July 4th & Bliss Spa

It’s Monday, and it’s not that I have the “Mondays” as much as long weekend is over and so is my life WAAAAAAHH! blues.

It was 95s most of the weekend and for the first time in a few years I decided to take a brake and relax.  Instead of waking up at 7AM to try to run while it was only 83 and not 93, I slept in, took 5 showers a day (sometimes 6 my current record) and play with the laser pointer and my cats.  And don’t worry, I took some videos such as the jump and the Jacko go round.  

On Wednesday, I got out of work early for the long weekend and went to Bliss Spa for a ginger wrap treatment.  (I had an expiring GiltCity voucher I needed to use).

Well first I started with a pretty great breakfast:

Guacamole!!! Of course I had to get an omelette and home fries.

Anyways back to Bliss Spa.  Its near Chinatown at the W-Hotel so gross location but swanky hotel.

The locker rooms were loaded with all the bliss products to use after your shower.

You then wait in this swanky waiting area couch with some refreshments.  I could have used some champagne too but I guess lemon ice water and their infamous brownies will have to do.

Now you might think this is torture:

But basically they lotion you up in real ginger and then foil you up to bake in the ginger.  It was nice but a little to hot for the 93 weather outside.

They have really awesome steam showers and multiple headed showers where you feel like you’re in a tropical forest.  However, I was a little hot and just took my cold shower, dosed myself in all the bliss products and moved on.

Zebra dress from Marshalls via Instagram Unvalidated 

Our July 4th started out healthy!

Okay, that was a lie, but it was FREE!  Nathan hotdog plus Italian ice, can it really ever get more American?  Malden does this free grill thing on the 4th in all it’s parks!

We searched 4 stores for a cooler but in the end all I purchased was a pair of shiny owl earrings from Old Navy.

Cajun Crawfish rolls from Stop & Shop which after I wiped down the mayo, tasted pretty good for supermarket sushi.  Anyone else ever buy impulse supermarket sushi?

Tony and I donned our red, pasty white and blue.  He refused to take a photo since he copied my outfit and instead I sneaked one in.

We went to a fabulous BBQ at a friend’s house were I was too busy eating and chatting to be a paparazzi.  Afterwards, we went to the Cambridge side of the Charles and watched what I believe is the best Fireworks show in the country!

Crackheaded smile for all!

And I know all of you had enough of instagram and vine video of fireworks.  But just in case you haven’t, here’s a taste of what Boston did! Instagram Unvalidated 

How was your July 4th?  See any fireworks?

Staying in (running) shape during a heat wave – My attempts

As the 5th day of 90 degrees and humidity blesses the streets of Boston, many of us sit here and wonder what to do with ourselves as we stare at our charged up Garmins and a clean pair of shoes.

Even the trails offer no real shelter from this heat.  The shade can only do so much.  Here’s some things I’ve come up with to keep myself from going crazy, busy while keep some form of running shape.

Last year I wrote why and how to run in 95 degrees,  But I’m a little older, a little wiser, and while my tips from last year are still good, I have a few more things to add for how and why I’m staying in running shape this summer.  90 degrees, 100 degrees, you don’t scare me!

1. Cross-train – Now I’ll be first to admit, I hate crossing training.  I love running, it’s all I want to do, most of the time.  However, summer presents a great opportunity to brush up (or learn) on swimming and biking! Two things that are highly unpleasant to do in the dead of a blizzard in sub zero temperatures.

Jamis Joplin

Aside from all the usual great benefits of just biking and swimming to begin with.  These are both great cardio workouts!  A 3 hour bike ride is 3 hours of your heart working out.  It might not be as great as running, but it’s the closest thing I found that’s still outside.

And swimming! I still suck at it, but there’s something quite blissful about being in a pool of water, after being outside in the heat.  Even if the said pool is of questionable hygiene at your local Y.

P.S. Please wear a helmet when you bike (for your safety) and a swim cap (for my safety) in public pools because seeing hairballs the size of rodents isn’t pleasant.

2. Run early or late – As much as I hate waking up early, I find that here, the mornings are more pleasant than the evenings when it can take until complete darkness for the temperature to cool off.

