Archive for November, 2011

Thank You, Rain

I’m usually not a big fan of rain, unless it happens to arrive late at night in the middle of August and with some thunder and lightning in tow. I love summertime thunderstorms.

Rain can also be nice if it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and you’re only goal for the day was to curl up on the couch and watch reruns of 90210 and Gilmore Girls (unfortunately, that has not been a viable plan on my schedule for about five years).

But for the most part, rain stinks. Because it usually doesn’t restrict its visits to summer nights and once-in-a-while-lazy-Saturday afternoons. Instead, it opts to come on the ONE day of the week I decide on my favorite Toms as my commuter shoes (while Toms are awesome because they ship shoes to places where they are very much needed, they don’t hold up too well in rain…seeing as they are made of canvas), or completely forget to check the weather and leave the house with no umbrella or any other device to protect myself from the wetness or pick the reservoir for my morning run–and I can tell you for a neat freak, it’s not nearly as fun to run circles in the mud vs. a pretty dirt path.

Except this morning, it was. Because of some WELCOME rain that hit yesterday. Of course I had a thin jacket and no umbrella and was considerably miserable on my commute home from work, but I think those showers served a similar purpose to my favorite summertime storms–they broke the heat wave. It’s not actually COLD out yet, but there’s definitely more of a chill in the air.

I know that doesn’t sound like something this sweat-loving, sun-basking marathonwiner might be happy about, but Thanksgiving has come and gone…which means the holiday season is here. And to fully immerse myself in all things warm and happy and mushy and lovey and really BE in the Christmas spirit, I need the weather outside to feel more like snow and less like south beach.

And this morning (while jumping puddles and dodging pedestrians) along the reservoir and bridle path, the temps felt far closer to Christmas than the 4th of July, but there was still plenty of sunshine. I was quite happy.

if anyone needs something to pull them out of the post-marathon blues...i'm pretty sure a little dose of this will do the trick

I did my usual 6.15 loop of the two dirt paths (which were really a mix of dirt and mud today), and while I thought about biting the bullet and going a little longer after yesterday’s very whiny post about not running far enough or fast enough, I decided to cut myself some slack. Aside from a few times on the reservoir where I literally had to slow to a walk to avoid stomping into a 6-inch-deep puddle or pushing a walker into one (I’m going to start petitioning the city of New York to make the reservoir closed to pedestrians on rainy days and the day immediately after a good sloshing), I kept up a pretty good pace. And if all goes well tomorrow, I’ll try to tack on an extra mile or two and slowly build my way up to 10 on Saturday–when I hit up the east side with Katherine, Ashley and Kristine.

The break in temps was definitely what I needed to help get a little more amped up for the holidays, and between seeing this on the way to work this morning:

hello pretty christmas trees, one of you WILL be in my apt before the week is up. i dont care if youre bigger than my fridge, i will make you fit and i will make you beautiful.

And the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza tonight, I am Pumped. Yep-with a capital P.

 
Now if only I can figure out how to listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album on Pandora without using my broken headphones and without disturbing the entire office…
 
Have a very happy Wednesday kids!
 
 
-What gets YOU in the holiday spirit?
- How long after a marathon until you felt…well, normal?

Do you think you’ll do another?

That’s almost always the first question people ask after I force them to listen to tell them the details of my first-ever marathon experience that they are so very eager to hear.

After my first half-marathon last November, the question was “do you think you’ll ever do a full?” And I immediately scoffed and said “pshh, no way.”

Before even crossing the finish line in Richmond, I had done the legwork (I’m so punny) necessary to get automatic entry into the ING NYC Marathon 2012. I told everyone that barring any disaster on the streets of Richmond, I was most certainly going to run another 26.2. In fact, after Richmond was over and I had blocked out all of the very painful and miserable memories that were miles 20-26, I even tried to convince myself that it was phyisically possible to do both NY and Richmond next year…even though the two races are a mere week apart. I was riding the high and finally understood why so few people ever run “just one” marathon.

But now I find myself, nearly 2.5 weeks post-race and not running too much. I know, I know…26.2 is a lot on your body and many people take off for weeks or months at a time for recovery. But the thing is, I don’t WANT to take off. I don’t enjoy NOT running. And it’s not even that I haven’t been running, because I have. I’ve done lots of loops around the bridle and reservoir since coming back to the city, and did lots of loops in my parents neighborhood while home for turkey day. But I’m not running as far and I’m not running as often and it buggggs me. I was walking to the subway this morning and actually became angry at myself that I had let yet another freakishly warm November morning pass in NYC without lacing up the sneaks. Granted, I know I couldn’t have run yesterday morning…seeing as how I didn’t get back into the city until 3 a.m. But that’s the crazy part. I still was annoyed–not sure if it was more with the situation or myself–for not having the time to run yesterday and for opting to catch up on sleep today.

And that whole plan to up my fitness in areas outside of running while I wait for my National Half marathon training to begin? Laughable. Thanks to the new office hours and a midtown location, every time I make the grand gesture to sign up for a spin class or other group fitness activity, I’m denied (in fairness, I still GO to the gym. But you can bet your butt I don’t work myself on an ellip nearly as hard as a badass instructor would run me on a bike). The running gods are just telling me to forgo the stationary bike and get back on the streets. I want another training plan. I want another marathon. And I want it now.

Then again, I don’t.

Because I’m pretty sure that I’ll never beat the time that was on the clock as I crossed the finish line on Nov. 12:

see that? that wasn't even the official time, but you knew that, because i don't shut up about my shock over it. but this was some strange fluke, and i could run 48932043 marathons and probably never touch this.

This post sounds whiny and lamenting. And maybe it is (though it should be noted that I’m actually still happy and smiling and in a decent mood while writing it, so it can’t be THAT whiny…).

It’s also all over the place. Which I also, currently am. One day I’m totally happy only running 4 miles or skipping a run completely and taking it easy. The next I’m shinkicking myself (painful, though probably funny to watch) for not putting on my sneaks and getting out of bed earlier.

The bottom line was this: running DOES make you crazy, marathons ARE addicting and I’m likely going to be a hot mess from now til Christmas day, when I finally get back on a training plan. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

That title can be added to the disturbingly long list of “classic” movies* that I’ve never seen…unless of course, you count clips from Scene It. I love board games and I’m not afraid to say so. My family loves them to, but more on that in a hot sec.

*List also includes: any Rocky movies, any Godfather movies (though I did just read the book and for the first time in my life have a desire to see them), Goodfellas, Animal House, Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, Top Gun, Caddyshack and pretty much any other movie that is probably your favorite.

Any who. The title is more attributed to my traveling home to Richmond for Thanksgiving. In the past, I was a quick 2-hour trip away from my parents house and was lucky enough to work somewhere that loved remote employees. So getting time off to head home for the holidays was very easy and also very plenty.

Due to a new job in NY and the JD’s vicious schedule, our turkey day trip was planned at the very last minute, and when we last left off, I was dreading my first-ever Chinatown bus ride from New York to Virginia. The actual bus and ride were not so bad, but the waiting to board the bus–in the freezing cold rain, on the streets of Chinatown where no one who worked for the bus company spoke English or really seemed to care where your ticket said you were destined, as long as you were wedged on to a bus–was a little nerve-wracking.

In the end though, everything worked out and the JD and I pulled into my parents driveway a little after midnight on the eve of my favorite holiday (no, the bus did not deliver us there, dear old dad was waiting at the bus station…which was a sidewalk outside a 711 in downtown Richmond. Which happened to be near Monument Ave. Where, as we drove along it, I not-so-subtly rehashed an entire three-mile stretch of my marathon to pops and the JD).

Even though we got in at a late hour and didn’t get much sleep, I managed to drag my butt outta bed on Thursday morning for a quick jog…afterall, I had a parade to watch. After four easy miles around my parents hood, I showered, filled a giant mug of coffee, grabbed my pumpkin bread and settled into the couch for the next four hours. Most exciting part of the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? The clip from Newsies. Holy cow, can’t wait for that show to get started on Broadway.

The rest of the day, and pretty much weekend, involved all 20 or so of us hanging out around my parents house eating lots of delicious food, playing lots of nerdy board games and sipping on wonderful red wine.

I managed to get out of the house on Friday and Sunday as well, but not for more than four miles each time. As noted many times in the past, my parents sidewalkless and relatively small (as in, go more than a mile or so in either direction and you’re hitting roads with high traffic) neighborhood make for very boring, looping runs, of which I can’t tolerate for much more than four miles. Would I have liked to get more road underfoot? Yes. Should I have? Yes. Am I that upset that I didn’t? No.

Because every extra half mile of running would have meant an extra few minutes of not catching up with family. We have a huge crowd at Thanksgiving–people come from all over New York and Arkansas and now even Chicago and Milwaukee. It’s rare that you get aunts and uncles from Long Island in the same room as your grandparents from Richmond and cousins from little ‘ol Fort Smith all in one room, so I like to take advantage of it to a tee.

We followed all of our usual traditions–two turkeys (some insist on cooking it old school, others argue deep-fried is the way to go. our compromise? more food), mini-cheesecakes and lots of Catchphrase and Pictionary on Thanksgiving day, Black Friday bowling competition (the one time a year I ever get to go bowling…and my score lets you know that), my nieces birthday party (I am at work today with a Hello Kitty tattoo that REFUSES to leave my arm), helping my grandmother get her Christmas tree up and an afternoon spent on the lovely James River at Richmond’s very own, Legend Brewing Co. If you’re wondering if I made my aunt, cousin and the JD drive the long way out of the city JUST so I could say “see this bridge we’re on? I ran over this bridge at mile 17 on Race Day. anything else you want to hear about the marathon? no? okay, and that’s where the starting line was, and that’s where I made a porta potty stop just before the gun went off…” You get the idea. I wasn’t annoying at all.

After spending a ridiculously warm Sunday afternoon (I love warm weather, but 80 degrees when you’re supposed to be putting up Christmas decor is kind of hard to swallow) walking around Carytown and picking up some stocking stuffers, the JD and I then headed to the train station to head back to the Big Apple. We opted for the train for the ride home using the logic “well, it’s a heavy travel day and this way we don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.” Silly us and our silly logic.

The train was about 1.5 hours off schedule and we walked in the door at 3 a.m. this morning. I’m a zombie right now and that’s why it took me until 2:00 to start thinking about this post. I apologize for the delay, but please take it up with Amtrak Customer Service.

And what’s that about planes in the name of today’s blog? Well, even though the Chinatown bus got us to Richmond in one piece, it still took us well over an hour to get out of the city. And well over an hour to leave Richmond by train. So I learned a little lesson and immediately booked my plane ticket home for Christmas. Done and done.

In the meantime, I’ve got some serious gym trips to make (hoping I can stay awake to get there tonight), runs to do, and a wee little trip to Dominican Republic to keep me busy til the next trip home :)

Hope everyone had a very very happy Thanksgiving that included some turkey trotting, pumpkin pie eating and lots of QT with fam and friends!

And the winner is…

New York City!

….for being the best at hosting huge and amazing events in small cramped spaces [read: the streets of Manhattan].

(If you got all excited thinking that was a drumroll of the Chobani giveaway…well, you were partially right. Because that’s announced at the very end of this post. But be kind and read your way through, rather than scroll to the end, eh?)

This morning I wanted to stick to a shorter run–I went to bed far too late last night, but not because I was up packing for Richmond. I was at Lionshead Tavern bringing my super-nice neighborhood friend up to speed on what keys would get her into the apartment this weekend and what weird tics my cat has, as she was kind enough to promise to check in on the little monster. So this morning, to avoid the temptation of a longer run (that Central Park so often offers) and also to avoid the reservoir, which I imagine was a field of puddles and wet uncomfortableness.

So I took to the streets of this fineee city, and even though it was a little miserable weather-wise, I had a great run.

Just like seeing the stands set up in Central Park in the days leading up to the marathon made me giddy like an 8-year-old on Christmas eve, the risers being erected for tomorrow’s parade had a similar effect. Because like an 8-year-old, I religiously watch every second of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I get pumped reading about new floats to take to the skies and anxiously await the arrival of old favorites. And I call every single one of the 20-something people in my house on Thanksgiving morning to watch the arrival of Santa Claus.

Yes, I realize I’m a nerd.

