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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Volleyball is Dangerous

Alright, maybe it's the competitive drinking after volleyball that is dangerous. Last night I broke my nose. Again. For the third time.

I broke my nose the first time on an unnecessarily large wooden headboard. Five months later I fell off a bar. I think. Can anyone confirm this? All I really remember is waking up and finding my pillows covered in blood.

Last night I was dominating flip cup when I went to use the ladies room and promptly ran my face into the toilet paper dispenser. Yup. True story.

When I came out, my teammate Matt told me I was bleeding and it was time for me to go home. Why don't I have more people like him in my life? Do you think Matt would be my personal good decision coach?

Since I'm always thinking about this blog, even when I'm drunk and in pain, I found this gem from last night on my phone this morning.

In other news, I wasn't too bad at volleyball last night. Most of my serves went over the net and I made an effort to go after the ball. I was one of two girls playing and two girls need to be on the court at all times so I played all of the three games. This was good since it took me two games to warm up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Morning Spin

I have an early volleyball game this evening and felt it would be slightly inappropriate to spin during lunch and peace out of work at 5:30, so instead a I signed up for a 6:30 AM spin class at Equinox on 85th & 3rd. It was no Darryl, but I enjoyed the workout.

Amanda Shapin was covering the class for the normal instructor. She had a pretty solid playlist, although a little heavy on the Taylor Swift, and just the right amount of energy for 6:30 AM. I don't like too much forced energy at that hour, but I also don't want my instructor silent either. Amanda had us alternate between fast songs and slower songs for hill climbs. One of those hill climbs was 6 minutes long. My legs are dying.

I read an article on Running Times about junk miles and recovery runs and my takeaway was that it is important to train your muscles to perform when they are fatigued. The stress of spin on my legs after cardio sculpt or 30/60/90 will push me to work through pain preparing me for the 50 mile trail race.

I was eyeing Amanda's cycling shoes. I spent some time this morning trying to find them but I don't think I was able to. I am a huge fan of my Shimanos, but here's a rundown on some other cycling shoes I think are attractive.

The Shimano WM62 in black and white are similar to the light blue pair that I wear. I like that Shimanos have a little bulk to them and I find they are more flattering than the similar models SIDI makes.
 But SIDI makes some damn fine looking cycling shoes. The T3 and T3.6 are so effing hot and they're lightweight because they are intended for triathlons. The
Some people prefer cycling shoes that look like running shoes. I'm not the biggest fan but I do love the colors of the Pearl Izumi pair below. They remind me of my crosstrainers. Is SCUBA blue now a real color?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Running is Making Me Ugly

Winter running is making me ugly. I've included an extra-large photo of my face so you can see the mega-zit that is colonizing the side of my nose.

My face felt so dry after my runs this past weekend and some of skin started flaking. Then these whiteheads appeared on my chin, next to my nose, and in my eyebrow. I know you are totally enthralled learning where my breakouts have occurred. I tend to have really nice skin and I'm not used to this so I am going to inform the entire internet.

I use Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser to wash my face each day unless I shower in my shower at my apartment and then I use Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. I usually shower at the gym or wash my face outside of the shower so I primarily use the Neutrogena. I normally feel like my skin is dry so I use Pond's Dry Skin Cream all over my face and often on my body.

Photos from each link above.
Now it seems that I am going to have to break out the Proactiv.

I've read that a layer of Vaseline can protect your face from elements while running in the cold, but does anyone know what that will do to my face otherwise? I'm not sure what I would do if I got late 20s acne. Probably work from home for the rest of my life and wear a ski mask while running.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Just Relax and Recover

I think it's pretty apparent to both my casual and regular readers that I'm a little neurotic. I am anxious, prone to attacks of acute panic, and can be downright paranoid. I cannot sit still (which is why I stand up at work), put the hyper into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and my mind races like a lab rat on meth without my Ritalin. I grind my teeth, continuously struggle to "give up" smoking, and compulsively google things while watching tv. I relax when I'm pounding miles outside or jumping 3 feet in the air in kickboxing. It's the only time my mind goes blank.