3. Join a gym – I’m blessed with treadmills at work but I also have a Y membership that I use for swimming and running on weekends when I just don’t want to be in the sun. I actually freeze my membership in the winter (when it’s packed with all the New Year resolution people) and unfreeze in April.  There’s plenty of gyms out there that only cost $10 – $20 and they may not have towel service or classes, but usually they have a semi working treadmill and an AC and quite frankly that’s good enough for me.

4. Treadmill for shorter distance – Tied to joining a gym and/or buying a treadmill for indoor running.  While, I rather kill myself with a butter knife than do a 20 miler on a treadmill again, they do have some benefits.  They’re perfect for harnessing some speed workouts for a new 5K or 10K PR without ever having to drag your sweat dripped bum to the track.

5. Acclimate into the heat – Run slower, fewer miles at first.  You can’t go from running 3 hour 22 milers in 50 degrees to 3 hour 22 milers in 90 degrees.  You need to start slow and sadly with each summer, you need to do it again.  Start with 5 milers and work your way up.  You get used to it.  I can’t promise it will ever feel pleasant (unless you’re one of those freak of natures who loves 100 degree runs) but it does get easier.

Fall PR Earned in Summer

Summer heat… I’ll run through it, but that’s won’t keep me from complaining about it!

Favorite way or tip for staying in running shape over the hot summer days?

Balancing Life with Running

The past few weeks I’ve been struggling with an identity crisis. Yes, I think I know who I am and what I want for most things but with running I’m still finding my way. B It’s been a little over a year since my running turned from just a way to get my 30 minutes of sweat a day to something a little more complicated.


:B a pursuit outside onebs regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation


:B the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture


:B the quality or state of being addicted
:B compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance

Where do I stand? B I know that it started as a hobby and at some point where all I would do is run, read about running, talk about running or think about running I was on a brink of addiction. B Now a few weeks later where do I stand?

Did I burn out the candle like otherB infatuations? B No, with more time and cooler weather I still love a great long run. B That’s good. B Have I demoted running to a life-style or a hobby? Possibly.

I’m still reading Scott Jurek’s book eat and runB B and still browsing through my collection of Running Times magazines. B However, I am going to stopB prioritizingB each weekend with a 15+ miles. B I am not going to train and most likely not do the Montreal marathon. B Yes I love Montreal and I think there is almost no cooler way to visit then through a marathon but my summer priorities are areB re-characterizingB running as a hobby and not as an addiction.

For me summers are about weekend getaways, rooftop bar nights with friends and day trips in the sunny weather. B If I ran 20 miles that day while I would still have the energy to hang out, I would not want to spend the rest of the day biking. B I don’t enjoy that much strain on my body and trying to figure out how I can sustain my weight and still do everything I love. I want to get faster, I want to run more but I also want to do everything else I love.

Two weeks ago when I went to visit my parents at the Catskills was probably when I decided to quit marathon training this summer. B Had I gotten up to run the 13-15 miles I was supposed to on any of those days I would not have had the time to bike 21 miles or hike 11 miles with people I love. B Yes, I could wake up earlier to get that done before everyone else wakes up but that would turn running into an errand vs. something I just love to do. B I love sleeping in and staying up all night watching bad shows as much as I love running!

Instead of trying to figure out how I can schedule in a 4 hours run I’m going to run when I can in my free time probably more often but in shorter distances. B And yes a 20 miler that took me 3 hours in the winter takes me 4 hours in the summer. B Unless I’m running to stay warm I have no motivation to go fast.

I am also trying for a 5K running streak from July 4th to Labor day so we will see how that goes. B So far I’m good for week 1. B My other summer goals?

1. Long Weekend getaway to Chicago

2. Spending the day in Providence & of course the RnR Providence half marathon

3. Water-Fire in providence

4. Hike up Mount Washington

5. Paint our attic

6. Bike the full Cape Code scenic trail

7. Visit my family and friends in Brooklyn

8. Part of 7, see Coney Island Fireworks on a Friday night

9. Day trips to NewB HampshireB and maybe Maine

10. Work on RunToMunch.com so I can be self hosted instead of using wordpress.com


What are your summer plans? Goals?