I may never actually BE in New York City for the parade (because if I have things my way, our Thanksgiving traditions in Richmond will continue until it’s no longer a holiday or I’m no longer around), so it was nice to at least be here the day before, and feel the excitement in the air as the ground crews worked–with Christmas music blasting, no less.

Disappointing that I ran the parade route this morning, rather than later today when the actual inflation begins? A wee bit.

sorry i can't see you rise outta the streets later today kermit. instead, i'll be waiting in line to board a chinatown bus. awesome!

But seeing the bleachers packed onto the sidewalks like sardines and being forced to run on the bike path gave what would have been a pretty dreary morning a little bit of flair. And NYC and the tons of people who work on huge events like the parade and the marathon deserve a giant pat on the back for makin’ the magic happen. It’s pretty impressive to see the behind the scenes and realize how much manpower goes into productions of this scale.

Now rather than hear me continue to gush about the parade and count down the hours until I’m home with my favorite people in the world…I shall let you see which of you lucky readers is getting a free box of Chobani delivered to their door.

[Drumroll, please....]

 

Yay Krissy! Congrats! Please shoot me an email or DM on Twitter with your mailing address and what sort of assortment of yogurt you’d like. You get your choice of 12 flavors, all of your choosing!

We all know what Krissy is thankful this holiday…how about the rest of you?? What are YOUUUU thankful for this Thanksgiving and all year round?

Now What?

Runner’s World sent an e-blast this morning that essentially mirrored one of my post-marathon write-ups regarding PMD, and essentially every other thought that’s crossed my mind since Nov.12th:

i've asked myself that question every day for the last 10 days. holy crap. it's been 10 days??

Apparently I’m not the only one who equates race-day excitement to Christmas morning. And post-race depression to the after-holiday haze.

And my being one of those people is the reason it’s taken me until 11:30 to get myself writing a post for today.

I spent a good hour or so covering the dirt paths of a quiet and overcast Central Park this morning, racking my brain for ideas of something to write about once I finished.

I didn’t do anything cool and NY-ish last night. I had a late night at work, plugged away for a bit on the elliptical and went home to have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Not exciting at all.

I wanted to try a spin class as part of my plan to “use this month of downtime to train in fitness areas outside of running.” Spin class was filled. Fail.

I banged out 6-ish miles on my favorite running route this morning. Big deal. I’ve done that a few times in the last two weeks. It wasn’t part of a marathon training plan so I can’t even mention Hal’s name when rehashing it to you. And you’re probably bored by the rehashing.  You probably don’t care or need to know that I was way overdressed for the warm weather this morning or that my glutes are still a little tight from The Marathon but overall, I felt comfortable, and good. And like my legs are getting back to normal and I really, realllly want to hit a distance higher than 6 in the near future.

So last week PMD left little hints that he was planning on making an appearance in my life in the near future. I acknowledged those hints for about 5 seconds, then pushed them aside and started gushing about my marathon again. If you want to see another picture of my medal, I’m happy to show you. Or perhaps you’d rather take a peek at my sweet marathon-worthy tshirt:

this shirt won me two awesome friends on Race Day. their names are larry and tracey. you knew that because i talked about them 24/7 last week and still hope they will stumble upon this blog some day and say hi to me.

But this week, despite my trying to convince him not to come–my NYC apartment is way too tiny, and my life is too busy since I finally have a real job and the holidays approaching–PMD moved in anyway. The jerk.

Luckily I’m only one more boring run around the reservoir (please note that my whining about my “monotonous” runs these days have nothing to do with how I feel on them or the route–I love them, just hate boring you), half a workday, and one very long and potentially frightening Chinatown bus away from the greatest holiday of all time with the most fun fam in the world:

raise your hand if YOUR thanksgiving includes props?

there are no words. but everyone’s welcome. so if youre interested in having the best turkey day of your life, let me know and book a chinatown bus ticket.

I’m 100% positive that this weekend will convince PMD that I don’t need him in my life. I have plenty of other things to make me happy. Like the people you see above, and many, many more. Not to mention…the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, pumpkin bread, delicious food, board games and of course, wine.

 
I plan to come back happy, refreshed and miles away from that nasty PMD. And I plan to come back with a gameplan on how I’ll tackle this next month of non-running focused fitness, but also a gameplan on how to get back up to 8 miles, and 10 miles and more. Not just for me, but for you reading about my recaps on it.  
 
