' Adventures with FitNyx

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Born Again

Hello, it's been a while.  Not much - how 'bout you?

Well, 2017 is well underway, and I've been completely silent for most of it.  There's been a lot happening, most notably my purchase of a home and all the moving that goes with it!  Needless to say, my attention has been largely elsewhere for weeks, but after two signs (a new coworker calling me out for not blogging lately, and coming home to turn on the radio to hear the excellent and moving "Coming Back To Life" by Pink Floyd) I was reminded that I am long overdue for getting back to this blog.  If you're still following me, thanks for your patience!  If you're a new reader, welcome and stick around as I build myself back up into a blogger again!  If you're not following me anymore...  Well you're probably not gonna read this anyway, so I guess I have nothing to say to you.

Of course I have plenty of stories to tell, both from the past few months and exciting things I'm anticipating in the weeks to come, but for now I'm just shaking the dust off the ol' login, turning on the lights, and kicking on the furnace (can you tell I'm a homeowner again?) to get things started and warmed up a bit.  Coming soon, I'll catch up on race recaps from the last four half marathons of my 12-in-12 goal, which I completed about two weeks ago, and lots of posts about the house and my plans/attempts to make it a home.  And with the weather warming up (and more races on the calendar) I'm sure there will be new fitness adventures to share, too!

Meanwhile, tell me all about how 2017 has been treating YOU!

Just a quick sneak peek!  Actual living-in-it
photos on the way in future posts!

Monday, January 9, 2017


I had a huge post written for New Year's.  It started with a meaningful resolution and through the writing of it, I ended up branching into a lot of points without really feeling like I had conveyed anything I was trying to say.  That's how my life feels lately.  Wandering.  Indirect.  Never able to express things clearly.  There's a lot of confusion.  Even this paragraph, right now - I have no idea where I'm going with this or what I want to try to say here or how to get it out properly.

I don't have many friends.  Tons and tons of acquaintances, but when I really need someone to talk to, I've been coming up dry.  When I DO have the opportunity for a meaningful conversation, I struggle too much to get my thoughts and feelings across.  I haven't written much lately and I've avoided a lot of people simply because I don't know how to make people understand.

Or misattributed.  I chose this one on purpose, it's so on-point.

This isn't a new phenomenon in my life.  I've never felt understood.  I've never been able to convey my essence or my thought process or my ethos or whatever to anyone in my life, and that has made me feel so very distant, all the time.  There are precious few connections in my world that feel genuine and even fewer that last more than a few weeks.  This has always been the case, no matter how hard I work in any given situation to forge something meaningful and enduring.  Somehow I am always thwarted - and it is usually by my own actions.  I try to express something important and come to an understanding, but I am never able to speak clearly enough to be understood.

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of it.  I can't seem to do anything right to keep the things I want and love in my life.  I've lost so many great things that every time a new one comes into my life, I spend every day worrying about when I'll lose this next one.  Basically, I'm living in fear, and it's crippling me.  I hate it.

Something has to change.  I need to break this cycle.  I can't keep losing everything meaningful after fighting so hard just to get them in the first place.  This is my goal for 2017, my resolution, my promise to myself.  I have to find a way to move forward and find ways to connect.  Find ways to establish stability and not only earn good things, but to keep them.  And to figure out how to make people understand who I am.  To stop being the misfit, the odd one out, the expendable one that just doesn't quite work with everyone else.  Because it's killing me.

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but hopefully I can find a way before I lose anything else.  Before I feel any more marginalized and trivial in my own world.  So I guess, bring it on 2017, let's try to make this work for once, eh?

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Year In Review: Racing

The past couple years have seen a lot of changes in my life, but 2016 actually brought me at least a little stability.  Though I'm still looking for a place to live, I DID find a fabulous job (as a race manager, of all things!) and am establishing myself in my hometown of Cleveland in a way I never expected.  My weekends are FULL of racing now, and while that's usually because I'm managing or timing races for others to run, that hasn't kept me from getting my own mileage in over the course of the year.  In fact, this year's mileage is higher than my past two years combined!  Not only did I run more raw mileage than ever before, but I also crushed my old PRs at every distance I attempted in 2016.  Oh, there's also that little "ran my first marathon" thing tucked in there too...  Check out this year's racing stats review below!

