Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. But it really does represent one of America's worst habits: eating a lot of things we know are bad for us.
So this year, I was delighted to find that CLIF Bar, a fantastic earth-friendly energy bar company, is selling limited time Spooky S'Mores flavored Z Bars for kids.
CLIF Bars are my absolute favorite energy bars. They are low-fat, organic and contain no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup and give me a great boost before or after my workouts. The kid's Z Bars are just as earth and body friendly, great for active kids (or even the young at heart active adult!) I am going to be chewing on these all weekend to celebrate Halloween in a healthy, green way.
What are you doing to Green your Halloween?
Friday, October 31, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
What a beautiful morning for a race! Rain, thunderstorms and howling wind rolled through the city last night, but by dawn skies were clear and the air was still. I always make a point to eat breakfast at least 3 hours before race time, so that means I was up around 5:15 making oatmeal and stretching sleepily.
Once in Central Park I was amazed at how many runners were at the starting area. Seriously, thousands of runners were all gathered around the Poland Springs tents, listening to live music and warming up for the run. I was happy to find that there were several recycling bins in which to dispose of the discarded Poland Springs bottles. And the race's little souvenir was a pair of green shoe laces, made from recycled Poland Springs bottles that say "Please Recycle." At least they're making an effort!
We gathered in our corrals as star of Broadway's Spamalot and NBC's Lipstick Jungle (his name escapes me, and google has failed me. Does anyone know his name?!) sang the national anthem. He not only ran this race, but will also be running in the NYC Marathon next weekend.
Central Park was absolutely beautiful, it is always such a pleasure to run there. But the thousands of other participants made it quite crowded...at the beginning I really had to navigate. I accidentally bumped into al least five people and several returned the favor.
When I don't listen to music, I like to have a little mantra going in my head for each mile. I don't let myself think about the next mile at all. I focus on the one I'm running!
My Mantra for each mile:
0-1: Let's go! This is easy! You ARE a morning person. (This is a lie. I am not really a morning person.)
1-2: Wow! Loving those downhills!
2-3: Welcome to the East Side, hello sun. Aren't you glad you're wearing sunglasses?
3-4: You are prepared for this race!
4-5: One more mile, why not make it a fast one?
I finished well within my goal (between 40:00 and 45:00 minutes) at 41:11. I was 1,906 overall (out of 6,472 finishers) 48th in my age group (out of 256 female 20-24 finishers). My average pace was an 8:14 mile. Post-race I was rewarded with a delicious New York apple and a chocolate chip bagel.
Here are some pictures of race day!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
It's time for another adventure in advertising! This series of Puma ads, located in the West 4th Street A,C,E subway station, harnesses the undeniable power of Ussain Bolt, olympic gold medalist and record breaker.
If any of you watched the olympics, I'm sure you saw Bolt's record breaking sprints and casual attitude. I must admit, I thought he seemed a bit pompous; I mean, he jogged to the finish line! But these ads really take a different look at him, which I found kind of charming.
Monday, October 20, 2008
While on my quest be become a greener person, I have given up buying bottled water all-together. I carry water in a reusable Klean Kanteen bottle made from stainless steel. 90% of empty plastic water bottles end up in landfills as trash, even though they are perfectly recyclable. Also, studies show that bottled water is no cleaner that tap water. In some cases the plastic has actually been shown to contaminate water even more. On top of all of that, bottled water is 19,000 times the cost of tap water! How can we justify spending that?!
My system works perfectly well: I re-fill my Klean Kanteen and sweetly encourage others to do the same. The dilemma came when I revisited the New York Road Runners website to confirm my registration for the 5 Mile NYC Marathon Kickoff race in Central Park next weekend. The event is sponsored by one of the largest bottled water manufacturers in the USA, Poland Springs. The partnership makes sense for NYRR: Poland Springs will supply thousands of bottles of water to hydrate thirsty runners after the race.
But how can I strive to be green and still take place in this race? Should I drop out in protest? Run the race and risk feeling like a hypocrite?
