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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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

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

Life of Late ~ 3.25.16

Soooooo, I’ve been off the blogging train lately.  Not entirely sure why.  Yes, there have been some later nights at work.  Yes, I have oodles I could talk about.  Yes, I have been addicted to watching Gilmore Girls nonstop.  So there aren’t too many excuses other than maybe I need to just pop in and out every now and then.  Anyways, a very applicable post by the lovely Margaret about “Blogging Break(s)“.  I know Georgie and Christina have had posts about feeling burnt out, taking a little break from blogging, and then feeling oh so much better, thus coming back better than ever.  So maybe that’s where I’m at.  A little more living in the moment.  Maybe I’ll just photo dump all my favorites from week to week because that’s what I really love to do. 🙂 For now, enjoy and happy Good Friday to those celebrating!

1^^ I’m not a huge candy fan but this pop-up shop in the mall gets me every time.

23 The BEST way to spend a Saturday (or any day if possible) is running and then eating, hence my popular hashtag #runtoeat.  I have discovered a delicious smoothie shop near the Brooklyn Lululemon that serves only the best acai bowls in Brooklyn (or so I’ve experienced).  I think this little rendition of LuluRunClub + acai bowl may have to happen again tomorrow.

4 5 ^^ Friends that run together stay together 😉 Me and my November Project buddies after one of the Saturday runs.  We four are on a team for the upcoming North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain.  Trail running really isn’t my expertise at the moment, so it may be more of a fun trek through the wilderness.

6 ^^ Sampling out some fun products such as derma e‘s latest charcoal products.  Because I live in one dirty city (the only “fresh air” I get is in Central Park), I tend to gravitate towards the more holistic skin products.  I’ve heard lots of good things about charcoal and green tea (well duh) and have been using a couple of these products for the last few weeks.  I definitely love the cleanser and how soft it makes my face feel.  The Purifying Youth Serum wasn’t my top choice, simply due to the smell (I have a sensitive nose and stomach), but the charcoal mask and gel cleanser however are quite on point and luckily can be purchased at ULTA and Whole Foods, so I’m in luck!

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So when I’m not sitting on my rear in the office, I am usually out and about working out.  My friends and I tested out a tough 45-minute HIIT class at the fhitting room, thanks to this nifty free code.  We went to the location on the UES (upper east side) and left sweating as you can see from our glamour shot above (ok not dripping in sweat but still).  Since I have an Equinox membership, I’m not sure if I’d pay consistently for classes, but I did love the strength training and it’s on my bucket list to do more in preparation for the rest of my races this year.

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Pure Wow ~ Baked Cheese Recipes ~ Everyone say CHEESE.

Pure Wow ~ “Summer Trips to Book Immediately” ~ Who else has the travel itch?  I’m stuck between enjoying my routine and wanting to break free.  Luckily I have a few trips coming up this month to satisfy that wanderlust craving (no, semi-planned trips aren’t exactly “wanderlust” but whatever…it’s travel so carpe diem)

NYMag.com ~ “Relying on Friends in a World Made for Couples” ~

C’est Christine ~ “This is Your Life” ~ Remember, you do you and you stay focused on you.

November Project ~ “2 Years 200 Workouts” ~ A absolutely lovely tribute to NYC’s 200th workout by fellow NP runner, inspiration, friend, and badass Sara Beaney.

Well + Good ~ “10 Most Exciting Healthy Books in 2016” ~  When you finish your latest show binge and don’t know what to do with your life. Not to mention this activity is PERFECT for this spring weather.  Am I right?

Pure Wow ~ “NYC Secret Parks” ~ Who knew any of these locations existed?? I guess I have to up my exploring game.

In It 4 The Long Run ~ “20 Healthy Recipes You Can Make w/ Almond Butter” ~ Because who can’t say no to nut butter?

9 ^^ Like I said, you can usually find me working out, running in the park, or at some cafe that serves avocado toast (aka Bluestone Lane for the win)

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Or re-fueling with festive burrata + prosciutto for the Bachelor finale.

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^^ Another Brooklyn Lululemon run club adventure in the books.  This was to send of our fast and fearless leader Chloe as she moves to Berlin for her new job.  With a quick 4 mile shakeout under our belts (this was the Saturday prior to the NYC Half), we arrived back to an ice cream cake and the manager telling us that we could each pick out a pair of shorts in Chloe’s honor.

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12 ^^ This would be my meal the day before the NYC Half Marathon.  It was divine and I totally should have come here after the half to celebrate and replenish those calories. The biscuits.  The sausage gravy.  The biscuits.  The epic Mary J Blige Pandora playstation they had going.  So amazing.

Pies & Thighs has two lovely locations (Lower East Side and Williamsburg) and we selected the original local (Williamsburg) to dine.  Waits aren’t terrible and if you put your name in, wander back down the street to grab a coffee while you wait.

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^^ Almond milk latte and gooey chocolate chip cookies for extra measure.  Didn’t want to feel faint on the course, that’s for sure. Oh and Califia Barista Blend is quite possibly the best thing to happen to coffee.  Forget cream, forget coconut  milk, go Califia or go home.

15 Right.  This little race called the NYC Half Marathon, sponsored by United Airlines.  Both Lindsay and I had entered our names in the lottery and both happened to luck out with bibs!   We picked up our bibs on Friday afternoon, snapped a picture and then headed home for an early evening.

It was a VERY early morning Sunday – up at 5:15 to eat and prep, barely making it to the starting line by 7:10 (corrals closed around 7:15) and a swift start at 7:30.  I had actually signed up for this race prior to Arizona and after running 1:40ish in Arizona, I considered taking it easy in NYC.  But, I was feeling good in and around the park, cruised through Times Square, and shot out at the West Side Highway where I saw a few people that I knew and most importantly, the mile 9 NP_NYC cheer station.

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^^ I may not have been smiling for this shot (by one of the NP peeps) but boy was I excited to see them.  With a wave of the hand (shaka as always), I was off to the last part of the race.  If you aren’t familiar with the course, let me fill you in.  The whole West Side Highway is long and when you hit mile 12, you go through a tunnel and have to deal with two tight turns before the finish line.  Those were NOT my favorite parts of the course.  But, all in all an excellent morning and I ended up running even faster than Arizona with a solid 1:40 time!

19 ^^ Like I said, friends that run together, stay together.  We have goals to keep signing up and traveling for races – maybe a few epic destination ones one day.

20 ^^ But for now, it’s back to training.  I’ve got the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler next week and Brooklyn in just under 8 weeks.  Here we are with a blurry Tuesday morning speedwork. I was just jogging behind the group as I was still sore but the sunrise and company is always worth it AND WE SAW MEB K!!  Always worth the wakeup.

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Who knows what this weekend will bring besides some workouts and exploration but that’s fine by me.  Carpe Diem my friends and the happiest of Easters.

“It is better to travel well than to arrive” – Buddha

Life of Late ~ 3.4.16

Another week bites the dust.  It’s no fun when you wake up on Thursday thinking that it is Friday.  Yes, that happened but today I can say TGIF.   My face says it all.  Looking forward to a little bit of running (duh), laundry, yoga, social, some exploration, and probably more running. The long laundry list of “to-do” items really includes blogging, making a list of things to do in Washington D.C. next month, clearing out more junk from my closet, strength training, meal prep, finding more places to travel to, crafts to make, educating myself about tech or coding or something, and all while saving money.

IMG_5753^^ Photo by my friend Feller (I will always know her as her maiden name and it’s so much more fun with alliteration)

It just so happens that last weekend’s half was my 13th 13.1 race.  Neat right?  So in the spirit of the event, I decided to sign up for yet another one, this time in Newport Rhode Island.  Also when your friends post about it and encourage people to sign up…#fomo and well, there goes my lunch money for the next month.

newportSince I’m from California, I tend to get the questions “why did you ever leave California?” or “do you think you will ever move back?” or “when do you think you’ll move back?”.  It’s day to day people, day to day decisions.  However, this week I actually decided that I’m not all to ready to leave NYC (that could change in the next 6 months when my lease is up…) and especially don’t want to bail before marathon season.  Props to those who can train solo, but after second hand experiencing the training phenomenon with people training together, practicing the bridges, and running the course, I decided I want that too.  After all, it’s my first marathon so I better make it count.  And because the picture above is spot on.  Running is WAY more friend with a friend, friends, or a clutch playlist. 😉

Of course I decided this while telling my mom “you know the winter hasn’t been that bad this year”.  When I hung up the phone, I was greeted with this…

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But a little snow doesn’t hurt too much, right?  It actually makes you THAT much more excited for the warmer weather.  Like spring, which is just a couple short weeks away!  And summer, which is right around the corner from that.  And this body is no where near bikini ready…

IMG_5752^^  I’m actually digging the one on the left (maybe mile 6 or so?) but oh dear, what happened on the right?  At least the woman behind me looks like she had a good time.

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^^ That’s ok, I have my own personal photographer at November Project and just so happen to be featured in some of the latest NYRR promotional items.  We were having such a ball during those 6:30a intervals.

Great Big Story ~ Talking about Penn State and Ice Cream Courses ~ I scream you scream….WHO LOVES ICE CREAM???

Thrillist ~ “Do Juice Cleanses Work?” ~ So true. So true.

Running.Competitor ~ “Hopeful, Hungry and Chasing a Lie: Disordered Eating in Distance Running” ~ You know what?  I don’t look like a distance runner either.  Sometimes it’s tough because I compare myself to the rest of society – I’m not going to ever be like Kara Goucher (while I’d love that…neither the speed nor looks will ever be mine) and in this media/image obsessed world where smaller is better, thigh gap is crucial and being petite is more attractive, it sometimes really sucks.  Like she said, I’m not here to skinny-shame.  Sure, we are all different but as an athlete (I’m not professional but I still consider myself as such) I want to focus on these type of women; the women that train, have fun, that don’t compare, and are confident.  Remember, you do you.

Although, after Ali’s article on Kara Goucher, I really do want to be just like her.

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What’s on tap for your weekend?  Any good race photo stories? They never really said running was pretty.

It Went Down at Phoenix

Get ready for an epic length post of all the fun that was had this past weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.  For those who want the spark notes version (you miss out on awesome desert views), we ran a half marathon (got 3rd in my category and almost PR’d), had beyond amazing meals that were way cheaper than what you would find in New York City, and just had too much fun talking and catching up.  This is yet another trip that has reminded me how blessed I am to have found such clutch friends with whom I can spend my time, open up about anything, and just be myself.

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IMG_5696Sam and I arrived late on Thursday night and were greeted by our friend Zara in the amazing rental car she had picked up for the weekend.  CLUTCH move.  I didn’t really consider how we would get around otherwise and well, that would have been bad news bears.  We had so much more freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted and it was all relatively inexpensive!

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Friday morning jog and walk around the local canal.  It was a whopping couple of miles in the heat and we were ready for breakfast.  Hey, didn’t want to work too hard before Saturday’s race 😉

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Snooze Phoenix (on ASU’s campus)
A bright, retro chain right out of the movie Cars, serving breakfast & lunch & cocktails.
2045 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016
*Possible wait because it’s oh so popular.  Put your name in, fill up on some complimentary coffee and sit outside to enjoy the sunshine. 
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Coffee and Donuts Pancakes
Buttermilk pancake “donuts” filled with spiced granny smith apples, topped with chai glaze, walnut streusel and accompanied by a wee cup o’ espresso cream.
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Winter Harvest Benny
Griddled sun-dried tomato and parmesan grit cakes topped with a ragout of brussel sprouts, kale and cannelloni beans with poached cage free eggs, cream cheese hollandaise and toasted fennel crumb.
*Breakfast hack: sub out the side for a specialty pancake and you get pretty much a FULL SIZE TREAT 🙂 This is also clutch if you are looking to be thrifty (full meal perfect for splitting) or get your bang for your buck (and a full stomach)
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Chile Verde Benny
Slow cooked pulled pork over a stack of green chile sauced tortillas and melted cheese with poached cage free eggs and green chili hollandaise, pico de gallo and cotija cheese.

IMG_8379 Once adequately stuffed, we rolled our way to bib pickup, walked around the expo, wandered through Target, picked up some excellent quality magazines and went to chill on the ASU campus.  We really didn’t have any plans besides hanging out, staying outdoors, and eating an early dinner.  Our bedtime was around 9pm (social butterflies) simply because the wakeup was around 4am.

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Here we are pre-race and post-bathrooms.  Boy was that one of the more stressful moments…waiting to get a porta-potty in hopes you still make the start. I did strike up a conversation with a few runners because why not.

Fueling Habits: (4:30am) small banana, Honey Stinger Waffle, and cold brew >> Mid race (after 60 minutes running or 8 miles) Honey Stinger Gel w/ a swish of water at every 2 miles.  The race started at 6:30 but the heat was already rising when the gun went off.

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No pictures were taken during the race simply because…it’s a race.  I considered going out and maintaining a 8:30 – 9:00 pace but when the race started, I felt so good that I ended up pacing around 7:45.  Once I reached 8 miles and knew I could maintain that pace and possibly hit a personal best, I really decided there would be no photography (like the street sign that said Pasadena) or goofing around.

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In the end, raced 1:40:58 and while I missed a PR by about a minute, buuuut I felt amazing, my nutrition was spot on, and because I was entered in the Athena category, I placed 3rd with my time! Note, the time above was a little off since I had to manually stop it after I crossed the finish line.

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^^ BEST BREAKFAST EVER.  BEST PANCAKES EVER. MUST GO BACK (and go back to get the water bottle I left behind…oops).  But back to the main point here.  I am picky about pancakes.  I went on a limb and ordered the Sante Fe Scrambler (chorizo, pepper, onion, cheddar cheese) and exchanged the hash browns for the Wildberry Bliss Cakes (stuffed with blueberries, layered with vanilla mascarpone, topped with vanilla cream, fresh wildberries & glaze).  So basically all those calories burned from running, were eaten back plus more.  #runtoeat

Butters
8390 East Vía de Ventura F108, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
*Like all fabulous brunch spots, there will be a wait.  Arrive early and grab a cup of coffee at the adorable java station next door. 

IMG_8404The rest of the day was spent lounging by the pool (thanks to Zara’s friends for letting us chill out 🙂 ), digesting the enormous brunch, and digesting all of those gossip magazines.  I rarely buy magazines but it just sounded like a perfect girls weekend.

IMG_5663Later in the afternoon we got cleaned up, had a perfectly filling Mexican meal (me eating my weight in sugar with a virgin piña colada) and then set out for Scottsdale to explore.

IMG_5668IMG_5671IMG_5666 ^^ Taking a trip down through Scottsdale.  We had heard there were a few hot spots for kids our age but for the life of us, we couldn’t find them!  Not that we didn’t have a good time wandering and exploring the art shops that were still open, or walking along the canal.  I just wouldn’t recommend it for those looking to really “go out” 😉  Of course, three girls who had been up since 4:15 didn’t really need to go clubbing.

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After a couple of hours in Scottsdale, we made our way back to the hub of Tempe and met up with some of Zara’s friends/acquaintances on Mills Ave.  This is THE bar/club scene and yes I really meant to write club scene.  We started a brewery like place called The Handlebar and ended up wandering and dancing our way through quite a few others.  Let’s just say my outfit was totally my style (jeans, jacket, Sperrys) but I did not fit in one bit with the rest of the crowd (booty skirts, obnoxiously high and skinny heels, and crop tops).

IMG_5661I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to post this, just because of the angle of the camera.  Superficial as it may be, but it’s not the most flattering.  But, running a speedy half marathon made me grateful for such a strong body so why not post proof of my few seconds on the mechanical bull.  Bucket list item CHECK.

IMG_5667^^ Oh the party animals that we are 😉 We ended up staying out until 1:45, about 3 or so hours after we normally go to bed.  No regrets, just good times.

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Sunday was spent with a quick breakfast at a local Mom & Pop shop (though we were still full from Saturday) and a walk around Papago Mountain before heading back to the east coast.

IMG_8386 IMG_8401 IMG_8390 ^^ The NP_PHX (November Project Phoenix) location where Zara and crew workout every Wednesday.  It’s actually located a mile or so away from the parking lot and requires you to jog across gravel and rocks – requiring way more dedication for folks to show up!  Apparently it’s also pitch black when they work out, so every member of the tribe shows up with a headlamp.  While I wasn’t able to make it there this week, I did leave my passport shirt with Zara in hopes of getting another tag 🙂

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It would have been wonderful to continue the trip, hike out in Sedona or even make it back to the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell.  But for now, it’s back to reality with the good memories of the weekend and the excitement for future adventures that await.

“Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain