Happy Centennial to the National Parks Service!

Hip hip hooray because it’s the National Parks Service BIRTHDAY!  Whether you realize it or not, national parks come in all shapes and sizes and today is the day that this grand organization turns a whooping 100 years old.  Growing up I was fortunate enough to spend time in the great outdoors from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite and even Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach, all of which I greatly miss while living back east.

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Celebrating Pride, Ice Cream, and One Hot Half

It’s a well known fact that a weekend away or in a different environment does the mind and body good.  I started off the weekend with a five mile race in Central Park, put on by the Front Runners in partnership with New York Road Runners.   As I noted Friday, we had created our own November Project tag for the event and as you can see below, showed up in full force for the race.  We had 64 finishers, the men’s team finished 11th overall and 2nd in our division, and the women finished 7th and 1st in our division!!! BOOM!

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^^ Check out all those people ready to run and celebrate Pride weekend!

So I admit, I talk a big talk but never really follow my own advice.  I swore that I was going in feeling sore and not even sure I wanted to “race”.  I needed to take a break and not run or race for awhile and didn’t really follow that.  I thought “sure it’s hot and humid and only 8:15 but five miles can’t be so bad, right?  Harlem Hill isn’t that bad, right?”  Well, turns out I was competitive with myself yet again and ended up running 38:07 (7:38 pace).  I reallllllly need to work on actually training and not jetting out like a bat out of hell on race day.

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^^ I couldn’t stay for the group photo this year but look at those hooligans.  What a good looking and fierce group!

Immediately after finishing the race and consuming the popsicle that was handed out (yes…think ahead folks to next year – popsicles at the Pride Run = amazing), I ran back to Equinox to shower and meet Lindsay at Grand Central in order to travel up to Connecticut.  Lindsay had found a half marathon in Fairfield and while I declined to officially sign up, I did agree to tag along and even run the last half with her.

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^^ Yes.  A beach day was EXACTLY what we needed.  This beach (Jennings Beach) took us about 2.5 miles and an uber ride to find but was oh so worth it.  The water was crystal clear – as clear as the Atlantic Long Island Sound (thank you Lauren ❤ ) will get in Connecticut – and the sand was much cleaner than that of Rockaways or Long Beach.  It also felt VERY much like a suburb beach.  I don’t know why it felt that way, but I could definitely tell we were out of New York City.

In the end we only spent a few hours on the beach since we didn’t want to get too tuckered out from the sun.  After after a few hours of sun and surf, we walked to dinner, ate with the early crowd, picked up some ice cream and headed back to our AirBNB.  Shall I mention that we brought down the average age of the dinner crowd about 50 years?  I mean, they really could have offered us an early bird special at that point.

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^^ AND I MADE A FRIEND

Sunday morning we both woke up bright and early and started to prep for the day ahead.  I have come to accept the fact that I just don’t “sleep in” and my body automatically wakes up between 5:30-6.  Sounds find during the week but on those days that you want to just lay around.  Wait, who am I kidding, I can’t even sit still long enough to do that.

Anyways, we were out of the door at 6:45 and off to the starting line (Jennings Beach).  Again, transportation brought to you by uber.  No this isn’t a sponsored post but I wouldn’t be opposed. Hint hint uber.

Lindsay picked up her bib and then I headed off to meet her around mile 4.  It was quite refreshing to jog and not have to look at my watch, my pace, or even listen to music.  I was more focused on the sights and taking pictures of all the fancy schmancy houses and people on Vespas that I saw.

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Once I saw (and almost missed) Lindsay at mile 4, I ran out to mile 8 and once she came around we wound our way back along the course to the finish.  Let me just say, mega props to runners to compete in such gnarly conditions because at only 75F, it was brutally hot for the runners.  I can’t even imagine anything more than that.  Thankfully a lot of the neighborhood had put out sprinklers and extra water stations for the runners.  But, at least three runners were not so lucky and were being attended to within the last 3 miles.

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^^ Perks of finishing by the ocean – automatic ice bath.  Too bad I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit and didn’t have a towel with me.  I would have totally been swimming all afternoon long.  After stretching for a bit, we called an uber (yep, uber again), went back to the AirBNB to shower and hit up a brewery before going back to the city.

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It was very sweet of our AirBNB host to drive us to the brewery, but turns out she dropped us off at the wrong one… Since that spot felt a bit sterile and didn’t serve food (both no-nos), we took an uber back to the one we had in mind – Two Roads Brewing Company.  As you can see, it was quite an indulgence.  Maybe not the best post-race food for one’s stomach but we hadn’t eaten much afterwards and I guess my mind said “GO BIG”.  Cue “Assimilation fries” with a fried egg as well as an “eh” Cordon Bleu grilled cheese.

See I have this problem if I purchase something, I have the need to finish it – no waste.  Well, I was able to power through my food but wasn’t able to finish the flight of beers.  It was my fault for selecting the wrong brews or just not going with my gut instinct and ordering a regular size of the Lil Heaven IPA.  Lesson learned.  But, when we realized the remainder of the beers weren’t going to be consumed, we called an uber and made it to the train station JUST in time for the 2:51 Grand Central bound train.

Two Roads Brewing Company
1700 Stratford Ave, Stratford, CT 06615
Hours: Tue-Fri: 12-9 ~ Sun: 12-7 ~ Mon: Closed

I swear, the minute we entered Grand Central, it was like a mad house and the peace and serene feeling of being in the suburbs had vanished.  Nothing like pushing your way onto a crowded and humid subway platform to say welcome home.  The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging and watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black as well as the Olympic Trials. Just 39 days until Rio!! And about 590 until South Korea…if you’re counting.

What were you up to this weekend?  What sport (if any) are you looking forward to in the Olympics?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

Summer 2016: GOMO not FOMO

> FO·MO – Fear of Missing Out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. <

This four letter word has been phenomenon for who knows how long and was officially incorporated into the Oxford dictionary in 2013.  It’s something that our society, especially my generation, needs less of.  Much less of.   I’m sure it has been around for ages but thanks to the various forms of social media, has had more of an impact in recent years.   We have so many stimulants in society that keep us thinking about what we should do, should work on, should look like, places we should travel to, and on and on.

Sure, sometimes having certain images circle around social media can have a positive effect – you can get inspired to try new meals, plan trips, or get out and about.  Unfortunately it can also become a detrimental factor in making you feel worse about what you already do and that’s not cool.  A fun company called Eventbrite, which enables people to create invites online, is leading the charge on this GOMO mentality, considering it the new FOMO. So today on the first of June, I make a pledge to filter out the FOMO in my life and I hope I can encourage a few to do the same.

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How does that work?  First start by writing a list of things that you enjoy and would be happy to do in your free time.  Now set the seed and make it happen!  Bring friends or go solo but now is the chance to carpe diem!  Of course the next part of that is to commit to your plans and not comparing them to others.  Remember, you do you.

This summer, instead of sitting around and having said FOMO, how about trying GOMO or Getting Out More Often?  There are plenty of ways to stay busy during every season and thankfully summer is one where we can really get out and play.  Thank you also to summer Fridays, which will allow me to hopefully escape the city or at least soak up some rays in Central Park.  Here are some other ways I plan to get out more:

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  • find some sun and surf
  • enjoy an ice cream cone
  • find the best lobster roll in town
  • make some new friends
  • hike outside of the city

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(click picture or here to link to Outdoorfest’s website!)

  • go to Gallow Green (again) because fancy floral rooftops = winning
  • see a musical
  • attend a summer BBQ/hang-out
  • turn my phone off at least once a week and/or weekend
  • be happy with myself and the decisions that I make

For other ideas around New York, check out the I Love NY website.  More summer fun around NYC ideas from 2014 >> Part 1 and Part 2.

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So now I’m committing to the world wide web.  I will truly do my best to staying in the moment, not letting myself get wrapped up in other people’s trips, travels, excursions, or pictures.  Instead, I’m going to encourage myself and as many people as possible to seize the day, the moment, the hour, and do more of what pleases me!  Who is in??

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P.S. If you are curious about starting your own event, definitely check out Eventbrite as they support ticket sales as well as other features like discounted options for non-profits!!

MDW ’16 in Review ~ New York Staycation

Ah Memorial Day Weekend.  It’s a relatively jam-packed with activities and of course holds a couple of meanings  The main purpose of the day, one that used to be known as Decoration Day, is to pay tribute to all the men and women who have died in military service for the United States.  To all of you, thank you.

This day and ultimately weekend also serves as the start to summer, the beginning of beach days, and historically in the fashion world – the “ok” to wear white.  Now that last point has sort of gone out the window and you can see women wearing it all points of the year, especially in Southern California where the seasons fluctuate between summer and mild summer with maybe some 50’s thrown in there.

Memorial Day Weekend is one holiday weekend that I never really have had solid plans for.  Growing up we would have a fun run on Monday or possibly go up to Mammoth Mountain.  I have been to the Jersey Shore for a few days and even a trip to go white-water rafting.