So today was an interesting afternoon at the shrink followed by an awesome medical massage. I spent a 45 minute hour talking about how my calendar is being destroyed by my gym's inability to stick to a given group fitness schedule. After getting my white girl problems all out in the open, I headed down the street to Manhattan Total Health.

My friend Amanda sent me an AmazonLocal link last September for a one hour massage and chiropractor consultation at Manhattan Total Health for $30. Yes, $30. I bought the deal and told myself I could only go after I went to thirty Equinox classes. It took a while but by the end of December, I had hit thirty. Now I'm just on a roll. I finally scheduled my massage for today, which works out well because of my two weekend runs.

This was the best hour of my life, minus that Sunday morning a few weeks ago. Actually let me revise that - this was the best hour of my life where I didn't have to do anything besides roll over once and lift each arm. Julio, my very talented and licensed massage therapist, took my tired legs and got out knots I didn't even know I had in them. Like the muscles on either sides of my shins - sweet Jesus. He also massaged the tension out of my jaw. No wonder I frequently have a headache. The poor man had to keep telling me to "just relax" and I finally explained to him that relaxing for me is punishing exercise. Lying still and breathing deeply takes effort. Unfortunately I forgot to take my early afternoon Ritalin making the situation worse.

Manhattan Total Health takes insurance for certain cases and there's a possibility that you can get a massage for the cost of your copay. They're checking my insurance coverage for me and if I'm covered, you bet I'll be going back. I'm not getting any compensation for writing about them, but I thought I'd share the love (especially since I didn't go to the gym today and have nothing else to report.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Trail Running with Friends

Peeing in the woods is less fun in 20 degree weather.

This morning I met up with some folks at the entrance to the Greenbelt Trail in Woodbury near the Stop and Shop. After I posted on Tripp's wall saying that I had signed up for the 50 mile race, Michael reached out to me to join the weekly trail run. It was so nice to be invited to make new friends. I'm not being facetious; I'm rarely invited to do something I really enjoy with people I don't know who also enjoy doing the same things. I tend to get invited to drink with people I already know and don't really like.

photo courtesy of Michael
The trail was beautiful today and the weather was great - sunny and in the 20s. Some of the group planned on doing a 5 mile loop. Michael was running to Cold Spring Harbor and Stacey said she wasn't sure if she'd run the whole thing. I told myself that I'd run as far as Stacey was going to run because my knee started to act up.

Everyone was really friendly and I really enjoyed running in the group before the 5 mile folks turned back. Stacey was much faster than me (and not stopping to take photos) so after she checked to make sure I knew the way, she went on ahead. She schooled me.

The trail was gorgeous with the snow. It was also slippery. I walked when it was particularly steep or icy. I managed to stay on my feet except for when I got a little lost and slipped on the ice. Every time I run the Greenbelt, I get confused at the same point. Today I also managed to run an extra part of the trail because I stopped looking for markers. In my defense, the trail markers for runners are white and snow is also white.

I ran 9.5 miles in 1:59:27 including my pit stops, photo ops, and walking up hills and over roots. Not too bad but I need to spend a lot more time on the trails to get ready for Rock The Ridge. My left big toe started to hurt around mile 6 and my knees feel a little old ladyish now. I wore my La Sportiva Wildcats (I have the orange pair) because I think they provide more cushioning than my Adrenaline ASRs.

When I got back to my car, Stacey was just returning with Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate. She is my absolute favorite person today.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Three Boroughs Run

Today the Professor and I ran a casual 10 miles over the Triboro, through Astoria, over the Pulanski, through Williamsburg, and over the Williamsburg Bridge to the Lower Eastside.

I've tumbled off the Paleo wagon so hard, I've got bruises - or maybe those are because I like to drink? I woke up in my own bed this morning, wearing sweats, and my phone was in a bag of rice. I have little recollection of my Irish Exit last evening, but when I wake up in a winning situation, I don't complain. I had more than enough time to chug seltzer water and eat a nutritious breakfast slash watch The Young and the Restless.

