United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 7

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_223f

Planned mileage: 17.5mi

Completed mileage: 18.5mi

Actually, with this training update, I think that I may be on the right path for training for the United NYC Half Marathon. For once, I completed all of my planned training goals, and my back did not been bother me as much . . . for the most part.

Let’s get this started.

Monday:

Planned: 50min X-train

Completed: Elliptical and strength training

Unfortunately, I arrived at the gym kind of late and was unable to do as much as I wanted to with my strength training (arms and chest). But something is better than nothing.

Since I did not do much on Monday morning, I had planned to run with Harlem Runs. In a previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to run with a running group. Harlem Runs has weekly Monday and Wednesday runs so I figured it would be a good start. I arrived home from work to change into my cold-weather running clothes, but the BF informed me that he washed our clothes AND the dryer was broken. No run for me because my cold-weather clothes were all wet. Oh well, there’s always next week.

Tuesday:

Planned: 4.5mi

Completed: 4.5mi, 10min stair climber, 35min stretching

Man, I hate treadmill running.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2229

Wednesday:

Planned: 8 X 400m intervals

Completed: Rest. I think that I went out for drinks with friends after work. 

Thursday:

Planned: 3mi

Completed: 8 X 400m intervals; broken up 3mi run; 45min strength and weight training

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_223b

What polar vortex? Since the temperatures were around 4 degrees, these runs were obviously done on a treadmill. One cool (no pun) thing about this polar vortex was the gym was virtually empty. Score.

Since I skipped Wednesday workout, I combined the intervals with my “3mi” run. I say “3mi” because I did a 0.5mi warm-up followed by the eight intervals and a normal 2.5mi “recovery” run. Actually, my workout was kind of awesome. Aside from the first two intervals, all of the other ones was sub 2 mins.

Friday: 

Planned: Rest

Completed: 20min elliptical and 30min stretching 

Saturday: 

Planned: 9mi

Completed: 9mi 

This run was kind of make or break for me, especially after what happened with last week’s long run. Last week, my back really started to hurt within the first two miles of my long run. I managed to complete this run in Central Park; unfortunately, I had to walk a couple of times. But, 9 miles are 9 miles. I really noticed that I need to stop relying so much on the treadmill because it gives me a false sense of security when I eventually start running outside. In my defense, it has been really cold. Although I walked a few times (those damn Harlem and Sister Hills), I managed to eek out fartleks for a mile or so during miles 7 and 8. Or was it during miles 6 and 7?

Sunday: 

Planned: Rest

Completed: 20min stair climber, 60min strength and stretching, and a couple of bike rides through the city.

I think that I may have a new Sunday morning routine. Now, I will work out at CrunchUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2280 Fitness in FiDi (Financial District), then ride a CitiBike to Brooklyn (about 1.5mi), and teach my Sunday Bio class. Normally, I hate on many of the Crunch Fitness locations in NYC, but this one is amazing. Yes, I know that a lot of the awesomeness is because the gym is brand new. BUT, this location is HUGE, and there is actually enough room to workout. Plus, the locker room is also huge so you will not have to be on top of other half-naked men trying to change. Since FiDi is pretty much a ghost town on the weekends (and weeknights after 5-6pm), the gym is relatively empty. I have to say that I had a very pleasant experience on Sunday.

Oh wait, there was some BS associated with Sunday. While waiting for the subway to commute from Harlem to the gym, I sat in something that I thought was piss. Annoyed, I had to go home, literally wash my ass, and go back to the subway, which cost me 30 minutes. I think that I actually sat in malt liquor, but I’m still not 100% sure. I could have been malt liquor and piss combination – you never know with NYC.

That aside, I was really feeling Sunday for some reason. I think it had a lot to do with it not being a million degree below zero. After class, I was invited to a bday party on the UES. Rather than taking the subway, I decided to make it a bike ride, which was about 4.5 miles.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_228a

All in all, I had a GREAT training week, which is something that I have not been able to say in a VERY long time. I just hope that I did not overdo it, making this training week a hot mess. My back pain has greatly reduced; I think taking out the glute extensions was a major factor. Today after work, I was thinking about going to Zumba class, but maybe I should sit it out and actually take a REAL rest day.

