Sights and Scenes from the Weekend ~ 3.13.17

To be honest, all of last week felt like a blur and a bust.  I’m not sure if I gave my legs the rest they needed following an 18-miler but every time that I ran, it felt like I was dragging through cement.  Every workout was a struggle and even my swim on Friday was lackluster.  Then I went home with either a 12-hour stomach bug or food poisoning.  Either way, it wasn’t how I had planned to spend the week/weekend.  But, we can’t always control what happens and this was an excellent example of going with the flow.

After 9+ hours of sleep on Friday, I woke up with the hopes of running 12-14 miles.  Just a mile in I realized this was not going to happen.  I dragged myself to mile 4 and met up with some girlfriends who quickly told me I shouldn’t be running.  But I was so determined to finish a run, scared that if I didn’t run I would be a failure, and grasping to hold onto any potential social time.  Well, after total of 7.5 miles, I decided to call it quits and walked myself to breakfast.  Don’t be fooled by my smile below – I loved running with these gals but felt awful.

Accepting defeat of a run is tough and so is taking a rest day.  But I know that having these days will only help me down the road.  Not to mention it was SO DARN COLD (maybe exacerbated by my body chills or potential fever…I don’t know since I kept forgetting to take my temperature…#adulting) and running with any type of flue is just stupid.  Lesson learned.

Obviously when running doesn’t work out, washing away your feelings in brunch is the next logical step.  I had been craving avocado toast and Bluestone Lane just happened to be where I stopped by run.  In retrospect I certainly could have found a cheaper place to dine but was in such a foul mood, I let the $25 bill (+ tip) slide.  I mean I never truly know what to do about tip – how much does one tip?  If you don’t tip the 20% are you rude?  What if they are practically watching as you select the buttons on the touchscreen iPad right in front of you?  Oh the moral questions, right?

Once brunch was finished and my expensive solo-bill was paid, I made my way downtown and made myself stop in Trader Joe’s to pick up this week’s groceries.  One of my goals is to be better about meal prep and that includes making recipes other than grilled vegetables and fried eggs.  I’ve been feeling a little “blah” about life and can’t quite put my finger on it.  I know that winter is one element but maybe a change in routine – including eating routing – can help.  Plus one of my roommates is gone for the next week, so we have a 1/3 of the fridge to takeover.  (<< shelf and fridge space are also the things you think about when living in a tiny apartment in Manhattan)

These enchiladas (slightly modified recipe by Ambitious Kitchen) were delicious and almost better after being in the fridge overnight.  It must be the way that the ingredients settle that makes it so delectable.  Anyways, add a little avocado and Greek yogurt and viola!

While Sunday was the day where we turned our clocks forward, I decided to let myself sleep in.  That usually means 6:30 or 7 since my body naturally likes to wake up early.  Nope.  Yesterday I slept until 9am, which with the time change meant I had slept for a full 10 hours!!!  Obviously my body was trying to tell me to slow down between the terrible workouts, body aches and two nights of epic sleep.

After lounging in bed watching the Today Show, I cleaned up the apartment and walked out into the bitter cold (real feel of 11 thank you very much) to meet a couple of friends for brunch.  My goal is to be better about making meals during the week and then keep exploring food spots on the weekend.  This way I don’t feel nearly as bad when we go ham ordering a few extra items.

^^ Ruby’s Cafe is 1) a place where of course it’s mega-popular 2) is run by a crew of Aussies (they seriously know what’s up for brunch) and 3) can be excellent for brunch OR lunch/dinner.  The Murray Hill location had actually been recommended to me by a few of my friends but when their Instagram “liked” my Saturday brunch photo, it was almost serendipitous – we had to go there.

After hemming and hawing over the menu (like I said, they have it all) we agreed to order brunch items and promise to come back for the classic burger and sandwich options.  It was only right and after polishing off our orders of BLTA+egg, Breakfast Bowl, and Green Breakfast Bowl (+ a treat of coffee granola w/ poached pears and greek yogurt), we knew that we had ordered right.

After brunch I decided to check another item off of my bucket list, which was the New York Transit Museum.  I don’t entirely know why I was so driven to see it over the last couple of years but the MTA does an excellent job of advertising for it within the current subways and so, over the Brooklyn Bridge I went to check it out.  The museum itself is housed in an old subway station so for starters, that’s pretty awesome.  Then, for general admission of $10, you get access to the story boards and gidgets and gadgets that helped our public transportation evolve over the last 100+ years.  They even housed every version of subway car on the old tracks so that you could actually see and touch the trains of the past.  I only spent about 45 minutes in there but it was like taking a step back in time.

Then it was back into the cold to walk/ride into Manhattan, where I got distracted by a craft store going out of business, and then took a vinyasa flow class (aka glorified stretching by I love it).   It may not have been the weekend I imagined but I have to constantly remind myself that I’m on my own journey – whether it’s for running or work or just life itself and that’s okay.

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Now it’s time to conquer the work week, continue to make plans for the rest of the year including a few trips around the country and of course my Paris trip, which is right around the corner.  Until then, enjoy this extra sunlight in the evening and if you are in these neck of the woods, good lucky and stay safe with this crazy nor’easter!

“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Life of Late ~ 2.3.17

Looks like I’ve been doing an excellent job at keeping my blog updated. Not.  Maybe it’s a blogger burnout or a sugar crash that I’m experiencing right now maybe it’s too much screen time.  Really though, who wants to go home after sitting in front of a computer and under florescent lights for 8+ hours, and then stare at another screen?   Ok, to be honest, I actually go home and immediately have my nose in my phone while watching TV.  (This generation is certainly going to have eye/back/neck problems and carpal tunnel. )

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Celebrating the Year of the Rooster

Preface: The past two weeks have certainly shook our nation and world to the core.  I am still working to educate myself on the issues and how to get more involved.  Because I am not the most knowledgeable on all subjects, I plan to keep politics out of this blog.  I will continue to post updates on my life in the city and yes, I may include some pictures of protests that I have attended, but these more light hearted posts do not mean that I am oblivious to what is going on.

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Brunch Buds at Gotan, Manhattan

I tend to surround myself with people who like to work out and eat, which sounds absolutely wonderful don’t you agree?  Well, being in New York City is the cherry on top since we are basically surrounded by an amazing array of places to dine at.  So many options, so little time (money) it seems.  Most of my weekends do involve some sort of run to eat (or eat to run) and that’s where I’m heading today.

Jump back a few days to the Brooklyn Half where over 27,000 runners made their way from Prospect Park to the Coney Island Boardwalk.  Sure, Coney Island is home to the famous Nathan’s hot dog, but for some reason a frankfurter and beer wasn’t really going to cut it for me that day.  I was craving real food – something warm and something filling.  One of my friends Lauren, blogger at Peanut Butter is My Boyfriend, had finished the race and also happens to be a go-to resource for all things foodie.  Really though, she is one of the top foodies I know and has a stacked list of places to go to.

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We knew our options in Coney Island were slim and wanted to make it back to the main island (sorry Brooklyn).  This was definitely the best plan of action since I would have been one big crank without food.  Although, looking back, I had extreme FOMO of all the people dancing their soreness away at the beer garden.  See what I mean? FOMO issues.  I’ve got a good post coming down the pipeline about that.  But for now back to delicious food.

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A few of the November Project peeps rallied and together we broke away from the chaos and mozied back to the subway to then endure the 90 minute commute home.  Once back in the city, we made our way north to midtown and then to Gotan per Lauren’s recommendation.  She had eaten there twice previously (that week as it happens) and was raving about their options.  I’m going to do my best to review what we ate but I highly recommend reading her thoughts here.

IMG_7336^^ It was practically 12:30 by the time we had arrived so our options were evenly split between breakfast and lunch items.  We all went for savory options and decided to order a couple sweets for the table – one being the PB&J toast with sprinkled coconut.  Here’s a look at the pour-over brew and tuna + avocado salad.  Lauren goes into the making of the coffee and why it’s an emphasis at this restaurant.

IMG_7340^^ I could not pass up the option to order eggs and kale, a combination I am oh to familiar with at home but love so much.  The addition of chorizo, sweet potato and hummus was quite possibly divine.  The yolks were perfectly runny as every brunch egg dish should be.

IMG_7341 ^^ Here is more of an over-head look at our eats, soon to be demolished.  #halfmarathongoals.  And no, these plates were not all for one person (though that would be impressive or maybe slightly nauseating).  Lauren was able to eat with the owners and get the scoop of pretty much each and every dish.  While we couldn’t really order everything on the menu, we did try.  The peanut butter toast was a simply solution to satisfy everyone’s sweet cravings while we all enjoyed our own savory dish.

Dining out with a bunch of millennial foodies meant that we had to pause to take pictures before diving in to take a bite.  We really must look like a strange bunch with cameras and phones coming from all different directions, stretching for the perfect angle to share on Instagram (and the blog…). You’re welcome.

Since Gotan is still relatively new, there wasn’t much of a crowd but I’m sure when word gets out that will all change.  Until then, I’ll try to make it back and maybe, just maybe try something new.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” — Julia Child

Take Me Down Ocean Avenue: Brooklyn Half Recap

Fun fact: I used to listen to Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” on repeat when I first started running back in the day.  But I’m going to talk about another Ocean Avenue today – the one in the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Yep, another half in the bag and now I’m forcing myself to take a mini hiatus from racing.  I actually wasn’t even planning to race on Saturday but a few months back when everyone and their mom started talking about it, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and sign up.  Serious FOMO issues here. Good thing I was at my computer that day because the race sold out in 45 minutes!!!  Yes, I paid money to endure 13.1 miles and there’s nothing you can do to stop me from doing it again.

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Overall it went well.  It hurt but that’s something that generally comes with the territory.  The saying goes “don’t do anything new on race day” and well, I may have broken that rule a few times.  First off, I was going in with less training than I would have liked.  Sure, I’ve been working out but not really working out properly – mostly taking classes that leave me sore and then dilly-dallying through my running.  Then my sleep and food routines have been all over the place this week.  Between flying back from home and attending our upfront events and concerts, it was sort of a mess.  Yolo.  On Friday, I was invited to a friend’s dinner party (I guess you could say healthy interest/blogger meet-up hosted by GreenBlender folks) and while the food was absolutely delicious, I maybe shouldn’t have stuck to classics.  I didn’t have coffee the morning of and well, that might have messed up some things too.  I’ll leave it at that.

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^^ White strawberries (actually albino strawberries but that just sounds weird) are a thing.  Check it out!

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Anyways, I do have to thank my friend Sara for letting me sleep on her couch the night before because that meant I was about 800 meters from the start and thus I could avoid waking up at 4am to catch one of the few subways actually traveling to Brooklyn.  WINNING!  I also have to give her a huge shout out for crushing her first half! What a champ 🙂

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So the race.  Because of my time from last year’s Washington Heights 5k, I’ve been placed in some of the front corrals.  Funny since I’ve been getting slower with each race and yet my bib still states otherwise.  I rolled off the couch around 5:20, ate my banana and Honey Stinger waffle, got dressed, and was out the door by 5:45.  Bag check was supposedly going to close around 6:10 but I think that was a ploy to get runners to actually show up on time.  Wave #1 didn’t go off until 7am (wave #2 around 7:45) and that left me with plenty of time to find my NP friends and hang out (and use the porta-potty…duh).

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Weather was definitely working in our favor – slightly overcast with no sight of rain.  Perfect since earlier this week it was about a 100% chance of rain and while voluntarily racing 13.1 miles is crazy, running in the rain is even more so and not so enjoyable.  It may have started to get a bit hot and humid but again, thank goodness no rain.

Consensus is most of us started way too fast.  Typical for me when you get caught up in the heat of the moment, you are pumped with your new playlist (Hello Justin Timberlake and EDM remixes by Spotify), and everyone else is jetting out like a bat out of hell (kudos to my friend Sarah for teaching me that phrase about 10 years ago).  Anyways, I was feeling oh so dandy for the first couple miles and then realized I still had 11 more to go.  Cool.

>> Brooklyn Half Course Map <<

We wrapped in and around Prospect Park, struggled powered up the hills where I saw some November Project folks cheering (we have the best cheer squads out there), and then down counter-clockwise and onto Ocean Parkway.  I happened to be running alongside a couple other of NP people, which kept me focused on pushing forward.  We actually switched off pushing the pace and kept one another accountable.  I rarely race with people that I know, but this prevented me from slowing down too much – something the lazy part of me wanted to do.   But yes, the the course.  Prospect Park was nice but lovely Ocean Parkway – remind me again why I signed up for this?  6 miles of not so attractive open road.  Good times.

About two years ago when I raced this course, I thought the same thing, dying with the endless path in front of me and pretty much crashing at mile 10 because I didn’t fuel properly (aka no gu or chew or dates).  This year I did use fuel (dates at 6.5, 7.5, 9, and 11), but had to stop in the porta-potty for a few minutes at mile 10.  Good times.

So here’s a question – do you stop your watch during a race if you use the bathroom?  I did.  I figured I wanted to know my actually running time and after all, the live tracker would find my total time anyways.  I’m pretty spoiled living in New York City because New York Road Runners has their sh*t together – aid stations and porta-potties pretty much at every mile, relatively seamless bag check, and a much more manageable race start than the one I did in Sweden last year.  Sweden was what we call a sh*t show.  Pardon my French today.

After the pit-stop I had to get my head in the game and power through those last few miles.  It was just me, Bieber, JT, and the home stretch.  I may not practice running fast on a daily basis but I do have a pretty good kick, so with 800 meters to go (thank you to the weekly intervals crew!!), I went for it and landed a time of 1:46 clock time (1:45:59) and 1:43ish by my Garmin but not by Strava so maybe I made up that time in my head (likely to happen to me)

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I found my friends, celebrated their PR’s, picked up my bag, and headed to the baseball field to stretch.  Then it was onto the makeshift beer garden (Steeple Chase) to catch up with all the other November Project folks.  I later left with a few friends for brunch and real food on the main island of Manhattan but more on that later this week.

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^^ Highlight of the morning – seeing Ellie Golden in person again

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Saturday wasn’t about PRs.  It was about finishing with a positive mindset and knowing that I can race under various mental and physical conditions.  I have to have that attitude if I want to run or race double that amount in less than 6 months.  I have to pull myself together and enjoy the moment.  I always enjoy seeing my friends and love how supportive they are to one another.  We have folks running their first halves and half marathon veterans.  We are there through the good and the not-so-great.  They are my family here and I don’t think my experience would be the same without them.

But enough sap for one post.  Here’s to the Brooklyn Half, another day where we voluntarily chose to wake up at the crack of dawn, jaunt (sprint, suffer, slog, fly) through 13.1 miles, and party in all different ways afterwards.

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