The Professor and I met outside of 7-Eleven at noon and took off towards the East River Esplanade.

The bridges in the distance.
We ran over the bridge to Ward Island. I really dislike that bridge because it makes me feel nauseous. I'm convinced that I am going to slip and fall right off of it.

Ward Island
We ran to the entrance of the pedestrian path on the Triboro Bridge. This lovely cage doesn't last for long. The concrete walls that you can see below are that height all along the bridge WITHOUT THE CAGE. Between the cars and the snow and the lack of protection from falling to our deaths, it was a little nerve-wracking. I handled it better than the Professor, but I don't blame him for being less than pleased by the situation. I am afraid of the Brooklyn Bridge so I'm not sure why the Triboro didn't get to me.

I appreciate that the Professor wears shorts over his tights.
We ran through Astoria, making a pit stop at the car wash so that I could use the restroom. My healthy breakfast of chicken and vegetables had come back to haunt me. Or maybe it was the pickleback shots from the evening before...

It's interesting to watch the people and neighborhoods change throughout this run. At about mile 5 (still in Astoria), we saw our first hipster. Brooklyn was full of them. Hipsters make me itch.

The Williamsburg Bridge was probably the coolest of the four bridges we ran on today.

The Professor on the Williamsburg Bridge
a mural
Selfie on the Williamsburg Bridge
The ascent of the bridge is pretty challenging with the wind, but the descent is awesome. I just trucked it the last mile downhill.

Right after I took this picture.

My Garmin satellites didn't catch until about .4 of a mile into the run, so I think I ran closer to 10.5 miles.

We had brunch at a place we passed called Donnybrook on the Lower Eastside. Brunch is $14 for a meal and THREE alcoholic beverages. Amazing.


So my Boobypack has finally arrived! I ended up getting the yellow one because I was overwhelmed by the choices and Audrey told me to choose yellow.

Did I tell y'all that I think I saw the brunette from the Boobypack photos in the elevator at the Equinox at Columbus Circle? I was really tempted to say something but I didn't.

This morning I excitedly tried on my Boobypack. I found it very difficult to zipper my phone into the pouch hungover. This is disappointing because if I can't zipper it hungover, how am I going to be able to get my phone and credit cards out when I'm drunk? I also wish the pouches were seen flat into the top because they bunch awkwardly.

Despite my constructive criticism, this thing is amazing and I love it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 16 Whole 30 - Weight Loss Wednesday 1.23.13

Last night, after 30/60/90, I was at the 50th Street subway station and I saw a Chinese man holding a bag of Chinese takeout. And I seriously considered stealing it from him. Come up from behind, grab the bag, and take off running steal it from him. My name is Alessandra and I know I have a problem.

Their smiley faces taunt me.
I fell off the Whole 30 wagon this weekend. There was alcohol, cheese, French baguette, and taco shells. I'm not proud of myself but I am once more clean. No orders were placed to Hunan Delight, but I did eat sushi. I can't believe I now consider sushi a cheat meal. This is progress.
My progress was solid last week and I can definitely tell that I gained some weight this weekend.
This is proof that I can't play with bread, rice, or cheese at all.
I went to 30/60/90 in a wonderfully color-coordinated outfit. Take a look at that sweaty pile of awesome.

Since I pretty much stand all day, my legs are often swollen. Socks, jeans, and boots have been leaving me with some awkward looking marks that I'm a little embarrassed by when I show up to class.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Raising Money for Rock The Ridge

Yesterday I announced my races for 2013 and I signed up for the Caumsett 50K and Rock The Ridge 50 Mile Challenge. They are bought and paid for.

Rock The Ridge is a fifty mile endurance challenge in the Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, New York. I have 24 hours to do it, but my goal is 15 hours or less. Yes, I just stated a goal for a 50 mile race.

In addition to the $150 registration fee I paid, I need to raise $250 for the Mohonk Preserve. Last night three very generous people donated a combined $90. I am beyond thrilled! I greatly appreciate their generosity and I'm really touched by their support.

Training has officially started and it's time to ramp up my miles. This race feels real now that people are donating their hard earned money for me to do it.

Please considering donating.

Monday, January 21, 2013

ISOOM Wins eCollege Finder's Top Health & Fitness Blogs Award

Someone nominated the blog for an eCollegeFinder's Top Health & Fitness Blogs Award and it won. Booyah! I'm not sure how selective this thing is but winning is awesome just the same. As the team at eCollegeFinder tells me, "Your blog stood out amongst stiff competition and is now featured on our site as a recommended health & fitness resource for our readers."

So here's a big thank you to whoever nominated me. Speak up and I'll shower you with praise and ask you a bunch of questions about yourself and ask if I can write a semi-awkward post about you.
I also got this nifty badge to post on my sidebar. Woot woot.

When I found out I was nominated, I was asked to answer some questions to accept the nomination. I think my incredibly well-crafted response cinched the deal.

What’s the best way for busy college students to maintain a healthy lifestyle? 
As a former college party girl and straight-A student, I know the demands busy college students face while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are only so many hours in a day, and given the choice between epic theme party and treadmill after a long day of classes and work, epic theme party wins EVERY TIME. Treat your health like a college course. Plan to exercise the same way you plan to study, make sure to buy healthy snacks for the library, and sign up for a road race or intramural sport with your friends. Not only will you feel better, you'll look better in the shress (shirt-dress) you plan on wearing when you dress up as the pink zebra for next week's Jungle Party.

I made both of these dresses with a pair of scissors and my incredible knotting abilities.

Yoga on Our Day Off

The Obamanation is on all the tv stations and The Young and the Restless isn't on because of this hoopla. To keep my blood pressure from skyrocketing, I went to yoga. And it's no secret. I can't stand this president and look forward to when history books say that he was a worse president than Herbert Hoover.
The look of someone who can't take the next 4 years.

I digress.

I went to Adam Dobbs' vinyasa yoga class at the Roslyn Equinox. Solid class and I liked his soothing voice. I was having a lot if trouble calming my brain today though. And this old lady's breathing sounded like a cross between Lamaze and an asthma attack. I found her very distracting.

I want to send out a super big thank you to Lindsay for joining Equinox and listing me as her referral. I received a $150 gift card that I put towards my membership this month. You're the best girl!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


So the other day I went to log into my Runners World training log and it seems that I no longer have an account. Um weird?

No bother because I wasn't too happy with the RW after I got my Garmin. I ended up having to use one to log my equipment use and Garmin Connect/Daily Mile to log my overall miles and routes. Extra steps means I probably won't use it. Although my Garmin is currently in the shop (more about that later), I have been using the Garmin Fit app. New year, new miles, new logging system.

I decided I wanted a website that would allow me to upload my Garmin training from both my Forerunner and the Fit app, to track the mileage on all of my running shoes and other gear, and that had a widget for my blog. One exceptionally boring conference call later and I had Googled my way to RunningAHEAD.

This is a free site that feeds my inner data junkie. As you can see in the screenshot below, you're given weekly run stats, monthly run stats, rolling run totals, and overall run totals. Right now I've only logged default runs, but my graph will show long, tempo, race, hill, fartlek, and easy runs once I start logging them as such.

I'm a fan of the Run Entry form because it has a place for equipment and includes my interval splits from my Garmin upload. At about 350 miles, I start using my shoes for short runs and the fake team sports I play, like kickball and volleyball. With closets full of running shoes, logging miles for each pair is extremely helpful. Unfortunately I cannot log into RW to figure out how many miles are already on the pairs I have.

I had been using Daily Mile's blog widget but since I never bothered to upload my run to Daily Mile, it looked like I never ran at all. I have since switched to one of RunningAHEAD's widgets. You can choose which format you like best, but this is my favorite because it has your last run's info and mileage for the week, month, and year.
If you're looking for an easy way to collect all of your run data in one place, check out RunningAHEAD. There's also a forum section where runners can join groups and post about different topics. I've been looking around on there and it seems like a pretty nifty community if you're into posting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 8 Whole 30 - 30/60/90

For the first time in months, I had the desire to go to a full body workout group fitness class at Equinox. It was actually a little bizarre. I was analyzing MYEQ for a yoga class that didn't start at 5:30 (wtf 50th & Broadway? Stop screwing with a working schedule) when I saw the 30/60/90 class I always ignore.

When I received a package with this t-shirt in it, I knew I had to go so I could wear it with black shorts and my Fiji blue sneakers. Yes, I let a t-shirt dictate my workout. It really wasn't yoga appropriate.

The 30/60/90 website says the following about the class:

30/60/90 is High Intensity Interval Training at its finest. It was developed by fitness expert Kristi Molinaro, and was named the “Best Fat-Burning Class″ by New York Magazine setting the standard for modern group fitness. “Pilates, kickboxing, and pole dancing can tone, but the interval training Kristi Molinaro’s signature class will do it faster.”

30/60/90 has no confusing choreography and no girly moves. It is a scientifically combined series of cardio drills in a high-intensity interval training format designed to get you (and keep you) in the best shape of your life. Unlike basic cardio workouts, 30/60/90 requires you to move in spurts in conjunction with a cardio strength workout that will rev up your metabolism even after you’re done working out.

Attracting women and men, newcomers and elite athletes, 30/60/90 has taken fitness to a whole new level. Kristi has developed a program based on timed intervals of steep peaks and valleys to dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and raise your body’s potential to burn fat.

I say the class is hard but it is doable. You do a move, then you have a chance to scale back for a moment before the surge. The surge can get ridiculous, i.e. I found myself flopping in a puddle of my own sweat thinking I was doing burpees off my bench. Many of the exercises are a combination of moves and by the time the surge comes around, us newbies are going to have to drop something. For example, you might need to jump on top of your bench, then jump off, do a burpee with one arm on the bench and the other on the floor, then do a push-up, and then jump back up to do it all again. The push-up is probably the first thing to go, but by the amount of flailing going on, I'm not sure I actually did the other exercises either. I was soaking in sweat, my heart rate was up, and I feel like I've been beaten, so I was doing something right.

I believe in the front row hierarchy. Those positions are earned and I admit that it bothers me when someone plops themselves up front and doesn't bring the energy (and skills) needed to motivate those standing behind them. That being said, I got to class early and put myself in my favorite spot - front row, right next to the instructor. I wanted to challenge myself to bring it, and since I have done 30/60/90 once before, I wasn't a complete beginner. I think I held my own.

The guy standing next to me was obviously a regular and I think I kind of kept up with him. He used 8 lbs weights throughout the class and I switched between 8s and 5s. He was able to hold his weights over his head during the cardio surges and I held mine to my shoulders. He is able to do push-ups. My weak little arms puttered out but I did hold planks when I could push up no more. He had some step aerobics background because we were in sync during over the bench lunges with the lovely jazz hands to boot. Basically I'm coming for him and he better be scared.

But in all seriousness, I like finding the best person in the class and following their pace. I also defer to that person if we're standing next to one another because I am easily distracted when someone is moving in the opposite direction as them. When I am the best person in the room, I really appreciate when others following my lead, defer to me. I'm clumsy and I feel no remorse if I end up kicking you in the head.

The instructor Kevin VerEecke had a solid playlist of top radio stuff and I liked his instruction style. Not overly chatty with an attention to form. He teaches the 30 minute AB Blast class right after 30/60/90 as well. I enjoyed that class, especially because the first 10 minutes were standing up. However, my quads felt thrashed so the woodchoppers felt awful.

My favorite move of the entire evening was a burpee from the bench to a twist plank to a twist push-up. I'm not at twist push-up level yet, but I will be.

30/60/90 classes are offered at Equinoxes around Manhattan. This class is at 6:30 PM on Wednesdays at 50th & Broadway.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 7 Whole 30 - Use a Plate

Last week I decided that paper plates were no longer going to cut it and found some cute Melamine plates at Target. I went to Target over the weekend and found similar plates on sale for $1.39!

