On Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone + 16 Weeks to Go…

Hey guys! I’m currently blogging from the comforts (and numbness) of an ice bath.

(Please ignore the terrible lighting)

It’s been a long week of workouts but I’m feeling really good about this whole marathon training + CrossFit thing. So, as promised… here’s a recap of my workouts for the week. Heavy on the CrossFit, but 1) it’s just SO addicting, and 2) I still got in 25 miles this week!

Monday: CrossFit
Tuesday: CrossFit
Wednesday: CrossFit in AM (Tabata), 3 x 1 mile repeats in PM  = total of 6 miles including warm up and cool down
Thursday: CrossFit (Benchmark WOD = Fran then Annie)
Friday: 4 mile easy run
Saturday: CrossFit (legs, legs and more legs!)
Sunday: 15 mile long run

Here’s how my speedwork went:
1 mile warm up
Mile 1: 6:57
800m recovery
Mile 2: 7:11
800m recovery
Mile 3: 7:06
1 mile cool down
Total = 6 miles

Considering I did a puke-worthy Tabata in the morning, these mile repeats weren’t as bad as I was expecting! The legs felt a little bit heavy, but nothing I couldn’t run through. My hamstrings were still tight/sore from Romanian dead lifts we did on Monday, and I think the running helped flush them out because they felt a lot better after the workout. However, something I do really need to work on is PACING. Sure, it looks awesome that I ran a sub-7:00 mile for my first repeat. I don’t know the exact splits for each quarter mile, but they were VERY uneven. I think the first 400 was in something like 1:35, and that eventually slowed to ~1:55, and the last 400 was a mix of fast running and shuffling because I was so spent. So the last mile I told myself I NEEDED to start off slow, and then gradually pick it up the last 800m. Here’s how those splits went:
1:48, 1:53, 1:47, 1:38
This mile was TOUGH, but I was happy to see the sub-1:40 last 400m.

And then my long run for the week… nothing really crazy. 15 miles, out and back on Lief Erikson. Was nervous going into this run since the CrossFit workout the day before was ALL legs (800m run, 30 back squats (65#), 800m run, 25 front squats (65#), 800m run, 20 OH squats (55#), 800m run, 100 JCLs). But again, I felt surprisingly good. Going out always feels harder than coming back, but I came across the elevation profile for Lief Erikson this morning and now I know why:

Holy elevation change! I’m hoping it’ll at least prep me for the bridges of NYC. Anyways, long run recap = 15 miles, total time of 2:06:30, 8:26 pace. Was able to squeeze out a 6:58 last mile, but then again it was pretty much completely downhill.

And something else I really wanted to write about this week is stepping out of your comfort zone.

I’ve been doing CrossFit now for about a month and it’s pretty obvious as to what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. I can run, do sit ups / pull ups and gymnastics-y moves like it’s my job. When it comes to Olympic lifting on the other hand, I pretty much suck at it. I’ve gotten “comfortable” with using a 45# bar for everything and as much as I wanted to move up to the big bad 65# bar, I was completely content with that not happening for another few months or so.

So this week, when one of the trainers mentioned to me she thought I could Rx one of the classic/hardest benchmark workouts in CrossFit– “Fran”, I thought she was crazy. I had never used a 65# bar for thrusters before, let alone ANYTHING in CrossFit. Who did she think I was!? But I told her I would be there and at least give it a shot. So Thursday evening after work, I made my way to the box and had serious second thoughts the whole drive there.

So what IS “Fran”!? It’s one of the “classic” benchmark workouts in CrossFit and also known to be one of the most taxing. It consists of two exercises:

Thrusters (95#/65#)

That’s “it”. Two exercises. 21 reps, then 15, then 9. The prescribed weight (or Rx) is 95# for men, 65# for women. And how did I do?

In sum = I DID IT, which is more than I could have ever asked for. It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and my time is nothing to write about (13:57), but I couldn’t be happier. Going in, I doubted I could even do 1 thruster with 65# (let alone a total of 45), but this just goes to show you… you’re capable of more than you think you are. Mind over matter and the possibilities are endless of what you’re capable of.

Since that day, I’ve been on some sort of CrossFit adrenaline high, and am going to try and up my weight for mostly all exercises going forward (case in point = for Saturdays leg WOD, I used 65# for the back/front squats and 55# for the OH squats… talk to me last week and I would have used 45# for all of them). Yeah, my times might be slower and I might be the last one done with the workouts now, but it’s the fact that I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone that makes me really excited. And I can only get faster from here… right? Right.

And can I also mention that I’ve now crossed another one of my fitness goals off my list? #6… do a CrossFit WOD completely Rx that includes Olympic lifting. DONE.