Total mileage: 450.51 miles

Month with the most mileage: September (100.17 miles)

Month with the least mileage: January (4.11 miles)

 Longest run: 27.89 miles

Total number of races completed: 14

Number of 5k races completed: 3

5k PR time: 25:38 (Eagles on Foot)

Number of half marathons completed: 9

Half PR time: 2:03:20 (Towpath Marathon Half)

Number of full marathons completed: 1

Full PR time: 5:56:35 (Marine Corps Marathon)

Oddball distance races completed: 1 (10M)

10 Mile PR time: 1:37:47 (Towpath 10-10)

Favorite race this year: Towpath Marathon Half.  I'm always a sucker for Towpath races, and when you throw in a hefty PR (only a month after a previously-hefty PR) and the perfect day, this race has it pretty much locked up.  Beautiful trail (even if it's a little monotone after a while), great people, cool swag, tons of friends...  I really couldn't ask for more out of a race.  This might end up being the all-time favorite, but it's early to make THAT big of a claim!

Least favorite race this year: Santa Hustle Cedar Point Half Marathon.  Good Lord was this race miserable.  I ran with a friend and if it hadn't been for that, I probably wouldn't even have gone.  The awful wind, bitter cold, and unrelenting snow coupled with an intensely boring course to make this 13 mile slog the only real blemish on an otherwise great year.  We made the most of it and found ways to keep ourselves smiling as much as possible, but I've never been so thrilled to be done with a race before in my life.  Even the miserable parts of the marathon weren't as bad as this.

Accomplishment of which I am most proud: Most people would probably say "finishing a marathon" here, but honestly?  I'm more proud of the fact that I trained for the marathon and actually stuck to my plan.  Some people told me they didn't think I'd ever make it - but I put my mind to it and followed through.

Primary goal for next year: My 2016 was the Year of the Marathon - and now that I've "been there, done that", I think I'm over this long distance thing.  I love my half marathons and will continue my long-term goal of running a half in all 50 states, but for 2017 I'm going to turn my focus to speedwork.  My 5k PR has come down quite a bit, but I'd like to get into the 24 minute range, with a stretch goal to finish a 5k in under 24 minutes.  Additionally, I'd like to bring my "official" half marathon time under 2 hours, with a stretch goal of hitting 1:50.  These seem like lofty goals right now, but I have a plan and hopefully I'll stick to it as much as I (surprisingly) stuck to my marathon plan!

How did 2016 treat YOUR fitness lifestyle?  What were some of your favorite races or running accomplishments?  What are you looking forward to in 2017?  Any big goals?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Shopping Guide: Yoga Lovers

We're getting very close to Christmas, but there's still some time for last minute gifts!  Still stressing about that yoga lover you're just not quite sure what to give?  Don't get all bent out of shape - try one of these great yoga gifts!

Sequence Yoga Mat - Every yogi needs a mat or two or ten!  I hear a lot of people who say "oh I'm sure they already have a mat..." and feel compelled to remind them that mats get dirty and worn out.  Yogis sweat and yoga mat material doesn't always clean up so nicely.  Mats get lost or damaged.  If you see a pretty pattern or innovative new mat option, don't dismiss it as a gift idea!  Most yogis would love to have a couple mats to rotate through or even layer together on harder surfaces.

Yoga Mat Towel - Okay, so maybe they already HAVE a dozen mats and are running out of space.  Why not try a yoga mat towel?  These towels are created to match the length and width of a yoga mat, and often have corner pockets into which the mat corners can be tucked to hold the towel in place.  They're especially great for hot yoga enthusiasts who may sweat onto the mat and lose their grip!  Some mat towels are even thick enough to double as somewhat of a travel mat, since they can roll or fold up easily into luggage.

YogDev Yoga Wheel - Props are a fantastic way to spread the yogi love!  Blocks and straps are easy to find stocking stuffers, but innovative props are even more fun and creative.  Yoga wheels are versatile pieces of yoga equipment that allow deeper poses, more support, and greater challenges - which makes the wheel a perfect gift for ANY level.  Plus, they come in tons of colors, and some wheels are even available with patterns.  Take $5 off your wheel order at YogDev with promo code 5OFFYOGAWHEEL.

Yoga Cards - Talk about a perfect stocking stuffer!  This little deck is marketed as a game for teaching children yoga, but I've also found it to be a very cool tool for improving my own practice.  You can play the game as described in the pack, or just shuffle up a unique flow for your next session!  Or, try working on a pose each day by drawing a random card from the deck.  Any yogi would love to give this pack a try.