I finally resolved to run the race. After all, I am also trying to become a better athlete and this experience will only help my training. I decided though, to contact the NYRR and make sure that there will be recycling bins at the finish area for the discarded plastic bottles. It is one little thing I can do to ensure the recycling of perhaps thousands of plastic bottles.
Here is an excerpt form the email I sent NYRR:
..... I am signed up to run in the October 26 Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff and could not be more excited to take part. However, I wanted to contact you to make sure that there will be adequate recycling receptacles at the race's finish. Since the event is sponsored by a bottled water company, I am sure there will be a great deal of discarded plastic bottles. We all know that disposing of plastic bottles in the trash is extremely wasteful. Current statistics suggest that as much as 90% of plastic bottles end up in landfills as trash. I hope that you have already anticipated this issue and that the runners will find a place to recycle our bottles after the race. Thank you and I look forward to running this weekend!..........
Is there more I can do? Did I make the right choice?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
How cute are these?! If you bike often, you know it can really help to have some padding between your tush and the seat. These are the cutest biking underwear you’ll find, and they are really eco-friendly. Made from 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they come in men’s boxer style and the women’s style shown above. Bamboo is great for sports because it is naturally soft and breathable. (In case you can't see well in the photo, the back says "Cycle More.")
Visit www.greenknickers.com for these and more eco-chic underwear!
If you’re a biker you already know that it’s a fantastically green alternative to carbon-emitting automobiles. But there are still ways to make your hobby even better for the environment.
Recycle your tires and tubes! Bikes can go through tires remarkably quickly. You may not even think of it, but recycling tubes can save a lot of landfill space. If you get your spares fixed at a bike shop, make sure they recycle. If they don’t encourage them to do so, and ask to have your old tubes so you can recycle them.
Fun Fact: If 1 in 14 Americans recycled their old tubes and tires every year, it could pave the route of the Tour de France!
If you are in the market for a new bike (lucky you!) choose a steel frame over an aluminum frame. Though steel tends to be heavier, it is much more eco-friendly because it can be produced using some recycled materials while aluminum frames must be made new, requiring much more energy. And, even when steel frames aren't made from recycled materials, it's production still uses less energy.
Buy a Cycloc Bike Rack. They’re a little pricy, but they’re made from 100% recycled plastic. They’re also a very chic design, and a great space saver.
Pick a bike helmet made of materials that can be recycled. Then, when you’re done with it, recycle the helmet!
Bike during the morning, especially if you live in an urban area like I do. This is when pollution levels are lowest. It’s just good for you!
(Some of these tips can be found in The Green Book, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostogen.)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
As you may or may not know, I'm an advertising major and am always scoping out the billboards and busses around the city for great, creative ads to fuel my imagination. I love ads that really speak to the consumer, ones that relate on a truly personal, "I know you" type of level.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Yesterday I joined fourteen other bona fide city dwellers for a challenging hike up and around Schunemunk Mountain. The mountain, which is located a little over an hour outside the city, offers absolutely stunning views of the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains. The name Schunemunk means “excellent fireplace” in the Lennie Lenape Indian language. (This tribe lived in a village along the mountain before the Europeans arrived in the area).
Our group met up with Outdoor Bound guide, Kirk, at 8am on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Outdoor Bound is a wonderful company based in Manhattan that leads day (and some longer) trips to various hiking locations around the northeast. I’d recruited a friend, Bianca, to join me for the nine and a half-mile challenge. After fueling up with soy lattes from Starbucks we were headed out for a full day in a place not only lacking coffee shops, but also bathrooms, running water, and other modern conveniences who’s absences make so many urban oriented people cringe when they hear the word “hike.”
The day couldn't have been more beautiful. In the early fall morning, fog covered the hills and roads on our drive to the country. It was a crisp 55 degrees when we began our trek, but by mid-day had warmed to a blissful 73. Not a single cloud hung in the sky, which seemed to make the mountain look even more majestic.
The hike itself was fantastic in its challenge. Rocky paths and steep rock walls offered a rugged workout, and a welcome change from my normal training routine. The highlight for me was definitely climbing up a 25-foot almost-vertical wall of rock to reach the next peak. My legs are still sore! The group chatted easily, mostly about jobs and life, but also about the beauty of the nature we were experiencing. The fall leaves have just begun to change and some of the colors are simply stunning.
