BTone Fitness – SPX Review

Now when you see this what comes to mind?

No Tony and I did not join some S&M club… The girls I work with and I decided to try something new for a workout. B We wereB intrigued, confused, scared and excited as we kept hearing about thisB PilatesB type of workout. B Well we finally got our schedules in check and made our appointment at BTone Fitness. B Making a 6:30 class took more planning than it looks since each class only has 11 people.

What is BTone we wondered? B Even upon getting there, I still had no clue so I did some research on their site. B It usesB Lagree Fitnessb” which is an innovative workout specifically designed to “strengthen, tighten, and tone the body quickly and safely. This workout is largely based on the holistic principles of Pilates, but also emphasizes the strength training and cardio elements not inherent to Pilates to achieve muscle definition faster than traditional Pilates and/or weight training alone.”

Not bad promises for just 45 minutes of my time. B Yoga takes over 90 minutes for these kind of promised results so I figured it was worth a shot. B After all, time is money and at $30 per class this was some pricey time.

Basically for the next 45 minutes I attempted to incorporate the “key principles of core stability and blending them with the fusion of muscle dynamics.” When you do things correctly, it should look like this:

This photo was taken from their website and let me tell you, I did not look like that for a second. B Majority of my 45 minutes was spent praying that I would not fall. B In fact I was wondering why they didn’t make me sign a waiver!

We spent about 15 minutes working our core with crunches and different plank-like exercises. B The next 15 minutes we did leg things that were probably equivalent of leg press type machines. B We wrapped it up with arms that I will probably be feeling soon. B Overall I don’t think this reformer machine provided anything special that some free weights or a giant ball can’t do. B My otherB critiqueB was the way the class was taught there was no adjustment for individual level of fitness. B Our instructor only explained each move once which left me scrambling trying to figure out where to put which limb where without falling over. B She did instruct us which resistance level to use for each move. B However, she didn’t give a range. B Had I been more experienced I would have used a level lower resistance for arms (I’m weak) and a level higher resistance for legs; however, no such option was explained.

BTone FitnessB B is one of two only SPX studios offered in New England. B The studio is located in Boston’s Back Bay and its super easy to get to by the T. B The first class is only $5 and is totally worth trying out. B After that each class is $30 which to me seems a little overpriced.

I may have DNF but I found a new love

Trail running! B I love it! B While I may not have finished (my left knee gave up sometime around 25K) I learned a lot about trail running and just how different it is from road running (and I got a few blisters to prove it). B I stopped at 30K out of 50K since Tony was waiting for me in the cold to finish and I figured it would be a bit unfair for him to wait for me to limp run 12 more miles. B I’ll have a full (and by full I mean my 3/5ths of it) recap later.

Its been a rough week as my left knee decided to spoil all my running parties. B I thought I resolved all. B I had a great 7 miler (59:29 incl 3) during lunch onB WednesdayB but when I tried to add a few more miles my knee quit around mile 5 (45 incl 2). B I stayed off the running Thursday and Friday and instead did 10.5 miles each day on the elliptical (57 minutes).

Jack and I had a very productive week. B With my knee being crappy and the weather being cold, we watched 10 episodes of Ringer and 5 episodes of Gossip Girl.

While Jack enjoyed watching Buffy run around and play twins, he really kept hoping Spike would somehow make an appearance.

He was also very confused how Sarah Michelle Gellar just doesn’t age. B He’s pondering if maybe she herself is a vampire.

I also didB groceryB shopping for the first time in months, possibly since March. B Yea there’s no need to buy food when you work late. B However, now that I’m home early and I’ve run out of TV shows to watch I should probably work on improving my diet and cooking. B Although I think living off baby spinach, a protein and barley covered inB SrirachaB sauceB with lots of chocolate in between is an acceptable life style.

I can mix it with canned salmon (maybe all this time spent with Jack is changing my taste to catfood?)

Or tempeh! IB preferB cheesey tempeh! B Even if it means I need to drag the tempeh from Boston Wholefoods on the train back home.

The grocery store near my house that I use, devotes a whole aisle to hotdogs but does not seem to know what tempeh or tofu (aside from Boca burgers) is and that makes me sad. B =( At least they carry my giant bucket of organic baby spinach (only 4.29 this week!). B They also have aisles like this that are bigger than the whole fresh produce area. B Then we wonder why low-income families tend to be fat.

To be fair I am writing this while licking my spoon clean of ice cream. B However, sometimes when I’m at the store check out and I see what other people are buying to feed their children I want to go all Jamie Oliver on these fools.

Now that my fridge is stocked and I have no marathons in the next few months maybe I can resolve this whole knee issue. B I thought I was better once I got new shoes but the knee did not agree. B Luckily after this DNFed 50K all my next up coming races are half marathons and the issue seems to not arise until mile 12+ so I’ll survive.

Last time the issue came was in February on my right knee. B To phase out of it, I cut my running days to an alternating schedule. B I also took off the incline and stayed at a 1.5 incline level.

Now it’s my left knee. B I’m not sure what made it flare up (maybe my 20 miles of walking during 88 degree weather on marathon monday) but I’m going to up my stretching and up the foam rolling (I even sucked it up and purchased my own since there’s only 1 at the gym). B I’m going to embrace my cross training days and maybe just maybe this left knee pain will fade into a memory like my right knee pain.

Alternatives After Losing the NYC Marathon Lottery & Getting Your Marathon Mojo Back

So as 90% of all lottery applicants in the NYC Marathon lottery, I was not accepted.

For some odd reason these words of “not accepted” felt worse than a job rejection. B Upon reading my face turned red with embarrassment as if my character had any say in this. B I know melodramatic, but there are alternatives. B I’ll start with the ones that are absolutely useless to me but maybe they’ll work for you.

1. Become a member of theB New York Road Runners for a full year, complete at least nine NYRR-scored, qualifying races, and volunteered for one. B If you really hate volunteering NYRR gives you an option to donates $1,000 insteadB – I barely like making the drive to visit my family, no way am I trekking to NY for a 5K.

2. B Run with a charity -B Yea I pretty much maxed out my friends and family by running for a Boston Marathon charity this year. B I think I’m good on fundraising for the next 10 years.

3. Keep trying the lottery – The three strikes and you’re in policy is being slowly phased out. However, some of you may still be lucky. B In the past, applicants to the marathon have been eligible for guaranteed entry if they have been denied entry three years in a row.B Applicants denied entry for the three years 2009-2011 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2012. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2010-2012 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2013. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2011-2013 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2014. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2012-14 will not be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2015. B 2012 was my first lottery and this ship has sailed for me.

4. Qualify!

Sadly I have not yet reached the current or New Marathon or Half Marathon qualifying time. B And they say Boston is hard…

5. Find an alternative marathon -B There’s plenty of long distance fish in the sea, run somewhere else.

Whats my plan? B I’m going with 4 & 5. B For November 2012 I will take my legs, lungs, heart and the rest me on the road to somewhere else (nominees are listed below). B For 2013 I plan on trying to qualify through a half. B I know they say to never say never but I think cutting 25 minutes of my marathon time (from 3:24 to 2:59) will most likely not be happening in the next year. B Instead I will try to shed a 30-60 seconds per mile of my half marathon time. B If my knee holds up, I’ll be running two half marathons in May. B This will give me a better idea of where I stand and how much training I need. B My guess is that at the moment I am in the 1:37 range. B I’ll probably come up with a plan andB initiateB it at the Rock n Roll Providence in August.

What are my 2012 November alternatives?B

1. Philadelphia MarathonB – November 18th, 2012 – Pros – It’s on my birthday! B What better way to celebrate than with 50,000 of your “friends.” B I can run a mile for each year literally as I turn 26. B Cons – It’s in Philly; nuff sad. B Southwest stopped flying there from Boston for a reason so I would probably drive with a stopover in NYC. B Registration is $95, goes up to $110 after 4/30.

2. Anthem Richmond MarathonB – November 10th, 2012B – Pros – Dubbed “America’s Friendliest Marathon” byB Runner’s WorldB magazine. B Cons – Does Southwest fly there? B I doubt it. B What’s in Richmond? B B Registration is $75 goes up to $85 after 4/30. B Tempting but who will sponsor my flight and hotel.

3. Rock n Roll San Antonio B Marathon – November 11th, 2012 – Pros – I’m not sure, I always wanted to visit Texas? Cons – Travel, Flights, Hotel, Sunday Race etc. The course looks kind of blend and repetitive but I like the idea of a runcation. B Registration is $95, goes up to $115 after 4/30.

4. Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon – December 2nd 2012 – Pros – Its Vegas? Cons – Its expensive! B Aside from travel and hotel, the registration cost is $150. B I thinkB that’sB a bit overpriced for a franchised race. B Also, this race has a total of 44K people and I heard that didn’t go too well for the competitor group last year.

5. Honolulu MarathonB – December 9th 2012 – Pros – I want to go to Hawaii. B Please take me!!!! It sounds amazing. Cons – Usual travel expenses. B But I want to go to Hawaii!!! B Registration is $125 goes up to $155 May 26th.

I’m torn between Honolulu and Philly. B I’ll probably do Philly due to cost andB convenience. B Putting a down payment on a house tends to hurt your vacation budget for the year so unless Southwest goes there (I got miles!) I probably won’t be seeing it until 2013 and beyond. B B There’s also a lot of awesome races in October. B Amica in Newport Rhode Island is one I would love to one day do. B However due to the October 15th US Tax deadline, I will probably work weekends and late nights September 15-October 15h (it’s my busy season) so end of November – December is my ideal race time allowing me to get the long run training in the final weeks of October.

