May is Bike Month!

I’ve always known that May was the best month of the year. The weather is perfect, summer swim team starts, baseball is in full swing, and well, I was born in May, so obviously it’s a winner.  In addition to those wonderful things, since 1956, May has been National Bike Month! Started by the League of American Bicyclists back when everyone liked Ike, National Bike Month is dedicated to getting more folks on bicycles. There are tons of events across the country to get you on two wheels, and if you can’t find one near you, the League of American Bicyclists has some resources to help you start one! If you’re in NYC like me, check out bikenyc.org for all things Bike Month.

IMG_1993A few weekends ago, I grabbed some buddies and headed down to the Red Hook Crit. For those who aren’t familiar – and believe me I wasn’t until I stumbled upon this Crit a couple of years ago and then googled the shit out of it – a criterium (or crit) is a bike race that happens on a short, closed track. The cyclists go around the track in multiple laps and get REALLY fast. Oh, and did I mention they’re riding track bikes – fixed gears with NO brakes. It’s pretty awesome. In any case, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to convince anyone to go with me, but Charlie and his buddy agreed to join me and guess what? We all had a blast! If you ever have a chance to go – do it.

In other cycling news, I finally made it to a morning bike workout with the tri club, and wouldn’t you know –  it was awesome. I can’t wait to get faster with all the new skillz I’m learning. It’s crazy how much a good coach can teach you in a short while.

Now, to get away from the bicycles, I should mention that this Saturday is my birthday, and I will be eternally grateful if you would make a donation to my fundraising campaign for Back on My Feet NYC! I’ve set a very ambitious goal, and I need your help to reach it. BoMF is the reason I wake up early, and my motivation to race the NYC Triathlon.  The organization and its members inspire me daily and I know that if you look into it, you’ll be inspired to – so at least click on the link and check it out. Everyone needs a little inspiration!

Last but not least – if you’re running the Brooklyn Half – I’ll be cheering for you along with all my homies and about a dozen cowbells at about mile 7.5. If you want to come out and cheer with me, pop me an email at afennecken@gmail.com and I’ll hit you up with the deets – it’ll be a blast!

Happy Bike Month all! Let me know what you’ll do to celebrate in the comments :)

I’m in a glass case of emotion… and I #WipeforWater

Life, you guys! It totally gets in the way of training! Amiright? After two + weeks of fending off a cold, I lost all motivation at the end of last week. I took two EXTRA rest days on (yup – one week, three rest days) and just kind of…gave up. Didn’t try to get up early, didn’t bother to pack my gear in case I got the itch to workout.

I figured I had the Verrazano Half on Saturday, so I knew at least I’d get in a long run. Instead I went on a lovely evening stroll with Charlie on Thursday, and on Friday walked the two miles home from packet pick up. And dammit if I didn’t feel like a new woman by the time I hit the starting line on Saturday morning.

Saturday was GORGEOUS here in New York City. The sun was shining, it was warm and there was just enough breeze coming off the harbor that it didn’t get too hot. It was the kind of spring day that makes you believe in Disney, love at first site, and all that ish. I’ve only been running twice a week, so I didn’t have any big plans for the Verrazano Half. In fact, I only signed up to motivate myself to do 10+ mile training runs earlier in the season. I wanted to shoot for an 8:30 min/mile pace, not go out like the Flash and hobble in like the walking wounded, and test out my race-day nutrition strategy.

I ended up with a surprise PR! It was only a minute and a half – nothing to write home about – but I’ll take it. Now I’m confident that I can maintain a decent pace for the 10K off the bike. Woot! I may even sign up for some running races later this season to see how my running fitness improves.

Moral of the week is: burnout is real, sometimes you have to honor it. Take a few days off. Cut yourself some slack. It’s cool. You’ll get your mojo back.

And to TOTALLY switch gears – Happy Belated Earth Day! As part of the #WipeForWater campaign, Influenster sent me a packet of Neutrogena Natural’s Purifying Makeup Remover and Cleansing Towlettes to try. I took the #WipeForWater challenge and used the wipes, instead of water to clean my face at the end of the day for three days. So, what did I think?

On the whole – I liked them! I’d definitely buy them again to keep in my gym bag for post-workout wipes, buuuut I really missed using facial cleanser and water for the end of the day. I have sensitive, acne prone skin, so I’ve got to be careful about what I put on my face. These definitely weren’t problematic – which is awesome – but I don’t know that they can replace a real wash in the long term. The challenge did make me think about 1) how much I take for granted living a comfortable existence in a first world environment and 2) the impact my consumption has on the planet and those who were born into less privileged environments.  I’m absolutely going to do some solid research this summer and figure out what I can be doing better.

To all my tree huggers and social justice advocates out there: what should I be doing to reduce my environmental impact and consume responsibly? I need some tips!

Wine + Exercise = A Healthy Heart

photo by Frank Perry/AFP/Getty from Wine and Exercise: A Promising Combination on The Atlantic

Science is science, and it has just justified all of my life choices (ok, not all, but a pretty solid portion of my lifestyle).  I encourage you to check out Wine and Exercise: A Promising Combination on The Atlantic right now.  I don’t think the findings of the study discussed will surprise anyone, but it sure is nice to hear that by being a little buzzed, and a little exercised, you are doing good things for your ticker.

I for one, will be picking up a bottle of white on my way home from the gym tonight.