Hikers are some of the greenest people around, and we practiced the “leave nothing behind” philosophy (which includes taking even things like apple-cores that technically could disintegrate, just to make sure no mark is left). Keeping the trails clean and litter-free promotes not only the health of the earth, but also encourages hikers to come back and use the resources nature affords us.
Being out in the natural world reminds me even more of why the environment is a worthwhile investment. The though of losing even an acre more of our precious planet to human error and irresponsibility is unthinkable.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I had the day off today, but it didn’t start out very promising. It was rainy and blustery and I didn’t think I was going to get any out-door training in. Damn! But the skies cleared around mid-day and the evening was absolutely beautiful.
I did a 6.5 mile run along The Hudson River Path, one of my favorite routes in the city. I head down 10th Ave to 23rd street and cross over to the path in front of the Chelsea Piers Complex. My turnaround point is behind the World Financial Center (near the site of Ground Zero). It’s also right near a beautiful marina with lots of fabulous, uber-expensive yachts to ogle at. All in all, it is an inspiring run, especially at sunset.
My endurance during my runs has been getting better and better. I’m really relaxing and enjoying the workout instead of struggling through it. I’m not working on speed right now; I’m focusing instead on building endurance to complete my upcoming half marathon. Breathing is a very important part of endurance. I’ve found that if I breathe through my nose, I feel a lot more relaxed. Unfortunately my nose was runny tonight and I had to stop at a few bathrooms to blow it!
I run at about an 8:30 – 9:00 minute mile and try to spend the entire run working on making sure my body’s form is correct.
While focusing on form I make sure:
I keep my shoulders and fists relaxed.
I keep my head level and look at the horizon, not down. This keeps the spine straight.
I keep my arms moving front and back, not across my body.
I run tall, with my back straight. This helps ensure optimal lung capacity.
I keep my stride in check: not too large, and not too small.
I focus on not kicking my feet up behind me, but using my knees to move forward.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
“Running is hard. Giving is easy.” – recycledrunners.com
The deadline for a new pair of running shoes is fast approaching for me. My knees are starting to complain about the lack of support; my laces are looking less than lustrous, covered in a thin layer of who knows what; and the interior has been rubbed considerably down from mile after mile.
Running shoes are like friends. They’re with us during our best and worst times, from the PR races to the less than perfect “jogs.” They take a lot, and you have to hand it to them, they really do the job well. Rocky paths and perfectly paved asphalt are no match for our dear shoes, and so it should be important to find them a fitting home after they’ve worked so hard.
I need about two new pairs of running shoes per year, and could probably stand to up that to three (once again, I’m waiting for those huge paychecks to accommodate this!) I’m sure a lot of you runners out there go through even more than I do, and so the question is, what do we do with these perfectly fine shoes after they no longer suit our needs (and knees)?
Recycling your running shoes is a great option to allow them to keep giving. It not only puts a pair of shoes on someone else's feet, but keeps the landfills from piling up with used Nikes and Asics after every season. The past few pairs of trainers I’ve burned through have gone to the Good Will or Salvation Army with the rest of my toss outs, but after some research I found several great organizations that will do a lot more with your sneakers.
When I buy my new shoes at the beginning of November, I’ll update you on the charity I chose to take my shoes somewhere they’ll really be appreciated. Maybe I'll even start my own shoe donation program!
One World Running
Nike’s shoe recycling program takes a unique approach to the process. Since 1990, they have been collecting used athletic shoes of any brand and turning them into sports surfaces like basketball and tennis courts, athletic fields, tracks and playgrounds for young people all around the world.
Started by a group of runners in
Monday, October 6, 2008
I had the opportunity to attend one of New York’s Center for Communications’ fabulous seminars this past week titled Magazines: Survival of the Fittest. The panel included Trisha Calvo, Executive Editor of Shape, Carla Levy, Executive Editor of SELF, David Willey SVP and Editor in Chief of Runner’s World, and Bill Stump VP an Brand Editor of Men’s Health and was moderated by Jeff Bercovici a blogger on Portfolio.com.
The panel discussed the imminent issues fitness magazines face in the digital and green future. Each panel member was interesting and informative, and it was a treat to get to listen to the editors of some of my favorite magazines speak! They discussed how their lives and jobs mixed, what they look for in candidates entering the magazine industry, going green, and David Willey even gave some tips on how to treat shin splints! (Ice, of course.)
Here are some highlights, quotes from the panelists:
“People are getting busier, and are stressed out with their current economic situations” said Bill Stump of Men’s Health, “but what we try to advocate in all of our publications is the idea that working out can reduce stress.”
“It doesn’t work anymore to slap your September issue online,” said David Willey of Runner’s World. “You have to make it an interactive community with distinct features.”
"We look for candidates that are flexible and able to adapt to unique job requirements," said Trisha Calvo of Shape.
"Being interested in fitness is certainly not a requirement to write for our magazine," said Carla Levy of SELF. "We don't ask people to drop and give us 20 push-ups during the interview, but there is a self-selection, and our staff is really mostly interested in a healthy lifestyle."
"Look. Nobody on the Men's Health staff has a six-pack," said Stump. "But the important thing is that we are all trying!"
The most exciting part of the discussion was when it turned to talk of a green future for magazines. Runner's World's new issue is their first ever "Green Issue," so Willey was eager to discuss their attempts to go eco-friendly as a business and as athletes.
"The new issue is printed on partially recycled paper," he said. "We have also eliminated the practice of poly bagging magazines. This issue, last year, was due to have 20,000 wrapped in plastic. If we are going green, we have to eliminate this."
"Being eco-friendly is really another realm of a healthy lifestyle. Our magazines have a very big stake in going green, partly because we're so focused on healthy living," said Levy.
"Going green is not just a virtuous or trendy thing anymore," Willey continued, "It is a business thing, a reality."
I suggest everyone grab the November issue of Runner's World when it hits newsstands (make sure to recycle, or even read it online!) I got it at the seminar, and it really is a great look at how the average athlete can become greener.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Art as activism is not a new idea, but the creative mind behind New York City’s newest public art installations has found the perfect mix of art and function all while communicating a message. David Byrne, lead singer of the Talking Heads and an avid bicycling enthusiast designed nine temporary bike racks to be displayed throughout the city for the next eleven months.
“It was important to me that these new racks be the same thickness and material as the existing racks—to help identify them as practical bike racks and not just modern art,” Mr. Byrne said in a New York Times Article.
The current NYC transportation commissioner, Janette Sadki-Kahn, has been seeking to promote biking through initiatives like the wildly popular Summer Streets, The Cityracks Program, and a bike rack design competition, of which Byrne was a judge.
Byrne later decided to show off his own designs to promote city cycling. The racks are silver, black, and red, and are located throughout Manhattan and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Each rack is customized to represent a different part of the city and has a clever name to go along with it.
“By bringing attractive yet functional sculptures to our streets, we are elevating the profile of cycling, and we believe that more and more people will begin to think about cycling as a mode of transportation, and not just a mode of recreation,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Regular bike riders have an eagle eye for our current bike racks but these nine installations will capture the attention of all New Yorkers.”
“The Jersey” is located near the Lincoln Tunnel on 9th Ave and 39th Street is a car.
“The Olde Times Square” depicts a lounging woman on 7th Ave and 44th Street.
“The Villager” is a dog located in on La Guardia Place between W3rd and Bleeker.
“The Chelsea” displayed in front of the PaceWildenstein Gallery, a sponsor of the project, is a man’s form.
“The MoMA” on 6th Ave and 54th Street is a piece of modern art in itself.
“The Ladies’ Mile” is a stiletto on 5th Ave and 57th Street near Manhattan’s best shopping.
“The Wall Street” is a dollar sign located in the financial district at Wall Street and Water Street.
“The Coffee Cup” is on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam between 110th and 111th Streets.
“The Hipster” is the only rack located in Brooklyn, and is a guitar on Bedford Ave and N 6th Street.
