Archive | November, 2013

Run, Cicely! Run!

8 Nov

I am not an athlete. The marathons I love best involve my Netflix queue.

Somewhere in this weight-loss cycle, however, I began to enjoy running. I have no clue how that happened.

I know why it appealed to me: I’m ridiculously cheap. I come from a family of thrifty people. Savings accounts are things of beauty among my people. I’ve had three jobs in the past 10 years and my dad hates it because I’m ruining my chances for a pension. Daddy, much like his daughter, likes to think of the long-term savings.

This was my first 5K that I ran with friends in Long Island. I can't remember my time (think it was a little less than 40 minutes), but I do remember I was impressed with myself.

My first 5K in Long Island. I think my time was a little less than 40 minutes. This was also midway through my weight-loss cycle.

That’s where running comes in. It’s so damn cheap! If you’re mindful about it, all you need are shoes. Just about everyone has old sweats and T-shirts around. And if not, head to a thrift store. My only suggestion is don’t skimp on the shoes. You’re going to have to walk on these feet and with these legs for the rest of your life. Your choice of shoe will make a world of difference.

One of the other benefits about running is that it’s a great use of time. All you have to do is go outside your door. I live in New York where there are always people on the streets. But here, pedestrians have a little respect for runners and will step aside when you say, “Excuse me.” And despite the notion of New York being the concrete jungle, there are plenty of dirt paths and tracks to run here. You can run from your door to any number of parks like Central Park, Riverside Park (my personal fave) or Prospect Park (for my Brooklyn folks).

Then there’s the community of people you find when running. It’s the best way to people watch. Sure, sitting in the park and watching the world go by can be informative. But try being the world that goes by. You’ll see a variety of people on any kind of run. And watching people run can be entertaining. Later I’ll do a posting the different kinds of runners you’ll see. They’re outstanding.

These are the added benefits of burning hundreds of calories the cheap way, but it’s not easygoing the beginning. You’ll start off slow. I began only doing three miles an hour (walking). Then I started added a little jog between laps around the park. Before I knew it, I was running the entire time. I began without any training (unless you count elementary school gym classes). I was in my mid 20s and in generally good health besides being overweight.

The day I ran six miles in an hour, I almost cried. It had been a longtime goal to be able to hit the 10-minute mile. Now I’m running 5Ks and 10Ks with no problem. I always say, “I run a 10K on a Tuesday.”

I’m at the point where I want to run a half marathon. I’ve got the endurance for about eight miles, but 13 seems daunting. It’s all about setting goals for yourself and doing your damnedest to achieve them.

What goals have you set for yourself doing your favorite workout?

Also, check out these yoga poses, courtesy of Self magazine, to help you keep from putting too much strain on the body.

Recipe: Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

6 Nov

Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

Total prep time: 20 minutes (plus chilling)


  • image3 cucumbers (3 pounds total), peeled, seeded and coarsely sliced
  • 1 cup (loose) mint leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 drops Tabasco sauce


  1. imagePlace the sliced cucumbers in the bowl of a food processor or blender with the mint, garlic and 1/2 cup cold water. Process until pureed (the mixture will be granular).
  2. Transfer the puree to a bowl and mix in the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, salt and Tabasco, with 1 1/2 cups cold water. Chill.
  3. Stir before serving.

Courtesy of  Jacques Pepin


A co-worker who’s always trying new recipes sent this around this summer. I was surprised at how tasty this was. I used Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce instead of Tobasco, for my own preferences. The hot sauce is the perfect kick this soup needs. And it also works as a light salad dressing.

I Did It: Asics Treadmill Challenge

4 Nov

“I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

The ING New York City Marathon was this weekend and the entire city was abuzz with action. One of the marathon’s sponsors is sportswear maker Asics, which also sponsors runner Ryan Hall. Ryan take about 4.8 minutes per mile, or about 12.5 miles per hour. I’ve never even thought of going that fast. I average at about 10 minutes per mile, or about 6 mph.

