Warning: Objects in mirror may be farther than they appear

I woke up this morning at 2:30 am to the sound of rain pouring outside my window. I had plans of doing an interval run outside for my workout the next day so I was a little worried the paths near the Hudson River were going to be flooded. To my delight, I walked outside my apartment only to be welcomed by one of the most beautiful fall mornings. The sun was shining and most of the evidence of rainfall from the previous evening had dispersed leaving only a wave of fresh, crisp air. I absolutely love these mornings in New York.

Autumn in NY 001

Source: CityGirl

My plan had been to run 5 miles mixed with a circuit interval every mile to build up my endurance for the Men’s Health Urbanathlon and get my legs used to running after doing a strength demanding obstacle. I started out heading towards the George Washington Bridge since I knew there were several playgrounds along the way that I could incorporate my interval workouts in. But the Washington Bridge kept catching my attention with how beautiful the sun bounced off of it, engaging the interest of the highly ambitious long distance runner in me. Not keeping in mind that I haven’t trained for long distance since last Spring so I don’t know what I was thinking but I must have thought the bridge wasn’t nearly as far away as it appeared. Maybe a few miles there and back leaving me with a 6-7 mile run at the most.

georgewashingbridgeSource: SiLive

Off I continued, incorporating a few of the circuits every mile until I realized just how far off the bridge was and focused my attention on the endurance portion of my run.

It’s interesting how you familiarize yourself with your surroundings once you explore the area’s perimeters on foot. I believe running is the best way to explore and truly experience a place. Walking is too slow and you don’t get to view as much while driving doesn’t enable you to really soak in everything around you. I haven’t ran up North too much and I was stunned by the beauty of the Hudson River and the area around Hamilton Heights. One of my favorite views on the run was of Riverside Church which is one of the most famous churches in the United States for not only being the tallest church in America, but also is know for its stunning Gothic Architecture. With the leaves changing colors and the sun beaming from behind it, I couldn’t help but be in awe. This may have also contributed to my lack of perception in just how far up I was going to have to run to reach the Washington Bridge.

Riverside-Church-11-1

Source: Empire Guides

5.5 miles later, and after going off path and getting lost in some off road trails that resembled something almost hike worthy of getting outside the city, I found myself under the Washington Bridge. I had hoped to cross over it into Jersey and run back. But being unsure how to get back on the path to the bridge and nervous that if I explored any longer I was going to have to pay off some cyclist to transport me back to the city, I decided to call it good and make my way back to the city.

On my way back, it was difficult to not stop by Levain Bakery for one of their WORLD FAMOUS chocolate chip walnut cookies. A recent discovery of mine that I found after walking by a bakery right across from my apartment countless times and always wondering why there was a line out the door of this little bakery that was tucked away in a basement.

levain-bakeryline

Source: Trip Advisor

levainbakery

The business was started by two female triathletes who were constantly striving to develop the perfect chocolate chip cookie since their tedious workouts left them famished and craving these indulgences. (I want to meet these women!). But, I told CeCe and some girls from work that we would make it a date after one of our study sessions and workouts. Like one of the cookie’s creators says on their website “Being really active makes eating the cookie all the more fun!” I can’t wait to give them a try, though they are going to have some tough competition with my mom’s infamous cookies.

chocolate chip walnut cookie.  -levain bakery, nyc.

Oh yes. It will be mine.

Source: Levain Bakery

While I didn’t get to do my full interval workout during my run, it’s far too beautiful outside to not share with those of you looking to continue enjoying the fall weather. This is a perfect time of year to utilize what’s around you to engage in a workout that requires little to no equipment. Just whatever you have around you!

strengthruncircuit

Repeat each circuit 3x before heading onto the next mile. For any of you preparing for an obstacle race, this will get your legs used to continuing with your endurance after engaging in a strength exercise. After doing this one, treat yourself! I know I’m going to with a chocolate chip walnut cookie next time, YUM!

What other workouts do you enjoy doing outside this time of year? Do you prefer to utilize what’s around you as equipment for your exercises, or prefer to get it all done at the gym?