So what’s the plan for this week?
Monday = CrossFit
Tuesday = CrossFit OR mile repeats on the track
Wednesday = CrossFit OR mile repeats on the track (whichever one I don’t do on Tuesday)
Thursday = CrossFit
Friday = 4-5 mile easy run
Saturday = CrossFit
Sunday = 15 mile long run

Hope you guys all have a great week! Tell me… when was the last time YOU stepped outside of your comfort zone!?

17 Weeks to Go…

Yep, that’s right… 17 weeks from now, I will have hopefully already crossed the finish line of the ING NYC Marathon. And that scares the crap out of me. After what happened during marathon training round 1 last year (injured 2 months before and unable to run + toughing it through the race + 7 months off afterwards), I think I have good reason to be nervous going into this round. But at the same time, I think the injury has made me a smarter runner. I’ve learned the magic of strength training and am now trying to keep my mileage relatively low while also focusing on staying strong (because who doesn’t love a runner with a six pack!?).

So going forward, I’m going to try and update the blog at least on a weekly basis with a recap of my workouts for the week. So hopefully all of my NYC running friends (you know who you are!) can keep track of my NYC Marathon training / keep me accountable out here on the West Coast! Don’t think I don’t stalk your twitter feeds and see you guys killing your runs in 100+ degree weather! Can’t say I miss that, but I definitely do miss you guys!

So without further ado, here’s a recap of my workouts for the week (July 2nd – July 8th)

Monday (July 2nd): CrossFit (included ~2 miles running) in the AM + Nike Training Club bootcamp in the PM
Tuesday (July 3rd): CrossFit + 5.5 miles running (2 in AM, 3.5 in PM)
Wednesday (July 4th… HAPPY FOURTH!): CrossFit
Thursday (July 5th): CrossFit + Beach volleyball game
Friday (July 6th): 5.5 mile run
Saturday (July 7th): CrossFit
Sunday (July 8th): Long Run (10 miles)
Total: 5 days CrossFit, 23 miles of running

Recap of my long run today…
Mile 1: 8:33 (uphill)
Mile 2: 8:15
Mile 3: 7:59 (downhill)
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5: 8:35 (uphill)
<< turnaround >>
Mile 6: 7:50 (downhill)
Mile 7: 8:16
Mile 8: 8:04 (uphill)
Mile 9: 7:31
Mile 10: 6:46 (downhill)
Total: 1:20:22 for 10 miles, 8:02 pace
* Side note– funny thing happened during my long run today. I went out to Lief Erickson to run the trails this morning. It was 75 and sunny when I left, so decided to ditch my t-shirt  about a mile in and leave it on the side of the trail. On my way back, picked up my shirt, went to put it back on and noticed it was soaking wet (I didn’t think I had sweat that much!). Then noticed that it smelled a little funny and realized that a DOG had PEED on my shirt while I was gone! Had to run back with the shirt in hand and now my car smells AWFUL! Hoping a little bleach will do the trick of de-stinking it!!

Overall, this was a tough week. My parents were here last weekend which was amazing, but at the same time involved a lot of eating out. A lot of ice cream (Salt and Straw!) + unhealthy eats (I did discover the magic of the PBJs food cart!). Really needed to detox this week, but then the Fourth of July happened and I couldn’t really turn down a burger + beer. This coming week = need veggies. Lots of them.

On the workout side, I may have pushed it with the 5 days of CrossFit. The four days in a row (M-Th) really killed me and I could definitely feel it on today’s long run. There was a point during today’s run where I thought my quads were going to give out on me… I only wish I was joking. There were a couple of unplanned stops but overall I was pretty happy seeing the average pace (although clearly I need to work on my pacing skills).

So the plan for this week…
Monday: CrossFit
Tuesday: CrossFit (+2-3 mile easy run?)
Wednesday: Speedwork (4 x mile, 7:10 goal for 6 miles total)
Thursday: CrossFit
Friday: 5-6 mile easy run
Saturday: CrossFit
Sunday: 14 mile long run

Stay tuned for another post to come (hopefully soon!). I went on my first river floating trip yesterday and it was a blast!

Have you ever had any long run mishaps? How’s the weather where you are? It’s HOT here but nothing compared to the 100+ degree temps on the East Coast!


Top 10 Fitness Goals for 2012!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but blogging has just taken a backseat to life for the moment. In sum = I’m loving Portland and could probably go on and on about the millions of reasons Portland is better than NYC. So what have I been up to since I last posted?

1. Went to Day 1 of the T&F Olympic Trials in Eugene! Hammer throw was held on our campus on the 21st which was really awesome to watch, but then I drove down to Eugene on the 22nd to catch a few of the prelims as well as the 10k finals. It was absolutely amazing to see in person, despite the cold temps and POURING rain. Can’t win them all… I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Men’s 10K awards ceremony!

