Monday, October 22, 2012

Concrete Jungle

Hello and goodbye world wide web! I have time to dish out a quick run-down through day 13 of operation: “rest because of mysterious buttcrease/hip issues,” and then I am spontaneously combusting into a vacationer, because we booked some last-minute flights to the east coast to check out the concrete jungle of New York City and Washington, D.C.

I didn’t keep track of my "rest/cross-training" workouts last week so my recap below is based on memory but I think pretty accurate.

Monday: swim for one hour, easy, lots of breaks for goggle issues, ear issues, not-able-to-swim-so-good issues.

Tuesday: swim for one hour, new $15 pair of Speedo goggles are so fantastic.  I do 10 “sprints” of 50m (one round-trip lap) with an equal recovery.  This is really, very hard, because when I try to “sprint” my form deteriorates and I kick so much that I actually think I slow down…and then I start to breath harder and take a breath every stroke, which makes me feel like I am drowning.

Wednesday: my first ever spin class!  I have heard rumors since the beginning of time that spin classes are HARD, so I was shaking in my boots.  Knowing that the class is really as hard as YOU make it for yourself, I chose to try and make each interval HURT.  But still, I left the class thinking….hmph.  I feel nowhere even CLOSE to as drained as I would from a track workout.  Neither swimming nor biking are getting me to that foggy-brain super-hard-workout fatigue that running does.

One evening this week: a class called something like Aqua Challenge, that was described as a mix of cardio and strength training, in the water.  I figured there was a 50/50 chance this was going to be a gentle class for senior ladies, but it turns out the odds were 100%.  Because I was the youngest person by 50 years.  And while the ladies clucked like chickens (gossiping) and kind of floated around, I tried furiously to make the class do something for my muscles.  The whole thing was very bizarre.  One point for me for being adventurous and trying out different classes at this new temporary luxury gym; One point for the gym for tricking me into taking a class that was not even close to what it was described as.

The trend is that these gym classes do not challenge me nearly as much as I can challenge myself on my own, or Jillian Michaels can challenge me in my living room.  The classes are catered to wimps.  Everyone seems to be phoning it in, I hate that! Once again, confirmed that I am a solo-exerciser.
Thursday: swim for 1.5 hours, two miles.  The first mile is relaxed free-style (front crawl? I don’t know what you call it) with two quick stops for water at the edge of the pool.  The second mile is alternating “drills” of kicking with a board, swimming with a foam thing between my legs, backstroke, butterfly stroke.  The 1.5 hours got me pretty tired!

I still don’t know how to do a cool turn at the end of a lap—everytime I try, I do a full somersault and then end up facing the wall like whhaaaa?

Friday: swim 1 hour, easy, drills mixed in. 1.3 miles-ish. 

Some other evening this week: a class that is advertised as strength training.  It was pretty weak sauce.  A lot of lunges and lifting a bar, but Jillian Michaels still makes me more sore.

Saturday & Sunday: Camping!

We camped and hiked and tried to make my niece love me (she likes me only slightly more than her tea set, slightly less than the pillows in my tent) in Big Basin State Park.

We were on this awesome steam train, and the Gentleman and I were the only childless people on it.

She held my hand for 2 minutes and then decided to put her hands all over the dirt instead

Big Basin is where the Gentleman and I went on our very first date almost five years ago (unofficial date because it was with a third wheel/other law school friend) right after finishing our first law school finals. 

Five years ago! Still smiling because I hadn't received my first law school grades yet...

After five years, we are much less awkward. ^

Camping was c-c-c-c-cold, and at night I stared at the tent ceiling listening for the Blair Witch and mountain lions (falling acorns sound a lot like pitter-pattering feet) but somehow did sleep a little. 

We hiked about 8-10 miles, ignoring my doctors orders to “avoid activities that mimic running,” since she ignored my orders to FIGURE OUT WHAT THE CURSE is wrong with my body by getting me an MRI.

This is what 49 degrees requires when you are a warm-blooded California girl

It warmed up delightfully

We definitely look five years older, huh....

Now we’re headed to NYC, a vacation we had originally planned for December, but circumstances led to us pushing the vacation up.  We have spent the last few years mostly tackling nature's jungle at National Parks, so this is our attempt to do a “city vacation.”  Already disastrously more expensive – we are staying in a tiny hole for $200+ a night in NYC, and tried to purchase Book of Mormon Broadway tix until learning it would cost over $500 for the two of us, with seats that were described as having a “partially obstructed view.”  Dammmmn, NYC.  High rollers allowed, only.

My anticipation is even higher for Washington, D.C.  I lived in D.C. for a semester in college in 2004 (during the Kerry/Bush election) and haven’t been back since.  I have so much nostalgia for my time there; every weekend I visited a different museum, historical site, or government building, and ate it up like a hungry nerd.  We’re going to try and cram all that into 3 days. 

I will probably try running a few times on vacation (I cannot wait to try a run in Central Park or retrace my 20-year-old steps around the Mall and up the Lincoln Memorial steps) and am so anxious to get back on dry land and run.  Hard.

Unfortunately, I can pretty confidently predict that my buttcrease issue has not healed or improved during my two-week hiatus.  I have a few ways of testing out the situation (one is by swinging my left leg forward; one is by lying on my stomach and raising my left leg up) and I can still feel the tight tug in that buttcrease area. Note: none of the "cross-training" activities caused any pain in the buttcrease, so it did get a break and chance to heal if it wanted.  New self-diagnosis evidence suggests that my buttcrease issue may be ischeogluteal bursitis.

Either way, two weeks lost for nothin’, so consider me pissed off and ready to run while in the East Coast!

Last time I went on vacation to Zion/Bryce Canyon I received some really great tips from you, so if you have any MUST DO’s for NYC or DC, please share! My #1 in NYC is being a live audience member of SNL, but it is highly unlikely to happen, so perhaps a Daily Show or Letterman viewing instead.  My #1 in DC is to watch the Supreme Court, I cannot even describe how excited am I for that!

If I post in the next week, it will be short and sweet, but most likely I’ll be MIA for a while.  I will miss you all!


  1. Yeah, I'd go for Daily Show/Colbert/Letterman. Free tickets! Besides that, New York sucks (I clearly haven't gotten over the 2 years I lived there). Go to Royale and eat a burger-it's cheap and will make you forget how much everything else blows.

    Your week sounds very similar to what I did when I couldn't run. My experience with spin was the same-I had heard horror stories and was told I would want to die for the first three classes and then would suddenly love it. In the end, I was a fan mostly because I could ride with my eyes shut when I was tired, but even when I pushed myself as hard as possible, afterwards I hardly felt like I had worked out at all. Also did a weird aqua muscle class and was the youngest by a good 40 years. I should have gotten out of there when I saw the instructor weighed about 350 pounds...

  2. There isn't anything that compares with running. Sorry you are having the but-crease trouble! Hope some serious pavement pounding in the concrete jungle fixes it all.

  3. Those are some nice pool workouts. I'm impressed that you said "with two quick stops for water" You mean you don't stop at every wall for 1 minute to catch your breath like I do?

    I'm glad you are seeing the Supreme Court. I would have said that since you are an attorney! I was able to do that in college during the 2000 election fiasco and it was so cool!!

  4. Nice pool workouts. I swam competitively for 15 years (god that feels like an ion ago) but was a distance swimmer. Anyways, it is very possible that you are slower when you kick harder because it knocks your rhythm out of synch. For me personally, I was and it wasn't that I just didn't kick but I more or less focused on my arms and plowed through the water. Though kicking is the best way to get your heart rate up while swimming.

  5. there's a place in times square you can buy 1/2 price broadway show tickets the day of the show... you have to wait in line and get there early to be in front... but if you want to see Book of Mormon it's worth a shot. here's info about it:

    have a great vaca and def worth running in CP or/& along the West side highway in NYC!

  6. I adore DC and spent a ton of time there growing up. On my must-see list is the beautiful Library of Congress adn the Korean War memorial. Of course I also like to hit up every single Smithsonian.
    NYC was less of a favorite to me - very crowded, lots of smokers, just like a crappy bar.

  7. So crappy about your buttcrease...I hate to say it but it took me 6 months of no running to be pain free after a diag of high hamstring tendonopathy :(. A big warning from my Ortho that if I ran on the tendon too early, before the pain free 6 mos-ish mark, I would end up with chronic lifetime pain. As for DC, get a mug of coffee and rent a kayak down K street from
    Georgetown first thing in the morning and glide around on the Potomac as the city is waking up and hustling around, you can row all the way past Georgetown to the National Mall area, under bridges. A beautiful way to see the city and its a great workout!!

  8. RUNNING IN CENTRAL PARK!!! So excited.

    Also, I'm so impressed you're keeping it up with the non-running workouts even after so many "I don't totally love this" experiences. I think I'd just quit altogether and go the couch potato route. But you're sticking with it, and for that, my friend, I commend you. Onward to NYC!

  9. Have a great trip to NYC! I love everything about the city, can't even pick just one tip.

  10. Good for you for cross training and taking care of yourself. Glad you tried out spin class! I love it and think it's an excellent compliment to running...low impact on your joints AND you burn calories to boot! ;-) But I feel ya on the running thing...there's nothing quite like that high...

  11. Oh oh oh! I feel particularly qualified to give you tips, having just moved to NYC ourselves.

    Number one, visit Penny in her fancy pants office at the Chrysler building, and if buttcreases allow, go for a little jaunt in Central Park.

    Ok, seriously though, real tips for quick-er things to pack into a short time. (1) the Metropolitan Museum of Art - especially the bar on the roof in the evening; (2) Smorgasburg in Brooklyn (a foodie flea market) on Saturday (11am-6pm), and you can get the ferry back to the city; (3) Times Square at night; (4) pizza anywhere; (5) Walk around the reservoir in Central Park; (6) Natural History Museum; (7) I would fork out the money for a show on Broadway, though granted you might have to be prepared to sell a kidney or the rights to your first born (but jokes on them, bc you're not necessarily sold on having kids, right?); (8) barring that, consider looking online for tickets to see a concert at Radio City Music Hall - we got cheapo tickets to see Gotje (hes my homeboy from Melbourne) There is tons more though!

  12. One more thing if either of you are interested in things like old train-lines, the New York City HighLine in the Meatpackers District is really awesome to walk up and down - and that District is pretty fun to explore as well. It takes a couple of hours.

  13. If you get a chance, try running over one of the major bridges in NYC. The views are just incredible! I loved running over the Queensboro Bridge and getting to look back over Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. We intended to run from the Queensboro Bridge to the Williamsburg Bridge, but ended up running out of time.

  14. Good job on the swimming! It's crazy how long it takes to swim a mile vs. running!!

    For NYC, you should check out Eataly - It is Mario Batali's Italian market, and it has 3 or 4 restaurants inside. The wait can be kinda long, but the market is fascinating to browse, so killing time is no problem. The fish restaurant always seems to have the shortest wait (there is also pizza, vegetarian, and pasta/grill). The roasted whole fish is amazing!

    If it is absolutely too long to wait, the good thing is you are right in Korea town, so you can just walk out and stumble on some amazing Korean BBQ places.


  15. Obvious stuff, like Staten Island Ferry - free, and you can hop back on and head back to the city right away, but great views; Brooklyn Bridge - take the subway over to Brooklyn, walk back, also great views.

    There's a walking eating architecture tour in Greenwich Village that we did, once, that was fucking stellar - and I want to say it was reasonably priced for the city. The company also did tours of the lower east side, all types of other shit. It was fascinating.

  16. I live near DC and want to recommend delicious, delicious beer at the Bier Baron, and yummy sushi at Raku (both near Dupont Circle). And go to the Newseum if you haven't had a chance. It's very touristy but a great way to spend a few hours or much much longer.

    My folks did the DC/Book of Mormon thing for their 25th wedding anniversary and the concierge at their hotel said "what did you have to do to get those tickets?!" My dad's response- tons of cash. But they said it was totally worth it.

  17. Long time lurker...

    For DC, definitely the Air and Space Museum. I've also heard very good things about the Holocaust museum, though I've never been.

    For restaurants in DC, I recommend Kushi, if you like sushi/Japanese.

  18. add to your DC list: drink a beer with your new friend Katie. OH HELLO.

  19. Yay Vacation! Sounds like so much fun!

    I love your description of your exercise classes. I've totally experienced those weak sauce classes where you are really hoping for an awesome intense workout but everyone else in the room is more intent on chit chatting and making the class as easy as possible. So frustrating!

  20. I have never been to NYC (I saw the lights in the distance once), and my time in DC was generally spent in VA. I did get to see the Lincoln Memorial, which was totally, totally amazing. I don't know why. It's a giant statue. But it was awesome.

    This comment is useful as shit, right?

  21. Having grown up in outskirts of DC and having been to every Smithsonian museum a million times... I'm actually recommending a museum you have to pay for. It's called the Newseum. It costs $20 to get in, but my family (ages 3-50) stayed there for an entire day and it was so interesting and so worth it! There are lots of things to read in the normal museum sort of way, but also a lot of multimedia exhibits and historical artifacts and photos to keep things interesting. So, since you say you're a museum nerd, I'd 100% recommend that if you have the time.

    If you like hamburgers, I'd recommend 5 Guys. It's a fast food joint with higher end burgers, 20 kinds of topping choices, and fries cooked in peanut oil. YUM.

    Re: spin class. I've had different experiences with different instructors. Some are easy and others have killed me. The other thing that makes a big difference is the clip shoes. I invested in them so I could have a total leg workout... otherwise, I'd just be using my quads the whole time.

  22. I've never been to NY - want to go there! Getting on the exchange floor during trading hours would be #1 on my list:)

    I went to DC. Supreme court, must! I also went and did the touristy things... national monuments/memorials (go close to night time because they have everything lit up and less people), watching the changing of the guards was cool, out of all the museums I thought the Holocaust Memorial Museum was amazing.

  23. Wow you have a ton of stuff going on right now!

    Gym classes can be hit or miss, try to find a class that just hammers you - I go to this yoga class sometimes, and the teachers just works us over, great stuff. I walk about of there exhausted - tons of downward dog, pushups, and other hard stuff. Not sure if you are a 24 hour member, maybe try body pump and really load up on the weights?

    Awesome on Big Basin, I've been there a few times, it is indeed gorgeous there.

    Awesome on the NY and DC trip! For a broadway show, you could just show up to the shops near the theatres and try to get a last minute ticket - sometimes these are discounted. But it might be something you don't want to see. That was how I got to see Wicked in London, I just showed up and they had a ticket for that.

    I love DC - I've only been there once but loved it. I'm a history and politics nerd, so I love just walking around and seeing all the monuments everywhere. One thing I wish I would have gone to was the Holocaust Museum in DC, I've heard its something you need to experience.

    Also in DC, you probably already got a tour of the capitol building, my friend got me a tour there with a house of representative member. That was cool. Also seeing the house of rep and senate in action was cool - we actually heard Feinstein talking about California issues when we were there back in 2003!

    I've never been to NY before, but hopefully sometime!

  24. "I still don’t know how to do a cool turn at the end of a lap—everytime I try, I do a full somersault and then end up facing the wall like whhaaaa?"

    There are videos on youtube that will help. Many people freak about the idea of banging their heels on the deck. The trick to it is to tuck and curl up hard, and then reach for the wall with your TOES by pulling with your hams and calves. Stay on your back as your toes touch the wall, and push off. Then roll over onto your front.

  25. In DC, one of the smaller, out-of-the-way Smithsonian museums is the Freer gallery, which mostly houses asian art and artifacts. It's beautiful and pretty fascinating and it doesn't get as busy as the other sites, so I definitely recommend it. The butterfly garden is also beautiful. Skip the Air & Space museum - it's old and outdated and way too crowded. Georgetown is wonderful for walking around and shopping. Alexandria has a great waterfront area and some really great restaurants (try Flying Fish for sushi... yummmm). In Arlington, pop out to Cafe Caturra for wine and yummy wine-friendly food or go to Crystal City for the Crystal City Sports Pub, which has not-great food but literally more TVs than I have ever seen in one building.

    In NYC, my favorite museum is the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, but I also recommend trying to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art if you can. It's just such a classic experience and the collections go on forever. The Cathedral of St. John the Devine, on 111th and Amsterdam, is a beautiful visit. For live music, Rockwood Music Hall on Allen at Houston on the LES is an intimate, wonderful venue. Battery Park has some great views, and it's a lovely spot for running. Do not go to any of the restaurants in Times Square. They are horrible and insanely overpriced. The only exception to this rule is Sardis, which is also overpriced, but it's legendary. "When Harry Met Sally" fans are also allowed to go to the Carnegie Deli. I like to use for restaurant reviews and recommendations.

    In both cities, just spend some time walking around and doing whatever catches your eye. In DC, stay near the touristy areas - they're safest and you'll find plenty to do. In NYC, stay the hell out of the touristy areas! They're crowded and not worth the hype. Have a great trip!

  26. Be sure to punch Scalia in the face for me. Thanks in advance!

  27. Hey RR! NYer and big fan of yours here (GEEK.) Sorry your buttcrease is being an a-hole (that doesn't make any sense, I realize) but I think running around CP is a must while here! I also want to let you know that I saw Book of Mormon and found it to be highly overpriced and overrated. I mean, it's funny... but not funnier than a South Park episode.
    If you shoot me an email with a list of yours and the Gentleman's favorite foods, I can help out with restaurant recommendations!

  28. Noooo! Don't say you're a solo-exerciser...I miss you too much! I promise to not EVER phone it in ...EVER. I really think we should try the elliptical together. I will teach you my ways, Grasshopper. You WILL feel in your mind and in your heart and with the quantity of sweat like you ran HARD...with no weird and annoying buttcrease thing. And I really don't think that you wasted the two weeks by not running. I really think that you needed the break from the frustration of running and having your ass hurt. And (of course) I have some 'comeback' ideas for you ;-) Hope your trip to the Big Apple and DC is a great time :)

  29. It's so funny. I'm in NYC every day, but I always struggle to pick things for visitors to do. Two come immediately to mind though: 1) if you're thinking of seeing a great view of the city, check out Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) rather than the Empire State Building as it's cheaper, less crowded and comes with a much better view. 2) If you have any interest in seeing the Statue of Liberty, don't take a tour; just take the Staten Island Ferry from lower Manhattan to SI and stand on the statue side. It's totally free and the views are quite nice.Have fun!!!

  30. Just want to say I can identify with the injury/break from running issues. It's been over a month now of barely any running because of my own hip issue. I don't have the buttcrease thing though. Have you tried foam rolling/tiger tailing? That seems to be helping me, along with ibuprofen (per my doc, I'm taking an awful lot of that, to reduce inflammation). I'm too scared about venturing into swimming bc I have no idea about lap-swimming etiquette, so good for you! Good luck with it all...

    For DC things, you need to check out the 14th street corridor between Logan Circle and U Street for amazing food and bars. Same with the 11th street corridor in Columbia Heights - it will blow your mind how much these neighborhoods have changed since you were here last. Also, go to the Smithsonian American Art museum in Gallery Place - the 3rd floor has lots of cool contemporary stuff. It's one of the most overlooked Smithsonians.

  31. I have been reading these suggestions every day and they are all helpful! Loving it. Trying to do it all, even though a hurricane is brewing...


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