FLY for Fisher House with Steven Little & Aleah Stander

After taking an awesome class with Steven Little at Flywheel on Monday evening, I came home and found in my mail box a note from running coach extraordinaire, Abby Bales, about an event she is hosting at Flywheel this weekend, May 5th at 3pm with Steven and Aleah Stander. The ride is a fundraiser for the Fisher House and as Abby wrote:

“Fisher House builds houses near military hospitals for the families of injured soldiers to stay for free while their soldier is recovering in the hospital. It is a 501c(3) charity with a 5-star ranking by, meaning 97% of the money raised goes directly to the houses and needs of the families and not to advertising and administration costs.”

I don’t normally write about events before they happen, but an event that supports such an important cause and lead by 3 amazing people is worthy of an exception to that rule.

As I read the mail about the mission of the Fisher House to the Fella (a former Navy man) he just looked at me and said, “You know you have to go right? We’ll figure out how to come up with the money for it, but you HAVE to go support that.”  That is totally true. With a partner who used to serve and as the daughter of a retired Naval Officer, the mission of the Fisher House is something that I think is very special and important to support. The fact that the event is at one of my favorite places in NYC, Flywheel, is just an extra sweet bonus.

For more information about the ride, check out the FB page for the event:

Check out my original review of Steven here.

Abby and Aleah led one of my favorite workouts of 2011, an inspiring “Brick” workout that made me feel like a true athlete.  Check it out here. I love them both for that moment and can’t wait to see what they bring to this new event…

Hopefully, I will see you there!

FBS’s top 5 classes for 2011


Closing out this year, I am sick, which means that I have far too much time to reflect on all of the amazing experiences I have gotten to have this year.  I have done a lot of workouts, done a huge variety of classes, and written about a lot of them here.  When I think about my top 5 experiences, it becomes a challenge…because I write about the things I love.  So, narrowing it down to a top five was a little daunting, but it turns out that there ARE a top 5 that really stand out for me when reflecting on 2011:

  1. Jesse Alexander’s 1 Year Anniversary Ride: At that point, I had just taken a handful of classes with Jesse but it fully cemented him as one of my absolute favorites. It was one of those perfect classes, where everyone there was completely, raucously invested in the ride AND the instructor was completely in the zone. At the beginning of class, no one knew why this one was so special, but there was this moment of awareness when the place erupted with love – it was awesome to witness and changed my love of Flywheel to a flat out love of the community that has been built there.

  1. Holly Rilinger’s Training Camp:  Holly is awesome. Plain and simple.  In fact, one of her Flywheel classes was the reason I finally started my blog. It was the very first thing I posted about. She just has that sort of effect on you. However, it isn’t the class that I think of anymore when I think of Holly. In September, I was chosen by Health Warrior to participate in one of her Training camps.  It was 4 weeks of getting to workout with one of the best trainers in the city, in a small group setting. It was easily a highlight of my year. It says a lot that this night owl woke up voluntarily at 4:30 a.m. to attend – and never missed a class or was late – and that by the end, I really believed in my inner athlete.

  1. AS 1 – I didn’t know what to expect, really, when I got there but the one thing I didn’t expect was to love this workout. It is one of my absolute favorite classes I tried this year, hands down. As 1 is definitely going to be in the mix in the New Year. It was hard, exhausting AND made me feel like a bad ass. I love the minimal space, the exacting coaching and the functional based training – PLUS whacking those big ropes against the ground rocks. I left tired and invigorated – the sign for me of the greatest kind of class.

  1. Brick Workout v. 2 – This year I did two Brick workouts, sponsored by the Lululemon 66th Street and Flywheel. I loved the idea of indoor cycling and running back-to-back, and it was just as hard as I thought it would be. The first one was on a perfect, beautiful, crisp fall day and was great challenging fun. The second one though, is the one I loved, since it was during the season’s freak snowstorm in October. The indoor cycling portion with Aleah Stander (Flywheel rockstar instructor) was packed, but only 4 of us made it over to the park for the 3 mile run in a snowy Central Park with Abby Bales, the run coach who amazingly motivated me to keep going in the snow AND made it seem like fun. It was a workout that made me feel like both a bad ass and an athlete. It also made me think that maybe in the new year I should try and get some more running coach time in – it made a huge difference that day!

  1. Soul Cycle with Danny Kopel: A friend of mine invited me to my second Soul Cycle class (I had really enjoyed my first with Jenny Gaither, too) and it was ridiculously fun. It felt more like being at a concert and it made it easy to see why Danny has groupies – but it was also a just a good sweaty workout too. Of the handful of Soul Cycle classes I have taken, this one was the most fun and was the one that made me know I’ll be back at some point next year.


