had a gash in her helmet. She managed to get herself together and ski down the trail, head up the chair lift and visit ski patrol to get tested for a concussion. It wasn’t clear how many tests they ran on her, but they said she was OK to ski for the rest of the day, but she ended up calling it quits early because of a headache and a sore neck. That’s what really sealed the deal on buying a helmet.

[Read more…]

Prana Power Yoga: Class Review

There used to be a time when I laughed at people that were obsessed with yoga. I couldn’t fathom doing a “work out” that didn’t include challenging myself to get from point A to Point B in the fastest way possible. However, while training for the 2008 ING NYC Marathon I incorporated yoga into my training to help with injury prevention at the recommendation of some very seasoned marathoners. I found great results with this and avoided injuring myself during the four months of training. In addition, I found it to be a great stress release, and it also provided a great counter balance to the impact on my muscles and joints from running.

When I would tell people I went to yoga class once a week, they would instantly ask “Oh, do you do Hot Yoga?” I would said “Hmm, no…I tend to sweat a lot as is, so I think I will stick to normal yoga…” they would usually go on and on about how much they loved their hot yoga studio and how great it was. I would usually hear this resounding endorsement for a number of studios throughout the Boston area a few times a week. However, even the most enthusiastic story had me shaking in my boots. I still feared that I would pass out, throw up, or just disgust my fellow yogis by my intense sweating.

Fast forward a few years and multiple nagging injuries, and I was ready to tip a toe into the hot yoga pool. What really tipped the scale and made me try it was my friend Katy telling me that she went 1-2 times per week and absolutely loved it. The thought of having a buddy with me that wouldn’t judge me, eased my anxiety. When she asked me about it a couple times, I caved. I’ve done some BRUTAL workouts before, being extremely hot and holding yoga poses can’t be that bad…right?!

Katy and I made plans to meet at Prana Power Yoga at their Newton Corner location, which was located directly off the Mass Pike making for a very convenient drive from the city. There was also a street parking lot located across from the studio which is available for non residents anytime after 6pm, phew!

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Nike Free Running Shoe Review

Barefoot running is by far one of the biggest trends in running, if not the entire fitness world. So what’s the appeal? Are there actual health benefits? This is all up for debate, and there are several authorities that are passionate about this trend, maintaining that it is here to stay. The notion of running barefoot intrigues me, but it also scares me a bit. My friend Noel told me about Nike free’s and when she said she liked them, I knew that it might be worth trying.

I read Born to Run, and I know the merits of barefoot running, but I was having a hard time wrapping my head around Vibram Five Fingers. Besides, they do look a tiny bit silly! Noel has been battling a foot injury, which she discovered just a few weeks before the 2010 Boston Marathon. After running a hard fought race, she took some time off to try to heal her injury, as well as doing a little bit of research on other methods of preventing injury. When she stayed with me during the 2010 Boston Marathon weekend, we swapped books.  She gave me Running with the Buffaloes and I gave her Born to Run. After sitting on the book for a few months, she finally told me that she got into it and wanted to explore the whole barefoot “less is more” running theory.

In an email she said: “I got the Nike Free Runs. Runner’s World recommended them as a transition into the more lightweight/ barefoot running craze. I only wear them on my shortest runs where I can really focus on my form. I still go w/ my New Balance (which are still lighter than my other shoes) for hill, tempo, interval, and long runs”

Hmmm, if it’s good for Noel, then I guess it could work for me?! So after reading up a little bit on them, I decided, why not take the plunge? I told myself “If I really hate them, at the very least they will be cute kickaround/commuting shoes”

So, on a shopping trip to Newbury st I decided to pop into Niketown Boston and try them for myself. I saw they had a super cute Pink and Purple pair, which unfortunately they didn’t have in stock in my size. After trying them out and walking around the store I decided to do it, and ordered them from another Nike store (Side note: If you order anything from the Nike store shipping is free!). After about a week, I finally got my shoes, and boy were they cute!

[Read more…]

Back at it!

Yes folks, I am alive! It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of January, where did the first month of 2011 go?! After New Years in New Hampshire, a long weekend in NYC with my mother for her business, a long weekend of skiing up at Sunday River in Maine, a weekend spent fighting a bothersome cold we’re closing in on another weekend away in NYC, and the end of the month!