Food looks better and more appetizing on a plate. After spending time to buy and prepare my paleo meals, I want my meals to look like something I actually want to put in my mouth.

breakfast of granny smith apples and prosciutto di san daniel

dinner of salmon and broccoli rabe
Also a Target plate, but it's not Melamine.
This is one of the plates I have at my apartment.

lunch of coconut chicken breast and iceberg lettuce

I'm enjoying my stylish plates and my colleagues are definitely envious.

Extreme Hoarders: I NEED that Magazine Edition

If you're anything like me, you read a magazine and say, "Oh, that's a good idea. I want to try/buy/see that. Let me hold onto this magazine." Four years of Oxygen subscriptions later, I could barely find shelf space for them and that wasn't even counting the copies I kept at my parents' house. Or my copies of Runners World. As you can tell, I had a problem.

Instead of keeping the whole magazine like some kind of gym reference library, I went through each magazine and cut out only the pages I wanted to keep.

The smaller green binder is for recipes. The larger blue binder is for exercises.

I bought this nifty gadget to easily cut articles at Staples. I think it's for cutting coupons. The little blade is retractable and it's easy to handle. And as with scissors, I still can't cut in a straight line.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 6 Whole 30 - Bareburger

Tonight my parents and I ate at Bareburger  on 73rd and 1st. I had read that Bareburger's meat was grass-fed and that you could get your burger wrapped in a lettuce lead instead of a bun. I convinced the parents to support my paleo diet and go here over the standard pizza. (My parents love pizza. I do not. Who is the child here?)

I ordered two beef patties, medium rare, wrapped in lettuce. Iceberg is the only choice, although I think Boston or Bibb would've held up better. I got fried onions and mushrooms on one and raw red onions and country bacon on the other. They were pretty damn good. I was pretty pleased until one of my many pseudo-ex-boyfriends told me that Bareburger uses frozen meat. Meh.

I didn't have any cheese, sauces, or French fries. I did eat a few cornmeal crusted spicy pickle spears because they looked interesting and sounded tasty. So cornmeal is not paleo - I'll live.

This morning I went to Inside/Out with Jonathan followed by spinning with Carolyn. Good workouts but I felt a little lightheaded. If I'm not in perpetual carbo-loading mode, do I now need to eat breakfast before morning workouts?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 5 Whole 30 - I Ate Butter

So I just failed Whole30. After going grocery shopping to make my own paleo dinner, I got home to find that my dad was making lobster soup. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter. I decided that that was a small price to pay to get fresh lobster and calamari in a delicious broth.

Does that mean I can quit yet?

I avoided the bread, the corn, and the mozzarella cheese so I think I'm doing okay. I will refrain from ordering the Whole30 t-shirt now though.

I was looking for ghee for the recipe I had intended to cook myself and couldn't find it at Fairway, Christina's Epicure, or Stop and Shop. Had the soup been made with ghee, it would've been 100% Whole30 friendly. I'll ask my dad for the recipe if anyone's interested. Just comment below.

My amazing mother offered to come to my apartment and help me clean and organize it. We spent four hours in there and the place is transformed. All of you who have been it won't even recognize it. I was too ashamed to take before photos, but here's the finished product.

Closet closest to bed
This closet is now designated as the home for jackets, blazers, pants, boots, heels, and flats.

Tops, skirts, dresses, hamper, cleaning gadgets
The other closet is for the rest of my clothing, the hamper, and things I with which I clean my apartment such as the Swiffer, step stool, and vacuum.

It also houses my extensive sneaker collection.

The other half are at my parents'.

My bathroom closet has NEVER looked this good.

Each basket is organized by item type including dental care, hair care, and hair tools.

I need to buy one more bin for my workout clothes and then I think I will be set.

My mom is even more awesome because she took me to Target to buy more pans. I am so excited to try out my new cast-iron grill pan.
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