Archive | March, 2015

My Friend the Half Marathoner

18 Mar

Did I ever tell you I had a twin? My dad, who’s probably reading this right now, is just now finding out about this himself.

Her skin is much lighter, as are her eyes. She was born 339,840 minutes before me. She likes to say she was slathered in the SPF while my melanin-rich skin absorbed the benefits of Vitamin D.

ussies_halfThis is Beth. Obviously we’re not identical. We are, however, each other’s spiritual twins. We bonded over a love of journalism and a strong disdain for idiocy. For the past 15 years, we’ve been each other’s rocks during some pretty awful times. And although we haven’t lived in the same city since we were 22, we have remained ridiculously close. Which was why there was no question that she would stay with me last weekend while she was in town for the United Airlines NYC Half marathon.

Neither Beth nor I were runners in our younger days. It’s just something we picked up, her before me. So when I began pounding the pavement, she was one of the people I turned to for advice. When I scratched up my boobs by putting my cards in my bra, she got the first text (and responded that she couldn’t stop laughing at me). When I finally ran three miles without stopping, she was the first person to say how proud she was of me. And when my knee began to act in its funky way, she was the one to suggest all the things I could do so I could continue on my path.

If she could do all that, then I could make sure she had everything she needed for her race. This was the first time she’d ever run in New York. Her visits usually involve a show, a new tourist-y site and food. We walk around the city long enough to build up an appetite before seeing a show.

Like most of us, she was nervous before the race. Racing can be stressful, especially when you’re dealing with unfamiliar terrain. When you run, you can stop at anytime and not feel like a failure. Races have a set goal in the end. You’re not done unless you cross the finish line. When you’re competitive like us, anything less is unacceptable.

The day of the race, we woke up at 5:30 in the morning (Lord, help us) to make sure she got to the starting line on time. First of all, waking up in the dark is not the business. We were early, so neither of us was happy about that extra half our of sleep we could have gotten. Second of all, it was cold as a polar bear’s balls that morning. The forecast said it would warm up, but the wind was so harsh that we couldn’t tell.

She's a winner!

She’s a winner!

Once the crowd started rolling in, I sent her on her way and ran the 100 blocks back to my apartment. My solidarity run had my fingers freezing, but it was only five miles and I just needed to suck it up. Beth did 13.1 miles in under two-and-a-half hours. My twin is my hero and deserves all the props.

A few tips before you set off running:

  1. When going preparing for a race, be it a 5K or a marathon, your best bet is to train. You’ll learn what your pace is, how to manage your breathing and what your endurance level is. There are books, magazines, websites and trainers in abundance who can get you ready in a matter of weeks for your race.
  2. Have a few race-day outfits at the ready if you’ll be running during a tricky weather season. New York just shoveled it’s way out of a month of snow, but the temps haven’t risen enough to know it’s almost spring.
  3. Know that hydration is key to keeping it moving. For longer races, you may need more than just hydration though. Beth keeps the squeezable applesauce packs on her belt for an energy boost. Race organizers will often have those as well as race gels.

I Did It: Cycle for Survival

13 Mar

photo (14)

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

After the race a couple of weeks ago, you’d think I’d had enough. Ha!

But this wasn’t a race; it was a spin-a-thon for Cycle for Survival, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute’s annual fundraiser. This was my first year participating, but I didn’t anticipate too many problems. I a top student in my spin class, after all.

Aside from running, spin is my favorite workout activity. It is hard as hell, but I actually feel like I’m working muscles. I can feel different muscle groups tightening and stretching with each spin of the wheel. The added benefit is what I feel in my abs. What you don’t realize until your class is over is that you’ve actually had a pretty decent ab workout in the process. Positions 2 and 3 and especially hovering require a lot of balance that you can only get through an engaged core. It’s awesome.

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What I Learned

No two spin instructors are made alike. Nor should they be. However, I’d gotten used to a certain routine at my regular spin classes. Namely, I got used to putting in work. Because the instructors had to switch out every hour, I guess they didn’t want to go too hard on us. It’s not that I didn’t sweat, I just didn’t feel like I was working very hard.

If you’re new to spin, be sure to ask your instructor how they conduct the class. What are the different levels of resistance that they use? Some go one to four, some go one to 10, some just go soft, medium hard. It is on the student to gauge how hard they’re working, but don’t get caught thinking you’re in a 1-4 class when you’re really in a 1-10 and leave not feeling fulfilled.

Also remember that bike adjustments are essential. I am short with short legs, so my bike seat doesn’t need to sit exponentially high off the ground. I don’t have to clips, so I have to make sure my sneakers are secure in the toe cage. And always, always, always have a towel and water. Even if you’re not working that hard, you’re in a confined space with a bunch of people steaming with body heat. It’s gonna get hot.


I love spin, so this was great for me. I hadn’t been in a few weeks, but I have worked out on the stationary bike at the gym. I didn’t train for it because we were divided into half-hour intervals. Still, I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a great activity for an even greater cause. So get spinning!

Photos courtesy of my Workout Nanny

Don’t Waist Your Time

11 Mar


I grew up with boys. My rough-and-tumble childhood of wrestling, running and video games didn’t leave much room for dolls. I had stuffed animals, but I was never a big fan of Barbie dolls. I think it was the hard plastic. It just never did anything for me. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how unrealistic her body shape was. A few years ago, built an infographic showing what a life-size Barbie would look like.

When I began my weight-loss journey, I always had health in the forefront of my mind. But outside influences have a way of creeping in. I thought about some of the girls in music videos and in magazines. I wanted my hourglass figure to be a little more defined from its larger size. As the pounds began to fall off, I saw how small my waist was becoming. My bust and hips slimmed down at a slower rate, so my figure at times would look cartoonish. But I was okay with that.

For this reason, I can sympathize with Lily James, the new Cinderella in this weekend’s remake. Though she is much, much smaller than I am, I understand her irritation with the criticism of her body. Corsets are a thing. They cinch the waist in unbelievable ways. If she were just shown only in her corset and tights, you’d likely see bustle of the dress makes her waist seem even smaller. It’s not really her figure you’re looking at.

The beauty of undergarments is that they can give you the sillouette you’re looking for to fit any occasion. With a corset here, a push-up bra there and a pair of Spanx, you, too, can look like Cinderella or Barbie. You also won’t be able to breathe or eat. Thems the breaks.

Your idea of what you want to look like and the way you’re actually shaped are two things you’ll eventually have to come to terms with.  Once you’ve got a better understanding of how your body looks and moves, then you can outfit it. The human body has its limitations, and it will take time for you to find those.

The beauty of those limitations is you never know what they are until you hit them. It could be as simple as going an extra mile on your run, doing an extra lap at the pool or even taking another week off with no dairy. And after you’ve put in the extra, extra effort and you observe the physical results of that work, you’ll know that you’ve done all you can to achieve your goals.

So if your goal was to have Cinderella’s waist or Barbie’s thighs, good luck to you. But know that achieving that goal may not be what’s right for your body.

Daytime Diva vs. Nighttime Ninja

9 Mar
Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

It’s no secret that I’ve been lamenting the snow-pac-ageddon of 2015. The winter blues have made it all but impossible for me to wake up in the morning. And when I do keep my eyes open longer than 10 minutes, the comfort of my bed won’t set me free. My bed holds me hostage in the morning because it knows that eventually I’ll have to deal with the ridiculous cold that awaits me.

So instead of torturing myself with an early wake-up call, I’ve been working out after work. Sometimes I’ll actually go to the gym if I feel like being a bag lady. For the most part, though, I’ve been coming home to make use of my exercise DVDs and some videos on Hulu (an excellent source of material, btw).

Right as I was getting comfortable in my routine, this happened.


Courtesy of Tumblr


The sun is finally shining! The temperature is finally rising above 12 degrees. I don’t have to wear my grungy puffer coat. With the time change and the impending warmth comes a return to my daytime active lifestyle. We’re in the finicky weather season, so I won’t be getting up too early. But I can feel myself readying for the sunshiny days ahead. Running on the path. Morning yoga classes. Early boot camp.

Being a nighttime ninja served its purpose to prevent me from being too slovenly. For me, though, daytime diva is where it’s at. Still, I learned a few things about myself during the long, dark, cold days of winter.

1. Winter mornings suck. I forgot how depressing it can be to wake up in the morning and it still be dark outside. I don’t have to be at work until 11 a.m. Imagine waking up at 7:30 in the morning and it still being pitch black outside? Nothing makes your bed more comfortable that the dark of night…or day.

2. Population control. There are even fewer people in the gym at night than there are in the early afternoon. Because my work hours are so wonky, I’m coming into the gym right after the post-work crowd finishes its sweat-a-thon. It’s an in-between time where gym staff can really wipe down the machines (not the half-ass wipes they get from preoccupied gym rats). It fills my need for quiet.

3. Hunger games. Working out at home has made me hyper aware of my kitchen. It’s not like I woke up one morning and was surprised by my fridge. It’s moreso that post-workout meals seemed even more important. And those meals seemed to be larger. I’m not on any workout plan right now, so I haven’t been portioning out my meals. So the spinach, chick-pea, pasta salad was run through pretty quickly. As were my Mott’s Mango Peach applesauces. And, of course, my goldfish crackers. Working out in the daytime will definitely give me better dietary focus.

4. I can’t wait for winter to be over. I miss running in the park. I miss not having to strap on 10-15 extra layers of clothes, undergarments and coats. I miss the ease of a morning workout. It seemed like less of a chore when I was doing it in warmer weather. Winter workouts feel like a punishment, especially in the mornings. At night, it feels like a continuation of the workday, not a way to start the day.

There are 11 days until spring. But with the weather warming up, I’ll return to daytime diva status in no time.

Recipe: Curry-Roasted Chicken

6 Mar
It tastes better than it looks in this photo. Actually, it looked better than this photo, too.

It tastes better than it looks in this photo. Actually, it looked better than this photo, too.

Time: 10 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to cook (chicken); 20 minutes to prep (cucumber raita)

Ingredients (chicken)

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion or garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, cumin, onion/garlic salt and cayenne
  3. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the curry mixture. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet with smooth side up. Lightly spray with vegetable oil spray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  5. Serve with cucumber raita (recipe below).

Ingredients (cucumber raita)

  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Grate or dice the cucumber. Put in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let drain for 5 minutes. Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess liquid.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the pepper.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with pepper before serving as an accompaniment to the chicken.


This was actually much simpler than you’d think. The curry seasonings are a rub. You can prepare the seasoning months in advance and but it out when you’re ready for this simple curry dish. The cucumber raita isn’t much different than the cucumber yogurt that goes with the black bean meatballs. This version has red pepper, which I thought made the yogurt too chunky. It did add nice color to the plate, though. I served mine over couscous, which always pairs well with anything curry. Courtesy of American Heart Association  Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Third Edition