The top 3 women getting their medals from Joan Benoit and Deena Kastor!! Natosha Rogers, Amy Hastings and Shalane Flanagan!

Again, it was a once in a lifetime experience and has probably been one of my favorite days on the West Coast so far!

2. Doing a LOT of CrossFit! I talked about my first experience at CrossFit here, but since then I’ve completely fallen in love with it. So much so that I’m now a full fledged member of CrossFit SW Beaverton and find myself there 4-5 times a week (despite the fact that I also have a sweet gym membership at work). I think it’s safe to say I’ve drank the CrossFit kool-aid. What I love most about my box in particular is the camaraderie and teamwork that happens there every single day. No matter how fit / fast / strong you are, you’ll be getting the support of everyone there. The trainers are amazing and I’m so happy to have found CSWB. I also truly believe all this strength training is the reason my knee is holding up so well.

The only downside to CrossFit? The callused/ripped hands I thought I had seen the last of when I stopped doing gymnastics 7 years ago? They’re back.

Above = my torn and beaten hands after benchmark WOD the “Chelsea” last week. 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats on the minute every minute for 30 minutes. I got through 28 rounds and this is what I got in return. Oh and muscles that were so sore I could barely function for a week after.

3. RUNNING! So I’ve been loving CrossFit so much that I almost forgot that I’m running the NYC Marathon in November. But my new tentative training plan is going to include 4-5 days of Crossfit/week along with 3 runs/week — one long run, one speedwork session and one easy run. I don’t think my knee can handle the 50-60+ miles/week I was used to, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Speaking of running, my first DOUBLE digit run since the injury 9+ months ago was a couple of weeks ago… and this was the result:

13.1 miles in 1:45:33 (8:07/mile). And a 7:06 last mile. How crazy is that!? Again, #PROOF that strength training is working. Less running = more, people. Just listen to me. PS… just for reference, my half marathon PR is 1:40:52. That 1:45:33 = my second fastest half marathon time EVER. And on a TRAINING RUN. Woohoo!

Besides that, I’ve just been hanging out, meeting tons of new people, and adjusting to finally having some sort of work/life balance (I’m not used to getting home when it’s still light out or being able to make plans!!)

Something else I wanted to put out on the blog are my top 10 fitness goals for the rest of 2012. The year is half way over (HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!) but I wanted to post this to keep me accountable– so come December 31, 2012… hopefully I can check off most of my list!

Without further ado… MY 2012 FITNESS GOALS.

1. STAY HEALTHY. A bit vague, but this is primarily in reference to my knee. After having 8+ months of nonstop problems, I think it’s finally gotten under control (fingers crossed!). I’m training for the NYC Marathon and would love nothing more than to toe the starting line HEALTHY!


3. ENTER A NON-RUNNING RACE. A bike race, triathlon, CrossFit competition, the possibilities are endless. Not sure if this counts, but I am doing Tough Mudder in September with my CrossFit box… does 11+ miles of running through obstacles count? Either way, it’ll be a fun way to celebrate my 24th birthday!

4. START CYCLING / BUY A BIKE. Kind of related to #3 above, but I’ve always wanted a bike, and living in Portland seems the perfect excuse to get one. Any recommendations for a good road bike I can also use for a potential triathlon!?

5. DO A MUSCLE UP. Being able to do a muscle up = badass. That’s all.

6. DO A CROSSFIT WOD COMPLETELY RX. One of the good things about CrossFit is that all of the workouts can be modified based on your current fitness level. For example, today’s WOD (workout of the day) was the following:

5 push jerks (Rx: 95#, Actual: 65#)
7 ring push ups
9 bar jumps (each side)
* AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes*

I ended up doing the push jerks with 65# (which I was actually really happy with! 2 weeks ago you would have seen me with 45#), but to do the workout Rx would have involved 95#. If you wanted to scale the workout even more, you could have used 30 or 40# for the push jerks and done the pushups on your knees. See? CrossFit really IS for everyone!

I’ve done a few of the bodyweight WODs Rx (i.e., unassisted pull-ups, etc) but one thing I really suck at = Olympic lifting. So goal by December 2012 = do a WOD Rx… one that includes Olympic lifting!

7. QUALIFY FOR BOSTON. Not really a 2012 goal (well, maybe?), but qualifying for the Boston Marathon is on my to-do list. 3:35 people, let’s get it.

8. RUN A SUB 1:40 HALF MARATHON. Current PR = 1:40:52. Seeing a 1:3X:XX would be amazing, but again… not necessarily a 2012 goal.