How to run in 95 degree weather or just hot weather Part 2 of 2

In my last post I argued why running in blistering heat is good for you! In the second part I’ll talk about some tips I’m using or plan on using this summer.
They say in running all you need is a pair of shoes. B As I and every runner out there looks at their closet, we all know that’s not true. B Aside from vanity outfits and fancy watches, every drastic season requires its gear. B I think true fall and maybe spring (not that I know what spring is since Boston goes from snow to 95 degrees) are the only times of the year where I can take my sneakers, throw on any capri & shirt and just go running. B Summer; however, just like winter requires some extra thought before I head out.

Hot Weather Essentials – What I found I need to survive a hot run

1. Water Device – This is a must when it’s really hot. Some people stash water bottles or rely on water fountains but if it’s 95 degrees out there, you should play it safe and bring your own on you. They say you should drink at least 8 oz. of water every one to two hours on your run. Usually that means taking a sip here and there every 15-20 minutes for me. There are tons of options out there! My choice is a handheld. I like how it’s easy access to water at any moment. Only annoying part is I have to carry it.

This one on amazon seems pretty similar to mine. B I like to put my iphone in the side pocket and that works for me. Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 10-Ounce Hand-held Bottle. Tony on the other hand prefers his fanny pack like this Nathan Speed 2 Waist Pack with Two 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks one. I personally find them a little annoying to manage and the bottles bruises up my hips. Regardless,B get one that you find comfortable and you’ll use all the time. I saw a bunch of them at Marshalls for around the same price as Amazon so check them out there.

2. Electrolyte replacement – I hate to break it to you but no matter what you’re going to sweat and it’s going to be a lot. With the water bottle above you’ll be able to replace some of the water you sweat out but not electrolytes. If you’re going outside for just a 30 minutes run I think you should be okay. Again I’m no doctor or expert but that’s a small rule I follow for myself. For longer runs I use 1 nuun Active Hydration Drink tab.  I haven’t worked up to 20 milers in the summer yet but I think once I get up to that I might use 2 Nuun tabs by refilling my bottle on the second part of my run. They sell the single tubes at running expos for about $5 and running stores for like $6 a tube. My favorite flavor is the pink lemonade followed by the ice tea one. Some people also mix Gatorade or Powerade with water and take that on their runs. My stomach wants to punish me badly every time I go near Gatorade so it’s not for me but others enjoy it. Other suggestions I read was carrying pretzels or some salts packs on you. Play around with different things on your shorter runs until you find some electrolyte balancing method that works for you and use it!

3. Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock – Skin cancer is bad mmmkay…. wrinkles are even worse (jk, kinda haha). Either way for vanity or health wear at least SPF 15 pretty much everywhere. I just ordered Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 45 Twin Pack 3.0 Fl Oz from amazon to bring one bottle to my parents house because they have this theory that sunblock doesn’t expire and use some stuff they brought a decade ago. Speaking of which, sunblock expires! Don’t buy a Costco bulk unless you plan on using it all up in one season. While expired sunblock won’t hurt you, it won’t be protecting you either. B If you use coupon codeB SUN58965 on the amazon link you get an extra 20% off. I wear that stuff on my face too but I guess you can buy face specific sunblock as well… I have to admit though I’m one of those girls that in the winter, I decide that the SPF in my moisturizer and make-up is enough, but in the summer I don’t play that game. B Sunblock! Sunblock!

4. Great Socks – For the most part I can run in any type of sock and don’t have issues unless it’s hot and humid. Blisters suck! When it’s humid and hot there’s only so much moisture most socks can take. I know some people bring an extra pair and switch. B I hate carrying things so I try my hardest to avoid that. B I did find a pair by accident and so far a year later it has yet to fail me. I only have one pair and I only use it on race days and long runs when it’s above 80. I ordered ASICS Women’s Hera Quarter Running SocksB on amazon last year and didn’t realize that for $11.99 you only get one pair. However, after the 5 hour nightmare that was the Boston Marathon, I don’t regret it. In the winter I used these Thorlo Unisex Experia CoolMax Mini Crew Sock (I got them at Marshalls for half the price) but I find the thick bottom and top too hot for the summer. B Tony doesn’t have this issue but I guess I just sweat at ton more than the average human.