TrueLife Fitness Leggings - Apparel, apparel, apparel!  Yogis need clothes too!  In fact, yoga leggings are one of the most fun pieces of clothing to shop for, since there are so many exciting patterns and beautiful designs on the market.  But for the perfect yoga leggings, look no further than TrueLife Fitness.  Available in full length or capri styles, the material is the softest and most breathable of any leggings I've ever worn.  The best added bonus, though, is that each sale from TrueLife sends a donation to Women Win - a charity that helps provide young women with access to sports and physical activity.  Not only are you gifting yoga to your loved one, but you're enriching the world for the next generation at the same time.

Okay!  Time's running out!  Get shopping!  And don't forget to check out my Recovery Stocking Stuffers list for a few extra ideas that will fit almost ANY active lifestyle!  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

IdealLean Raspberry Lemonade BCAAs

I've become a huge advocate for recovery over the past year as I've learned just how important it is to take care of your body properly while living actively.  As my recovery strategy has developed, I've discovered helpful techniques and beneficial practices that make it easy to stay healthy and get stronger during a rigorous training schedule.  One of the most valuable products I discovered in my quest for better recovery is the magical power of a good BCAA blend.

Disclaimer: I received IdealLean products to try and review.  I am under no obligation to promote the product, and all opinions expressed in this and any related posts are, as always, my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a key part of muscle recovery for a very simple reason: they are literally the foundation of muscle mass!  These amino acids comprise over a third of your muscle tissue, but a number of them cannot be created by your body and need to be consumed through diet to keep your muscles growing and healthy.  A deficit of these nutrients will cause you to lose lean muscle mass - which is kinda the opposite of what a good workout program is meant to do!  By adding a concentrated BCAA blend to your post-workout recovery cocktail, you'll ensure your body has enough amino acids to maintain muscle mass even if you're trying to cut fat weight.  Additionally, keeping your amino acid levels sufficiently well-stocked will boost your immune system, so consuming a BCAA blend is even more beneficial during cold and flu season.

As an advocate for BCAA recovery beverages for quite some time now, I frequently field the question: "how are BCAAs different from protein powder?"  Honestly, many protein powders have BCAA blends included and provide a much broader muscle repair strategy.  The biggest difference I can emphasize would be the drinkability of BCAAs immediately prior to a workout, during your workout, and immediately following your workout.  Protein powders may contain a more robust package of nutrients, but they are often heavy or thick and can leave you feeling very full; many people experience gas or other GI issues from a protein-heavy diet as well.  Protein drinks contain a lot of calories and often come in dessert flavors like cake batter or chocolate.  BCAA blends, on the other hand, are much lighter on the stomach, come in more refreshing flavors, and have zero calories.

Also available in blueberry pomegranate, green apple, grape, and orange.

I've been using IdealLean's raspberry lemonade BCAA mix for a couple months now, and I can tell you first-hand the benefits.  Since incorporating a good BCAA into my nutrition and workout plan, I've noticed even after difficult and exhausting strength workouts my recovery time has greatly diminished.  Next-day soreness is minimal, and the dreaded two-day DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is almost non-existent now.  Recovery from a demanding exercise day used to take a while, but now I can get right back into the mix and raise my work level higher without taking so much rest.  I actually combine the BCAA mix with an electrolyte/hydration product like Hydrus for long training runs and post-run, since I'll need quick absorption of the nutrients and can't be bogged down by a cakey protein powder mid-run.

Ice baths suck.  But a recovery cocktail helps!

BCAAs are both refreshing and powerful.  I keep a jar at home, at the office, and in my gym bag so I know I'll always be able to grab some liquid recovery whenever I need it.  Supposedly, consuming BCAAs mid-workout will also provide an additional energy boost (along the lines of a pre-workout), but I haven't noticed any energy effects during my workouts yet.  For me, BCAAs have become a tried-and-true recovery product, through and through!  If you're looking to take your fitness to the next level and you're tired of battling soreness that holds you back, grab yourself some BCAAs and get back to hitting it hard.

You can even get $5 off your order of $30 or more from IdealLean!  Just use promo code MARKET5 at checkout - plus they're always running year-round special offers and amazing holiday promos right now!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Shopping Guide: Recovery Stocking Stuffers

Every athlete at any level risks their body every time they train.  Even with proper form, technique, and awareness, the threat of strains, pulls, fatigue, and overuse lingers daily.  Why not help your favorite athlete heal faster and recover better with some great holiday stocking stuffers?!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

PainCakes - The recovery that sticks!  This awesome little ice pack is self-adhesive and reusable, so you can slap it on your sore spots to get relief, then stick it back in the freezer to have it ready for next time!  No wraps, covers, or frustration necessary.  Great for ANY athlete!