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Men’s Health Urbanathlon- Turning the city into an athlete’s playground

So you’re thinking about partaking in a race so extreme that you may be unable to move any muscle in your body for a week and possibly sacrifice the ability to have your first born child. Okay, the latter part of that statement may be pushing it a bit much. But as for the intensity of the soreness that will come within completion of this event, a week may even be an understatement.

urban

   Source: Getting Dirty

That’s right, I’m talking about one of the most popular runs that has engaged all types of athletes and has brought a whole new meaning to the term, “obstacle course”. It’s more than just a run, and it’s more than a few exercises and obstacles. This obstacle course race combines the endurance of running mixed with the strength and agility to overcome obstacles and places them back to back to create the most grueling activity one can put their body through. Some obstacle courses include mud others include fire and other extremities to get the heart racing, the blood pumping, and the adrenaline running to push even the fittest athletes to their maximum extremity. The Men’s Health Urbanathlon takes a city and turns it into an athlete’s playground.

Clip of Men’s Health Urbanathlon

taxi

Source: Getting Dirty

After running in several races, training for a half marathon, having color thrown in my face while running, and swimming through mud, I decided it was time to take on one of the biggest urban obstacle course races in the world. The Men’s Health Urbanathlon held right here in the heart of New York City. It’s been on my bucketlist for a couple of years and now that I’m living in the city, I decided I had no excuse to pass up the opportunity to put my body and mind to the test and take on the adventure with my New York City soul mate. What exactly does the Men’s Health Urbanathlon entail?

beware

Source: Men’s Health Urbanathlon

-10 mile run with a different obstacle every mile

-Marine hurdles

-6 taxis

-2 buses with 100 foot cargo net

-1 mile of stairs at Citi Field

-Wall climbing

-Tires and barricades

-10 feet of monkey bars

-16 feet of parallel bars

-Crawling under, jumping over, and squeezing through a variety of obstacles

-A final 40 yard sprint to the finish line

And to top it all off, every single obstacle must be completed. If one is unable to complete an obstacle, they must perform burpees, pushups, and low rows with the TRX. Hmm…hurdles and climbing or burpees? That could be the most difficult decision I’ll be given that day. Here’s to just completing the set of obstacles the first time!

wall climb

Source: Getting Dirty

I have given myself a personal goal of completing the course in its entirety in under 1:30:00. That means that in addition to my rigorous schedule with completing my personal training certification and working with clients, I will also begin increasing the intensity of my workouts to involve more strength training, endurance, and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Thinking of doing an obstacle course based race? Here are some things to consider as well as an example of a workout to include in your training that should help you prepare for some of the obstacles.OBSTACLE

-Check out the course to mentally prepare yourself for what you’ll be doing so there are no surprises.

-If you see someone else struggling, unless you’re looking to win the whole shebang, offer to help out. You may need it on the next obstacle.

-Give it all you’ve got! But make sure to take proper precaution so you can ensure you are able to give 100% AND complete the course.

  • Stay hydrated. While you should be doing this daily anyways, it’s especially important while engaging in strenuous activity to avoid cramping and dizziness.
  • Fuel up with a light, but filling and energizing breakfast. Try promeal, toast with peanut butter, sliced bananas, and a couple of eggs, or something else with a balance of carbs, fats, and proteins to help fill you and keep your tank full.
  • Dress appropriately. See what the weather will be like that day and dress accordingly. Also, don’t wear your favorite workout attire (we all have our go to running shorts/sports bra/shoes/etc. that make us feel like a champ. Save that for a day when you’re lacking the  motivation to train, not when you’re going to putting your body through obstacles that may cause rips, stains, or completely ruining your clothing.)
  • Avoid injuries by paying attention to your surroundings, taking your time if you are unsure about an obstacle, and wearing form fitting clothing to help make yourself more agile when going under/over/through obstacles.
  • Leading up to the race, include endurance, HIIT, and strength training into your workouts. Here’s an example of a workout to help get you ready.

obstacleprepchallenge

Get creative and see what other workouts you can do to try and replicate the course you’re partaking in!

MEN'S HEALTH URBANATHLON

Source: Men’s Health Urbanathlon

Thinking of signing up for an obstacle course race? Which one?

If you have already done one, what advice would you give a first timer?