Yesterday, I went to my very first yoga class. I've been wanting to go for months but didn't want to go alone. I was having trouble coordinating my schedule with friends who have been going to yoga for a while. I was planning to hang out with a friend yesterday and she texted to see if going to a yoga class would interest me. Finally!
We went to Lexington Power Yoga, located in the town center. We arrived in plenty of time to get signed in, get all of the appropriate gear needed (mat, yogitoes, towel), and get our spots claimed in the studio. First impressions were very good. The ladies at the front desk were very friendly and helped me understand everything I needed. One of them was also the instructor of the class we were taking. The whole place was calmly lit and decorated, really clean, and aesthetically pleasing - minimal and neutral.
Upon walking into the room, I was met with a blast of hot, humid air. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once I was in the room for a few minutes, my body began adjusting to the change in temp. The instructor (Jen) came over and sat by me and explained how this whole yoga practice thing works. A lot about movement, but also about calming, breathing, and centering. I told her I was a runner and have been having a few issues with some tight IT bands, she rewarded me during the class with an awesome pose stretching out those specific muscles.
The room filled up and the class began. A lot of centering and breathing at the beginning but soon we were moving into poses and through them at a slow but steady pace. There is a lot of stretching involved, but to be sure it is a workout! I am sufficiently sore today. I was pleased to feel like I knew what I was doing thanks, in part, to Shaun T and his Insanity and T25 workout programs. He incorporates a lot of yoga moves into his stretching workouts and I was able to follow along and keep up and have good form for the majority of the class.
The last five minutes were spent in a relaxing pose (of your choice), a few more deep breaths, then a cooling down of the room. While I respect the practice of yoga and the view many people have on it, for me it was just a really great way to relax, stretch out, and work my muscles. I appreciated the way Jen led us through the class and helped us center ourselves and our spirits.
This is definitely a place I'd like to come back to when I have the time (and money - it's not cheap). And I would recommend it to anyone who has been wanting to try yoga, hot or otherwise. The studio is very clean and those I met were really friendly. I'll have to try and make it back before the end of the year, any one want to join me? :)
In all my years of running, cross-training, insanity, t25, yoga, etc, I have found there is not much that makes a good workout go bad than ill-fitting clothes. You know, when you have to stop in the middle of your squat progression because your pants are falling down. Or when you have to keep adjusting your tank because it won't stop riding up. Or when you just want to go into a workout feeling confident and liking the outfit you have on because you know you look good. Ladies, don't tell me you don't *sometimes* want to look cute while doing your workout... I know I do. :)
Well, I have found a website that ships quality, well-fitting, cute! clothing to my house for a good price. It's called Fabletics - and it started with a partnership between the creators of JustFab and Kate Hudson; yes, the actress. "An exciting new collaboration between actress Kate Hudson and the founders of JustFab, Fabletics delivers high-performance athletic wear at an affordable price. Fabletics apparel focuses on fit, function and style, offering complete, coordinated Outfits for your workout and beyond. All of our high-quality apparel and accessories are designed in sunny Los Angeles."
A few months ago, I saw an ad for this company on Facebook (to my shame, I clicked on the ad...) and what I found were really great workout outfits. After becoming a member, I could get three pieces for only $25. I got a reeeeeeeeally comfortable pair of royal blue leggings, a sports bra, and a tank. Since then, I've received a few more items that I absolutely love. This is what I say when I pull stuff out of the shipping bag and try them on - "I love this." "I love THIS." "This. I love this."
The reason I'm telling you about this is because perhaps you've been on the hunt for some awesome workout gear that doubles as generally cute, sporty clothing. I highly suggest you check out this website. And if you decide to order some things and become a member, let 'em know I told you so by using this link to sign up. You're welcome in advance. :)
The Fabletics cropped leggings below are one of my latest purchases, along with a breezy t-shirt worn for my double T25 workout this am. Cute, functional, and stays in place. (Yes, they are all selfies...)
I'm not really a collector of stuff. I have some angel figurines from over the years. And I have a few Hummels my parents have given me. But I can't say that I actually collect something. However, I do keep things. :) Especially when it comes to my running stuff. I guess I'm sort of sentimental that way. I still, at times, can't believe that this running thing is something I enjoy and continue to do!
What types of things do I keep?
1. Medals. I have every medal I've ever received. Whether it was for a 5K (some of them give out medals, I don't know why) or a marathon. I keep them. Most of my medals are tucked away, but the marathon medals are where I can see them everyday.
2. Bibs. I have (almost) every bib I've ever worn. I used to write the date and my time on the back (and have an Excel spreadsheet) but I haven't done that in years. I keep them with the thought that someday I'll move into a permanent home and I can somehow decorate with them. Or turn them into coasters... In any case, I have 'em. (Perhaps I should add the marathon bibs to the wall below?)
3. Posters. If the race I'm doing happens to have a poster they have created just for the occasion, I will pick it up. Even if it means searching the expo high and low and asking multiple volunteers, as was the case at NYC. It started with Chicago and now I have 4 posters from my 7 marathons. And just like the medals, I look at them everyday.
4. Shirts. I don't keep all of these, by any stretch. Some are just plain ugly and I either give them away or use them as throw away shirts at other races. And some are old and out of the rotation, so those are given away, as well. There are some that I love: Route One 5K from all the years (this year's was super bright yellow so it's great for dark runs, but these have all fit well and are cozy cotton), Black Cat 10mi, Chicago Nike DriFit (I purchased this one so I guess it doesn't really count, but I really like it...), Tufts 10K for Women (I have run this race *just* for the shirt).
5. Various and sundry items. There are some random things I've received at races: pint glasses (you bet I keep those!), programs, gloves, hats, etc.
If you run races, do you keep anything or do you cycle stuff out after a few years? What do you do with your medals?
I never know how to begin these race recaps...There's so much I want to say, but only so much I know you'll be interested in. :)
Let me start with Friday. Erin and I headed to the Javits Center in the morning and by the time we got there, there was already a line. We waiting for about 45min or so before being let in. Once we got inside, it was madness! There were SO many people. Everything was pretty well marked so I knew just where to go. Also, there were so many helpful volunteers available for any questions runners may have. I easily got my bib and shirt then made my way to the Asics (main sponsor) area to pick up a jacket. Most marathons I have my shirt and my bib...but Boston and NYC are special so I spent a little more.
After the expo we headed back to Jersey City in time to catch Erin's oldest in her school's Halloween parade. She was the cutest Piggy Ballerina Fairy I have ever seen. :) That evening we went trick or treating with the kids then hung out on the stoop with neighbors handing out candy to the later crowd of kids. It was a fun night and totally different from my neighborhood where we get about 10 kids, maximum.
Saturday was scheduled to be a total rest day - and it was! The weather was nasty so I'm glad we didn't have any thing planned, just hanging out with the kids and getting things ready for Sunday. That included setting out all of the things I was planning to wear, getting my name taped onto my shirt, packing my start village bag, and my post-race bag. Once all that was taken care of, I climbed into bed around 9:30pm, which was actually 8:30pm due to the time change! With the alarm going off at 5:30am the next morning, I didn't feel bad about going to bed so early at all.
Sunday morning dawned cold, partly clear, and WINDY. I had planned for the cold and thankfully felt prepared for the wind as well. I showed up at the start village (along with 50,500 other runners) with plenty of time to find a bagel, coffee, water, and bathrooms. I thought that the expo was busy, the start village was even busier! People from all over the world come to run NYC, so it was cool to be sitting there listening to all the different languages around me. Once the earlier waves started heading out to the corrals, the crowds thinned out and it was easier to move around.
As each wave began, two cannons were fired. All those left in the start village knew to look up towards the bridge to see the runners getting their race started. Despite the cold (and numb toes), I was pretty relaxed, just ready to get running. And dreading just a bit taking off all my warm layers...
Promptly at 10:45, the cannons for my wave went off and we wound our way through the start corral at Fort Wadsworth. The starting line is right at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge and the first mile and a half are on the bridge. The wind was ridiculous but the view and the energy was spectacular. I tried to take it all in while focusing on maintaining a steady pace.
Next up was Brooklyn. I loved running through Brooklyn! So many different neighborhoods. And the crowds here were the BEST. I ran along the side of the course so people would see my name and cheer for me - and holy cow, they sure did! Spectating a marathon is a sport in itself, and these guys were the best. Brooklyn went on for about 11miles or so, they flew by so quickly that when we got to the halfway point (in Queens) I couldn't believe it. My favorite two signs I saw in Brooklyn were: "If Donna Martin can graduate from high school, you can do this." The best part about this sign was it was a young dude with a completely straight face holding it up. The other sign was: "It's just a 10K with a 20mi warm up." I got a little chuckle from that.
We were only in Queens for about a mile and a half before heading up (and I do mean up) and over the Queensboro bridge. Really cool views of Manhattan and the river. That took us to First Ave where we headed north to the Bronx. I don't remember a lot about this section...just that once it was finished, we'd be back in Manhattan, heading down Fifth Ave and Central Park and the finish line. So, up until this point I had tried to acknowledge most of the spectators who cheered my name - with eye contact, a smile, wave of the hand - but by the time I hit mile 22, I was just trying to focus on reaching the finish line. So when I heard my name being called over and over, I didn't look right away but when I did, I saw John and Karla standing in the crowd!! I was so excited to see them (as you can see by the photo below)! :)
The rest of the marathon was awesome. Central Park is beautiful (what I remember taking in...) and the finish line was exhilarating. We all shuffled along, picking up our medals, our heat sheets, and our recovery bags before being released to either leave the park or pick up our baggage. I was never happier to put on a pair of sweatpants than I was that day! I walked two more blocks before meeting Erin and Wayne who gave me the biggest hugs and made me finally cry (happens at some point during each marathon experience...). We hit the subway and headed to dinner at The Grey Dog in Chelsea (good beer, really good burgers).
Overall, this was an amazing experience. The volunteers were incredible. The crowds were one of a kind. Even the police officers and firefighters were cheering us on as they worked the race. The whole thing was so smooth and fun and such an experience. It's a tough but incredibly rewarding course. Thanks, NYC, for such a memorable day!