Thursday, September 30, 2010

I heart NYC week

I often say that I have a love/hate relationship with NYC...this has definitely been a "love" week. Maybe it was the events, probably it was the friends, but the city gave it extra energy.

Monday night - One of my best guy friend's Jeff's 40th bday was Sunday, so his lovely fiance Steph invited us all over to their apt. for a quaint little party. It was a rainy, yucky night, but so cozy and perfect in their apt. We were surrounded by great friends, great food and great wine. Even though a Monday night is a tough night to go out, I didn't mind because we had so much fun.

Tuesday night - Every Tuesday night we have a running club through work. We leave at 6:30, usually head over to the running path along the Hudson River and do a variety of different workouts. We have an awesome coach who led us through a make shift track workout on the pier (every loop is 1/4 mile...just like a track). I felt the same ran-so-hard-I-almost-puked feeling that I do at a normal track workout, but there was such an awesome feeling of working with what you have and still having a great workout. It helped that we have an awesome group of runners that push each other and cheer each other on.

After the run, I met up with Doug, his cousin and some of her friends in the Meatpacking District for apps and felt so NY showing up for a 9pm dinner! (minus the still sweating through my clothes factor).

Wednesday night - First soccer game of the season! I've been playing soccer since I first moved to NYC 7 years ago. I originally signed up as a way to meet friends and have kept playing, with a lot of the same people since then. Some of my teammates are also some of my best friends, so soccer has become a social outlet as well as the typical competitive one that I crave. Despite getting mauled by some dudes' cleat and being a little rusty, it was so great to be out there, under the lights, with all of my buddies! And what soccer game wouldn't be complete without the post-game hangout! Another late night, but sooo worth it!

Thursday night- Dinner with my lovely friend Flora (one of my said original soccer friends) at a new restaurant we've been meaning to try.

Friday night - A second party for Jeff's 40th (hey-you only turn 40 once!) at a beer garden in Astoria with all of our friends. It will be a perfect chance to wind down from the week and catch up with everyone again.

Saturday- is usually reserved for long marathon training runs these days, but I'm running a 10K on Sunday morning, so I'm going to eeeek out the long run on Friday morning before work. Saturday is wide open, so Doug and I will have a chance to hang out before he has to go to Hong Kong for the week.

Sunday- 10K race on Governor's Island...the first race to be held on this little island just south of Manhattan. We are sponsoring the race through work with The North Face, so I'm particularly excited to see this event go off and be a big success! Post-race is hopefully a brunch with some friends also running!

No doubt it's been a very busy week, and I just told you about my after work fun, but a very good week at that. I feel more energized than I have in a long time! (notice I haven't done my long run or 10K yet...maybe I will have to update this in a couple of days:) Just when I think I've had enough of this place, everything lines up and shows me that there really is no place like it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Every year I try to put a marathon and a 1/2 ironman tri on my calendar...both of those seem to keep me pretty motivated to train hard throughout the year. Last year was the first time I attempted a 1/2 ironman, and so I thought I would make it two years in a row by signing up for the Toughman Half (full disclosure...I convinced my company to sponsor the race so I could get in for free...err, to market ourselves to this high household income, growing sport).

For the three weeks leading up to the race, I had been feeling pretty crappy, worn down, tired all of the time and not particularly motivated. I went to the doctor just to make sure I didn't have mono and when she said I didn't, I decided to suck it up and do the race. I had convinced Doug to do it with me as well, it would be his first 1/2 ironman. Luckily for him, he had to go to Russia at the last minute to meet with their government (my little James Bond:), so he got out of it. It's not like we would have seen each other at all during the race, but it's nice to have someone to drive to the race with, hang out with on the beach and then drive home with afterward. Someone that you can talk about the crazy things you saw, or how big that hill was, etc. I did make a couple of "friends" at swim start, but it's not quite the same.

Here's a recap if you're at all interested...if not, STOP here because it's fairly long.

My alarm went off at 3:30, but honestly I'd been watching it since 3am because I was nervous about missing it. I rushed around, stuffed down some food, took the dogs out, loaded my stuff in the car and took off by 4:20. After a few missed turns, lots of panic about missing the race because of missed turns, I finally found my way.

Point of no return

Setting up in transition

The race started at 7am, I was in the 4th wave, so I went off around 7:20. The swim is 1.2 miles and luckily, we had a great morning, no waves, overcast skies and low temps. We had a brilliant sunrise that was probably an omen for things to come later in the day (Mama always says - "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning). Unfortunately, the water was so shallow at the start, that you couldn't start swimming until about 300 yards in, so it made for a Baywatch-esque running start, so by the time I started swimming I was breathing pretty heavily. Other than that,
the water was nice and calm, which made for a great, non-dramatic swim. The nice thing about this race is once you get out of the water, you just lay down on the ground and there are volunteers to strip your wetsuit off of you (I knew this ahead of time, so I made sure to tie my shorts nice and tight, unlike some of the mooners getting stripped next to me).

Since the bike is 56 miles, I decided to throw on a pair of real, padded bike shorts over my tri shorts, to make my ride as comfy as possible. The course took us through beautiful horse farms, mansions by where the Clinton's live and bridges over troubled really was quite scenic and I tried to take it all in, but I was in a world of hurt. Apparently the race is named aptly...Toughman. It seemed like I was going up hill the whole time and my legs were on fire! I had a really hard time focusing on anything other than my current discomfort, so I tried to find songs to sing, mantras to say and finally settled on repeating the pledge of allegiance a few times because I couldn't remember the full preamble. Ughh, it was never ending! I was also trying to eat as much as I could because I knew I would need the fuel on the run, but my stomach wasn't having it...maybe it was the two pair of shorts pushing in on my stomach while I was bending over riding...either way, I barely sucked down a couple of GU's and figured I would try to eat on the run. At mile 50, some guy rode up by me and said, "let's go, only 6 more miles!" at which point I responded with "ughhh, I'm soooooo over this!" When we finally got to transition for the run, I was getting really excited just to be in an upright stance for the first time in a few hours.

The run was 13.1 miles and was awesome...I mean, I was hurting a fair amount, but the course was beautiful and about half of it was on wood-chipped trails, so my legs were quite thankful. Like the bike, the course was super hilly, with the biggest hill at mile's called - wait for it - The Toughman. Yeah, I grunted, swore and sludged my way up that stupid thing, knowing that on the other side was less than 5K! Once over the big hill, I picked up the pace and finished the race pretty strong. The last 200 yards were pretty painful. I was dealing with some pretty back stomach cramps the last mile, probably due to lack of fuel, and I'm not sure I could have run 200 more yards than I had to.

I crossed the line in 5:26...12 min. faster than my 1/2 iron last year!! I was really thrilled with my time, but completely spent. It's hard to explain a feeling like that, except for overall discomfort. It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to lay down, stretch, eat, drink - everything.

Trying to get comfortable

I gathered all of my stuff out of transition and was heading to the car when I saw the race director posting results, so I wandered over to see how I did. To my utter surprise, I saw that I won my age group! I'll admit, I started feeling a little better and realized that I was in that much pain because I really pushed myself and had a good reason to be dead. So, I hung around for the awards ceremony and then took off.

The loot for winning my age group! (The elite woman who won, got $1500...too bad she beat me by an hour)

It started pouring when I got in the car ride, so we totally lucked out on that front! Worse than doing anything for almost 6 hours is doing something for 6 hours in the rain. The whole car ride home was spent salivating over post-race food (and talking to you LPF). I wanted everything...burrito, french fries, pizza, milk shake, DIET COKE. The pizza and diet coke won out!


After dinner, I walked the dogs and was in bed by 8:07pm!! Now I can officially say I'm a TOUGHWOMAN!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cellphone Rant

I'm at my limit with stupid people using their stupid cell phones everywhere for everything. What is our world coming to that you have to take that call while sitting on the toilet? No offense buddies, but if you call me while I'm sitting on the pot...I'm not answering. Maybe even more of a pet peeve than that is people talking and texting on their phones at the dinner table. I often feel bad for them that their dinner date is that boring. And, when I see little kids at the table texting their friends while the family is eating, I want to spank the parents. (I know...I don't have kids and it's probably nice to just have a peaceful dinner sometimes, but what about manners?!)

A few other major no-no's on cellphones in my book...
- Biking while talking on the phone...I'm tempted to hit you just to make a point. And those of you who do this generally don't have a helmet on, so I know it will hurt when you fall.

- Walking down the crowded NYC streets while texting, swerving all over the place...see above.

- Talking soooo loudly about very personal details. I don't want to know that he didn't stay the night. I don't blame him...maybe it's because of your annoyingly loud voice.

Also, have you ever noticed that if someone is standing somewhere by themselves, the first thing they do is grab their phone. This happens a lot in elevators...awkward moment. If I worked in the marketing department for Blackberry I would have an ad with two people in an elevator "typing" away with the tag line "Blackberry - making elevators less awkward since 2002."

I've often thought how nice it would be to just ditch my phone just so I could say that I am not dependent on it, but I am! Just this morning when I got to work I had 4 emails from myself. Call dog groomer, deposit check, call mom, book flights to phone is now my memory and I rely on it way too much. It's sad, I don't remember anything unless I write it down or email myself. Pathetic. And, I'll admit, I have pulled out my phone when I'm standing on a corner waiting to meet up with a friend...heaven forbid someone sees me just standing by myself! But, I'm making a conscious effort to not do all of the things that drive me crazy (don't worry, I have never tried to ride a bike and make a phone call)...I actually think that standing on the corner and watching the freaks on the streets is much more interesting than Facebook any day (expect for all of your posts of course:).