Images: 1. Internet goodness 2. Flywheel’s Flatiron location for one of my many visits 3. Our first Training Camp session from Holly’s Facebook page with our Health Warrior goodie boxes 4. The As 1 space from their website 5. Another bit of internet goodness 6.  Union Square Soul Cycle studio from their website

The 2nd Brick workout: the snowy, slightly crazy version…

First off, now that it is over, I seriously can’t believe that I actually did a Brick workout on Saturday – with the snow and cold and just generally crazy weather, it just seems amazing that it really happened. Not only did it happen but it was so much fun and I REALLY didn’t think I would be able to say that!

The morning of the second Brick class I woke up to a rainy, cold, generally crappy day and was bummed. I am not so good about wanting to run outside in rainy weather and add to that the cold, well, I was just convinced that the run portion of the Brick just wouldn’t happen.  Of course, the fact that I was going to get in a Flywheel class anyway meant that really it was going to be a good day – but the weather seriously put a damper on my spirits.

So I trekked up to Flywheel UES for what I was sure was going to just be the biking portion of the “Brick”. When I left Brooklyn it was raining, but by the time I got out of the train station on the UES, it was full-on snowing. At the studio, everyone was buzzing about the snow and about how crazy running after the class would be. Aleah Stander and Abby Bales were both in high sprits – as always – and ramped everyone up to start the workout and be in the moment. Aleah was amazing. I LOVE taking her class since she teaches such a great, positive, challenging class, plus today, her music was crazy good. She played songs I sang along to and even one I had to ask about after class – nothing helps make class better than great music! All through class, though, I debated with myself about the run afterward, so I rode really hard to make up for the fact that I didn’t think I would do it. I was sweaty and tired by the end but I also knew that if the run WAS going to happen, I was going to do it.  It suddenly just seemed possible.

I got asked A LOT if I was going to do it.


“… really?”

‘Yes. It’ll be pretty – a snowy Central Park? If I don’t do it now, I will never, ever do it. So yes, I am going to do the run.’

Over at the store, it turned out that out of the 30 or so people in the class, only 5 of us made it over to the run. Abby explained the route to us and was just her glorious, positive, supportive self and we got ready to head out. The others in the group were runner-runners and immediately I was like “Crap, I am so not this person”.  But the thing is, I am.

Saturday, running in the sludgy mess to the park, I felt like an athlete. I wanted to quit, but didn’t.  Saturday, I took a hard, awesome spin class and ran 3 miles in a snowy Central Park. It was cold and miserable and I have never been prouder of doing anything. Abby and Aleah ROCK, but that day, I thought that I rocked too!

Now THAT is a great workout.

(Image: a little internet goodness because it was too cold & wet to take any photos during the run!)

“Brick” workout: The workout that made me feel like I was hit by a brick…

On Saturday afternoon, I got the chance to try a “Brick” workout. A “Brick” is when you do a cycling/running back to back, two of the legs of a Triathalon – and the name apparently comes from the fact that it makes your legs feel like they are made out of bricks. It is one of those things I have wanted to try for awhile but just never have, since really, after a spin class, the last thing I have the motivation to do on my own is run! So, when I heard that Flywheel and Lululemon were teaming up to do one, I signed up right away.  Seriously, any chance to take a Flywheel class I take and to get to try something new? I’m in!

Even though MTA seemed like they were actively trying to make me miss the class, I made it up there in plenty of time to get all signed in, pick my bike and get my shoes. It seems like the UES Flywheel is a million miles away but every time I go to the studio, I am amazed by how quick it is to get there – plus the UES location is really starting to grow on me. Aleah Stander, who I have heard such great things about and who I have wanted to try for ages, taught the class.  It was such a great group of people who made it to try their hand at a Brick workout! They were so happy to be there and energetic about our unified adventure.  It made for a great time. That sort of packed, energized crowd always makes for an amazing ride. Aleah is awesome, positive, supportive and rallying – just as great as I had heard she was. Not only that but I got to ride next to Danielle, another fabulous Flywheel instructor, which totally upped my game for the ride. Did I mention I loved the group who assembled for this workout? The ride was just that: a straight spin class with no arms section, which made a few people grumble but which I loved. I mean really, we were doing a Brick, and there is no arm break in a Triathlon! As always, the ride inspired me to go all out and by the end my legs were quivering, so the idea that there was a run following that awesome class was hard to imagine.

We all gathered our stuff at the end and headed over a few blocks to the Lululemon store to get sorted into groups for our run.  I am pretty sure we lost some folks in the transition but 20 or so of us made it there. Abby Bales was the leader of the run portion of the Brick and she set about quick work of describing the route (bless her for choosing a route that ended with a downhill) and sorting us into pace groups. My group was the 10’ers and included both Aleah and Danielle. It was a 3.3 mile route but my legs really did feel like bricks so it was a really challenging 3 miles! Having the group support was awesome though and kept me going. Abby kept meeting the groups and cheering us on – which was so great! Having Abby on the trail rooting for us all was amazing. It was the first time I had ever run with a run group leader and really, I can see why people love it!

Word has it that there is going to be another “Brick” Workout again at the end of the month, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

(Photo: Abby Bales via Facebook of the Brick group at the end of our run. Our fearless leaders are in the center and that is me hiding up in the top row!)