SLS3 Compression Sleeves - Though some people actually wear compression socks or sleeves during their runs, I've found them to be absolutely ideal for recovery post-run.  Graduated compression gently squeezes the blood vessels to allow better flow of nutrients to muscles, allowing for faster rebuilding after putting your fibers to the test.  PLUS, right now you can take 40% off your order with code FITNYX40 through 1/31/17!

Telic Recovery Footwear - After pounding the pavement for miles upon miles, your feet can get more than a little sore, and the constant impact can throw much of your body out of whack too.  With Telic shoes or flip flops, tired feet and legs are more comfortably supported and harsh footstep impacts are reduced.  The heat-activated material conforms to the shape of your foot while you wear them, giving you a perfect fit every time.  Use promo code AMANDAN5 to get $5 off your order!

Massages - Nothing says "recovery" like a massage!  Treat your loved ones' sore muscles to a good rub-down with a gift card to a local massage parlor or a relaxing spa day.  A card makes a great stocking stuffer, OR you can get a little mini-massager (like the foot massagers below) to wrap up with a card or a pre-paid package.

IdealLean BCAA Mix - Whether it's cardio or strength work, post-workout muscle soreness is a very real problem.  Working out hard actually tears your muscles, and it's the rebuilding process that makes them stronger.  Speed up that rebuilding time and provide your athlete with more of the essential branched-chain amino acids that are vital to muscle recovery with one of IdealLean's delicious BCAA blends.  These powders mix easily into water for a refreshing and powerful post-workout beverage!  IdealLean is running tons of holiday specials, and you can even get $5 off your order of $30+ with promo code MARKET5!

Recovery is a GREAT way to show you care!  Support your favorite runner/lifter/yogi with gifts that will keep them doing the things they love longer and safer - that's a happy holiday all around!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Shopping Guide: Runners

Runners like to think we're pretty easy to shop for, but that doesn't stop our families from asking us "uhh, so what do you want for Christmas?" every year!  If you're stuck on ideas shopping for that runner in YOUR life, consider some of these great options.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

BUFF Headbands - Keep your ears, neck, face, and head warm and cozy for winter running with a Merino wool Buff!  Or, in the warmer months, get a UV Buff to protect your face and neck from harsh sun exposure.  Buffs come in dozens of colors and patters, so you're sure to find the perfect style for ANY personality!  They also make bandannas, gloves, scarves, and traditional headbands.

RunLites Gloves - Light up the night and stay safe with RunLites!  These gloves contain removable light packs that rest on the back of your hand, making them much more comfortable than a headlamp and completely unobtrusive while you're running, not to mention easier to aim when you need to scan your surroundings.  There's even an elastic that will hold your race fuel for you!

Race Entries - This is a sure winner!  Pick a dream race or even just an open-ended offer and make your own gift certificate!  Every runner's worst nightmare is figuring out how to afford their race schedule.  Take some of that burden off their shoulders and they'll love you forever...

JournalMenu Training Planner - Fully customizeable both inside and out, this is a gift that can be tailored to ANYone.  From creating personalized covers to choosing your page layout, and even picking supplemental and informational inserts to be included, JournalMenu lets you craft a tool that meets any goal or training program!

Hydrus Performance Hydration - A liquid concentrate electrolyte mix, Hydrus is one of the best hydration products available on the market.  Not only is it excellent for long runs, hot runs, and recovery, it's also being used by major hospitals to help rehydrate patients suffering from symptoms like nausea and vomiting.  The power is in the microbubble formula that will take your insides from parched to healthy in record time! (Use promo code FITNYX to get free shipping on your Hydrus order!)

Polar Performance Watch - For the serious runner, Polar wearables provide a wealth of training feedback, including distance, splits, pace, heart rate, elevation, and more.  All that delicious data helps track goal progress and highlights opportunities for improvement.  Even the casual runner can enjoy the benefits of GPS tracking and step counting!  (Plus, free shipping on orders over $100!)

Shoes - Every runner needs shoes, but do be mindful that it's not ideal to run in just any ol' shoe.  Many runners get fitted for the right amount of support and fit for their gait; some even get custom-formed insoles to ensure the shoe meets their body's needs.  If you're not sure which shoe your runner needs, consider a gift card to a running store instead!

iTunes Gift Card - Runners are music lovers too!  Especially on those long runs, it's great to have a long playlist of all your favorites.  Stuff a little running love into their stocking this year with a gift card to fill their devices with their favorite running jams!

Hope this has helped you find the perfect presents for the runners on your list!  Stay tuned for more holiday shopping guides, including ideas for lifters, yogis, and recovery products for ANY fitness fanatic!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!