In the meantime, for putting up with me and my PMD-afflicted self, you get the chance to win free delciousness. Friday’s giveaway is still on, and readers can continue to enter until it closes tonight. A winner will be announced in the morning!
 
Have a very happy Tuesssssday kids! I may not, thanks to the unwanted guest I’ve got, but I still certainly hope you do!!

On a Monday I am waiting

Tuesday I am fading and by Wednesday I can’t sleep….

Little Ashlee Simpson to start your morning! Because I think she’s an amazing singer and I love every one of her songs? No. Because I belted out this particular song during karaoke at the Grisly Pear on Saturday night and now it’s stuck in my head? Maybe….

But let’s back up a bit :)

Friday night after my first  work happy hour at the new job, the JD and I met my friend off a bus from Baltimore. A new megabus stop left her at Port Authority, right near where we already were, so we grabbed a drink then headed back to the UWS for a low-key night of catch-up.

Since this is the friend whom I credit for helping me become a runaddict, I knew she’d have her sneakers packed, and on Saturday morning we laced up so I could introduce her to the reservoir. I’m pretty sure there’s a big chunk of non-New Yorkers who have hit up Central Park during one visit or another, but don’t know much about Jackie’s beautiful dirt path because it’s so far north. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall morning and perfect for an easy run with an old friend. It was soooo strange passing runners from the NYRR Knickerboxer 60K (holy crap, 60k!!) and thinking how only a week before I had been one of those crazy distance runners, up on a Saturday morning running for hours and hours just for the fun of it. And it also made me a little sad. Good thing training starts for the National Half (which same visiting friend is also running) in just a few weeks.

And while our jog may have been a weee bit shorter than a 60k, we still kept the mileage up by spending the rest of Saturday walking all over the city. We hit up the holiday market at Union Square, checked out the dressed up windows and Lord & Taylor and eventually made our way up to Bryant Park for some more seasonal shopping. The JD met us there and we ended the day by introducing our guest to the gloriousness that is Wafels and Dinges, coupled with a hot toddie from the Southwest Porch. If you haven’t been it’s a small outdoor restaurant/bar in the SW corner of the park. There’s lots of comfy chairs and swings and best of all…heat lamps at every seat.

We met up with yet another college friend who was in the city and segued into Saturday night in the west village…where somehow or another, we wound up at the Grisly Pear, signed up for karaoke. I’d only done karaoke one other time in my life–after which I had sworn I’d never do it again–but this west village watering hole turned out to be a pretty good venue for the spot. The mic and stage (if you can call it a stage) were set up in the back room of the bar where lots of tables and chairs were set up. Most people were there with a group, and if one of their own wasn’t on stage, you didn’t have to worry about capturing their attention too much. We paired up girls vs. guys and had a blast belting out the words to silly pop songs like the aforementioned Ashlee number and Miley Cyrus’s Party in the U.S.A. It was an amazingly fun night, and a much-needed let-loose after all that serious marathon training :)

Sunday we took the crew to the neighborhood jaunt we take everyone–Tom’s. You may know it better as, “The Seinfeld Restaurant.” And the rest of the day was dedicated once again to traipsing all over the city. I played tour guide and pointed out all of my favorite running routes (Riverside Park and the rest of Central Park), we made a quick trip down to the new World Trade Center site and came back through Times Square, because what visitor doesn’t want to make a pit stop there?

After my friend caught the bus back to Baltimore, I still had some fun lined up. Thanks to the new job, there were two tickets waiting at the box office at Playwright Horizons, for me and a friend to see Maple and Vine. I grabbed dinner and drinks with my aunt at Reunion Surf Bar (SUCH a fun place) and the two of us headed down the street to catch the show, which is still in previews this week. It had a lot of zingy one-liners and was an overall clever and enjoyable story, but we weren’t happy with the ending. I won’t go into details why just in case you plan to see it :)

Now it’s time to settle in to this oh-so-short work week…I can’t believeeeee Thanksgiving is just days away!

Hope you have a very happy Monday!

And if you want to be made even happppier, enter to win Friday’s giveaway. What’s better than free deliciousness arriving at your door?

Happy Giveaway Day!

Happy Friday kids! And happy first-ever marathonwiner Giveaway day! More on that to come in a hot sec…but don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging on too long, as the work day has already begun and I’ve got to get a move on things so I can get out of here at 6 on the dot, and welcome my very good friend–you know, the one I credit for getting me into running to begin with–to NYC!

After a quasi-productive trip to the gym last night–I say quasi because I’m still just easing my way back in via my old “CT” moves on the ellip, and not really challenging myself, as I kind of want to do during this downtime before half marathon training sets in–my legs felt far happier than they have in all of the preceding post-race days.

So this morning, I headed back over to the park for a loop of the bridle path and reservoir. It was a little chilly at the start, but not nearly as bad as I expected. And thanks to my lovely new NYC marathon expo gloves and Lululemon jacket (snagged on sale last year), I was actually TOO warm by the end, and never once felt hypothermia settling into my nose or toes. It was just the perfect return to my favorite little run–right temps, right amount of sunshine, right distance and the bright yellows and reds on the trees surrounding the reservoir was just the right touch! But those vibrant fall colors mixed with the nip in the air reminded me that HOLY CRAP, November is almost over. How did that happen?

It’s so weird to me that this time one year ago, I was a belly full of nerves getting ready for my first half marathon. And this time on week ago, I was a bigger belly full of nervier nerves getting ready for my first marathon. Actually that’s not entirely true…my porta potty stops prove that I may have been somehow a bit more mentally prepared for the latter….

And this time one week from now I’ll be home the most hilariously fun family in the world celebrating the greatest and bestest holiday in existence. This Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving, I am enormously thankful for my family:

dear peacemaking pilgrims and indians, I owe so much of my happiness to you.

These are the thoughts I had on my mind for this mornings run. It’s a wonderful way to start the day. Glutes and hammies are still a little tight, but I credit that to my being very, very undisciplined when it comes to stretching. Something I REALLY need to nail down if I plan on keep up with this whole running thing…

Aside from those muscles being a little unwilling to unwind, I actually feel like my legs and body were FAR more weary in the days leading up to the marathon, which is a little strange to me. Has that happened to anyone else?

Anywho. I’ll keep this post short for you because like I said, have a fun NYC weekend that I must plan, in and around my workday. Woohoo for visitors!

And to make up for the time I’m NOT typing…and to reward you for putting up with all of my marathon talk this week…it’s time for the first-ever MARATHONWINER GIVEAWAY!

Hosted by the very nice people at Chobani yogurt. No really–they are the nicest. If you don’t believe me, read this.

Chobani essentially saved me from myself during marathon training, because during the peak of the peak, I was logging LOTS of miles on my feet–both in Central Park and at the restaurant I worked out. There were also late nights with long stretches of nothing to eat other than burgers and fries…or whatever I brought with me. To try to curb my training induced ravenous appetite and avoid piles of greasy french fries for dinner at 8:00 p.m., I brought Chobani to work. Basssically every single day. It was yummy. It was healthy. And most importantly, it held me over so I wouldn’t chow down on complete crap the night before a long run.

I know some people have their issues with yogurt. But even my cousin, whose food groups consist of plain chicken, plain burgers and plain pasta with a side of fruit, is officially hooked on this stuff.

And because they are so nice, Chobani is letting me send the case that I won in Lindsay’s giveaway, to my cousin. See how nice they are?

And now they will send another 12 pack of their yogurt, to one lucky reader. And they didn’t even request that you just read through all that propaganda. In fact, they didn’t even request that I write it. I just think their product is that good. So there.

So to be entered to win, do one or all of the following (each one earns an entry), and in the comments, tell me which one(s) you’ve done PLUS add something you love about Chobani orrrr to make me happy, something you are  thankful for this  Thanksgiving:

1. Follow Chobani on Twitter

2. Follow ME on Twitter

3. Like Chobani on Facebook 

4. Mention this @marathonwiner giveaway and @Chobani on Twitter!

Happy entering kids!

A random winner will be selected and announced on Wed. Nov. 23rd–the perfect Thanksgiving gift!

Have an awesomeeee weekend :)



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