Swamp Soiree ~ D.C. Summer Weekend

There were a few reasons I wanted to visit D.C. this past weekend but the #1 reason was to visit my good friend Maura – the one who ran the Paris Marathon with me.  She recently moved and BOUGHT A HOUSE!  My other friend Emma has been living there for the good part of last year and it was about time I went to visit them both.  Four of us from NYC picked out a weekend and scheduled our various forms of transportation.  Jackie and Jess were smart and snagged trains when they were around a decent price range, probably $100 each way if I remember correctly.  I was in procrastination mode and waited until they got to $200 and refused to pay that much.

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Life of Late ~ July 2017

Let’s all have the mind-blowing realization that we are pretty much halfway through summer.  The heat and humidity have rolled in full force and we are about 7 weeks away from the start of football season.  For some reason football and fall are synonymous with one another, even if it doesn’t really cool out on the west coast.  I can recall going from cross country meets or soccer matches to football games, sweating through every single item that I owned.  Ah the good times. 😉

July has been a blast thus far filled with beach days, rainy days, and time spent in the park.   This week has actually been the first week in a long time that I was in the office ALL 5 days.  Between various summer Fridays and other PTO days, I’ve enjoyed my casual 4, 3, and even 2 day weeks!  I’m gallivanting down to D.C. this weekend, entering the swamp, and expecting to sweat out half my body weight.  Pretty much like the episode of “I Love Lucy” where she tries to steam down her weight.  Yep, totally safe.

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Current Workouts:

  • Back on the November Project schedule.  Maybe I’m not hitting up every workout but it’s good to see some friends in the morning and I really love the new co-leader’s enthusiasm.
  • SPIN!  After watching the triathlon last week I was inspired to get back on the bike.  It’s definitely healthier to balance with running and so back to some Equinox classes and Soul Cylce I go.
  • Water aerobics – Because when you don’t schedule any sort of trips on your three day weekends, you use Friday to attend water aerobics.
  • Barre + Weight Training Classes #blessed – Not sure why I need that hashtag but thank goodness for the wide array of classes offered at Equinox.  I’m trying to vary my workouts and increase those non-running muscles.  Or rather I’m trying to strengthen those muscles so when I catch the running and racing bug again, I’ll be stronger than before (here’s to hoping…)
  • Yoga and I JUST LEARNED CROW POSE!  It’s taken me about 3+ years to get there and I’ve told myself my bottom half is too heavy and I don’t have enough arm strength but I did manage to balance for about 2 seconds.  The excitement is real.  Now comes the trick to balancing for longer.

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The other day at track, I was thinking about what it means to feel normal.  Sure there is the mental side of things like going day to day with no stress or too much stress?  But then there is the physical side of things.  What does it mean to run without feeling like you are running through a swamp?  Or actually have boundless amounts of energy?  What did my legs feel like last year prior to marathon training?  Oh I could go on and on and on.  Just some food for thought.

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Currently Listening to…LOTS OF PODCASTS!:

  • Gatorade + Gimlet “The Secret to Victory” – My friend Cait works at Gimlet and got me hooked on this.  Using her own words because well, she works in marketing 😉
    •  The premiere episode of The Secret to Victory is live now! It’s Gimlet MediaGimlet Creative‘s first SPORTS POD with Gatorade. This week, we talk to Eli and Peyton Manning. But not about how Eli is still the only QB to beat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl (twice, sry), or how Peyton is considered by some to be one of the best QBs of all time (and pretty funny in those Papa John’s commercials). We talk to them, and even Archie about the disappointment of both of their rookie seasons with the NY Giants & Indianapolis Colts, and how it only fueled the fire that lead to greatness.  
  • Ali on the Run
  • ESPN’s 30 for 30 – This might be a direct competitor of the above Gimlet production but still cool stories and I’m an ESPN girl through and through.
  • Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield – Because we all need a little more of this in our lives.
  • Mike & Mike on ESPN – These guys have been my morning go to for the last few years.  Sometimes when I wake up and am running or getting to the gym, I just don’t care for music, so I turn to sport’s radio.  Anyways, turns out these guys are calling it quits or moving in different directions this year and I’ll miss their banter.

Currently Watching:

  • The Kennedy’s on Hulu and I AM FASCINATED!  With every episode, I spend at least an hour diving into articles online, Wikipedia pages (don’t judge, they are millennial’s form of a basic encyclopedia…) and more.  For some reason this part of time always draws me in.  If you have any good books on the subject, PLEASE comment!
  • Bring it On – Just a random movie I decided to watch this week.  I’d actually never seen it.
  • Seinfeld on Hulu.  This is another classic show that I’m working my way from start to finish.  The episodes are perfect for one or two before bed and more if I’m lazy.  My mom would go to bed watching them every night so I’ve heard some of the jokes but having lived in the city, now I really GET the humor.  Not only that but I picked up a ticket to go see Jerry Seinfeld next week!  Very pumped about that.
  • OJ Simpson Hearing – Yep, I was one of those people curious to hear what happened.  Oh! I was also watching the OJ Simpson: Made in America series on Hulu.  Wow I DEFINITELY think he is guilty and am also fascinated by these turn of events.

