Zero Week: Eight Days Not On The Run

Greetings from my office for the morning!

At least it’s kind of festive in here, right?

It’s my second time getting my Remicade infusion at Mount Sinai and I’ve already got the Benadryl in me. These next few hours with the IV should be a sleepy breeze.

My plan was to wake up this morning and run before I came to the hospital, but that didn’t happen.

Yesterday I declared an end to Zero Week, but I’m not quite as revved up to run as I thought I would be. So my plan going forward is to just run whenever. Spin whenever. Maybe lift some things.

Since I’m not registered for any races or feeling the need to do speedwork or hill training, there’s absolutely no pressure on me and my Adrenalines. It’s nice.

I’m sorry I don’t miss you more, Central Park…

Zero Week — or “Zero Eight Days” — was awesome. I knew I needed a break from running, but I didn’t realize just how much I (and my knees, and my hips and my joints in general) would enjoy those impact-free days.

Here are my final thoughts from “Zero Week That Was Also Zero Eight Days And That May Happen For The Rest Of December We’ll See.”


Waking up at 5 AM was so much easier! If I’m planning to run, I can procrastinate for an extra nine minutes in bed and hit snooze as many times as I want-ish. But if I shelled out $32 dang dollars to spin with Jenny Gaither at SoulCycle, you bet your ass I’m up and out without delay. Sorry, bed. Love you, but bye.

It was so easy doing this in the winter. The warm indoor workouts kept me cozy.

After a two-year hiatus (almost to the exact day), I made my return to Refine Method. It was completely revamped from when I’d been and I really liked it. The class revolves around circuits and bursts of high-intensity cardio moves (think sprints in place with high knees and jumping jacks) and strength exercises, some using props like kettlebells, boxes (you use them to do one-legged squats…I fell off three times) and pulleys. The 60-minute class had me super sweaty and exhausted — just the way I like it. The next day, my calves were exceptionally sore from all the jumping.

Climbing the dreaded subway stairs never felt better. Why is that?! Maybe my legs were just less fatigued, or I was better-rested overall, but my heavy breathing and quad burning each time I exited the 28th Street station was significantly more bearable (and less hysterical — I can never catch my breath at the top of those things) than usual.

I drank the Physique 57 Kool-Aid, I got so drunk off it and I want more. Let me tell you about Physique 57, which you have probably heard of because it’s chic and trendy and Kelly Ripa made it famous.

Pretty sign. Good job, Physique. Nice branding.

I am not a big barre class person, if only because my gym doesn’t have barre classes and I can’t afford to pay for the fancy ones in the city. Physique 57 is $35/class, though it gets cheaper the more classes you purchase. Plus, first-timers get a 2 for 1 deal: two classes for $35. Score!

So I was expecting a really pretentious studio — which many of the boutique classes in NYC tend to thrive off of — with lots of ladies with blingy rings and blowouts.

This is where the Physique Upper West Side studio is located. Could it BE any fancier?

I was pumped to walk in and be greeted by really excited, genuinely kind front desk girls. Plus my instructor, Jess, was waiting for me because she knew I was a first-timer.

Then I was nervous about where I was going to stand because God forbid you take “someone’s spot” at the barre, right? Nah. People filtered in the room and just scattered wherever.

Everyone was nice, people smiled at me and I got sweet sympathetic gazes when I raised my hand during the “Welcome Newbies!” speech. There was no snottiness. That was the biggest shock to me. People were nice. It was way more laid-back than I expected.

The class itself was a killer workout. There was very little cardio. Instead we did lots of little moves targeting the arms, legs and core. And did you know you can add a pulse to virtually anything? And that “10 more pulses, come on you can do it!” is the meanest thing someone can say to you?

I had the most trouble with the thigh section, which Physique is famous for. Do you know why it was so hard? Because it’s hard to pulse and bend and dip when your thighs are shaking harder than a blender. Or a Polaroid picture.

Jess was great and gave me lots of hands-on adjustments, which is especially important during these classes. A tiny tweak in your position can make a huge difference in where you feel the burn. For once I didn’t even try to be the teacher’s pet in order to get all the attention — I just kept doing things really wrong, so she had to fix me.

I realize many of you do not care at all about my Physique 57 experience because it doesn’t impact your life and also because you don’t have a Physique location in your city. But wait! Physique 57 just launched a series of online workouts and you can do them in your pajamas without needing any fancy props. The brand is also in the middle of a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, so go enter and win free stuff. And then give it to me because I told you about it. Thanks. Let’s pulse together.

My body just felt better. My joints were more at ease. I was less achy. I didn’t feel quite so creaky. After one week I wouldn’t say I feel more toned or in better shape, but it was definitely the break my body needed from all that running. 


