Year 3 In New York City

Another post that’s better late than never.  The past year was spent traveling, running, and exploring all of New York – sounds a lot like year #1 and #2, right?  To be honest, there wasn’t too much change.  I continued to work for an awesome company, expanded my friendships within November Project, and squeezed as much out of my free time as possible.  As I mentioned on the 31st, I learned a little bit more about myself, appreciated my body thanks to the I Run This Body movement, and learned when to let go.  This last bit was tough in the sense of FOMO and friendships, but I realized (through many discussions and Elite Daily articles) that we can’t do it all and there comes a time in our lives that makes us realize what and who is important.

But here’s a look at what made my third year in New York City so wonderful and memorable.

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NYC Marathon Training: Weeks 1-4

It’s true that I’ve never really considered this blog a “workout blog” per se but I do happen to upload quite a few running related items.  When I first started the blog, I had planned to create this quasi food/lifestyle/workout theme and share certain runs and races to keep myself accountable.  As you will note, this has fallen by the wayside but there is no time like the present to get back on that wagon.  I’m going to attempt to make note of my training and random thoughts along this journey to 26.2.

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Week 1 – July 18-24 (and 7/16)

Saturday 7/16 9 mi (Montrose loop @ 8:40 pace)
Monday 7/18 – 
5 mi (8:18 pace) in Fairbanks prior to departing
Tuesday 7/19 – Hike steep/slow 4 mi in Denali
Wednesday 7/20 – Walk (transport 6am-9pm)
Thursday 7/21 – Run 6 + hike 3 + walk 3
Friday 7/22 – 3.8 run + walking around town
Saturday 7/23 – Walk + transit (watch said ~ 8 mi)
Sunday 7/24 – 10 min bike + 45 min elliptical

Thoughts: I considered taking this week easy since I never really gave myself a true break after the Brooklyn Half.  Eh, it was a so-so week, making do with the territory I had.

Week 2 – July 25-31

Monday 7/25 – 45 min elliptical + kayak
Tuesday 7/26 – 40 min elliptical + squats + 1 hr stand up paddle
Wednesday 7/27 – 30 min bike + 15 min elliptical + 3 hour “bushwack” hike
Thursday 7/28 – 60 min bike + 2 hr stand up paddle
Friday 7/29 – 40 min elliptical + 4 hr kayak
Saturday 7/30 – transit/off – only steps around Stika
Sunday 7/31 – 11 mi (9:00 pace) along my old XC trails.  Meghan was nice enough to run with me and my slow pace on the condition that I didn’t complain (especially about how much I had eaten on the trip).  She didn’t exactly say all of this but I know she doesn’t like the complaints.  Man it was struggle city out there but that’s another long run in the books.  I worked to focus on the landscape instead of my running and was shocked at how rivers and ponds that once were scattered along the trail are practically non-existent.

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Thoughts: Well, vacations are fun but not always conducive to 1) maintaining your figure and 2) your workouts.  I have found myself to be somewhat of an all or nothing gal (not good, I know) and let’s just say that coffee with copious amounts of half & half with dessert three times a day for at least 1-2 weeks does nothing for my running.  That being said, it was interesting to see how reliant or obsessed I can be on my routine.

Week 3 – August 1 – 7

Monday 8/1 –  Swim 30 min – I was working from home but wanted to wake up and get the 700+ emails sorted before chaos ensued.  Swimming midday was good but I never feel like I accomplish much (probably because I’m flopping around unlike Katie Ledecky or Missy Franklin)

Tuesday 8/2 – 4-6 miles of walking + evening Intervals. ~ Speedwork: Meghan and I ran with California Republic in East LA at 8pm.  I normally don’t workout this late (or in the evenings at all) so it was sure going to be interesting.  Total miles 5.5 with 4×1200 thrown in.  The goal was 1) marathon pace 2) 1/2 marathon pace 3) marathon pace 4) 10K pace and no one followed.  If I ever run a 7:10 marathon or 6:58 1/2 marathon…yeah maybe in another lifetime.

I realized my goal now is to 1) NOT BE STUPID and 2) NOT GO OUT TOO FAST.  That should save me some trouble down the road.