Goals for this week:

-Definitely go running with the Harlem Runs crew. I’m thinking that I will go on Wednesday since that is the group speed workout day.

-Begin increasing the distance for my interval runs (800m or 1600m intervals).

-Although this may not happen this week, but I need to start introducing more hills into my runs. The first part of the new half-marathon’s course is somewhat hilly, and we have to cross a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. For this Saturday’s long run (10mi), I think that I will incorporate the Manhattan Bridge, which on the United NYC Half’s course.

I hope y’all had a great running week.

Advertisements

Random Thoughts Thursday

-It’s tough listening to podcasts at work. Maybe I just have to get used to balancing my attention.

-These Queen of the Ratchet Disney parodies are too funny ( *** ). Yes, I have the humor of a teenager. The following are parodies of the Real Housewives of __ post season’s reunions. I take it that Tremaine is Nene and Cruella is Keyna MooreI only know the Real Housewives of Altanta women. The creators even incorporated the viewers questions and  feedback that are asked or given to the housewives during the reunion.

-I’m so surprised that Columbia University is so smoker-friendly. One pretty much can smoke anywhere on campus.

– I am loving Crunch Fitness’ revamped app. It even has the locations of fans in the spin studio.

img_1688

A slore needs a fan, because this slore overheats, especially in an enclosed fitness room.

download (5).jpg

-Are y’all down with IHoP changing its name to IHob (International House of Burgers to promote its new burgers, *** )? In all of my years going to IHoP, I do not think that I have ever eaten non-breakfast food there. One can get burgers pretty much anyplace; however, getting waffles after 11:00 AM is a whole other can of worms. As a matter of fact, maybe I will visit an IHoP (or IHob) and have breakfast for dinner, after my run today.

-Four more days until vacation in sunny, gang-filled Cancun!!!! I definately will be playing this song in the Uber on the way to the airport. It’s probably one of the few songs where she doesn’t sound like she has swallowed a bucket of glass shards. 

-Speaking of vacations, I hope that I can fit into my slutty bathing suit without looking like a beached whale.

-The bf has given me the responsibility of packing our crap for our upcoming trip. This will be either be a disaster or a hot ass mess. I’m the type of packer/traveler that pretty much waits until the Uber is on its way before he starts throwing crap into a suitcase. Also, I am the traveler that is frantically running to the gate for boarding because my name has been announced SEVERAL times in conjunction with “this is the final boarding call. Nine times out of ten, I’m at the bar chatting and/or trying to finish my draaaank.

-Did you know the youngest marathon runner is Budhia Singh and he has finished 48 marathons before his fifth birthday.

-I really need to get back to my resolution of reading 1-2 books a month.

(Late) Training Update

The United Airline Half Marathon training is not going according to plan. Due to my back issue, I have not been able to really train as well or intensely as I would have liked. This is a shame, because I was supposed to kill it this half-marathon, as redemption from 2017’s NYC Marathon. But, I guess that is life. The back has been getting better, and I have been able to incorporate more cardio into my weekly routine. Hopefully, I can start running as soon as the end of this week.

Monday: Stretching 

Tuesday: Three mile run

This was my first real run, since NYRR’s Midnight Run on Dec. 31st. The run was very simple, because I did not overexert myself. However, I was able to run three out of the four miles. I was not in a great deal of pain, but I definitely had a bit of tightness in my back, which extended to my legs. To be honest, I actually wanted to run more, but my back just was not having it. I have a feeling that this will be a struggle half-marathon . . . If I can run it.