9. RUN A SUB 6:15 MILE. My mile PR from college = 5:53… but that was also run on a track + in spikes + during track season. So far during a CrossFit WOD I’ve run 6:35, so would love to shave off 20 seconds and get sub-6:15. Who knows, maybe sub-6 is possible?

10. 10 KIPPING PULLUPS IN A ROW. Might have to be adjusted (after doing the “Chelsea” last week), but still want to officially cross this one off soon. Maybe the new goal = 20? 30?

So there you have it! I promise I’ll be posting more often, so let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to write about. I hope you all have an amazing FOURTH OF JULY! I’ve already got my patriotic outfit picked out for tomorrow :)

What are your fitness goals? Any tips/advice for me as I try to accomplish mine?

Strength Training is the New Cool Thing to Do

Hey guys! Just thought I’d check in and give you a quick update. Life here has been great… the weather has actually cooperated (a little chilly, but it’s perfect for running) and work has still been pretty amazing. It’s started to pick up a little bit, but is still pretty slow as I get into the swing of things. The main reason I wanted to write this post though is for a different reason– I wanted to tell you guys about a phenomenon I recently discovered on the running front = logging more miles does NOT necessarily mean faster times. 

For those of you who know me, I love running. Growing up I hated it… I remember in my high school T&F days I thought a 2 mile run was the hardest thing ever. I was so happy when I broke 10 minutes in the mile my freshman year in high school, and I now have a 5:50 PR in the distance. It’s crazy how things like these can change, but now I love it and can’t imagine my life without it. And if you also know me, you know that I’ve been injured… since September 24, 2011 (yes, I remember the exact date because it was the weekend before my birthday!). I struggled with ITBS for 6 months, ran a marathon through the pain and then developed runner’s knee for the past couple of months. I’ve FINALLY started up running again and finally feel “healthy”. I still get twinges after a few miles, but after a day or two of rest + ice, I feel as good as new. I’ve worked my way up to an 8 mile long run, and yesterday I did my FIRST track workout in 10+ months.

If you remember this post, you know that I’m signed up to run the NYC Marathon in November. I’m trying to gradually build up my long runs again so I can start “officially training” in July. But one of the biggest things that has been on my mind is what my training plan will look like. My first marathon I tried to run 5-6x a week and peak at 55 miles per week, but clearly I can’t handle “high” mileage like this (“high” is all relative, I know some people who log 100+ miles per week… those crazies). I was thinking of resorting to 3-4 runs/week (1 long run, 1 speedwork session, 1-2 easy runs) and 2-3 days of CrossFit.

But with my Type A and competitive personality, I don’t want to just finish the NYC Marathon, I also have a time goal in mind. I don’t want to talk about exact times now in case I get injured again (fingers crossed I don’t!!) and it becomes unrealistic, but my training plan had mile repeats on the schedule today (XC/T&F friends… cover your eyes, these times will sound like a walk in park to you guys!)–

* 1 mile warm up
* 3 x mile @ 7:10 pace (800 recovery in between)
* 1 mile cool down
= 6 miles total

I wasn’t sure how I would fare on the mile repeats, especially since I haven’t done ANY speedwork since last summer, but it went surprisingly well. Above is what I was supposed to do… below is what actually happened:

* 1 mile warm up (7:37) <– yeah, clearly I’m bad at “warming up”
* Mile 1 = 6:53 (oops, too fast)
<< 800 recovery >>
* Mile 2 = 6:57 (a little better?)
<< 800 recovery >>
* Mile 3 = 6:44 (I couldn’t help myself)
* 1 mile cool down (8:34) <– better, but clearly I have problems

So what’s the moral of the story? You DON’T need to log endless miles to be a speedy runner! I was nervous going in, but I overall just felt like a STRONGER runner. Not stronger from running more, but stronger from all of the cross/strength training I’ve been doing. I remember when I was finally given the green light to start running again, I freaked out… I thought I would be extremely out of shape and back to huffing and puffing after just one mile. But, the opposite has been true and I am now a COMPLETE advocate for incorporating strength training into EVERYONE’S running routine (and by strength training, I don’t mean doing 15 crunches after a run).

So, in conclusion… all of the Flywheel, Flybarre, As1Effect, and Bootycamp has  helped my running MORE than actually running has. I actually felt strong during the mile repeats today and think I could have gone faster if I had really pushed it. So yes… strength training = the new cool thing to do. JUST DO IT.