The only problem I see with these creative, cool racks is that they are temporary. Because of the city’s policy on public art, they will have to be removed. To make the message truly effective, the city needs to make them permanent, and commission more artists to design similar racks!
What do you think?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
A few days ago I got a membership to the Chelsea Recreation Center. One of the wonderful things about living in a metropolitation city like New York is all the resources avaliable for recreation. The membership to a beautiful lap pool, workout room, etc, is only $37.50 for six months. Joining a gym would be almost three times that for just ONE month! Crazy!
So the next day I got up at 7 to get a quick swim workout in. The pool, I was pleased to find, is not over crowded. I completed some stroke and kick work and then a relaxing and enjoyable 400m breast stroke exercise. I moved on to back, the stroke I may be competing in on my school’s swim team, for a little form work. I’m working on becoming a morning person, so after a measly 200 meters I was feeling winded. I really need to work on my endurance in the pool. As I paused for a breather at the end of the lane, the woman I was sharing it with turned to me.
“You have the straightest backstroke!” she said. “You stay perfectly on your side. I wish everyone were that precise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been smacked in the head.”
Thanks for the compliment, lady! I wonder if that’ll win me points at a meet? “Last place, but wow can you swim a straight line!” After a few more laps I did decide that I was probably the youngest person there by a few decades. No matter! I swam on anyway.
Then I decided to bike around the corner to my local Whole Foods and Whole Body stores for a little eco-shopping. Zipping down the new (wonderful) bike lane on 9th ave I passed what appeared to be none other than Phillip Seymour Hoffman, one of my favorite actors, on a bike! Helmet and all! Who knew he was an eco-friendly biker?
At whole Body I finally invested in a Klean Kanteen, a stainless steel, eco-friendly water bottle. I can finally stop being part of the problem! As we all know by now, plastic water bottles are not only extremely harmful to the environment, but aren't good for our bodies either! I love that there are so many lid and size options for these bottles. I chose the sport top, but you can also get a flat top or a loop cap. The petite 12 oz sippy cup is perfect for kids, the 27 oz is great for my needs, and a larger 40 oz bottle is great for serious hydration. Klean Kanteen also sells a nifty bike cage, in which I will be investing, a hiking strap, and insulators. But the best part? The Kanteen is very eco-chic. You can choose from classic steel, pink, olive green, blue, or black to match your ech-chic style.
After biking around the city a bit, I returned home and fueled up with a banana and half a Cliff Bar (Carrot Cake, yum!) before setting out on a nice 4 mile run. The forecast called for rain, but as of 11:30, it was still just pleasantly cloudy. I headed down the Hudson River Path and marveled at the other lunchtime exercisers. I prefer to run at night, and find that, other than races, when I do run in the morning or during the day I never enjoy it as much. As I was on my way back and hating mid-day, and cute old man on a bike passed me.
“You go girl!” he yelled.
HA! That’s what I love about running, biking, racing, etc. There is some sort of camaraderie we feel towards our fellow man when pushing ourselves to our limits. The smile from the only other runner on that cold morning. The compliment from a fellow swimmer. The cheers from volunteers along a race course. The knowing nod from a cyclist powering it past you in the other direction. I just love it!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
“$120,” said a man manning the booth.
“I’ll take it,” I almost yelled. “Just hold it for me so I can go get cash.”
At the ATM, I called my mom. She did a little internet research and, judging from what she found, the bike was selling around the internet for between $60 and $200. Some claimed it wasn’t worth more than $10, but others said they thought it could go for much more. I’d negotiate the price down a bit, I decided.
I purchased my bike for $100 in the end, which was exactly what I was looking to spend. Panasonic made these bikes in the 1980’s in Japan, and let me tell you, mine is still perfectly wonderful (for me). Not a spot of rust! I replaced the tubes and bought a U-Lock and a helmet and was off!
I long for the day when the huge paychecks I’ll be earning (how do I know they’ll be huge? That’s why I’m going to college, duh) will easily be able to buy me a fantastic racing bike for a few thousand dollars. But for now, my pseudo-vintage flea market find and I are perfectly happy!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008