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I can look at this last weekend in one of two ways.  One – I didn’t get my act together to plan a trip or full weekend excursion or two – I worked on creating some open ended plans that would allow me to relax a bit and not go into some busy weeks at work completely exhausted.  Let’s go with the latter.

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^^ Remember when I mentioned that I loved Westville’s salad so much?  Yeah well when I was given the ok to leave work on Friday, I decided to go back down to 18th street, have a solo salad and then make my way back to Central Park to meet up with Lindsay and a few of her friends for a bit.  It was amazing to see how many people were out in Sheep’s Meadow.  While the heat did get a bit bothersome at times, if you stayed in the shade it was absolutely lovely.

From the park, Lindsay and I made our way to CitiField where we were able to watch our Los Angeles boys in blue take on the Mets!  It may not have been the best start for the Dodgers as they were down 5-1 by the 8th inning.  Lindsay and I thought they were out for the count and had started to make our way back to the city on the 7 train when I got a text from my mom saying the following “Dad hopes that you are still watching the game since it’s tied 5-5.”  Well if that’s not a guilt trip…Just kidding.

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There were a ton of people on the train and we were all kicking ourselves in the pants.  I just claimed that we were typical LA fans – arrive late and leave early.  The real excitement was Saturday when Chase Utley hit a grand slam for the Dodger win!

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Saturday I decided to give myself the day off from working out and instead Lindsay and I got up early to hit the beach.  We left the apartment around 8:30, picked up some snacks and caffeinated beverages at Starbucks and were on the sand by 11:30.  Now that it’s beach season, the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) has various beach deals including one to Long Beach – $23 round trip fare and access to the beach (normally $15).  I guess they charge at most beaches in order to maintain the classiness or cleanliness.  Either way, it does make for a better experience, especially if you make it a full day.

We may have been overeager on the sun and less than smart on the sunscreen.  I had thought it would be easy to spray myself periodically with the spray bottle but apparently that was not enough.  When I got home it looked like I wore some fancy schmancy suit that had cut-outs on the sides.  Let’s be clear that I did not wear that.  So from 7pm onward I sat and applied aloe, ate Bareburger and watched Disney Channel movies from the 100th episode celebration.  Adulting at its finest.

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^^ Sunday started with my last ClassPass class at KORE.  We worked for about 45 minutes with kettle bells, TRX ropes, and our own body weight.  The music was good, the bathrooms were fancy, and the lighting was a bit too much disco-esque.  I didn’t feel it too much right after the class but boy did I feel the burn the next morning.

Once finished, I hopped back on a Citi bike, prepped breakfast for the week and got ready for day #2 of the beach.  This time we were keeping it cheap and taking the A train out to Rockaways.  Turns out we went to the surfing spot, which doesn’t exactly allow for swimming.  Good to know.

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Once we got past the loud family and two parties playing loud music (really people, is that necessary?  How about listening to the ocean waves), everything was just fine.  I had brought my second book – The Lake House by Kate Morton – and alternated between reading and napping and glaring at our neighbors.  We actually didn’t even make it into the water because an odd fog started to roll in and we took our cue to depart.

To be 100% honest – the beaches are nothing like those in California.  I grew up going to Laguna Beach and there seriously is nothing better – the waves, the color of the ocean – the cleanliness (on most…).  That or Hawaii but we can’t all have Hawaii all the time.  It is sort of hard to trek all the way out with all your goods, but that’s part of growing up and exploring new areas.  Maybe I’ll stumble across a few other beaches this summer and make a list of pros/cons.

I’d like to say we went home and got dressed to go party but that would be a lie.  I sat right down and applied aloe and watched some excellent Disney films.  1) Johnny Tsunami, 2) ZENON and then 3) Teen Beach Movie, which seemed like a mash-up of modern day Johnny Tsunami (mostly for the poor kids who will never watch it) and Grease.  I was actually highly satisfied with all three and then got 8+ hours of sleep.  Now that’s an awesome weekend.

Monday Monday Monday.  After waking up to a cool apartment at 8:15am, it was off to the gym for a spin class and barre class.  I was supposed to go biking to a brewery but with 100% chance of showers, that plan was busted.  Once I set off for the gym a funny thing happened.  IT DIDN’T RAIN ALL DAY.  Get that meteorologists.  Anyways, it was probably for the better because I was able to stock up on some cleaning supplies, work through the apartment and get prepped for the week.

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I did meet up with my two friends that I was supposed to bike with and we tested out a new brunch spot instead.  I had selected this place (Jane) based on the reviews of the burger and bloody mary.  I did not get the burger and was actually not a fan of the bloody mary but did love the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for what it’s worth.

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And that folks was a New York staycation.  A bit hap-hazard of a write-up as there was no real itinerary but we made do with our resources and it was one to remember.  Oh and for one little teaser of where I wish I could be – Curacao – with this view.  This is what a couple of my friends have seen for the past week.  Sunsets (NO FILTER) like this on the daily with plenty of sun and perfect surf to go around.

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“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things” – Robert Brault

Whirlwind Weekend in California

With a hop, skip, and a jump, I’m en route back to the good old New York City.  I spent a quick weekend at home, arriving late Friday.  It had been 4.5 months since I was last home but with only 72 hours to spare (if that) I couldn’t really make many plans.  That was fine by me and I instead focused on spending my time with the family and Mr. Bodie.  I did happen to squeeze in a quick coffee date with one of my best girlfriends from home since she too was in town!  She was prepping to go see Beyonce at the Rose Bowl and so we caught up over some Starbucks (obviously it’s my goal to stay hyper-caffeinated).

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^^ don’t we make a good duo?

Anyways, on Saturday afternoon, my sister Meghan graduated top of her class, from Claremont McKenna College.  We had the whole family drive in from their respective locations to celebrate and sat through a few endless speeches (as most graduations do have) 😉 I did enjoy listening to their commencement speaker – David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker.  He had some interesting things to say – somewhat political at times, but I felt that his speech could have been more concise.  Meghan and I later attended the Scripps College commencement where we listened to Madeleine Albright, who I thought did a much better job of getting her words of wisdom across.  Some of the key takeaways were:

  • Truth can be a blunt instrument, which can be helpful as well as dangerous
  • If we aren’t learning, we aren’t living >> there is a great divide between people who are willing to listen versus people who think they know it all
  • Instead of choosing to listen to people you agree with, or spend time with people who are similar to you, try to listen to those you don’t agree with or help expand your horizons >> it’s imperative to continue to learn
  • Make this new life an adventure

Good points right?

Later that evening it was family celebration time at Arroyo Chop House.  Oh.my.goodness.  Quite possibly the best family dinner out that we have had in some time.  Meghan and I were both greeted with little orchid arrangements (so I was totally in a wonderful mood and yes I took both home to hang dry in my room) for her graduation and my birthday.   We then proceeded to snack on their freshly made sourdough (noms) and put our orders in for dinner.  

My dad is a man with a classic order – caesar salad, steak (or split steak + fish) combo – medium, pommes frites and green beans, with a chocolate souffle for dessert.  The man has good taste but Meghan and I decided to go rogue and also order a truffle mac and cheese (which I proceeded to finish) and brussels sprouts w/ bacon. Our options for dessert were between the chocolate souffle and grand mariner.  We went with the former, but then my aunt told me she usually has the table order both.  Ah, now that is a clutch idea for the future!  Anyone care to take me on a date there? 😉

On Sunday morning, Meghan and I set out for my last long run before this weekend’s Brooklyn Half Marathon.  She was kind enough to keep my pace and we had a good time chatting our way down to the Rose Bowl.  The uphill terrain was not nearly as nice (actually struggle city), but landed us with a solid 9.2 miles for the morning.  As corny or weird as it sounds, my favorite feeling is post-run or post-workout where (sure things are a bit achey or sore) you feel invincible, strong, and accomplished. 

Looking forward to Brooklyn, this is one race where I really don’t have a time-goal in mind.  My training hasn’t been consistent and I’m just doing my best to stay healthy prior to NYC Marathon training.  Not going to lie, with less than 6 months to go (about 2 months until training begins), the nerves are starting to kick in.  Buuuuut we’ll keep that for another time.

The rest of the afternoon was spent fixing up the house, sewing up corn-hole bags (call me Martha Stewart), and prepping for the party.  We had most of the family out along with a number of Meghan’s cross country peeps.  All of her friends range in age and even across a couple of the other Claremont schools, so it’s always an eclectic bunch 🙂

IMG_7218^^ Catering by Los Gringos Locos for the win (guac by yours truly)

My favorite parts of the weekend had to be walking with my mom and dog, running with my sister around the Rose Bowl (but not enjoying the uphill on Killer Hill), and getting ready for the graduation party.  I would have liked to play golf with my Dad but time didn’t allow and so I’ll put that off for when I’m hopefully home during the holidays.  To say that leaving home was easy would be a lie.  No matter how many times I make the trip, the last day is always the toughest.  I don’t like goodbyes (it’s always always always see you later) and the day ends up being so damn long.  Trust me, I’m living it up in New York and love it but whenever I’m home, I start to question what I’m doing.  Should I be adventuring more, should I be in Southern California, should I be in a completely different type of job.  Adulting is tough.

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After a nice long chat with my mom, I put things in perspective.  My journey is unfolding just as it needs to.  Things work out in strange ways and with enough perseverance and drive, we make our life as we please.  For now, keep calm and carry on. 

“Everything will change when your desire to move on exceeds your desire to hold on” – Alan H Cohen

BAA Marathon 16 + NP The Book

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So you already know that I was up in Boston this past weekend to watch the Boston Marathon.  There also happened to be this thing called the November Project book that launched last week and has been a pretty big deal.  Ok, maybe just a big deal to those involved in one of the various tribes.  Anyways, here’s a little recap of what’s been going on in my NP world.

On Sunday afternoon I met up with my friend Emma and Jackie to drive up to Boston for the marathon.

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^^ I had just eaten my breakfast smoothie but agreed to a quick pitstop in Harlem (all the way up in 151st street…exploring a new hood) for some Mexican fare.  All three of us went for some version of carnitas, which was a solid choice.  Emma’s burrito was a little more than we could manage but it was a good attempt.

We made it to Beantown around 5 or so, dropped off Emma and went to explore Cambridge.  We were actually staying with one of the Boston NP members and I have to say, what a darn cool group of people to have in your life.  Our tribe had done the same thing for the New York Marathon where we created a google doc listing out people that were offering space to stay and those who were looking for housing.

Later that evening, we met up with our pal Jess (who happened to be running the marathon!) for dinner at Cambridge Common.  I may have eaten my entire weight in nachos, so it was a good thing that I wasn’t running extensively the next day.

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^^ The next morning Jackie and I ran about 4 or so miles to the destination workout and wouldn’t you know, we got to pass by both the Wednesday and Friday workout locations – Harvard Stadium and Summit Ave.  The Harvard steps are still on my bucket list, but a view from a far was good enough for this trip.

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^^ If one knew other tribe members, they went up to one another, embraced and reconnected.  The rest of the tribes sort of stayed in their own little groups (t#juniorhighdance).  Then we bounced (promptly at 6:28), did some sprints, played tag, and did a bit of a group challenge workout – this time mixing up tribes and forcing us all to meet new people.  Guilty moment – I don’t remember most of the names of the people that I met.  I am terrrrrible with names and it’s certainly something I need to work on.

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^^ Post workout where Brian (the one with the bib) went off to casually run a marathon (a race that happened to be his 9th Boston and 74th marathon!) The rest of us dispersed to eat and shower before heading to the Mile 18 cheer station.

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It sure was one hell of a race to watch. This was the third marathon that I have spectated and I give all the credit in the world to those people running.  This was also a different breed of race since a majority of the runners had to qualify in order to get in (*there are bibs for charities as well)  That meant that they are SPEEDY and 100% beast mode.  The weather was glorious for spectating, but a temperature in the high 60’s and low 70’s left some runners struggling.  For many, it wasn’t the race that they had expected or had hoped.  But, they made it and most finished, so that in itself is a major accomplishment.

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Video Collage of Mile 18

>> https://twitter.com/ohanaloverun/status/722122687296966656

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEWdPdwEF8u/

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^^ We may not have run 26.2 miles but between running to the workout, the workout, and walking around the course, this was a solid day of mileage.

YouTube (via Fox News) ~ November Project Leaders Brogan and Bojan came up to New York to talk about about the release of the NP_Book as well as participate in a little North Face Athletics workout in Central Park.  What’s hilarious (to me) is that so many people follow the two of them (and many other leaders) so we obviously know where they are traveling and often feel as if we know them personally.  Then, when you actually are right there asking for them to sign the book, you find yourself a bit speechless and thanking them (in a very cheesy manner) for starting this movement.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Cool.

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^^ Now here we are, back to the Wednesday grind at Gracie Mansion.  Today’s crafty caption was “suns out buns out”.   If you’re interested in checking out the hype, come meet us Friday at Chelsea Piers (6:28a) and next Wednesday at 102nd St. footbridge (UES) at 5:28a/6:28a.

“The reason I joined the Tribe was the unique combination of fitness, community, respect, love, and most importantly inclusion.” – Bart Yasso (Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine)