Category Archives: Yoga

Five Things Thursday

Hiya, friends!  Yes, I’m alive!  My week has been crazy, so I have lots of updates to share.  Let’s list it up!

1.  You knew this one was coming.

countdown-nautica-south-beach-24-days

T-minus 24 days until South Beach!  I’m obviously super pumped, but I’m starting to get nervous—about the ocean swim (because I haven’t been in open water since September), the bike (because I haven’t been outside since October), and the run (because it will be hotter than Hades).  Quite honestly, I don’t feel ready to race, so good thing it’s classified as a “C” event, meaning I’ll train through it and not “race” it.  I’m more than ready for some beach time, though!

2.  Speaking of training, I’ve had some pretty kick-butt workouts this week.  Scott, the head coach of Full Throttle Endurance, led Monday’s speedwork session—and I survived!  We did a ton of 400m, 600m, and 800m repeats, and my pacemates and I took turns leading and sharing the workload.  However, Scott being Scott was hooting and hollering during our final 800m set and wanted me to overtake our pacesetter during the last 200m.  I had a ton of gas left in the tank (come to think of it, I might be in the wrong pace group, but whatever), but I didn’t want to be “that teammate” who blows by the paceleader.  No one “wins” practice, right?  But I did it anyway.  It felt so good to full-out sprint!  Scott totally lost it and started cheering, and after I finished, he came up to me and said, “Now that’s how you finish a race!” and gave me a fist pound.  Hopefully he forgot about Trial By Fire.

3.  Wednesday’s indoor cycling workout went really well, too.  This was my second session with Scott, and I love his coaching style.  Don’t get me wrong:  Andrew is the man, but whereas Andrew reminds me of my high school basketball coach, Scott is my high school basketball coach; his loud, intense, in-your-face coaching works for me.  It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I value a coach who will push and challenge me.  Anyway, Scott used me as an example of good cycling technique (totally shocking!), and he also asked if I’m a strong cyclist outdoors; I guess my engine and power inside are pretty decent.

4.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I went rock climbing Tuesday morning.

rock-climbing-chelsea-piers

So much fun!

5.  Speaking of non-triathlon happenings (I swear, I do other things besides swimming, biking, and running), I went to yoga this morning.

3:14-yoga

Logistically, it’s been tough to go before work, and it felt great to return to my mat—perfect form of exercise for an active rest day.

Time to shop for groceries and tackle a freelance assignment.  Have a great Thursday!

Have you ever been rock climbing?  Would you try it?

I Cheated

Friends, I have a confession to make:  I cheated.  That’s right—I’m no better than Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong.

lance-armstrong-barry-bonds

[source]

Too soon?

But I had to do it.  I needed to do it.  And I know everyone else does it, too.

Before you heard from others, I wanted to tell you first:  I cheated—on my hairdresser.

My curls were crazy long and froin’ way too much, and since I don’t know when I’ll head home again, I went to Bumble and bumble (thanks for the recommendation, Jen!), and got the most expensive haircut of my 23 years of life.

1:7-haircut

I pulled it back into a ponytail to make sure it could be done, hence the limpness/loose curls.  Looks good, though, right?

The actual salon blew me away—two stories, complete with its own café—and I couldn’t believe how thorough the hair-chopping process turned out to be.  An assistant washed my hair (and gave me a scalp massage!) before my stylist, Nico, assessed my mane hair and developed a style plan (or whatever it’s called).  My two demands?  Keep the layers, and the shorter, the better, but it needs to be able to be pulled back into a ponytail.  I’m used to my hairdresser at home who knows my hair, my lifestyle, etc. (I’ve been going to her since literally day one), so the whole hair-cutting process, including answering several hair-care questions, took more than an hour.  Nico cut it and wanted to see how it dried and how my curls reacted—and he was visibly surprised when he couldn’t style them!  He even said something like, “I can always control curls.”  Mine have a mind of their own, though—ha!  Anyway, he then cut more off, and I can still pull it back into a ponytail.  Well, more like a pony-nub, but it works.  And I got some samples!

1:7-bumble-and-bumble-samples

Yeah, the salon has its own line of hair products—totally normal in NYC, right?

Dinner

Last night’s dinner centered on leftovers—almond-crusted tilapia, plus roasted veggies and sweet potatoes.

1:6-dinner-almond-encrusted-tilapia

Even though meal prep can be a pain, it makes for some speedy weeknight meals.

Workout – Yoga

After a challenging few days of workouts, I welcomed the chance to sweaty and stretch at Yoga Vida this morning.  Even though I stick out like a sore thumb a triathlete at a yoga studio (ha!), I really enjoy practicing yoga once a week.  Today’s class contained some hip openers and core work, both of which I definitely needed.

Breakfast

Before heading to the studio, I prepped some overnight one-hour oats with frozen strawberries and blueberries, plus plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, almond milk, and instant oats.

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Plus a huge scoop of almond butter!

Lunch

After I cheated on my hairstylist, I finished up the spicy black bean quinoa.

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I think an apple with almond butter is in order.

Have you ever cheated on your hairstylist?

Miami, Here I Come!

Good morning, friends!  Guess what—I officially registered for the Nautica South Beach Triathlon, which will be my first race of the 2013 season!  I’m pumped!  Miami, here I come!

It isn’t until April 7, which means I have plenty of time to train (approximately 86 days, but who’s counting?).  For the past three years, Full Throttle Endurance has traveled to Florida for this triathlon, and signing up for a destination event (or a “race-cation”) is a great way to kick off the racing season.  Plus, I’ve never been to Miami, so it will be fun to explore, hang out at the beach, and celebrate post-race with my teammates.  In terms of the race itself, I signed up for the classic distance—0.5-mile ocean swim, 19-mile bike, and 4-mile out-and-back run.  Nautica SoBo also offers an Olympic-distance course, but since this will be my first event of the season—and not to mention my longest triathlon to date—I figured the shorter one would be a better decision.  And even though it’s still early in the training cycle (and even though I haven’t finalized my race schedule), I see this tri as a “C” race, meaning I’ll “train through” it; I still want to do well, obviously, but I won’t be “racing” it.  I’m so excited!

Dinner

A pizza craving hit me hard last night, so I made an individual Paleo pizza.

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Toppings included sauce, cheese, spinach, and chopped orange peppers—yum!

Workout – Yoga

The weekly workout schedule I posted Sunday has totally changed—Andrew emailed our training group a plan after that evening—and today was a scheduled rest/free day.  It’s been a while since I practiced yoga—remember my yoga phase in October?—and I knew a Vinyasa class would be good for active recovery, so I went to Hilaria’s 7 a.m. session at Yoga Vida this morning.  It was just what I needed; I worked up a good sweat, stretched out, and even completed some ab work (which will be even more important now that I’ll be riding in aero).

Breakfast

No judging—during savasana, my mind wandered to breakfast.  In my defense, though, Hilaria told us to listen to what our bodies were saying, and mine seemed to be fixated on hunger—ha!  A cold meal sounded good after a sweaty class, so I whipped up a protein smoothie.

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This mix included a frozen banana, frozen kale, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb egg-white protein powder.  Plus my second cup of coffee.

Time to finish up some freelancing assignments.  Have a great day!

Have you signed up for a destination race, gone on a “race-cation,” or taken a trip solely devoted to doing something active?  Did you enjoy it?

Modified Two-Ingredient Pancake

Hey, everyone!  Who’s looking forward to the weekend?  We’re so close.

Workout – Yoga

Even though I didn’t want to wake up and drag my butt to a 7 a.m. class at Yoga Vida, I’m really, really glad I did.  Taking a step back from swimming, biking, and running let me reconnect with my body and stop hating on it for yesterday’s “tempo” run.  Don’t get me wrong; I survived a different type of struggle this morning—Warrior III, anyone?—but moving consciously reminded me how blessed I am to have a capable, powerful body.  Being able to workout is a gift after all.

Breakfast

After reading Natalie’s post yesterday that contained some delicious-looking pancakes, I knew a similar spread needed to happen this morning.  Instead of going the usual two-ingredient pancake route, I got a little creative.

Sure, it looks similar, but its taste is all its own.

Ingredients:

One mashed banana

1/3 cup liquid egg whites

2 tbsp. flaxseed

sprinkle of chia seeds

cinnamon to taste

I cooked it the same way (non-stick cooking spray on pan, heat on medium-low, etc.), and this version might be better than its two-ingredient counterpart; subbing in flaxseed for almond milk resulted in a true cake-like pancake that boasted a heartier texture.  And it also smelled like French toast, which is never a bad thing.

Lunch

After running some errands and going grocery shopping, I finished up the rest of the crock pot tofu and chickpea curry.

To pump up the nutritional profile a bit, I wilted some spinach and added a little brown rice.  Yummy!

Oh, and I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have an interview tomorrow for a paid, part-time editorial internship at yet another a health and wellness publication—woohoo!

What’s the best part of your day so far?

Crock Pot Success

Hiya, friends!  How’s your almost-Friday going?  This morning, I went to Yoga Vida for my first practice in … three weeks.  Returning to the mat and stretching things out felt great, but the highlight was walking outside—in the snow!

Yep, hello slush and Bean boots.  Winter has officially arrived.

Dinner

Cold weather calls for warm meals, so I fired up the crock pot.

It was my first time using said crock pot, so I was a little nervous, but last night’s meal was delicious!

First, I rinsed one cup of lentils and tossed them into the pot along with two cups of water, one generous splash of red wine, 1 tsp. crushed garlic, two stalks of chopped celery, one chopped orange pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Then it was time to set it (on low) and forget it (for five hours).  When dinnertime arrived, I added some wilted spinach and steamed broccoli.

Crock pot cooking for the win!

Breakfast

Hoarding:  Accumulating Almond Butter Jars.

Yeah.  Thanks to today’s batch of overnight oats, I’m down to one jar.

I had the same mix as yesterday, and I might try making “oatless” oatmeal tomorrow morning and pouring it into the final jar.  It’s just too chilly for cold breakfasts.

Lunch

Simply leftovers from last night, plus a little brown rice.

And tonight’s dinner is cooking away.

What can I say?  ‘Tis the season.

Have you seen your first snowfall?

PS – Instagram has web profiles now.  So cool!

There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Yoga

Greetings!  How’s your Thursday so far?  Even though it’s the afternoon, I’m still super energized from my a.m. yoga practice at Yoga Vida.  Speaking of, I’ll cut to the chase:  In three days—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—I’ve taken three classes, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as too much yoga.  Hilaria’s classes this week have focused on shoulders, side body, and abs (my favorite), and there’s no doubt each Cobra, Triangle, and Side Plank pose has helped me get back in my groove.  Check out this instagrammed picture—yes, it’s a verb now—Hilaria posted during class last night.

(Do you see me wearing the blue top in the middle?!) There were more than 70 yogis packed into the room last night, which weirdly reminded me of a triathlon transition site:  Everyone has a small, designated space, but don’t think for one second that someone else won’t hit, kick, or touch your gear.

Dinner

Honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to introduce one of my go-to meals: crazy pineapple salmon teriyaki, inspired by Hungry Girl.

This might seem kooky, but bear with me:  mix teriyaki and Sweet Asian Chili sauce together, spread it on top of salmon filet, and top with pineapple and cayenne pepper.  The flavors complement each other really well, and plus, since it’s baked in aluminum foil, there’s virtually no clean-up.  I’ll share a more precise recipe in a few days.

Breakfast

After this morning’s yoga session, it was time for overnight oats in a jar.

This morning’s mixture included frozen strawberries and blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/3 cup almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds.

After breakfast, I ran a few errands, which included getting a new iPod shuffle. (Sadly, my silver one played its last song last week; even though I fully charged it before my runs this week, it could only last one minute before dying.) It’s been nice running “naked,” but I’ll definitely need music for longer runs.  Now, though, I have a sleek black one.

Lunch

My midday meal came together quickly thanks to some leftovers.

While the blackened tofu warmed up in the microwave, I sautéed some red and yellow pepper slices.  Since they were from my first Union Square Greenmarket haul, I wanted to use them up.  I have big plans for the two “newer” red peppers for tonight’s dinner.

Are you on a fitness kick now?  Have you ever been on one?  How long did it last?

Back in the Groove

Hey, there—Happy Hump Day!  Did you watch the presidential debate last night?

During my run this morning, I spotted this advertisement.  It’s relevant and share-worthy, but there will be no more talk about politics.  Promise.

On a lighter note, I’ve officially sucked the funk out of my system, and I’m feeling like my normal self.  My highjinx with Gabby and Connie definitely helped, and now that I’ve been living in New York City for two weeks, I’ve settled into a groove, which thankfully includes yoga; I had a great class with Hilaria at Yoga Vida yesterday afternoon.

Home is where the mat is.

Dinner

After a restorative practice, I made blackened tofu and green beans.

Once the protein blocks were coated with extra-virgin olive oil, I rubbed on the spice mixture and cooked the strips on the stovetop.

Workout – Running

For a scenery change, I ran on the High Line this morning.

Built on an historic freight rail line that’s elevated above the city’s streets on the west side, this public park spans 1.45 miles.  Another green space in Manhattan is never a bad thing.  I ran the path twice, and my workout flew by!  It was a perfect low-key run.

Note to self:  Swing by for the food!

Breakfast

Why, hello, first batch of NYC “oatless” oatmeal.

It turned out really well; I mashed an entire banana and lined the bottom of the bowl with frozen blueberries.  Yummy!

After breakfast, I headed to the Union Square Greenmarket to pick up some produce.

And I almost got these festive cookies–so cute!

Anyway, I’ve been trying to decide where to do the bulk of my grocery shopping, and the two players include Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  However, this market took me by surprise.  Compared to the chains, its produce is fresher and cheaper, which isn’t surprising given the “food mile” concept.  Plus, absolutely everything comes from local sources, which also makes it totally seasonal.  Check out today’s haul.

One tomato, two zucchinis, two red peppers, and five apples for about $8—success!  Until the market closes in November, I plan to get my fruits and veggies from there and use Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods to supplement my finds.

Lunch

Shortly before 1 p.m., I whipped up a protein smoothie that included one frozen banana, frozen kale, frozen blueberries, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb egg white protein powder.

I’m still a little hungry, though, so it’s back to the kitchen; Chobani and/or almonds sound pretty tasty.

Where do you go grocery shopping?  Is there a farmers market near you?

Returning to Yoga

In the past 13 hours, I’ve been to two yoga classes.  Returning to my mat after a yearlong hiatus proved to be fun, revitalizing, and challenging, but humbling would be the most accurate.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

When I “retired” from collegiate basketball after my sophomore season, my body—and mind, too—felt absolutely exhausted.  Spanning from October to March, the season takes its toll; weight lifting, individual workouts, and team practices pushed my body to the brink, and I felt like my body could breakdown literally any moment.  To help my body heal, my sister suggested I try yoga.  Something clicked.  That summer, my first living in New York City, I discovered Yoga Vida, which became my go-to studio.  Since my internship was part-time, I practiced with Hilaria almost everyday, and over the course of three months, my body recuperated and my mind improved.  Vinyasa yoga seemed to contradict everything I was told as an athlete—it’s all about winning, push through the pain, etc.—and even though it felt counterintuitive, practicing felt relieving and proved to be a pleasant change.  It wasn’t about memorizing rosters, setting screens, and boxing out and rebounding.  And I liked it.  A lot.  My mind and body felt like new, and I realized the importance of having a strong mind-body connection. (This is when I really revamped my eating habits, which I talk about more here.) During this timeframe, I definitely identified as a “yogi”—during my final class of the summer, Hilaria led me through a headstand (not a shoulder stand) series, which I was able to hold for a few minutes.

[Source and source; Not actually me–headstand on left, shoulder on right]

The following summer, I returned to the city, but with a full-time internship, my yoga practice didn’t take centerstage; I went to the studio as much as possible, which ended up being once or twice a week.  This past summer, after graduation, I lived at home and joined the triathlon world, so I obviously spent zero time on my mat.  Even though I was excited to move to NYC for a ton of reasons, I was really looking forward to practicing again on a regular basis.

Anyway, fast-forward to last night, my first class in more than one year.  I was happy and excited to be back, but I was nervous and knew the class would be challenging. (At the beginning of my yoga journey, I was drawn to Hilaria’s classes because she led a challenging, up-tempo flow that got my heart rate up and because she incorporated ab work into every practice.) For now, I’ll just say this—being in triathlon shape does not equate to being in yoga shape.  Sure, there are no intervals and no speedwork, but there is jumping, lunging, and holding your body in positions that seem unnatural.  Prior to last night’s class, the last time I sweat that much was … hmmm …

Even after last night’s humbling practice, I went to the studio this morning.

[Not-so-great iPhone photo; check their website–you’ll be impressed]

Was my practice easier and more fluid?  Yes.  Was it still challenging?  Absolutely.

Right now, I don’t know if I identify with the label “yogi.”  Honestly, I’m still getting used to calling myself a runner and triathlete.  But whether I practice three times a week or three times a month, I know yoga can benefit me as a person, runner, and triathlete.  Even though I won’t be holding a headstand inversion in the near future, I’m looking forward to strengthening my muscles, developing my core, and deepening my mind-body connection.  Hey, who knows—doing yoga can probably help me from a running and triathloning standpoint, right?

When’s the last time you’ve felt humbled?  How did you react?