Wednesday: Elliptical Warm up and Zumba

I finally figured out why some of the folks in my Monday Zumba class are so good; it’s because they attend Zumba class on Monday AND on Wednesday, which is taught by the same instructor. There was no back pain during class. Actually, the non running cardio activities may be good for my back, because they are very low impact. I will say that I did not go as “hard” in the booty shaking department for the class, because I did not aggravate my dumb back.

img_0643

I am getting use to the new format (well, new to me) of the way the Apple Watch monitors one’s workouts. There still is an issue with the watch’s band moving up and down my wrists when my arms get sweaty, because it does not give a heart rate during the workout. For some particular reason, the crappy Crunch Fitness on E. 81st Street had the heat on full blast in the cardio room

Thursday: Spin Class and Weight Training. 

Once again, I donned my spin shoes and hit up another spin class. It was a great class for someone who is easing back into spin, but it would have been kind of lame if I had been a little further along in my training. The instructor was really nice and took time out to make sure everyone’s bike was properly set up, but the class was not that intense.

img_0641

Although the music selection was a little lame, I think that I may keep going to this class until my cardio level returns.

For weight training, I pretty much focused on my arms. The short duration of the workout was due to me forgetting to start the fitness app on my phone. Until my back gets back to normal, I do not want to do weight training on my legs and back (for obvious reasons). Also, I do not want to engage, for now, in any exercises that will make me do any movements over my head – lat pull downs, shoulder presses, lying pull overs, etc.

Friday – Monday. Nothing outside of daily stretching. 

The BF and I made a quick weekend trip to Philadelphia and we actually had a nice time (I spent way too much money). Although we took in the historical sites, we ate and drank way too much (in a good way) – I’m afraid to see how much weight I had gained during the trip.

Green Eggs Cafe

This, by far, is my favorite brunch spot in Philly. One has to get there super early (~8am) for brunch, because it is very popular and the wait can be more than an hour.

The holidays are officially in the rear view mirror; so now, and I can focus on my training and getting back to everyday life. This stop and go from the holidays (and unexpected snow days) is the main reason why I like to start my New Year’s  resolutions BEFORE January 1st. Between the holidays and the long weekend of MLK Jr. holiday, I do not get started until after Jan. 15th.

 

Monday Recap (kinda)

This week has been pretty crappy for the half marathon training. Because of my back injury, I managed to fit in a few very subpar runs. However when I didn’t run, I really focused on some back stretches that I learned in physical therapy.

A few years back, I suffered a herniated disc between my L4/L5 vertebrae. For the most part, I have sporadic episodes and this is the time of year when it get aggravated. Last year around this time, I had a horrible relapse where I couldn’t put of my own pants and had to spend two days in the ER.

In the second picture, you can see that I cannot lift my left leg too high without aggravating my back. At least this is better, I could not even raise the left leg last week.

Hopefully, I will have only a few more days with this injury.

Happy New Year, y’all.

Do you have any traditions?

Like many Southerners, I make black eyed peas to bring prosperity.

Also, I eat crappy Chinese take out on New Year’s Day because it’s the best food for a hangover (although this is the first year in a very long time that I did not wake up drunk/hungover).

I’m man enough to Zumba . . . And like it

I am a HUGE fan of Zumba class (as I have posted a bit about it); I have been doing it pretty much once a week for about a year. I have noticed that I am usually the only XY individual in the class. Well … I do not know the genetic background of the other class participants; I’m just assuming. I’m writing about this topic because I mentioned that I wanted to try another Zumba class to mix up my routine a little bit, in a previous post (***).

*Random, is Zumba one of those words that can be used as a noun and a verb?*

Last night I checked out Zumba class at another Crunch fitness. Typically, I try to get to a Zumba class a little early because:

  1. I like to stretch and do some body weight exercises before class.
  2. I want a good spot – the first or second row and slightly to the right of the instructor.

Yesterday, right off of the bat, I was asked:

You know this is a Zumba class?

I took a slight internal breath (your boy can be a little sassy when he needs to be). I responded:

Yes, I know. I’m just mixing up my cardio routine.

Then, I thought to myself that she probably has never seen a dude in a Zumba class before. It’s not her fault. I mean it’s not as bad when someone assumes that I smoke menthol cigarettes, because I’m black. But cigarettes aside, she was really cool and mentioned that it is nice to see a guy in the class.

I searched the Internet to see if there were any topics, regarding men and Zumba.

It seems that the common consensus is Zumba is considered as “girl’s” workout –

IMG_1073

Beto Perez

even though a man, Beto Perez, came up with the concept. This feeling makes sense. If you are the only guy in a class of 34 women, then your gender makes up only 2.8% of the class, which can be a little scary. Also, we live in a somewhat “monkey see, monkey do society”. If males are not doing a particular, then other males probably will not do that activity. Also, Zumba typically is marketed to women. The gym that I went to last night actually has women-only Zumba classes, which seems a little repetitive.

Screwing up/ Feeling weird

When starting a new activity, most people do not like to screw up. Unless, you already have an extensive dance background, you will screw up in the first few Zumba classes. I know that I did. So, one can feel inferior to other class members, who have been attending a particular Zumba class for a while. You think to yourself, how/why are they getting the moves but I cannot. To be perfectly, I think that I get the moves faster than some of the other newer women in my class. BUT, the thing is NOBODY CARES!!! No one is going to talk about how bad you are [maybe unless they blog about the class ;)]. After class, I hang out to stretch, do planks, and ab work, and some folks hang out and chat with the instructor. Not once did I ever hear any of them say things like:

  • Did you see how bad person X’s cumbia was?
  • Person A is a rhythmless fool.

I will admit that some times I do feel a little weird with some of the over-sexualized booty shaking, Beyonce/Shakira moves. My hips just do not move like that . . . for the most part. I still cannot do the hip rotation while turning in a counterclockwise motion. For some odd reason, I can do it in a clockwise motion.

Shakira-Beyonce-Belly-Dance-In-A-Music-Video-Gif

I guess those moves are not too weird to me, as an African American, because a lot of our dances have some type of “sexy shaking/gyrating” component to it. I guess can feel a little strange when you are the only guy in a class of women doing those moves. I have noticed that there are not too many of those types of movements in classes taught by men. So maybe it’s a female instructor thing.

If you think about it, many of the moves that football players do in the end zone after scoring a touchdown are kind of zumba-esque moves 😉

I know that we have done the move in the middle panel in one of my Zumba classes.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

It’s tough starting something new, especially if you have not done it before. Actually, I was one of the those guys who originally thought that Zumba was a “girl’s” workout. Then, I had a really bad back injury and could not run, so I checked out a Zumba class. Yes, it was tough at first. . . actually, it was not that bad.

  • I think that my first class was tough because I got a spot in the back of the class (I was a little insecure about being the only male in a class full of women). So, it was hard to see the instructor do the moves. Also, I felt like I was a step or five behind because I was following the moves of people in front of me.

I think that I have some natural rhythm. Plus, as a scientist, my mind kind of runs in a logical manner. So, if I know that I’m going to do something three times in one direction, I am already thinking about how I’m going to do it in the other direction.  The weird thing about me is that I do not freestyle dance that well, but I can pick up choreography (as long as it is not too intricate) pretty fast . . . IMO. I’m sure that dancers from the Alvin Ailey School of Dance would disagree.

download (3).jpg

For me, Zumba seems more efficient than running on a treadmill. Obviously, I would not substitute training for a half- or full-marathon or lifting weights (many guys prefer to strength train over cardio) by doing Zumba, in lieu of running or strength training. But, I think that it is a great substitute (or rather, supplement) to a purely cardiovascular program. For example, my side by side comparison of a 45 minute treadmill run to a 47 min Zumba class:

  • Treadmill run for ~45 minutes – 5 miles with 0.75 miles at 9:05 min/mi and 0.25 miles at 8.15 min/mi
    • Ave Heart Rate: 149 bpm
    • Ave Calories Burned: 13 cals/min
  • Zumba class for 47 min
    • Ave Heart Rate: 158 bpm
    • Ave Calories Burned: 15 cals/min

Even with the Zumba class, I entered my peak cardio zone sooner than my treadmill workout. Keep in mind that those stats are based on the instructor’s class, because I have attended a couple of Zumba classes where I barely spent any time in my peak cardio zone.