Currently Reading:

  • The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football – Yeah…I like sports.  It’s something I grew up around and something that brings me a lot of comfort.  That being said, this book is intriguing.  I didn’t realize the extent coaches and teams went to recruit and some of the behind the scenes action players got themselves into.
  • My Not So Perfect Life – Beach read for sure but also funny to compare with today’s social media obsession.
  • Stormy Weather – Not entirely what I was expecting but still a good historical read about Lena Horne, an American jazz and pop singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist.

beach day

Tasting Table ~ “Modern Tiki Trends” ~ I’m all about hosting summer events and creating a theme around it.  Ok, maybe I’m just all about the IDEA of themed summer parties.  I don’t exactly have the space to host or even prep but having these Tiki Themed tips is giving me ideas… If you don’t know already, I’m obsessed with anything Hawaiian, tropical, or Polynesian.  Thank you Dole and Tasting Table for that.

 C’est Christine ~ “Notes on Defining Success” ~ Broken record but Christine always puts it so eloquently.  She referred to a quote that said “comparison is an addiction to losing”.  We compare compare compare and while this can be good to get yourself moving, ready to take action and work towards your dreams, it can also cause a bit of anxiety and disappointment.  People are always going to share their opinion with you – what you should do, where you should live, etc.  It’s up to you to define what makes you happy and stand by that decision.  I also loved how she ended the post, her goal to obtain “a more intentional type of success, a focus on thriving instead of just striving”

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^^ This was year #2 celebrating the 4th of July in the city and I have to say, rooftop game was on point.  I actually happened to have a 5-day weekend and really just bopped around town.  Sure I had my fair share of FOMO, looking at people’s outdoor pictures (even those who I didn’t know…lovely social media) but made the most of the weekend in my own special way.

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^^ On the hunt to sample all the classics in the city and this was a SUCCESS!  I actually made a pitstop after cheering folks in Take the Bridge: Manhattan Bridge edition.  We had gotten caught in an extreme downpour and while my friends decided to go home, I waltzed in and ordered a scoop of Taro while dripping water everywhere.  #runtoeat #eattorun

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^^ I tested out the talked about DAYBREAKER and have to say, I wasn’t that impressed.  Maybe I’m not a rave gal and can’t go for that DJ music at 7am in the morning but it wasn’t my jam.  I had woken up at 5:15 to make it for 6 am yoga (meh) and then packed as many snacks away to make up for the $35 fee.  #sorrynotsorry  In the end it was an experience and maybe would have been better if I had a huge group of friends there OR was completely solo and wanted to dance/jam out on my own.

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^^ What a view at last week’s NYC Triathlon.  I ran up with a friend, grabbed a bagel sandwich and cheered on some friends in the run portion of the race.  This is one race I had/have no FOMO over.  Swimming in the Hudson filled with dead bodies and sewage?  No thank you.  Even though I heard the 0.9-1 mi swim took people about 15 minutes to finish.  If you aren’t familiar with timing of swims, it takes me about 30 minutes in the pool to swim a mile.  Still, I don’t think I would commit to that water…

With these rambles complete, here’s to the weekend!

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“You are remembered for the rules you break” – Douglas MacArthur

Summer in New York City ’17

There is nothing like summer in the city and you can take this one of two ways.  The first is much more enjoyable – the feeling of waking up to full daylight and walking outside until the sunsets after 8.  The other is that when the humidity hits, man it hits hard.  You are walking around hoping you don’t sweat through every single item and praying that the smell of the trash doesn’t seep through your clothes.  I know I just painted a lovely picture and if you’ve experienced NYC during this season, you’ll know exactly what I’m writing about.

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Where I Have Been

Oh hey there.  Looks like it’s been a hot minute since I’ve dropped in and I swore I would never be that person to just “check in” buuuuuut here I am.  Where have I been?  Location wise it’s stayed the same – New York/East Coast.  There was an itty bitty trip to California last weekend – my first in 6 months – but more on that later.  The point is that I haven’t been very present on the blog and I’m trying to work out what that means for me.  My job is one of the many million in the world that requires me at a desk underneath fluorescent lights.  While it’s a good environment, it means that I don’t always have the drive to come home and plop down to sit in front of another screen.  I know that I don’t have to apologize for not posting but it was really making me feel guilty.  So, this is me posting to tell myself it’s ok not to post all the time.  🙂

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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)