Did you enter the NYC Marathon lottery? B Did you win? B

What are your fall race plans? B

Dining Out on Raw Food

It’s sad that for every real visit I get (Hi!!!!!) on this blog, I get hit with 10 spam comments. B These spambots are worse thanB NigerianB scam emails!

None the less its been an easy week. B Knee is feeling better and the new shoes have arrived along with some other goodies from the Running Warehouse.

Monday – 10.5 miles on the elliptical – 55 Minutes

Tuesday – 6 mile run – 3 incline – 51 Minutes

I was going to go for a second run (12 miles) but I had other priorities. B My Gilt voucher to Organic Garden CafeB was expiring Wednesday. B The cafe was closed Monday so instead we made the 20 mile trek to Beverley today. B Per Tony “just because you run 20 miles doesn’t mean its close!” B Thank you Tony for driving!

Organic Garden Cafe is a raw/vegan resturant; something that’s a rarity in the Boston area. B We started out with a raw falafal ball and some cheesey kale chips with a frosty beverage. B If you’re ever there, those are not to be missed!

Those Kale chips are seasoned with crack! B I know it, I want it, MORE!

Tony ordered the “Nut Butter bSquashb Ravioli” B Heated raviolis in red beet bshellsb with rosemary walnuts, and cashew alfredo. B I also think alfredo is just a secret word for crack because I might have dipped my finger on his plate to eat the extra sauce. B JK! B ::Wipes hands in shame::B

I went with the Macro Bowl -B Wilted kale, brown rice, dulse, sauerkraut, carrot, and scallionB with toasted sesame ginger sauc

However, I think our server thought I needed to go on a diet because mine was clearly lacking the brown rice and now I have a carb deprevation headache. B None the less I consumed it all in minutes.

Everything was delicious but I had a fairly light lunch (one of those leanB cuisineB type meals) and this raw meal did not satisfyB my hunger. B So I ordered half of a “live onion poppy bagel” to go with me in the car ride back home. B It was made with a sunflower, sprouted buckwheat, and sesame seed bagel dough, dehydratedB with a touch of agave, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and consumed before there was enough light to take a photo. B Dessert was chocolate covered matzoB courtesyB of when my parents visited. B SuddenlyB my lack of carbs headache was gone.

Product Review – ProCompression Marathon Compression Socks

I recently ordered theB PRO Compression Baby Blue Argyle Socks. B There was a coupon floating around for $20 dollars off a pair. B So my total cost was $30 (free S&H) which felt like a steal compared to the $50 I paid for my CEP compression socks (review to follow eventually too).

Why compression socks? B Although I don’t usually fall into the runner trends (I don’t even own a Garmin or heart rate monitor and etc.) the potential benefits of the socks have been making me curious. B Plus I’ve always loved thigh-high socks and this baby blue argyle pattern just screamed out to me.

Doctors will often prescribe compression footwear for patients who have poor circulation in their legs and feet. The compression footwear applies squeezing action to the legs and encourages better, faster circulation. B Then someone got the brilliant idea to market this to runners. B Although this hasn’t been confirmed, the theory is that the repetitive movement of the runner’s legs applies outward force to the blood, or pressure towards the ends of the feet. This discourages blood flow back to the heart and lungs, which in turn affects the rate of oxygenated blood carried back to the legs. By squeezing the legs around the ankles and calves, the blood is helped to circulate through the legs and feet more efficiently.

I won’t go further more into what a compression sock is other than when you open up the package they look small and you can’t just jump into them. B You must slowly wiggle your foot in one at a time like your skinny jeans that are two sizes too small.

The Fit & Feel -B They feel really comfortable and soft especially compared to the CEP socks. B The best part is that it feels a lot less medical and more like a casual sock I can lounge around as I recover. B My one gripe is that I think they run too big. B I am 5ft and about 110LBS and therefore ordered the XS. B My legs might be chunky but my shoe size is only 6.5. B If I roll the sock all the way up, it hits past my knee and feels very uncomfortable. B I think compared to the CEP sock, the XS in PRO Compression although is fitting on foot is much too long/tall of a sock for us 5ft tall trolls. B This issue isB manageableB since the material is not completelyB restrictiveB but would have been an issue if the socks were as tight as CEP brands are.
Upon ripping the package open with my clawsB bare hands, I wore them all over town on Boston Marathon weekend and in secret during the week afterwards at work as my legs recovered.

Sorry kids, this family snapshot of me showing my parents my new house and the ‘hood is the only modeling shot I took. B Next review I promise I’ll have more pictures of the product and myself.

Materials & Ease of care-B PRO Compression socks are manufactured using a unique blend of high-performance materials including polypropylene and nylon allowing you sweat it up. B As with all quality athletic wear they should be washed in cold water and air-dried or machine on delicate cycle. B I personally wash all my workout clothes in cold delicate cycle and just allow them to air dry. B This allows me to own things forever until looking at them makes me bored and the voice of materialism and consumption awakens in me. B These socks are also made in the USA which is a rare thing in this economy so support your feet and support American manufacturing.

Overall -B I don’t know just how ‘compressive’ your compression socks need to be in order for you to reap the benefits but I thought these worked for me. B I liked that they felt lighter and more comfortable than my other pair. B With other compression socks, I can only wear them for 2 hours at a time while with the PRO Compression socks I was able to strut all over town without my circulation starting to feel completely cut off.

I also found that the socks helped with some shin pain I felt after the Boston Marathon. B Although I don’t usually have shin/leg issues (aside from knees) because of the level of walking I did instead of running, my legs felt more shin and feet pain than usual. B I found that wearing the socks helped elevate some of the discomfort while my legs recovered. B Thus I wore them in secret under my pants at work.

I am not getting paid to write this review but all tips (cash and candy) are accepted =). B The coupon code I used was RR20 and here’s the linkB PRO Compression

Boston Marathon Photos & Sunday Run

I tried going for a 20 miler today, I really tried and I did really good for 15 miles at about an average pace of 8:15 before my left knee went “hey buddy I’m not longer having fun” and so I limped/ran the last 1.5 miles home. Its okay, I’m happy with my good enough 16.5 miler instead. B I ordered new shoes. B DailyMile says that including today I ran 850 miles in 2012. B I’m not sure how many miles this pair has since I run in 2 pairs between work and home but from sometime in Dec/Jan its most likely around 400 miles per pair. B I may be 5ft tall but I must stump around like a 300 pound 7 ft ogre. B So instead, today I got reunited with Agent Orange & the Ice Princess.

So marathon foto is slowlyB tricklingB in more photos of me so I figured I’d share. B I have to admit these photographers are pretty darn good and almost make it tempting for me to buy them but at 70 bucks a piece I rather spend the dough on another registration fee. B I’m not really big on havingB billboardB size photos of myself around the house. B I prefer to stare at myself in tiny form instead.

I don’t know how, but they even got photos of me running. B I did so little of that on Monday that I must admit I am impressed with their ninja photo skills. B That looks like after I gave Tony my handheld and stole his water bottle.

I love this! B This pretty much subs up my mood for the race. B Exhaustion and misery. B But hey the guy behind me has a white number! B Fast or slow, we all got whacked by the heat!

Another running photo, this must be near the finish line where I knew photos were getting taken so I sucked in my stomach cramps and roughed it out for the .2 miles to the finish line.

How many miles or months do your running shoes last? B I’m curious if I’m a record for shoe destroying skills.

Notes & Life & With Always More Photos of Me

I’ve been doing less running and more socializing and by socializing I mean just eating and napping. B With tax season and marathons wrapping up for me, my body has been craving rest. B So rest it got this morning when i nixed my plan for a long run and went back to sleep with my Zzzs topping out at 11 hours.

I did use Friday and the gorgeous weather for some running catch up. B Its weird having your legs regain their feel and confidences after Monday.

7 miles on the evil dreadmill at 3 incline in 61 minutes followed with a post work run in the great outdoors 11.3 miles in 1hr35min with bedtime by 10PM.

Ever have those nights where you watch the clock for it to turn 10 so you can feel its more normal to go pass out in bed then?

As mentioned before, instead of running 27 miles today, I ran 3.2 in 24.5 minutes and then went of to sample 250 wines instead.

While it was fun to try out these different types of wines, I can’t say it was truly that enjoyable without food. B If I had one comment, I would have added more food vendors or sponsors. B I guess I’m just a beer kind of girl.

What about you? B Beer or wine?

Before the indulgences, we took our cat for his first outdoor play. B Jack too needed to enjoy the weather and that he did, once he got over his fear of sunlight.

I got home at 6:30 PM and I realized it was still sunny (Yay for summer!) , giving Tony and I just enough time for a power hike. B What’s a power hike? B Its a quick and easy hike on an easy path where you race the setting sun. B The great part about living in Malden is that we’re only a 5 minute drive from the Middlesex Fells, a state park. B I should work on finding other great things about Malden since we’re buying a house here but I’ll get back to that later.

Nothing like hiking away a wine buzz

Hows your Saturday going?

Wine or Beer? Beer! B I only like prosecco for wine while my taste for beer is endless.