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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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Run, Baby, Run!

I know you're all anxiously awaiting my Physique 57 v. Exhale post and, I swear, it's coming soon. In the meantime, though, my awesome l'il sis - let's call her Little Belle - ran the San Diego Marathon on May 31 and qualified for the Boston Marathon in April. Woohoo! Here's the scoop:

GB: Generally speaking, how did the San Diego Marathon compare to the New York Marathon? Any major differences?
LB: I think the San Diego Marathon is typically known as a faster marathon than NY. San Diego has a few noticeable hills, but the end of the race is mostly flat. NY, on the other hand, has hills pretty much throughout (bridges are tricky!) and a difficult finish. San Diego definitely felt faster to me, but I also trained much harder this time around. On a side note, runners that prefer the cold should be wary of San Diego. We lucked out with a cloudy day, but it can get hot there.

GB: Your goal was to qualify for Boston, and you made it. Did you know throughout the race that you were on pace to qualify?
LB: My (incredibly awesome) coach gave me a race plan with goals for the 5, 10, 15 and 20 mile markers. Because of the pre-established goals, I knew I was pretty much on target the whole race. The "scary" thing was that the race plan was counting on a negative split (meaning faster splits as the race progresses). So, while I knew I was on target at any given point, I also knew I had to go faster make the next goal. By mile 23, I was fairly confident that I was going to make it.

GB: Were there any points where you got nervous about the time?
LB: At the half, my time was 1:50:25, which seemed fairly frightening. But I decided that since it was within the goal markers my coach had provided I was ok, and just concentrated on the plan instead.

GB: Did you do anything differently to prepare this time?
LB: This time around I trained with a team, which I think made all the difference. Without the team, I definitely would not have done all the speed workouts and the hill workouts. At the end of the day, those are what make you faster. I also ran several more 'long runs' this time. Last time I did one 18 miler and one 20 miler. This time I did 2 18s, 1 19 and 2 20s. I wouldn't necessarily suggest this tactic, as it definitely puts you at risk for injury more often. However, it was definitely a confidence booster and confidence approaching the race is nearly as important as training.

GB: What are your goals now for Philly and Boston?
LB: I haven't really established any time goals for the Half Marathons I'm running this year (NY, Philly and Disney). My only real goal is to get you to run one! As for Boston, it's far enough away that I'm not thinking about it yet. But knowing my competitive side, I'll probably go for a PR. (That's a Personal Record).

GB: Any advice for wannabe marathoners?
LB: If you want to run a marathon, but are nervous or doubtful, I'd suggest training with a team. I've trained with and without a team and it really helps to have coaches who really know what they're talking about, as well as teammates who are in the same boat as you. Personally, I've had great experiences with Team in Training, so I'd definitely recommend that to anyone who is interested.

Congratulations again, Little Belle! As for me running a marathon, I've got my eye on the half marathon in Disney... I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-


Waiting to Exhale

It's not that I'm fickle. Really, I'm a rather loyal person. But I hear things. And I get curious.

Often enough, when I tell people that I take classes at Physique 57, they tell me that they take classes at Exhale, another studio that offers Lotte Berke based classes. One friend who has done both tells me the classes are similar, but that Exhale is "less intense." For example, the Exhale instructors won't push you to work through the shaking that inevitably occurs when your muscles have had it. My friend is not alone in having dabbled; I see plenty of people in Physique classes wearing Exhale socks. Still, as much as I've been wanting to compare the two myself, I've never really been motivated to choose Exhale over Physique on any given day.

A few weeks ago, however, I got an email from BluePrintCleanse about a new package they are offering in conjunction with Exhale. It's a 3 day juice cleanse plus 3 Exhale classes and 1 Exhale spa service. That- and the 25% off coupon that I've been waiting to use - cinched it.

So, starting tomorrow I'll be doing 3 days of juicing and Exhale classes. I've signed up for open level morning classes at their studio on Madison and 77th. I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-


It's Getting Hot In Here

No upper eastside gym-goer could honestly claim that gym-going is a drama free experience.

We spinners in particular seem somewhat drama prone. Everyone remembers the guy who threw the spin bike @ the 85th street Equinox. There are constant snits over who reserved what bike. (Just this morning, my bike was stolen by some tatted out dude.) There are the ladies in the low cut Lulu tops shamelessly throwing themselves at the instructors. And if two women show up in the same Lulu top ...

Still, we expect better from yogis. So what on earth is going down at Some Like It Hot? An "Urgent" (I kid you not) email went out from the owner of the 63rd street hot yoga studio this afternoon thanking her loyal patrons and going on to say "for those of you who have taken my childhood, hard work and loyalty and turned it against me via slandering my name and business on Citysearch and other websites; you will be sued if your posts and comments are not removed from such websites immediately!" The email concludes with "You call yourselves YOGI's...suggestion for the day...take a good, hard look in the does not lie!" Oy.

I don't know that I've been to Some Like It Hot since sometime in 2006. Before the Bikram place on 83rd street opened, Some Like It Hot was the only place I knew on the east side that offered "hot yoga." It was not traditional bikram by any stretch, but it was, well, hot. I remember thinking that it was a tad expensive, but it was clean and the instructors were nice. Perhaps times have changed?

I only skimmed Citysearch, but there seem to be a few rather unhappy customers whose reviews are at least as colorful as the email that went out today. I can't say I want to know the all sordid details (though tell me if you must), but I can't help but wonder if all these people would be a lot calmer if they did a little less yoga and little more kickboxing.

-Gym Belle-

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