I do love SoulCycle. I’ve made my devotion clear. But I am so over the whole “Leslie is riding the instructor bike today, give it up for Leslie!” If you are the instructor, I want you on the bike. I realize that some instructors have six or eight classes to tackle in a day. But just fake it or something. Some teachers can pull off the “I’m off the bike but still motivating the shit out of you” thing (Stacey G. is the queen of it). But when the instructor has some 20-year-old skinny chick up there (cue body envy and overall seething jealousy, duh) whipping her legs at Michael Flatley speed, I’m just wondering why I have to keep cheering for her, per the instructor’s demands. I’m working my butt off, too. Cheer for me, dang it.

I wanted to be sore last week. The TRX class I took at Crunch did not deliver.

This is the TRX “machine.” It has handles and things.

See what happens when I take advantage of the gym I actually pay for every month? I wanted to feel sore — not achy sore, but “burns so good” sore, like I had worked really hard. The class was only 30 minutes long, but I was still hoping to feel some muscles working hard, or at least cruise through the rest of the week with a nice case of DOMS. Sadly, though, the class was a bit easy and even with the harder modifications I didn’t get the tough workout I would have liked. (Still a big TRX fan, though.)

My appetite didn’t change. I’m not sure whether I expected it to. But I was just as hungry all week as I would have been if I’d run a bunch of miles in the morning. Or my hunger is mental. Debate as you will.

I had to do a lot of planning ahead. I mostly did morning workouts that required me to shower and change at the exercise facility of my choosing. I didn’t shower and get ready for work at home once last week. So every night before bed, I would lay out my workout outfit, my work outfit, my work shoes, my little toiletries bag, etc. It took some serious mental coordination.

Like I said, I don’t know what’s next for me. I had a great time last week swapping the Bridle Path for the bike, the barre, the mat and, unfortunately, a lot of extra time at my desk.

I have no running or exercise-related goals in my head for 2013 and I’m completely fine with that. I have no intention to use my Garmin for the rest of the month — I have enough on my mind and I don’t need irrelevant data weighing me down. If I run, it’s fun running.

Remember when I kept claiming I was going to “be more chill,” but then I never followed through?

Maybe it’s happening just in time to close out 2012.

SHARE: Favorite non-running workout? Subway stair climbing counts.



27 Responses

  1. My first non-running love is spinning, I also like bootcamp after that. Our local bootcamp often makes me sore, I know what you mean about that hurts-so-good burn! Thanks for the great Love/Don’t Love lists!

  2. I feel you on the subway stairs. I climbed the CN Tower this year for charity (1,776 stairs or 144 flights) and yet, climbing the subway stairs or the two floors to my office still makes me huff and puff.

  3. So I’m confused about Soul Cycle – sometimes other people are on the instructor bike? WHY??? because they oversold the class? If I paid $32 for a class, I damn well want the instructor to be where I can see them!

    1. YES. Most teachers don’t do it, but in a few of them the teacher bops around the room saying what to do but a random person (sometimes it’s even someone who works at SC, which really irritates me) will be on the bike demonstrating. And they constantly want us to “give it up for so and so, she’s rocking it on that bike!” It irritates me so much. (Except with Stacey G. She can do no wrong. And she has/had an injury.)

  4. Hiking! My 90-lb rescuemoose and I are hitting the trail again Friday — the first thing on my list for my day off, now that hunting season is over and we can safely get back into the woods!!

    Swimming… well, it was necessary. It was great for my abs, hams, and hips while I was healing and couldn’t run. But I still inhale too much water.

  5. In my running cut back, I’ve tried a core class at a yoga place (craaaazy for me) and a ballet burn class at my gym. Conclusion? 45 minutes goes by way fast in group classes!

  6. Spinning. And that’s bc the classes I take all have instructors who have my same horrible taste in music..:) I’ve been wanting to take a TRX class at Equinox, but I’ve been too scared!

  7. It’s a spin/yoga class. 30 minutes spinning followed by 30 minutes yoga (I got a groupon). I like it because you get the best of both worlds, killer cardio and then a good stretching session. Plus they give you cool towels to cool you down after spinning and they smell like lavender or mint!

  8. I love Physique 57! But the classes got a little pricey, so I switched to yoga at Yoga Vida. Obviously a different workout, but at $12-$9 per class, (depending on the package you buy) much more affordable and still a great complement to running!

  9. I think my favorite non-running workout is either kickboxing or, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, just walking in the park with my fiance. When the weather’s nice, I love taking the time to get out there and just catch up with him.

  10. You forgot to mention FLYWHEEL with moi. You know you had a great time. Let’s do that again. Also, no matter what, I cannot master the art of not huffing and puffing when exiting the subway.

  11. CrossFit! I love crossfit year-round, but during training i have to plan a little more to fit it in (ex: don’t want to go on backsquat or deadlift day if I have a long run the next day). Nov/Dec was a little running lull in regards to official training for anything so I forced myself to sign up in advance and do whatever workout they hit me with. Loved it!

  12. when i got hurt and my mileage dropped for 30-40 per week to 5 at best, i thought i would stop eating so much too!!

    never happened, but i’m pretty convince weight lifting/swimming makes me almost equally hungry….

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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