Friday, November 30, 2012

Always Try Something New on Race Day

One thing I forgot about barely running the week before a marathon (aka the taper, heard of it? On the blogosphere, where us runner addicts lament the loss of endorphins and the feeling of slothiness?), is that being less active makes me much less sleepy.   This whole week I’ve been popping awake at 6:00 a.m. or earlier despite my 7:00 a.m. alarm—even though my normal running self would happily sleep in until 7:00 like a log (barring rude neighbor noise).  No running = I only need about 7 hours of sleep.  Running regularly = I am wiped out if I only get 7 hours (read: I'm often wiped out).  It finally makes sense to me how some people are fine on 5 hours of sleep.  They don't run?

I woke up way too early and put on jeans for casual Friday, only to despair that these normally comfortable jeans were giving me a hell of a time trying to squeeze into them.  Curse you, taper, you’ve already attacked my thighs! Or curse you three thanksgivings!

Ultimately I determined that I had put my jeans in the wash, and so they shrunk.  That is always the right answer.  

The forecast for marathon Sunday in Sacramento, improving ever so gently.



Yesterday, this forecast was accompanied by a bright red warning of floods, and a higher wind speed.  Does anyone know for sure if South wind is a head wind or tail wind? I have really high hopes, as my friend Lesley chimed, that these winds are a tailwind.  I’m just going to strap a sail on my back and fly!

I can say one thing: if the weather sucks, at least it takes off any remaining pressure to dig for a PR.  I can’t break any records while facing 25+ mph winds.  Not even music video wind hair records.

It’s easy to have a good attitude about this.  All you have to do is say “the weather will be terrible, but so what, marathons are not easy anyway! You deal.”  I don’t/can't worry about the weather.  It’s totally out of anybody’s control.

But for someone who runs just ONE marathon a year, it is bad luck that the one day of 365 falls on Sacramento's most blustery storm all year.  Just bad luck.  And it's okay to be bummed about bad luck!

2011 bragging about its clear, perfect weather...
One other thing I can say is this: there are a TON of friends--friends in real life, and friends from the internet--who will be running CIM on Sunday too, and that knowledge brings a feeling of camaraderie and togetherness that makes it seem 1000% more exciting and manageable, no matter the conditions.

I am mentally prepared for the forecasts to remain accurate, and for the possibility that heavy wind gusts and/or flooding make the course too difficult to finish or just not worth it after two chilled hours only finding me at the halfway point.  But, I think and hope it's going to be completely fine.  Just some rain, and some normal wind.  

**ALWAYS TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY.  ALWAYS.**

Seriously shut it.  That's the rule, that's my rule, and it has not backfired on me so far.

Two very significant things I will be trying on race day (make that three).

1) Wearing these lightweight Adidas capri tights with great nooks for Gu and other snacks, which I bought at my gym today out of concern that I don't have a great solution for how to run comfortably in really wet conditions.

My thighs look way less cute in these, but at least I have shins and a torso

I simply don't think this will lead to a disaster.  They fit, more or less, and I will run in them.

2) This one's stupid.  I might run with a new GPS running watch that I have never tried out.

I currently rock the Garmin Forerunner 305, but for MONTHS and months now, it has been testing my patience.  It will not turn on anymore unless I do a Hard start while it is plugged in.  And even then it takes several minutes of work to get it to turn on.  So I haven't turned it off in weeks.  It just stays on, in the charger.

My clunky 305 from last year's CIM

I told my mom that I didn't think the 305 was going to survive much longer, and would like a new watch for Christmas/birthday, maybe the 410.  When I directed her to the Cyber Monday sale that Neon Blonde Runner alerted me to ($150 with free shipping!), my mom pounced on it (unbeknownst to me) and had it mailed straight to me.  I received it tonight (Friday) and played with it after getting home from watching Lincoln.  (JGL is in EVERY good movie this year!).

Circle is the new rectangle


It seems really crazy cool.  I think I'm going to enjoy this baby.  And so I'm thinking of using it on Sunday (it's so much LIGHTER! and so much less dead/dying than my 305!).

So, Garmin 410 users, is the watch user-friendly enough that a newbie can comfortably run with it from day one?

3) Sounds like I will be wearing a visor due to the rain, and no sunglasses due to the rain.  I usually do the opposite.

Brought to you by: TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY.

Taper has turned me into pudding.  That is how I would describe the feeling of only moving my body 20 miles this week.  Does that make me psycho? Yes.  Talk to you after [trying to] run 26.2.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Stupidest Man Alive

Last time I talked about a magazine, it was kind of desparate, but here we are again and I feel compelled to talk about this People magazine business because it is more interesting than talking about the flood-warning weather forecast for this Sunday's marathon, and because I need to know that we are all on the same page.

The Sexiest Man Alive is also the Biggest Idiot Whose Words Were Ever Quoted



The answer to how I--the most intellectual sophisticated lady of the land who only reads law review articles and the Economist (does my sarcasm ever come across well here?)--came to read a People Magazine is just a freak accident, an anomaly.  But as I began to read, I was deLIGHTED and laughing my way through this Cover article on the man anointed Sexiest.

Please, enjoy every sad moment of this.  These are real quotes.  I cannot think of a duller person that exists, than Channing Tatum.


  • People Magazine blushing over his secret talent--He Can Cook!: I learned from living out on my own.  You know, the staples--chicken, spaghetti, steak, taco night or whatever.  (Swoon, yum or whatever).
  • On his Musical Talent: I play guitar a little bit.  But not really. (Tatum, tell us a little about yourself in the emptiest way possible).
  • What he is self-conscious about: My reading. I don't read out loud very well.  (Red alert! Red alert! Do not crush on this guy.  Yikes.)
  • He sculpts: I'd taken a pottery class in high school, but just, like, making pots and crap.  (w-w-wait--you made pots in pottery class?).
  • On finding out he was Sexiest Man Alive:  I told Jenna after we'd been in the bathtub washing our dogs because they'd gotten skunked.  She was like, "What?!" (And then you were both like, "like?!").
  • Explaining what he wears around the house: ...I'm really good at sleeping.  Sometimes I don't even shower; I just jump off our balcony into our pool.  (Tatum.  Congratulations on sleeping and sometimes not showering. You are extraordinarily ordinary.  But did you hear the question?).
  • Thought bubble on a Sexy Portrait: I saw a photo the other day and I was like, "wow, that's an older me."  It's nice.  I like it.  (His vocabulary is, like, so nice.  And I can see how he might be surprised to learn from a picture that he isn't 12).

By the time I finished reading this article, I was using a Beavis & Butthead voice in my head to imagine his voice.

Even the fact that he looks like my FOREVER ADORED JTT, will not save anyone from the spiral of boredom that will surround you after a minute of conversing with Channing Tatum.



Also, Tatum, or Channing, whichever is your first name, you have two last names and it really confuses me.  Jump Street was pretty cool though, so cheers.

**I know I'm being way harsh, and it is probably more fair to describe Mr. Channing/Tatum as "simple" rather than stupid.  But there needs to be SOME discretion in choosing the Sexiest man Alive.  Sexy does NOT exist without some smart.  Harumph.**

Running Cliff-notes  I ran hard on the treadmill this a.m., 9.05 miles in one hour (6:37-ish pace?).  It was only mildly uncomfortable to hold this pace, but I sadly I had to stop and stretch out my leg a few times when I got the "leg-lock" feeling.  I wish I knew what to do to prevent it.

I have two important questions before I go:

1) Advice on what to wear to run a marathon in the rain.  Visor? shorts? tights? I'm worried about chafing in the thigh area due to wetness if I wear shorts, worried about chafing at the bikini line if I wear tights (this has happened before!), worried that my shoes of choice (Nike Pegasus 29) have weak tread and I may slip.

2) Yay or nay on changing my commenting system by using Disqus, which is the kind of commenting that looks like this:


I'm guessing it is more user-friendly than the blogger-commenting.  Thanks for the idea, Keith!

And that, my friends, is my first attempt at making progress on my dreary blog layout since, ever. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love/Hate

Downer news, read all about it!

I'm not feeling it.  CIM is one week from today, and I'm not excited.  I'm 73% dreading it, 27% excited.

The excitement comes in little bursts when I feel like, "hey, I CAN pull out some awesome and run really well and get a PR!"

The dread comes from realizing, "oh yeah, I haven't had a decent long run in two months or more, my buttcrease/upper hamstring is retreating into its old angry self by the day, my confidence is slipping, and the last four miles of a marathon are mis-er-able."

I'm also dreading the likely chance that this will be 3+ hours of running, hard, in the rain.  Oh yuck.  Hoping the forecast becomes drier.

Have I ever mentioned before? That I hate marathons?

I don't really hate them.  I don't fear 26.2 miles--the miles themselves aren't the hard part.  It's trying to sustain a hard pace for 26.2 miles that I hate.

And of course I don't really hate that either.  I love the results.  I love being done and thinking, "shit, my legs can do stuff and my brain can handle painful things!"  I love the first 22 miles where the crowd is beautiful and entertaining and there is a buzz in the air.

But I hate being too sore for 3 days after a marathon to sit on a toilet without invoking all my arm strength to lower me (you know what I'm talking about).  It can't be healthy for your body to do something to it that results in being unable to walk down stairs for three days.  Right?  Can't be good.

I have to tell you.  After years of having a parent lecture to me that running is bad for you, and marathons are the WORST, I have become a little bit afraid of the marathon.  It can't be good.

This dread is just a mood.  If I were to wait a day, this post might be an ode to the marathon and how excited I am for it.

But my true ode to running is 20 mile-weekend runs, and 13.1 mile races, and waking up to crisp air and 10 miles before work.  Marathons can disappear and I would probably be a little relieved.

Maybe I should have realized this long before signing up for CIM? You think?