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Wednesday 8/3 – 2 miles round and round with NP_LAX + burpees thrown in.  6 mi later in the evening with one helluva hill (thank you for bringing down the average pace), which left me wondering how I ran all of those hills in high school.
Thursday 8/4 –  Yoga x 2. Was feeling ever so sore and decided to use my flex day to stretch.
Friday 8/5 –  12 mi (9:00) pace.  Started the first 7 with my friend Sarah and sister Meghan in Altadena and then slogged through another 5.  The quads were shot but it was a better pace than last week so that’s a success! Fueled with a Honey Stinger waffle pre-run and acai gel mid run.
Saturday 8/6 – Bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs >> 2ish mile hike (around 5,000 steps for the day)
Sunday 8/7 – 10 holes of golf

Week 4 – August 8 – 14

Monday 8/8 – 3.5 mi shakeout run in the evening (after a red-eye and minimal sleep the previous weekend).  Well this was somewhat disappointing.  I felt like a hippo (though my sister reminds me that hippos run fast) logging around the lower part of Central Park.
Tuesday 8/9 –  Intervals with the track crew. 5 miles (1 mi warm up – 1×1600 + 2×800 + 4×400 – 1 mi cool down)
Wednesday 8/10 – 3 mi trot around NP.  I was planning to fit in 3 during the 5:30 workout but didn’t get my butt out of bed in time.
Thursday 8/11 – 9 mi around 8:56 pace and … PHYSICAL THERAPY!  Lots of insight and readjustment and so grateful for NY Custom PT.
Friday 8/12 –  Biked 2.5 to the Brooklyn Bridge + 2.5 Jog with the backpack (not smart) + mini NP workout (I half-assed it) + walking around and around looking for apartments.

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Saturday 8/13 –  14.8 mi (8:34 pace) Ran from 18th and 1st up to 72nd and down along Summer Streets with some stop and go into Brooklyn.  I probably should not stop as much but they say just to get the miles in…right?  Best part was getting ice cubes in Brooklyn to put in our sports bras and my hat. Genius plan. Fueled with 1/2 Honey Stinger Waffle and 1/2 Banana – mini cliff sample about 6ish miles in and NUUN for the win.
Sunday 8/14 – Couple of miles jogging before Brooklyn Mile (6:21).  Hot and humid and all the possible speed.

Thoughts: Marathon training is tough.  Fitting in all the workouts + strength + stretching is tough.  I haven’t even done all that I could or should but the goal is to enjoy the process and it’s going alright thus far.  Now onto weeks 5-8!

“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  It’s the hard that makes it great” – Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own. 

Alaska Travels: Cruising to Sitka

All good fun must come to an end and today I share the last of my pictures from Alaska.  Although, I do have to say while Monday and Wednesday’s posts provided a wonderful (biased of course) look at the state, nothing beats getting out to explore on your own!

IMG_8718After wrapping up the land portion of Un-Cruise on Friday, we took a tour of Anchorage and had dinner with a couple my mom knew when we lived in England for a short time.  They have moved around a lot in the last twenty years and are now locals of Alaska and loving it.  They selected the Moose’s Tooth as the destination of choice and boy was it crowded – must mean they are doing something well.  With unique beer brews and delectable [pizza] pies, I’d give it double thumbs up.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early (hello 5:30) and headed off to Juneau via flight.  The actual Un-Cruise cruise wasn’t set to depart until after 5pm so we checked our bags in and went off to explore the state’s capital in the rain.  After two weeks in the mist I can safely say I would not last long in the northwest.  I love my sunshine, even if it’s humid sunshine.

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We also took a bus out to the Mendenhall Glacier and then walked around the park a little bit.  The rain pants and rain boots allowed Meghan and I to wade through the water and get closer to the falls but were not exactly the most comfortable to power walk in.  Duly noted.

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^^ On the bus back to the hotel where our bags were staying we saw a bear! Correction: I saw a bear and my dad missed it by a smidge.  Hello bear and sorry dad.

By 4:30 we were were at our orientation and by 5:30 onboard, taking off from Juneau, and en-route to Stika.  We met the rest of the 70 or so passengers, enjoyed some nice bubbly and cheese and settled in for the week ahead.

