Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Fitness to All and to All a Good Bike!

I didn't get a "good bike" for Christmas, but it is a lovely sentiment!

It's such a treat to spend the Holidays with my family in the 80 degree weather Florida is so famous for. We started Christmas Eve at my Aunt and Uncle's party on the south end of the island and worked our way up to the north end at my other Aunt and Uncle's party.
Grandma Tilly and I at Aunt Maureen and Uncle Kevin's Christmas Eve Party

We drank and ate too much and finally found our way back home.

Christmas morning my brother woke me up early to open presents around the tree with Mom, Dad and the dogs. My brother Jake got a surf board and a skateboard (from me), Dad got a ton of new golf gear, Mom got some jewelry she'd been eyeing and I got a few fun odds and ends. Even the dogs got new collars and some holiday treats.

Top: Mom with the Mermaid Painting I gave her, Bottom: Dad with his new Iron Man Watch
Then we got in the car and drove up to the north end of the island to visit my Dad's parents for breakfast and gifts.

Jake riding the Bustin Board Skateboard I gave him and Dad
After a well-deserved nap and some cooking we piled in the car again to go south to my Mom's Mom's house for dinner and gifts. My Dad made the family seafood gumbo (and me a vegetarian version, thanks Dad!) I'm always so impressed by what delicious food our family can produce! Mom made some amazing potatoes and Grandma cooked up a variety of scrumptious side dishes.

My cousins Cara and Diana made it into town from Tampa and Athens, GA where they are in school, and it was wonderful to visit with them.

From Left to Right: Diana (cousin from Tampa. FL), Krista (friend from Tallahassee, FL), Jacob (brother), Me, and Cara (cousin from Athens, GA )

Delirious from food and sweets, I met up with my girlfriends to eat some more and exchange gifts late into the night.

Some Christmas highlights include a pretty purple Iron man watch, swimming goggles, bike gloves, a variety of gift cards, an adorable pair of gold ballet flats and even a super-cute, wonderfully practical lunch box:)

I hope everyone reading this had as wonderful of a Holiday as my family did. Merry Fitness to All!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Running in Paradise

My last post was written at JFK Ariport in NYC....I got out of the north right before the crazy snow started, phew! I'm now enjoying the sunny and 78 degree weather in Florida.

This morning I headed out to do a nice 7 mile run along the river in Rockledge. Riveside Drive is an absolutely beautiful place to run (It's actually the route of the Space Coast Marathon). It's lined with ton of beautiful historic houses, lush oak trees heavy with spanish moss, and tropical palm trees to remind me why I love Florida. The only problem is the heat and humidity...but, I can't really complain. At least I'm not stuck in a blizzard!


After the run, back in Cocoa Village. 

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 3)

7 Days until Christmas, 3 days until Hanukkah!

If you read my post about the super cool, affordable yoga studio, Yoga To The People, you may already have guessed that I'm somewhat addicted to yoga:)

I think it's a great way for any kind of athlete to increase strength and flexibility and bring an element of relaxation to training.

But unfortunately most yoga mats are made of icky, unsustainable plastic materials like phthlates which are harmful to the planet and not so good for people. So, I suggest investing in a sustainable hemp, bamboo, or other eco-chic yoga mat option for the yogi on your holiday shopping list. My mom got me the Prana sticky mat for Christmas last year and I absolutely love it!

Here are some of my other favorites:

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 2)

8 Days until Christmas, 4 days until Hanukkah!

Looking for an eco-chic holiday stocking stuffer?

Kiss My Face Holiday Gift Packs

I'm a really huge fan of Kiss My Face organic bath, skin and hair products. I use their shampoo, conditioner and body wash religiously. Since I'm in the pool a lot, it's important for me to have products that protect my hair from the chlorine damage, and Kiss My Face really does the job. Also, the scents are all organic, so they're really, truly fresh. The gift packs are made with organic ingredients like chamomile to calm your tired, overworked self, Shea butter to heal your skin, and sunflower oil to moisturize.

These Holiday Gift Packs feature lip balm, body scrub and moisturizer in cute holiday scents like cranberry spice and vanilla sugar. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 1)

9 Days until Christmas, 5 days until Hanukkah...

Still shopping for Holiday gifts? Here's my eco-chic athlete's gift guide.

Klean Kanteen with Sports Top

The Klean Kanteen is one of my favorite practical things. It's a sturdy, simple re-usable water bottle made from stainless steel, which means it is completely BPA free. It also keeps water cold and crisp, and doesn't spill or sweat easily. The sport's top is perfect if you're on the go, and they also sell a bike cages for cyclists who want to ride green.

It comes in steel, pink, black, green, blue, orange and brown.

More eco-chic gifts coming tomorrow!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Exam Week (Stress) + Bad Economy (Stress) + Yoga (relaxation) = Less Stress

While holding a particularly strenuous chair pose in my yoga class last week, I got to thinking about what yoga can do for us in these troubling economic times. No doubt, it is an excellent form of exercise; but even more than that, it focuses our minds and helps relieve stress.

Yoga is the ancient Indian discipline that seeks to unite the mind and body. As America’s waistband expands and our wallet contracts, more people are looking for affordable exercise options. A survey conducted by CNN in 2004 found that 73% of Americans find money to be their number one stress factor. Imagine what that number must be in the midst of our current financial meltdown.

Using yoga to relive some of this money-related stress and to vary your exercise routine is a wonderful option, but the problem for students like me, is that yoga studios in New York City often charge over $20 a class. That certainly is not an anxiety reliever! Fortunately, there is an option for those who want to Zen-out without worrying about burning a hole in their pocketbooks.

Yoga to the People is a fantastic studio in Manhattan’s East Village that is a completely donation based. (I absolutely love this studio and encourage everyone in NYC or visiting NYC to try a class.) This means that they ask participants to only give what they can – from $1 to as much as $20 or more if you’re in the position to do so. Located on the historic St. Marks Place, the studio teaches an upbeat form of Viyassa Flow Yoga. The instructors are all young and enthusiastic, and the classes are packed full of students and young adults.

“Can you find inner peace while someone’s toes are in your face?” asked my instructor, Emily, during my Sunday afternoon class. “If you can relax here, you can do it anywhere!”

The hour-long session that features an upbeat mix of modern music, ends with an inspiring quote and the Tibetan Singing Bowl, which add an eerie calm to the room. I encourage anyone in New York City even slightly interested to try a class. But make sure to arrive a few minutes early, the room fills up!

Yoga to the People
St. Marks Place near 3rd Ave

(illustration by Christina Coradin
 for w27 Newspaper)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Epic Swim Weekend

I am lucky to be alive (joking, sort of) after a full weekend of swim meets.

Saturday the team was up bright and early to head upstate 3 1/2 hours to the SUNY Delhi Invitational. It's really a great opportunity for a first year team to be invited. Nine teams from all over NY State were there, making it quite a long day!
We started warm-ups at 12 pm, but quickly found that warm was not really in the cards for us that day. It was freezing outside, and that cold air made the pool area and pool water absolutely frigid!

The meet started just after 1 pm. It was our first long format meet, which was an interesting and fun challenge.
I swam several events...maybe even more than this but I'm blanking on the details right now.
400 Medley Relay (Backstroke)
200 Back
200 Free
100 Free
The 400 relay was kind of surprising, because until I went up to the blocks, I thought it was a 200 relay. The water was really cold and even though I'd warmed up for a good half hour, my muscles kind of freaked out. We ended up finishing with a good time though.
I won my 200 back, and I think I won my 200 free and got 3rd or so in the 100 free.
The day was really long, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to test some new organic sports products I wanted to try.

The Liv Organic Sports Drink (Berry flavor) is sweetened with Agave Nectar and is actually surprisingly delicious. It has just enough carbs, sodium and electrolytes to keep my energy up all day.
I also tested Shakies Organic Energy Sports Chews, which are packed with electrolytes and are absolutely fantastic. A few of the girls on the team tried them and agreed that we're total Sharkie fans. Very eco-chic;)

When the meet was finally over at 9:30 pm, we packed up and headed out for a 3 1/2 hour drive in the snow! We got to bed at about 2 am, and set our alarms for 7 am the next morning.

I barley woke up in time to make it to the Sunday meet in Ocean New Jersey, but somehow I found myself in the van again.

Mike told us that we'd placed 3rd out of 9 teams the day before, which is very exciting!

Despite the good news we were all exhausted, so the meet was sort of a cool down from the previous day (although several of my team mates swam amazing times!)
I managed to get through several events:
200 Medley Relay (Backstroke)
200 Free
100 Back
200 Free Relay

This meet was significantly shorter and we were heading back to the city by 2 pm. After several pit-stops for food and our coach's work errands, we made it home. Now we have to face exam week!

I'm going to miss my lovely swim team over break, I can't wait to come back in the New Year and start swimming again!

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