An article by Anya Brodech posted on Caloriebee.com mentioned her top five reasons why guys should do Zumba. 

  1. Women L-O-V-E men who do Zumba. Ok, this is a dumb reason. NEXT!
  2. You learn how to move awesome. I can agree with this reason.
  3. You get a fun cardio workout. Very true, once you get over your initial insecurities and dance like no one is watching you.
  4. Improve your coordination. This is a good reason because improving coordination can translate into other types of sports/workouts.
  5. Improve your strength and flexibility. I do not know about flexibility but many of the classes do have a small strength component. No, you will not bulk up but the toning aspect is very relevant.

All in all, I fully support breaking the gender barrier in the Zumba movement. Show these women what you are made of. 😉

Back to my Favorite Zumba Class and DUH!!!

IMG_0459I finally had a chance to revisit one of my favorite Zumba classes at Crunch Fitness (Fort Green location, Tuesdays, 7pm with LaShawn). I have been MIA from this particular class for about 4 weeks. When I miss this class, I go to a good one on Wednesdays, so it’s not a big deal. After class, I was quite surprised that I remembered most of the moves AND I was able to reclaim my spot on the floor. I know that this class do not have reserved spaces, but some people feel like it’s their God given right to claim a particular space. You know, the kind who asks you to move to another bike in Spin class, because you are on “his/her” bike. *Ok, I’m getting off topic*

So the “DUH” part

For the longest time, I was trying to find some of the songs that are featured in this class. After reading another person’s blog entry about tips for Zumba, it was recommended that I use Shazam to get the playlist. Hell, I cannot believe that I did not even think about that. Hell #2, I had forgotten that Shazam was even on my iPhone. Hell #3, Shazam has an auto Shazam feature, so you can let it go and it will detect most of the songs without having to tell it to. Now, I finally have most of the playlist from the class and I already have purchased the majority of the songs. #Instant Gratification.

Even though I was able to get most of the playlist, the song that I really wanted was “unShazamable”. I guess I have to ask LaShawn in two weeks for that one.  My favorites from this selection are “Bouje” by J. Perry and “Sal a Bailar” by Victor Manuelle. Oh an maybe “MILF”, which I already had, but of the booty popping.

Relax, Relate, Release

tenorSince last Thursday, some personal crap has really gotten me down. I’m pretty much an upbeat kind of guy and things rarely get me down more that a day or two. So, today’s Zumba class helped me forget about about my person crap, at least for 45 minutes. However, I do not think that I was in my normal grove in today’s class.

IMG_0458

Normally, I have a 1:1 ratio of time spent in my cardio and peak zones during this particular class. Clearly, I was not going as hard as I normally do for maximum effect. Oh well, all of your efforts can’t be good ones.

That’s all folks. A simple post, for a simple man.

 

Lazy weekend

Busted!!

My long run for the weekend was a bit of a bust aka it did not happen. I went out friday night and I really did feel like running on Saturday morning. Then I had all day brunch on Saturday, so I did not run on sunday (plus, I teach 12:30-3). 

However I did lift and attended a bootcamp class at my local Crunch Express on Sat. 

 
It was a nice class that broke up the monotony of running and lifting on your own. Also sometimes it is nice to have someone telling you what to do. Although this was my first class at this crunch, the instructor was pretty good.  

Random. I took this pic during my warmup on the elliptical machine.  

 

  1. Why is the gym showing Spanish cartoons on Saturday morning? There are not any kids here. 
  2. There is no way that a beagle could be a chef. They are too greedy when it comes to food. 
  3. His hamburguesas marinas did look delicious. 😉

That is it for now.