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Every morning Meghan and I woke up around 6 to “workout” on the elliptical and stationary bike.  I honestly don’t know how I managed to use the elliptical so much in college because it can get quite monotonous…

We also participated in the morning “stretch” class led by one of the guides.  I use quotes here because 15 minutes of very light stretching doesn’t really cut it for most people.  There was some disappointment since they used to have a yoga teacher/masseuse but in the end, Un-Cruise needed someone who could actually help in other ways onboard.

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^^ Here’s the family mid-hypothermia dance

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Our activities ranged from skiff (boat) tours around the bays or coves, searching for wildlife, kayaking, standup paddle, bushwacking (hiking without a trail), or shore pokes (mild walks).  Overall Un-Cruise did a pretty solid job of avoiding disastrous weather, rearranging certain activities and cruise routes so that we wouldn’t have to deal with too much rain the entire trip.  Of course weather is never in our control and we just had/have to make due with what Mother Nature provides. << Something that’s always good to remember rather than get frustrated by.

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^^ Day 1 was spent in Glacier Bay National Park with some more excellent views of the local ice packs.  Sadly enough global warming’s impact is quite evident and I only fear what the next 10-20-50+ years will bring.

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^^ Personal floatation device (aka PFD) was a must on most outings and obviously made for a very attractive look.  You know for the amount of time I spent in rain pants, I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on as the next fashion trend.  Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse during the fall Fashion Week.

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^^ Oh yes.  The meals.  There were three square meals a day with buffet-style breakfast and lunch, a gourmet sit-down dinner and yes, dessert + coffee came with all three.  They actually had a beverage station so the coffee was optional but I decided to have tea and coffee at all three meals.  Despite the fact that I switched to decaf starting at lunch, that weeklong decision made for a TERRIBLE caffeine withdrawal upon my return.

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^^ From a shore walk to a bushwack adventure. Plenty of vegetation to see and walk through.  Much different in comparison to my usual NYC posts, right?  No concrete in this neck of the woods.

IMG_9176 IMG_9179 ^^ By far the best cookie of the week.  Certainly about the 10th cookie too many for the trip (they make a different batch every day for lunch…) but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t delicious.

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IMG_8841By Saturday it had been one full week on the water and it was time to disembark in Stika.  We left with a few more friends and definitely some good stories and plenty of pictures to look back upon.

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Alaska.  It’s been real.  Until our next adventure.

“To travel is to live” – Hans Christen Anderson

Alaska Travels Part 2

Now you know that I wouldn’t come back from a two week vacation without hundreds of pictures, right?  In fact I wasn’t even the worst at being trigger happy because my dad had over 900 on his camera card!  Of course there were a few hundred that were just moving shots or blurry images thanks to the movement of the train and bus, but hey got to catch ’em all.

As noted on Monday, the first week was spent with Un-Cruise galivanting about Fairbanks, Denali, and then to the Knik River Lodge by the Knik Glacier.  This last spot may have been a favorite because of the glorious mattresses and the SLED DOGS!!!  If you ever have the opportunity to meet sled dogs and ride with them, throw caution to the wind and go.

Wednesday was one helluva travel day since we got up at the crack of dawn (5:30) to enjoy a 6 hour bus tour out of the park, 4+ hour train tour to Talkeetna for dinner, and then 2 hour bus trip to our final destination.  In the end it was all worth it because we witnessed several more bouts of wildlife, enjoyed a walk and tasty meal Talkeetna and made it to Knik River Lodge by bedtime.

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^^ Yep, this is downtown.  With a population of about 876 (back in 2010), no need to spend more than a meal in Talkeetna.  However, if you are interested in camping, that’s a different story.

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This was the view from our adorable little hut along the Knik River and Glacier.  Each hut could house up to one or two beds and I do declare they were the most comfortable beds I have experienced.  Meghan and I took to running two of the mornings that we stayed because well, it was week 1 of marathon training and I was already behind.

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Along with marathon training came some hiking or rather “bush-wacking”.  This entails one pushing through bushes without a very well defined path in order to reach your destination.  Rain pants are a must in this situation because otherwise you will have countless scratches, bruises, and even bug bites from the contact and exposure.

IMG_9079IMG_1810^^ 3 miles round-trip (1.5 up and 1.5 back with 1hr 20 up and 1hr back) for this beauty.  It would have been 10x better had there not been mosquitoes waiting around for us but who am I kidding?