First Week Done!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I still feel like one of the luckiest people alive. Last time I posted I had just finished up my time in NYC and was telling you guys about my amazing experiences at Flywheel, BOOTYCamp!, and As1Effect, all while prepping for the big move. Well, since then, I’ve made the move to Portland, have settled into my new apartment, and just finished my first week at my new job at NIKE! I unfortunately don’t have many pictures (yet), but I just wanted to drop in and let you guys know that everything has been going better than expected. The nerves are definitely still there, but my coworkers are some of the nicest people I’ve met and I’ve already made a few new friends here in PDX. Work has started off pretty slow… I’m “staffed” on a couple of projects already, but am still in the process of learning the ropes before I actually start doing any work. Hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll start to get the hang of things, but for now, it’s all about learning how things work around the office.

Sorry for all the positivity on this blog, but my life honestly has done a complete 180. I’ve gone from being at a point where I was just trying to get through each day without tears to a point where I’m actually looking forward to going into work in the morning. My new job has been everything I’ve hoped for, and I’ve been able to find this balance between work, fitness, and my social life. There are so many things I’m thankful for, and I think my old job has helped me put everything into perspective. So what have I been up to lately?

1. Moved to Portland! Duhh. I’m in temporary housing for the month of June, so I’m in a really amazing one bedroom in probably one of the coolest parts of Portland. I also signed my lease for my own apartment (ah!), which I’ll move into in July, for a one bedroom in a gorgeous area of town (it even has a small balcony!). Oh, and my rent is cheaper than I was paying in NYC. Go figure.

2. Started working! I started my job at NIKE on Monday and had one day of training before actually starting at my desk. This past week has been a lot of meeting the team and just getting up to speed on various projects, so hopefully in the next few weeks the work will start. So far though, I’ve already noticed that things are completely different than at my old job (all in a good way!). The hours are typically around 8-8:30am until 6-6:30pm, with HALF DAY FRIDAYS in the summer! Half day Fridays are amazing… basically if you finish your work by noon on Friday, you can start your weekend early. HOLLER.

3. Been running! Still having some knee issues, but I’ve figured out I can run every other / every 2 days and still be okay. I just finished up an 8 mile run today with minimal pain, but still going to play it safe and take the next couple of days off. Still hoping to be able to train for/run the NYC Marathon in November! NIKE also has a pretty sweet 2-mile running trail around campus which I’ve already fallen in love with. And Lief Erickson = a 13 mile trail that is gorgeous, relatively flat, and perfect for my long marathon-training runs. You know who else runs Lief Erickson?

Don’t be jealous. Or be jealous, and then come visit me :)

4. Started to figure out this whole work/life balance thing. It was non-existent before. Now it seems as though the philosophy is… “you get your work done, the rest of the time is yours”. Not busy at lunch? Go for a run or check out a new exercise class! Want to make it to dinner at 6pm? Just come in early and get your work done. I’m still trying to teach myself that I don’t need to be chained to my desk 24/7 and it’s pretty amazing to finally have my own life outside of the office.

5. Tried CrossFit! After leaving my beloved workout classes in the city, I decided to take the plunge and try something new– CrossFit! I’ve always wanted to try it out but was always too nervous. Well, I went to my first class at CrossFit SW Beaverton and it was amazing! It reminded me a LOT of As1Effect. I think the main difference is that CrossFit focuses more on higher weights while As1Effect incorporates more of a cardio aspect. One thing I like about CrossFit is the fact that each WOD (workout of the day) lets you tabulate a “score” at the end– so you can not only compete against others but also yourself (FYI, I’m a super competitive person, so I loved this!). I’m definitely looking forward to incorporating it into my cross-training routine going forward! In case you’re wondering– here is what my WOD consisted of:

Sit Ups 1 minute
30 second rest

Box Jumps (24″ box) 30 seconds on
30 sec. rest
Pull Ups 30 sec. on
30 sec. rest
Jump Change Lunges 30 sec. on
30 sec. rest
Dips 30 sec. on
30 sec. rest
Sit Ups 1 minute

Your total score at the end = how many reps you do in total (CrossFit clearly also improves your math skills!). I was able to hit 539 and am pretty sure I couldn’t feel my legs OR arms the next few days. Success!

6. Celebrated Portland Beer Week! Yep, it’s Portland Beer Week over here. Something I didn’t know = Portland is known for its abundance of breweries and locally made beer. Well, if you know me = I hate beer. But when someone invited me to the “Portland Fruit Beer Festival”, I was intrigued… beer + fruit!? Figured I would check it out. It was a day full of sampling and to my surprise, I actually found quite a few I liked! Fun day overall.

So, it’s been quite an eventful week over here in Portland. I miss all my NYC friends like crazy, but Portland has definitely treated me well so far (except for the weather!!). Stay tuned, I’ll try to take/post pictures next time!


As1Effect– The Insane Double + The Day I Survived “The Megan”

I’ve done a few posts now on my favorite fitness classes in the city and have mentioned As1Effect a bunch of times, but this class/studio definitely deserves a post of its own.

* Photo taken from As1Effect website.

I was first introduced to it via Twitter, when I saw that one of my favorite Flywheel instructors, Danielle, was a regular and raved about the classes there. So a couple of months ago, I made my way to their (at the time, new) studio in Columbus Circle to check it out (first class is complementary!). From the moment I walked in, I knew it wasn’t going to be “just another fitness class”. The best way to describe it is an “absolutely no BS, kick ass workout”. The studio is a no frills space filled with ropes, Jacob’s Ladders, StairMasters, pull-up bars hanging from the ceilings, Airdyne bikes (EVIL), sandbags, among other things.

The StairMasters, pull-up bars and evil Airdyne bikes.

Jacobs Ladder, pull-up bars and StairMasters

Sandbags, battling ropes, among other things…

* Photos taken from As1Effect Facebook page.

First of all, the two owners, Mark and George are two of the fittest people I have ever met, and I’ve got to admit, pretty intimidating at first glance. However, the latter couldn’t be further from the truth. They may look tough on the outside, but actually are two of the nicest people (note: this does not mean they let you slack off, not even for a second). They have some sort of vibe about them that makes you want to push for that one last rep or get those 10 extra watts on the Airdyne.

* Photos taken from As1Effect website. Don’t let those smiles fool you– they’re really thinking of new ways to kick your ass.

Their ‘standard’ 65 minute program focuses on interval training, with the workouts consisting of things like sandbag squats, pullups, situps, pushups, stairs, the evil Airdyne bike, and my personal favorite– the battling ropes.

Harder than it looks!

* Image source here.

I’ve never left a class without being some sort of sore the next day, and I can say that from just going 2x a week for the past few weeks, I already feel 100x stronger. If you want to look and feel the strongest you’ve ever been– just come here a couple times a week and you’ll be set.

Something else I love about As One are the small class sizes and focus on form. The classes are limited to 20 people, so you can bet that Mark & George will know you by name after just the first class, which is a huge plus (and also means you can never hide). They are also huge on making sure everything is done with proper form— which I think is one of the most important aspects of ANY class (don’t want to get injured!). And the cherry on top of it all? The fact that every class ends on the foam roller = extremely helpful with preventing soreness / injuries. Trust me, I have learned to LOVE the foam roller after my run-in with ITBS/runner’s knee the past year.

In addition to their ‘standard’ program, they also have a 45 minute class called “Afterburn“. The class focuses on HIGH intensity cardio intervals (emphasis on the high intensity) designed to achieve EPOC (excessive post oxygen consumption). In simple terms… you’ll be burning calories even after the workout is over with the aim at boosting your metabolism. I don’t really know the exact science behind it, but click here for an article which explains it in a little bit more detail.

I went to my first Afterburn class last week and am serious when I say I was this close to puking. Or in other words, I loved it. One of my biggest pet peeves is when you go into a “workout” and come out still feeling like you need to do more. After this workout, I legitimately had trouble walking down the stairs and wanted to go home and pass out (which I’m pretty sure is what I did). The workout consisted of a killer combination of Airdyne sprints, Jacob’s Ladder climbs, ‘running’ up the StairMaster… with minimal recovery.

While I was planning my workouts for my last week in NYC (yes, I actually did that– call me Type A), I knew I wanted to get in at least a couple more workouts at As1 before leaving. I signed up for one of their regular program classes on Monday evening and then an Afterburn class on Thursday afternoon. Monday evening’s class was a tough circuit— weighted squats, the battling ropes, the evil Airdyne, pullups, the whole shebang. As class ended around 7pm, I noticed that there were only a few people in the 7:15pm class… and then George said the dreaded words… “Anyone want to stay for a DOUBLE?!”. Now if you know me, I’m never one to turn down a workout… I guess you could say I’m addicted to endorphins. So, I stayed. And it was by far the TOUGHEST double I’ve ever done (but fun! In a weird and twisted way…). The circuit was changed up a little bit, but by the end, I was completely spent. I actually had trouble performing basic tasks the next day. Just the kind of soreness I love.

And then there was Thursday… my last class at As1! In fact, it was my last fitness class in NYC altogether! I mentioned to Mark/George that my last class would be this Thursday, and they joked that they would make it extra special for me… in fact, they would name the workout after me (see, they really do get to know you!)… it was called “THE MEGAN”. I laughed at the time, but as the day approached… I saw this tweet:

And when Mark/George say “Be afraid!!”, I was terrified. Last week’s workout was hard enough, would it even be possible for it to be hardER?!

When the time finally arrived, I was actually scared. It probably didn’t help that Mark had an evil laugh going and George was making puking noises into his shirt (I promise, they really are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet). I pretty much freaked out during the warm-up, and then we were told what exactly “THE MEGAN” entailed. There were 8 of us there, so we were split up into four teams of 2. Two teams started on the evil Airdynes while the other 2 started on the Jacob’s Ladder. This was the workout–

For each round (4 minutes on the Airdyne + 4 minutes on the Jacob’s Ladder):
* On the Airdyne, you and your partner take turns going all out. Goal = burn a total of 150+ calories in 4 minutes. Most of us did 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, but other teams also did 15/15 or 60/60. <– to get to that 150, you need to seriously BOOK it (or have a sick partner).
* On the Jacob’s Ladder, you and your partner take turns doing 175 steps followed by 10 burpees (pushups optional but highly recommended/preferred). The goal = have you AND your partner finish within the four minute time frame.
REPEAT the above FOUR times for a total of 32 minutes.

Easy, right? WRONG. This workout was TOUGH. I was paired with George (oh man, talk about high pressure!) and we started on the Airdyne. After seeing George pump out an impressive 600+ watts on the bike, I knew there was no slacking here. We managed something around 160 calories on the first round and then proceeded to Jacob’s Ladder. By the third round, I could barely feel my legs. By the fourth and final round, I had trouble walking and considered crawling back to my apartment. It was an eerily similar feeling to how I felt after I finished my marathon. Hmm, who knew a 32 minute interval session = 4 hours of running? We of course ended on the foam roller which felt oh so good after that workout.

It was the perfect way to end my time here in NYC and I’m glad I was able to discover the magic of As1Effect before moving. I’ve never had a bad (or easy) class here, and it’s a great workout if you’re looking to complement something like spinning or running. In fact, if I had stayed in the city, it would 100% be my workout of choice to accompany my marathon training.

So, thank you Mark & George for being the brains behind these amazing workouts, I’ll definitely have trouble finding any sort of replacement in Portland! The next time I’m in NYC, you know As1 will be one of the first places on my list to stop by.

Definitely check out As1 if you’re in NYC. It’s a tough, effective and FUN workout in a small group environment– big enough to get the “team” support you need but not big enough to feel overly crowded. Rumor is that “The Megan” will be added into the Afterburn rotation… are YOU scared?!

An Inspiring Team– May 2012 BOOTYCamp! with Lacey Stone!

You know what I miss most about college? Not the parties or the napping at random times during the day. Being a part of a TEAM. The time I spent on the cross country/track teams at Hopkins will always be some of the most memorable moments of my life, and my teammates will always be some of my closest friends. And while I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest person there, no one cared. I can honestly say the BEST experience I had in college was when we won our first conference title spring of my senior year, not only because we won but because we came together as a TEAM and accomplished something no one thought was possible. Our top runners kicked ass and then ran back to cheer on those still running. There’s something about that team bond that outsiders don’t understand, but it’s something that I absolutely love. And while I’ve already preached about things like Flywheel, Flybarre, As1Effect and Barry’s Bootcamp, there’s one experience that has truly brought the TEAM aspect back to the NYC fitness scene– BOOTYCamp!

Rewind… how did I find out about this? Well, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to spin with the one and only LACEY STONE.

* Photo source here.

For those of you who don’t know, Lacey is an amazing trainer and THE next fitness star… I mean, who doesn’t want arms like that!? She was featured a couple of times on MADE– check out the clips here and here. We had briefly talked about my obsession with fitness (who better to talk to!?) but at the time I was still working at my old job in finance and looking for a way to make my dream to work in the industry a reality. And as a side note, Lacey is truly one of the most energetic, hilarious and inspiring people I have ever met.

When I heard Lacey was coming back to NYC for the month of May to run her very own BOOTYCamp!, I knew this was something I did NOT want to miss out on.

* Photo source here.

Who wants to join the TEAM!? Me! So I committed to 8 workouts… 2x a week for 4 weeks… at the crack of dawn every Monday & Wednesday for the month of May. What exactly is BOOTYCamp you might ask? Think running, sprinting, sit-ups, squats, push-ups… basically everything you’ll ever need to get that sick summer bodyCHECK IT OUT HERE!

The first day of camp I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect… would we be running the whole time? Doing pushups until my arms fell off? Well day 1 = TEST DAY. It’s used to serve as a baseline for your time at camp… something for you to work on throughout the month so you can see how you’ve improved by the end. Brought me back to my high school presidential fitness test days. Remember those?! The tests that involved sit-ups, pull-ups, the sit and reach and the mile run!? Well our TEST DAY involved six different exercises– pushups, squat jumps, situps, dips, lunge jumps and sprint taps. We maxed out for a certain time frame… for most it was 2-3 minutes. On the last day of camp, we re-did the test in the hopes that your numbers have improved on all fronts.

Since day 1, I have to say that BOOTY has absolutely rocked my world. Our TEAM is amazingly supportive and super energetic (even at 6:30 in the morning!), and we’ve totally brought it, RAIN or SHINE (although for some reason in our case it was mostly rain…). It’s funny… when you’re a runner, you get used to the daily routine of pounding out the miles, with the occasional speedwork thrown in there. Well, Lacey has taught me that there’s more to being “FIT” than being able to run a marathon. There’s always something you can do to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger. You can think you’re in great shape, and then get your ass completely kicked from a workout. That’s what BOOTY has done for me. And remember the test day that I mentioned earlier? After day 1, I honestly thought there was no way my numbers were getting any higher. I already considered myself somewhat ‘fit’, but boy has BOOTY proved me wrong. I’ve started seeing muscles I never knew existed, and I can say that I can’t wait for bathing suit/tank top season. The proof is in the numbers— I’m a complete believer after seeing both the physical and mental changes that have happened over the past four weeks.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how I fared from the beginning of camp to the end (Day 1 test day –> Day 8 results):
Push-ups (2 minutes): 86 –> 111 (+25)
Squat jumps (1 minute): 53 –> 65 (+12)
Sit-ups (3 minutes): 113 –> 130 (+17)
Dips (2 minutes): 128 –> 142 (+14)
Lunge jumps (2 minutes): 105 –> 108 (+3)
Sprint taps (1 minute): 12 –> 13 (+1)

Are you convinced yet? Well, in addition to the tough early morning workouts, BOOTY focuses on making you a healthier individual overall. There’s that popular saying “you are what you eat”…

** Photo source here.

HA. Anyways… being a “healthy” person not only involves getting your workouts in, but also focuses on having good eating habits. One thing I love about BOOTY is the constant support and feedback, not only on the fitness front but also on the food front. While I absolutely love working out and getting a good sweat in, I also love food. Stressed? FOOD. Bored? FOOD. Dessert is my favorite part of any meal, and a day for me is not complete until I’ve had some sort of chocolate. Being a healthier eater has always been a ‘goal’ of mine, but I never had what it took to actually kick it into high gear. Well, throughout the month, I’ve kept a journal of almost all of the food that has gone into my mouth… and have finally been able to get the feedback I’ve been looking for. While the TEAM is a group of 20-22 amazingly fit people, Lacey has somehow made it seem like everyone is getting personalized attention. Have a question about your workouts? Lacey’s on it. Wondering how you should fuel before/after workouts? Lacey has the answer. The pretty much around the clock accessibility is a huge plus in my book.

My food journal, with feedback… in case you REALLY want to know what I eat on a daily basis. Let’s just say there’s a lot of peanut butter in there.

Towards the middle of camp, there is also a “Team Meeting”, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend (I was too busy apartment hunting in Portland… oops!), but is meant to help you “put all the pieces of the puzzle together”…. basically getting both your food AND workouts on track so you can look and feel the way you want to. However, not being able to attend didn’t stop me from getting the feedback I was hoping for on my food journal… again, the accessibility is definitely a plus.

All in all, I absolutely loved BOOTYCamp. It’s hard waking up at the crack of dawn to work out, but when you know you’ve got a team depending on you, you’ll do it, rain or shine. In addition to the physical changes you WILL see over the course of four weeks, my favorite part of camp was the TEAM atmosphere. Our TEAM was a group of incredibly supportive, inspiring and energetic individuals, and Lacey is just… everything a COACH should be. One of the main reasons she started BOOTYCamp is so she could be “the Coach she never had“– the person who believes in everyone on the team no matter what and inspires them to be the best person both on and off the field. To me, that is the perfect definition of a “Coach”. It’s not about who has the most NCAA titles under their belt, but instead about who can make a difference in every single team members’ lives.

So, all in all, BOOTYCamp! is an amazing all-around workout that I can honestly say has made me a stronger person overall. Not only does it combine both cardio and strength, but it also puts you in a supportive environment with a handful of kick ass teammates.

The TEAM! <3

So whether you’re looking for something to kickstart your fitness routine or consider yourself a fitness pro, I’d highly recommend you check out BOOTYCamp! Because what’s better than getting a kick ass workout with a kick ass coach and kick ass teammates? Nothing. JUST DO IT.

* Photo source here.

PS– Team Monday/Wednesday rocks!!

PPS– Rumor has it that there’s a Lacey Stone workout video in the works… so now you have no excuses!

* Photo source here.