Thursday, July 31, 2014


Life gets put on hold when someone close to you passes. Nothing really matters anymore. Work, running, social life, painting the new house, awaiting furniture deliveries, blogging... Everything comes to a pause. We question. We grieve. We honor. We celebrate.

These last few days have been tough but I'm lucky to be surrounded by such loving friends and family.

Mom & Dad, I love you. Lizzie, My best friend. Sarah, Your friendship means the world to me. Eric, Thank you for being so understanding and accommodating with work. Melissa & Michele, I am forever grateful to have cousins as amazing as you two. You will always be “the sisters I never had” and I thank you for dropping everything for a fun, distracting night in the falls. Judy & Kim, Nonnie & Papa, Barb & John, the Belczaks, everyone else that crossed my path this week with kind words – I love you all.

I did not know Rena as "The Mayor of 6th Avenue" but from all the stories I've heard over the past few days, she sounded like a pretty cool woman.

When I was a little girl, going to grandma and grandpa's house meant coming home with a new Barbie doll or a $20 bill. Sleepovers meant waking up early to the sounds of pots and pans and the smell of bacon taking over the kitchen.

As an adult I enjoyed conversations with grandma on drives to the eye doctor or our lunch dates at Chilis. Her sarcastic yet positive outlook on life kept me laughing – even when she joked around questioning why she was still around when all of her friends were leaving this earth.  One thing that’s for sure is, she never forgot to tell me how proud of me she was... and I hope I can continue to make her proud.

As the priest said on Wednesday morning, "God has a plan for everyone." It may have been grandma's time to go but her memories will live on forever.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Decades Spin Playlist #2

Too Many Fish In The Sea - The Marvelettes    2:30  1964 - Warm up
Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker                  2:24  1961 - Drills, start adding tension
Hooked On A Feeling - Blue Swede                   2:54  1974 - Build
Brick House - Commodores                                3:27  1977 - Jumps on a hill
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor                            4:47  1978 - Build
Bust a Move - Young MC                                    4:24  1989 - 15" jumps
Just A Girl - No Doubt                                         3:29  1995 - Sprints (10"-20"-30")
Miami - Will Smith                                              3:18  1997 - Recovery
Toxic - Britney Spears                                         3:22  2003 - Faster 90/80/90/80
Tempature - Sean Paul                                         3:32  2005 - Seated climb 80/70/80/70
Low feat. T-Pain - Flo Rida                                 3:52  2008 - Jumps 30" up, 15" down
I Like It feat. Pitbull - Enrique Iglesias               3:49  2010 - Seated/standing climb
Starships - Nicki Minaj                                        3:31  2012 - Rolling hills
Brand New - Pharrell Williams                           4:32  2014 - Cool down
Empire - Shakira                                                  3:59  2014 - Stretch

[Related Post: Decades Spin Playlist #1

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Recovery Tip #2: Foam Roll

“Anyone can train hard.  Do you have the discipline to recover?”
~Lauren Fleshman

Every athlete should own a foam roll.

What is a foam roll?
A foam roll is usually made out of foam (duh) and come in different sizes and densities.  If it’s your first time, begin with a soft foam roll and work your way up to a firmer foam roll.

What do I do with a foam roll?
Foam rolling is self-myofascial release aka a self-massage technique.  You will find that most elites visit their massage therapist regularly but for the rest of us, foam rolling is an excellent alternative AND it can be done every day.

How do I foam roll?
You literally roll your muscles.  Place the foam roll underneath the muscle you want to roll and use your body weight to apply pressure and roll.  Make sure you roll all the way from the muscle’s origin to the insertion.  My favorites include calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and IT band. You can also use a pressure point technique where you pause over a tender spot or knot and try to relax for 30-60 seconds to let the pressure release.

Warning: Foam rolling can be very painful.  It’s a love/hate relationship that hurts so good.  You may feel uncomfortable – but never to a point that you cannot tolerate.  You also should to avoid rolling bones or joints and skip the lower back.  It can cause more harm than good.

Why Foam Roll?
Foam rolling regularly can help increase flexibility and range of motion.  While stretching is also great for flexibility, foam rolling can get to areas that stretching on your own cannot.  It can help break up those knots allowing better blood flow to the muscles resulting in increased mobility and faster recovery.

[Related Post: Recover Tip #1: Ice Baths]

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vote for me! #RWCoverContest

It's been a little while since my last post but I haven't forgotten about you all.  Tonight I was playing around online and entered the Runner's World Cover Contest.  

Bonus points if you can spot the error.  Silly me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer of '69 Spin Playlist

Viva la Vida - Coldplay                                                4:04  Warm up
R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A. - John Mellencamp               2:54  Drills, pedal strokes
Up Around the Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival     2:41  Build
We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel                         4:48  Keep tension, jumps 20"
Firework - Katy Perry                                                 3:48  Seated climb, standing climb at chorus
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves      3:41  Fast with 1' running challenge
Come Get It Bae - Pharrell Williams                       3:22  Recovery
Summer - Calvin Harris                                              3:45  Build with rolling hills
Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams                                 3:35  80-100 rpm
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey                                  4:11  80-70-80-70 rpm
Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard                 4:23  Standing climb with "Power 20s"
Cruise (Remix) - Florida Georgia Line                   3:27  Cool down
Our Country - John Mellencamp                              3:47  Stretch

Monday, July 7, 2014

Calf Cramps & Spin Class

What are cramps?

“Cramps are muscle pains or spasms most often in the abdomen, arms, or legs that may occur in association with strenuous activity.” (American College of Sports Medicine)

Why do I get calf cramps during spin class?

Calves are the most common location for cramps in spinners and long distance cyclists.  Cramps can be caused by numerous factors like dehydration, sweating, and fatigued muscles.  As dehydration levels increase, aerobic performance suffers.  Why?  Because when we sweat, we lose important nutrients.  Sodium and electrolytes replacement is critical to maintaining athletic performance.

Did you know?  Your muscles are more prone to cramping in higher temperatures.

If you are not used to working out in the heat, your body will need to get acclimated to the environment.  Many riders in the Northeast and other areas of the country will experience seasonal acclimation every year in late spring/early summer.

Calf cramping during spin class can also be from pointing your toes.  We are taught in spinning to pedal with a flat foot for efficiency and power.  Pointed toes will cause the calf muscles to shorten and constant shortening can lead to cramping.

You are also more prone to cramping if you are pushing yourself to your physical limits.  Think about it.  Not only are you profusely sweating but when your muscles start to fatigue or when you sprint on the bike, you start lose your form.  Spinners are advised to sprint with a good amount of tension on the bike to avoid going out of control and going too fast.  As you lose your form, one of the first things to happen is pointing your toes… which leads to shortening of the calf muscle… which leads to cramping!  Not fun!

What do I do if I get a cramp during spin class?

Slowly stop pedaling and administer fluids, especially fluids with electrolytes.  You can try to massage the cramping muscles and make sure to stretch.  Static stretching will help so you don’t wake up too sore and stiff the next morning!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Run Jen Run’s Pet Peeves #5-9

ICYMI (In case you missed it) – You can read Run Jen Run's Pet Peeves #1-4 here


Share the Road.
Every winter I get nasty looks for people when I run in the middle of the road.  If someone shoveled the sidewalks, I wouldn’t have to.  It’s also super obnoxious when cars park on sidewalks and people decide it’s ok to drive in the shoulder of the road, even when they clearly see someone running there.  I’ve almost been hit multiple times by a car swerving into the shoulder of the road that was looking down, probably texting.  And people that do that on purpose are assholes.  So please, I ask you, pay attention when you’re driving and where you're parking.  Keep sidewalks clear and don’t drive in the shoulders.


If you honk at me while I’m running, we are no longer friends.
Ok maybe that's a little harsh but scaring the crap out of a runner is not funny!  I ain’t got nothin’ else to say about that.


If a faster runner asks a slower runner to go for a run, they are not expecting you to run at their faster pace.
This is my personal experience.  You may be a jerk but I am not.  I know you average a minute or two per mile slower and I don’t care!  I’m asking you to go for a run because I want the company.  Unless it’s a speed work day, I guarantee that I’d pick running at a slower pace with a friend over running alone.  I'd also like to say that 8:30-9:00 minute miles are not slow!  Look at any local road race results.  Your pace is average.  Average is not slow.  I enjoy average with friends.


Pets belong on a leash.
I am a lover of animals, especially dogs, but keep them on a leash.  No matter how well behaved you believe your pet is, there is that possibility for it to run wild.  A charging dog and one misstep can lead to an injury and a few weeks worth of recovery.  2014 Boston Marathon Champ Meb Keflezighi had to withdraw from Boston a few years ago after he tweaked his calf due to a dog encounter.


On a similar note: Invisible fences are not cool.
I spent a few months living in Philly and everyone had invisible fences in the neighborhood.  Dogs went crazy every time I ran by and I was always in panic mode... who knew if they were actually wearing their invisible fence collars?!

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Party In The U.S.A. Spin Playlist

My Tuesday morning class loves a good theme playlist.  Happy 4th of July!  #Merica

America - Neil Diamond                                              4:20  Warm up
R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A. - John Mellencamp                 2:54  Drills, pedal strokes
We're an American Band - Grand Funk Railroad  3:28  Build
American Girl - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  3:32  Faster, downhill with sprints
Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band                               3:57  Rolling hills
Made in America - Toby Keith                                    3:18  Seated/standing climb
I've Been Everywhere - Johnny Cash                        3:18  Downhill sprints
Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus                                  3:23  Recovery & start build
Firework - Katy Perry                                                   3:48  Continue build, stand at chorus
American Woman - Lenny Kravitz                            4:22  Keep building with jumps
Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen                   4:41  Standing climb
Surfin' U.S.A. - The Beach Boys                                  2:29  Fast with 30” running out of saddle
Our Country - John Mellencamp                               3:47  Cool down
American Pie - Don McLean                                       8:36  Stretch