For the past week, Asics had a treadmill truck roaming about the city, challenging New Yorkers to keep pace. I knew I couldn’t keep up for long, but what really drew me in what the harness and bungee cord attached to the truck. When you run out of steam, you just sit back in the harness and kind of float off the treadmill. If anything it would just be fun to do.

So, I did it. I found the truck on its last day before the race and signed up. I was the first woman to participate. The announcer kept saying they needed more women, but I was the one who took the bait. The first guy to try it stayed in the treadmill for more than three minutes, the longest of anyone Asics had seen all week. The following guys all stayed on for about a minute.

A minute? Psssh, I can do that. Right?

Um, not so much. While I had the distinction of being the first woman, I had honor finishing in 22 seconds 😦

treadmill challenge

What I learned

I’ve never seen myself run; I’m usually outside when I do it. Imagine my surprise to see I run like a velociraptor. Also, I might want to start looking up. But the guy who strapped me in was super nice and supportive. He kept telling me to just keep running. He was like my Jenny. And, like I suspected, floating off the treadmill was all kinds of fun. If it comes back next year, I’ll definitely try it.

How I Got Into a Bikini

1 Nov


My weight has always been a struggle. To be accurate, I have been overweight for most of my adult life. My love of muffins made my muffin top obvious, which was bothersome. When I tipped the scales at 200 pounds on my 5-foot-2 frame, I looked pregnant. I even found myself accidentally trying on clothes in the maternity section. The thought of going to the beach or the pool in a bikini would never cross my mind. Yet, here I am, 50 pounds lighter and in basically a bra-and-panty set walking around in the sand.

Just posting the above photo is a test in courage. I have never—repeat: never!—worn a bikini. My mom put me in one pieces as a kid. In my teens, I was still thick, so i kept my stomach under wraps. Adulthood hit, and the pounds kept coming, and what’s the point of being that girl at the beach? You know her, the girl who looks either pregnant, European or both. I was neither, so why subject myself to such judgment.

I could have put on a two-piece a couple years ago. I was never comfortable, though. I’ve always been body conscious. I’m hyper-aware of the attention people pay to me…because I hate it. I’ve always been the blend-in-the-background kind of gal. That’s my speed. And it’s a non-bikini speed, even if you are on the beach.

So I began with low-cut suits, like the white one above. My boobs looked good. They always have. No harm in deflecting attention away from my over-sized stomach and hips.

Then I went on a cheat. I would wear tank-inis. No one could say I didn’t wear a two-piece to the beach, right?

Soon my friends began to catch on to my scheme. They could see my progress before I did. It’s the nature of the beast—people closest to you pay attention to you and your exploits. When you’re working out and constantly monitoring your diet, you don’t really notice the progress you’re making. One pound here and two pounds there don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Every week you notice the few pounds that you’ve lost, but you can’t really see it in the mirror.

You don’t really notice it when you’re wearing the same clothes over and over. Sure those jeans feel a little different, but maybe next week they’ll feel snug again.

It isn’t until time passes and you try on something like your bathing suit from last year that you notice the change your body has taken. And because I was going to the beach this summer and didn’t want to flash anyone underwater (again), now was as good a time as any to get some new swimwear.

So I polled the masses (my friends). I went to Macy’s and tried on a couple suits. I sent a pic to one of my friends who is not only hard-core when it comes to fitness, but is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Her words when I asked if I was beach ready, and I quote, “YEP!!! U ready!!!! When we beachin?”

With that, I felt I could do it. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with. I still keep a one-piece at the ready for when I feel huge. My stomach isn’t flat or toned. I’ve got cellulite on my thighs. I need a halter bra to keep my girls up. But I’m not the worst-looking person at the beach (vain, I know, but I feel judgment everywhere). No one’s staring at me. So I can deal.

What’s your Mount Everest when it comes to clothing choices? What’s the one thing you want to wear when you’ve reached your goal?