5. All your other clothes – I have to also confess, I like running in cute silly logos and quote cotton t-shirts and when I go to the gym for just a 5 mile run I still do; however, not for outside. instead when running outside in really hot weather, I look for light-colored, loose-fitting wicking running gear. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler and your pores unclogged. Back acne will never be sexy. I buy these tech shirts at target in every colour when they become last season and become half the price. For bottoms as you call tell from my other post, I’ve become quite the fan of searching Marshalls for running skirts (except Fila, don’t get those, they’re funky sizing at Marshalls).

6. Other things that are highly recommended – Sunglasses I hear are comfortable and would probably prevent my eyes from being closed in every racing photo; however, I don’t own a pair and have no advice to give on which ones work. Hats are good too to cover up your dome. Sometimes, but not as often as I should, I wear this white cap I got somewhere. It’s something like this ASICS cap and really helps out on those days where there’s really no shade. Only advice I can give is make sure it’s white. I have a black one from the colder days and I can tell you one thing it’s not good for, reflect the sun.

Now that you have your clothes, socks and most importantly water with some electrolytes you’re ready to go outside!

Hot Weather Running Tips

1. Adjust your speed!B The American Running and Fitness Association recommends that on your first run in the heatB you should cut your intensity by 65 to 75 percent. Then over the next 10 days, slowly build back to your previous level. I’m not sure what that means but I know my race speed is about 7:35 min mile, my regular run speed on my own is 8:05 and when it’s hot I’ve been running between 8:30-8:45 and feeling the burn.

2. Plan Ahead – Make sure you have a way out if you don’t feel well or have a water stop around or store (bring cash). B Carry a water bottle as I mentioned above and I usually break up my runs into 2 smaller loops vs. 1 giant loop to be closer to home in case I need more water.

3. Don’t forget to drink. I know this is repetitive but by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

4. Acclimate yourself by working yourself up to long runs as you get used to the heat. It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to acclimate to warmer conditions. Indications of dehydration include elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear. I know I can’t be the only runner out there whose favorite thing to do after a long run is to check out her pee.

Running in extreme weather is risky and while I highly advocate working through this obstacle you should still be careful and be aware of the risks involved. Marathon Guide has this cool chart that I am borrowing for this post.

Heat Stress Risk with Physical Activity
and/or Prolonged Exposure
90B0 – 105B0 Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible
105B0 – 130B0 Heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely Heatstroke possible
130B0+ Heatstroke highly likely

Check the Heat Index Chart for apparent temperature. This is the number that calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.

Marathon Guide lists theB followingB SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS

Causes: Loss of electrolytes and accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
Conditions: Muscle cramps and/or spasms, heavy sweating, normal body temperature.
Treatment: Drink water and sports drink, slow down, massage affected area.

Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition and loss of electrolytes.
Conditions: Profuse sweating, possible drop in blood pressure (less than 90 systolic, the top number), normal or slightly elevated body temperature, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, decreased coordination, possible fainting.
Treatment: Rest in a cool place, drink water and sports drink, if BP drops below 90 systolic, call EMS, avoid activity for at least 24 hours, refrain from running or exercising in the heat for at least one week.

This is a medical emergency!
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition, older age, dehydration, obesity, wearing heavy clothing, running in the heat when you have an infection or fever, certain drugs such as amphetamines, diuretics, beta blockers, cardiovascular disease, poor acclimatization, high blood pressure.
Conditions: High body temperature (106 or higher), lack of sweating characterized by dry, red skin, altered consciousness.
Treatment: Call EMS! Rest in a cool place, remove clothing to expose skin to air, apply ice packs or cool water to groin, underarms, neck (stop if shivering).

Other things of interest, while researching hot weather running I found this article from Running Times I though some might enjoy  Myths about running in the heat

That’s all the essentials that I can think of that I use, what are yours? Where do you get them? When I lived in Brooklyn or Somerville, I used to go to stores to buy things but after dating Tony, Amazon prime membership came with him so with free 2-day shipping I’ve become one of those Amazon ordering freaks.

What are your other tips for running in the heat? B Any advice and lessons from the run?