Healthwise, the year really started off with a bang, I was hitting the gym with renewed interest and getting psyched up for ski season. Instead of just doing my standard winter “run 3 miles on a treadmill, stretch, do abs and maybe 2-3 weights and leave” routine, I was mixing it up. I would run 3-4 miles tempo, then 10-15 minutes on the BIG step, making a big effort to work in lower body strengthening exercises and core work. I felt great! Then, I went down to NYC, and my knee started bothering me. I just told myself, “You’re out of town for a few days anyways, maybe a break would be a good idea” Then, walking around New York City, I felt a tiny pain in my shin, which I was nervous might be a stress fracture, eek! So I pulled the breaks on running…so far, knock on wood, everything feels pretty good!

The culprit(s)?

I blame my Nike Frees (more to come on that later)

Lack of stretching (why do I do this to myself? Bad Kim, BAD!)

And the INSANE amount of snow Boston has gotten this winter

and of course, my busy schedule! Below is the past Four weeks:


Now don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, visiting friends, skiing and getting out of the city. It’s a lot of fun! But, when I end up getting a steamroller of a cold, that’s when my love turns to hate.

The silver lining? This pesky cold was an excuse to keep me grounded in Boston, clean my apartment and catch up on some amazingly awful, and tasty Food Network shows and of course, get better. Sometimes we all need to force ourselves to pump the breaks on life. The coughing-sneezing-chills-runny nose-congestion-headache wasn’t fun, but all you can do is sleep, get some vitamin C and hope for the best right?!

The cold has left me, but a killer snow storm is looming over the Northeast just waiting to unleash havoc on the residents of Boston and all of New England. Oh goody!

So, how will I manage? One day at a time! For now I’m just trying to slowly get back into running with avoiding getting injured. I’m looking forward to forcing myself to log my workouts on the Daily Mile and of course, here!

How do you manage training and your busy schedule and traveling?

Ski Season Training

I am a skier. My mom’s mouth drops to the floor when I tell people that, because unfortunately this wasn’t always the case. Starting in 1996 and ending in winter of 2008, I HATED skiing. People would talk about an awesome day out on the slopes and I would roll my eyes. All of that equipment? Stupid! Expensive! Plus, It’s dangerous! These thoughts were firmly planted into my head by numerous swim coaches over the years. They said the risk of seriously injuring yourself was too high and we simply weren’t allowed to do it. Even when I would go skiing I would get so nervous that I couldn’t enjoy myself. So, I hung up my mid 90’s ski equipment and bid farewell. My dismissal of skiing was sad, but swimming was the most important athletic goal of mine and I didn’t want anything to interfere with training. Then in 2008, a few of our average joe skier friends mentioned that they wanted to do a day ski trip. I almost responded no, but then I thought about it, what was there to lose?! So that weekend we packed up the car, rented equipment at a nearby ski shop and hit the slopes at Waterville Valley Ski Resort in New Hampshire. It was a tough day, Rob and I struggled. Ultimately we left the mountain feeling like we should at least try it again. Plus, having beers after a long day on the slopes felt amazing. Since that first trip we have continued to improve and challenge ourselves, and yes, we know proudly tell people that we are skiers!

Proud Skiers since 2008

The health benefits of skiing are obvious, cardiovascular and muscular namely, but one of my favorites is exposure to vitamin D during the cold and long winter months. Skiing has made me hate winter significantly less, I actually <gasp> sort of like it now. Instead of getting angry about getting hit with 20 inches of snow (ok, that still happens sometimes…) I get excited. I start tracking snow reports at New England mountains and hit the gym to prep my legs for the inevitable burn from spending essentially an entire day in the squat position. In order to help avoid crying on the mountain and stopping every five minutes (yep…that has happened…), I work in a variety of squats, lunges, and core balance work to help ease the pain.

Me skiing in Breckinridge, Colorado March 2010

Below is roughly an hour long workout that I have developed from reading a few articles, talking to friends and basic athletic training principles.

Kim’s Fabulous Ski Season Leg Workout

Stretching– I usually do my standard series of running stretches. My favorite being any stretch or maneuver (be it stretching or using a foam roller) that involves working my IT band

Cardio – I usually pick and choose 20 minutes of the following:

  • Running– It certainly isn’t earth shattering that I add running into my ski season workout, but I usually like to do a slow warm up to get the blood flowing and then speed work to get my legs ready to tackle tough terrain! I usually will run at least 2 Miles.
  • Stairmaster– Or as some people like to call it, the stair mistress 🙂 I usually do this for at least 15 minutes if it’s my only cardio.

Squats w/ weights/Medicine Ball– This is an awesome core exercise, I highly recommend it! I usually like to hold the weight or medicine ball out like this and do 3 sets of 12 reps and on the 12th rep, I hold the squat position for 10-15 seconds to increase the burn!

Lunges w/ Dumbells or a Weighted Bar– I like to walk back and forth a gym instead of doing them in place, that way I feel like I am accomplishing something and not feeling like a caged rat! The amount of times I go back and forth is usually dependent on how I’m feeling, but as a rule of thumb I usually like to make at least two laps.

Hamstrings– When I hurt my knee this past summer, my physical therapist gave me a variety of Hamstring and Knee exercises. Many of the Hamstring exercises I do are similar to the ones listed here. I usually do the standard 3×12 reps.

Wall Sit-This helps strengthen your quads and get them ready for the burning sensation that you will feel for your day on the slopes! 2 sets of 60 seconds, and if I’m feeling ambitious, I put my hands out to increase difficulty

Leg press– These are great for strengthening your Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes. 3x 12 reps

Roman chairs– to help strengthen and avoid lower back pain, this is a pretty good visual. 3×10-12 reps w/ a 10 pound weight, and if I’m feeling frisky, I will add in side dips.

CoreCaptain’s Chairs, I usually do 6 sets of 10, mixing in legs out and legs pulled in, Plank, and when I’m feeling good I will lift up one leg at a time and hold for 10 seconds, as well as modified Side Plank Dips

All in all, I hate doing most of this stuff, I would much rather go for a run or go to a class and sweat for 60 minutes. I definitely need to credit my new found love of skiing for forcing me to do these workouts!

What are your favorite ski or general cross training exercises?

Nantucket Triathlon

Keeping on pace to accomplish a few of my 2011 goals/resolutions, I decided to sign up for the Nantucket Triathlon. I’ve heard great things about this sprint triathlon, and I’m even more excited that it gives me the excuse to take a day off from work and make a long weekend on Nantucket.

Here is a quick breakdown of the race: 

Swim (.33 miles) starting and ending at Jetties beach (located by Brant Point.) Unlike other newbie triathlete’s this section of the triathlon is what I am the most comfortable with. The fact that I have been a competitive swimmer since the age of 10 definitely helps this portion of the tri! On top of that, in high school and college I was a beach lifeguard on Cape Cod, so I am very familiar with open water swimming!

Training Plan: Swimming Roughly 2 times a week, with a mix of distance, pulling and interval work. I’m basically just going to scale back a few of my favorite workouts from my college swim team and use those. Plus, I am planning on doing a few open water practice swims during the summer months to prepare for the race and get back into the grove of sighting

Bike (14 miles) The bike route is a loop around the west side of the island. This is going to be the toughest part of the race, and especially where I need to focus the majority of my training. My first triathlon biking experience was a total disaster and I was seriously contemplating dropping out! I’m hoping that extra training and the proper equipment I can do a better job 🙂
Training Plan: Spinning 1-2 times a week, and then once the weather gets nice buying a bike and completing several long bike rides so I get the hang of it.
Run (3.4 miles): Once off of the bike, the run goes on a smaller loop around the west side of the island and finishes on Jetties beach. The run is also an area that I am less worried about, however after 14 miles on the bike, I have very clear memories of my legs feeling like complete jelly. So clearly I need to read up on properly training for running a fast 5k with lactic acid build up.

Training Plan: I’m planning on training for this like an average 5k, a lot of speed and tempo work.
Other training notes
  1. Transitions: I know this is one of the most important aspects to train for when competing in a Triathlon, so I plan on practicing these quite a bit. Any and all tips are much appreciated.
  2. Practicing Multiple sports, back to back: It only seems to make sense to practice swimming & Biking in the same work out, same as Biking & Running. This will help prepare my body for the transitions between each sport and the different muscles that each of them use.
  3. Core Strength & Cross Training: I plan on doing Yoga once a week to help keep me limber and to build up core strength, as well as do a variety of weight/core exercises to help reduce the risk of injury and keep my core strong which will propel me through the toughest parts of the Triathlon
I’m really looking forward to what will hopefully be a better triathlon that my first experience back in 2006. I’ve always been happiest when I am swimming, so I’m looking forward to mixing swimming in with my new love of running, and hopefully I will learn not to hate cycling so much 🙂 For more information on the Nantucket Triathlon go to http://www.acktri.com/
Have you ever done a triathlon before? What are your favorite training tips?