Posts Tagged ‘pilates’

Day 4 of 7 in the Blogging My Birthday Week Series

I have mentioned before, but not very often, that I am one of the semi-regular personalities on a local running podcast called the NY Running Show. Each week a bunch of opinionated runners of all ages and speeds get together to discuss what’s gone on in pro and amateur racing in our preferred city. Last Sunday, we discussed the New York City Half-Marathon, and I gave the verbal report of what you’ve already read here. I hope you subscribe to our long-winded but charming podcast!…. Chris McDougall commented on my blog when his book Born to Run first came out, and now he’s responded to a comment JG of Run Westchester posted in response to McDougall’s NYTimes.com online feature about how trail runners who don’t have a training schedule are more virtuous than road runners who like to log their miles. Or something like that…. If you are in NYC on Sunday May 1, please support my efforts along with the other members of the Team Fox Young Professionals to help fund the research for a cure to Parkinson’s Disease. We are holding a Sunday Funday brunch at Aspen in Midtown. Tickets for open bar & brunch buffet are only $42 if you order now, and we’ll have fun raffles & live music, too…. On March 31, I’ll be going to see this documentary about some crazy person’s quest to run 75 marathons in 75 days. It’s called My Run, and I’ll be at the AMC 25 theater in Times Square, 7 PM showing. Who’s in?… My next race is April 17 in Boston. No, not the marathon (not yet, anyway). This is the 5k, the day before…. Two pieces of bad news about my beloved Queens. 1) the libraries have stopped buying new books due to budget cuts, and 2) the vote went through today to name my bridge after Ed Koch. Oh, the indignity…. On the up side, it still is a delight to run down off the 59th Street Bridge into Queens through this clean and pretty plaza. They just finished the construction on the Manhattan pedestrian¬†approach, too… By now you must be dying to know, Why oh why are these ellipses for my glutes? because last night’s Pilates class literally kicked my butt, and my posterior has been pained all day long. I’m hoping that if I dedicate this blog post to them, my glutes will stop their whining… And lastly, I tried this eating plan for a month–basically cut out all sugar from my diet–and I didn’t lose a single pound. This means I am still too plump to fit into the dress I wanted to wear for my party tonight. Here’s a picture of me in the dress back in July, when I was about 10 pounds lighter, but also still married.

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Patron Saint of Pilates?

Some people–like the Irish, and like those who jump at any excuse for revelry–love St. Patrick’s Day. I am not one of these people. I’m not a killjoy, but I have moments of humbugginess, especially when the revelry hampers my routine. (I am one of those New Yorkers who scowls when film crews take over whole city blocks. I don’t care who the movie star is, I gotta get over there!) How does St. Patrick’s Day hamper my routine? I work a mere two blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and my office window has a view of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street. This means I can hear the marching bands, bagpipes and drunken cheers of the parade spectators all day long. St. Patrick’s Day is a day I bring my lunch to the office. The aggro of weaving my way through the inebriated, green-clad masses is so great that I won’t go outside even if struck with a desperate need for caffeine. By 3 PM I had a dull headache from the ceaseless din of happy Irish people. My ancestors immigrated here from Italy and the Ukraine, and I just don’t get the enthusiasm of the Irish. I don’t get excited on Columbus Day (since I can hear that parade through my office window as well, I have equal antipathy for that day too). I mean, I am proud of my Italian heritage but I realize that I’m not actually Italian.

Despite my poopy point of view about St. Patrick’s Day, I do have a tradition that I like to uphold this day every year. In addition to complaining, I also run home from work. This year, however, I would run home from Pilates class, since I had scheduled that after work before I realized it was Erin’s day to go braless. Or something like that.

First, a word or two about Pilates. I started classes in January, going once a week as a service to the other women in the class–I was the pupil who made everyone else look like a ballerina. And while I am still ungainly and not nearly as strong as I’d like, I love Pilates. I like the way I have to focus my entire mind and body on each pose, and the way that even slight corrections make an exercise that much more effective. I like the way my muscles burn, and tremble. I like the way I feel all melty and languid after class. Another thing I really like about Pilates–I can already see a difference in my running form. It’s not huge, but it’s easier for me to hold myself erect, to keep my shoulders down and my arms sliding on their parallel rails along my body instead of crossing in front of me. My pelvis tucks itself without me having to think too much about it, and this reduces stress on my hamstrings and lower back. I don’t have a flat tummy–yet–but if I flex my abs, my fingers can feel them getting ripply and toned beneath my winter pudge.

Tonight’s Pilates class was done on the Bosu ball, so in addition to the regular challenge of teasers, The Hundred, and planks (oh how I dread planks), everything was made harder by being performed on an unstable surface. Hello, that was humbling. By the time class was over, I honestly wondered how I was going to drag my legs over the 5 miles of pavement that stretched between the studio and home.

I decided to take it as a recovery run, and not fret over the pace. Once the pressure of speed was removed, I relaxed (my traps dropped–I have a bad habit of holding my shoulders up around my ears basically every waking moment) and rolled on home. Running past Grand Central Station brought back memories of swaying through the marbled central atrium towards the 7 train, drunk. I used to do that a lot; now, not so much. Even though the sidewalks were packed with people still celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, I enjoyed the run. The peace I’d been hoping for eluded me, but I did feel a sense of well-being, and of reassurance. Yes, TK, things will continue to get better. It’s a bit shopworn, but I’ll let the seasons be a metaphor. Last Autumn, things in my life died off. This Winter, my life lay fallow, regenerating and recouping energy. And now, Spring is definitely going to bring rebirth.

I got to run over the 59th Street Bridge; that was pretty cool. The outward bound hill was tough because my quads were shot, but it sure felt great to crest the hill and ease on down the decline. My bridge, how I miss her so. Then I trucked along Northern Boulevard into Astoria, to the apartment where I am renting out an acquaintance’s furnished extra bedroom until I close on the pad I’m buying in Woodside, Queens.* Even though I was wearing yoga pants, I felt like every cell of my body affirmied, Yes TK you are still a runner. I let my thoughts wander to the Fall marathon I’m planning on this October, and imagined how fast I’ll have to be running home from work if I’m to meet my time goals. I am excited to see how everything develops these next seven months. Aren’t you?

4.95 miles run in 47:26. Average pace 9:35; fastest mile 9:13; slowest mile 10:55 (up the bridge).

*Yes, that’s right! I have found a home to buy! I signed the contract this morning and am so excited, I hope to be in around Memorial Day if everything goes smoothly.


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