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^^ Don’t you like my outfit?  Keeping things real attractive in the Alaskan countryside.

After our jaunt up the mountain, it was time to grab a quick lunch and then off to see the doggies!  There were about 4 groups visiting the group of dogs on the glacier throughout the day and we happened to be #3.  Fingers and toes were crossed that the weather would clear up because group #1 wasn’t able to land the helicopter due to the grumpy clouds chilling in the sky.  I know it’s for precautionary reasons but it would still suck to go all the way up and not be able to see them.  Not to mention hearts and souls crushed.  (minor exaggeration…maybe)

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Just take a look at that blue in the glacier!!  Fun fact – the blue color is actually what’s reflected within our eyes and not the actual color of the glacier.  Neat, right?

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Just two sisters getting along for 13 days of very very close proximity together.  😉  My dad actually asked me if I brought any clothing that didn’t have a November Project tag on it.  Um, yeah sorry no.  Guess it has to go in the Christmas card (again).

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Final dose of Alaskan adventure coming your way Friday!

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Alaska Travels Part 1: Denali

Well I’m officially back in the lower 48 from one amazing Alaskan adventure.  My family and I spent the last two weeks bouncing around the state, starting in Fairbanks and moving towards Denali, spending a quick night in Anchorage and then cruising around down to Sitka.  Each portion of the trip had its own special element so today I’m going to take you through the first portion – the land portion – and the famous Denali National Park.

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As I mentioned above, we had two weeks on the trip – one week on the land and one week on the sea.  It’s hard to say which one was my favorite since both were oh so different.  Both portions were with the company Uncruise, the sort of tour company that focuses on the wilderness and wildlife.

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We flew out of LAX bright and early on Sunday morning to Anchorage where we spent our layover walking up and down the very small airport.  My mom, Meghan, and I were somewhat obsessed with getting our steps in and so off throughout the terminal we went.  Of course we needed to get a picture with the first wildlife of the trip.

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After spending one quick night in Fairbanks, it was off to Denali via the Alaska train and later school bus. It was sort of strange to go to bed and wake up (around 5 in order to run) and have the sun already out.  I’m not sure I could manage that year round, especially when that means it would be gone most of the winter!

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One of the perks of this travel arrangement was that we got to ride in style and enjoy delicious meals for the entirety of the trip.  Eating in the dining car of a train sure seems like a good bucket list item.  Check!

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Not only does my dad do an excellent job researching and planning our trips but he always documents what we do throughout the trip.

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Another perk of the Uncruise trip was that we were able to stay overnight in the heart of Denali – Kantishna.  This is about a 6 hour ride via bus from the park entrance but thankfully there are a few rest stops along the way to get out, use the facilities and stretch your legs.  Our bus driver was simply a doll and shared stories throughout the ride as well as stopping any time that we saw wildlife.

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^^ Good ‘ol Fredson as Kirsty (our driver) named the bus

IMG_8787^^ MOOSE ON THE LOOSE! Day 1 of the trip and we had already seen plenty of caribou and three moose at the visitors center.  Who would have thought?

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Some people had asked if we were going to hike Mount Denali (formally known as Mount McKinley) and no, we did not (nor will I ever).  Located in the Interior Alaska, it’s the highest mountain and North America.  The land is made up of forest,deciduous taiga, tundra, glaciers, rock, and yes snow.  There are over 400,000 people that visit the park each year (source) and most of these folks visit via vehicle along the 91-mile Denali Park Road, 15 miles of which are available to private vehicles.  There’s only a small bit of the road that is paved thanks to permafrost so your best bet is to ride with a tour group.

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While we didn’t hike Mount McKinley per se, we did hike along the Kantishna portion, located at the very end of the road.  We are used to hiking in Mammoth with completely groomed switchback trails, wide enough for people to walk two by two.  This was not the case and we were left to push through various bushes and vegetation as we entered a cloud.

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^^ Here’s our first glimpse at sled dogs.  Later in the week we would have the opportunity to visit sled dogs on a glacier, which was probably one of the highlights of the week.

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More nature to come…

“What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.” – Mollie Beattie (Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)