It is a love/hate relationship.  I will probably run at least 1 marathon each year for the foreseeable future, until I really become fully convinced it is too damaging a feat for this body.  There is always that craving to improve, and I could pin that on other races like the half-marathon, but it's just so tempting....especially since endurance is usually a strong suit for me, in comparison to raw speed... which makes the marathon and half-marathon a better race for me over shorter distances.

Anyway.  Right now I hate you, marathon, and I'm not particularly excited to see you next weekend.  I'm fed up with always standing at the starting line not sure if my most recent ailment will ruin me and force me to drop out.

This past week has included a little bit of speed work (two treadmill runs happened, 7 miles for one and 9 miles for the other, both at about an average 6:45 pace).

I seem to be accidentally tapering, due to buttcrease/leg-lock issues and due to Thanksgiving.  I understand that some people justify the big Thanksgiving meal by exercising an extra lot (always WAY more people running on Thanksgiving morning than normal...).  I take the occasion to double down in laziness, because eating a lot makes me want to sit a lot, or walk very slowly--not go for a run.  The week is closing out with 60-something miles.  Which we can call a taper since last week was 80+.

My family visited the Oakland zoo on Saturday, so that seven adults could stare at one 16-month old sweetie, who stared at just about everything but animals.

There is a tiger right in the middle, although it seems as though the reality with this picture, is that you will mostly be stuck staring at me

We got our first real Christmas tree on Black Friday.  A sweet little 3-footer, perfect for our apartment.


We own 6 ornaments and are building our collection at a rate of 1 per year,
Tree size scale.  It is about hip height on this laundry-folding girl

A walk through Christmas Past, with all of its fake trees:

Fake tree at my parents

First fake tree together in our apartment, 2008


Fake extreme excitement

Fake extreme anticipation 

Fake fake fake, on the left, middle, and right, respectively


Phony baloney in 2011

Pretending presents are lame in 2010

Faux tree 2011
You might be wondering how a girl with this (half Jewish) nose who has never read a bible could be so mad for Christmas.

I simply love Christmas and the holiday season.  When people complain that it comes earlier every year, I'm thinking--dude, let it be! I love to draw it out.  It IS the best time of the year.  Whether you find the mass consumerism ridiculous, or are 100% Jewish and have never had a Christmas tree, you can't deny that warm fuzzy family lovey feeling.

My birthday and anniversary with the Gentleman both fall within five days of Christmas, AND I celebrate Hannukah/Chanukah/Jhannuquah (silent J), so this is a loaded month for me.  I am giddy for every second of it.

And so, even if this marathon in 7 days is a disappointment and/or makes my body unhappy, I've still got December.

Does anyone else secretly hate the marathon? Love/hate it? 

How do you get pumped for a race you are sorta dreading?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes of a Mid-Sized Blog

It never ceases to surprise me that sweet strangers will stop in regularly to read the documentation and whining of a girl who runs and does other stuff (me) while zero of my family members have any interest whatsoever.

I'm not sure if it's that they don't understand how blogs work (certain conversations have led me to believe they think that each post is a "blog," so I am currently operating over 200 blogs) or if they think I only post when I link to it on facebook (which is something I only do for races with a worthwhile recap).  Whatever the reason, none of my three sisters nor my parents regularly read.  I think I may have lured my mom over to the dark side of reading though.  And while I'm mentioning her, I must remark that she is looking hellllla fine.  Seriously, 60 looks GOOD on her.

She's the one in the mouse costume.  KIDDING she's the gorgeous one on the left.

My older sister, the one who created an adorable baby and not the one on the right in the photo above who so far has only succeeded in ovulating 150 cute eggs (too graphic?), recently stumbled upon the blog, got lost in a whirlwind of some of the BEST reading of her life, and then remarked: "that seems like a lot of work! How long does it take to write a post?"

Well, the truth is it is not a lot of work, and the answer is it does not take very long.

Anyone, even those with negative interesting things to share, or a second grade level of writing skill, can write a blog.

Her question inspired me to venture behind the scenes.  For anyone who doesn't blog, here's a peek inside--and for those of you who do, let's compare! I assume that many people approach their blog in a much different way than I do, so please share your own blogging habits because I'm plain curious.

1) How long does it take to put up a post?

Well, the writing pours forth instantaneously.  While not the hallmark of a well-edited blog, my writing is freeflow.  Brain spill.  I write whatever I'm thinking.  Then I read it over once, twice, and try and correct any blaring typos.  Delete a few things that will potentially lead to an explosion of sensitive reactions.  Tame down a rant.  Notice that half of what I wrote is completely inconsequential and realize, at least it is more interesting than 79% of shit up in blogland, so post I shall.

The biggest time wasters for me are a) photos and b) blog titles.

I'll start with the latter.  I can't tell you how many times I have finished a post, and then stared at it for a FULL five-to-ten minutes, stumped for a blog title.  Yes, I've considered "fuck it, I can't think of a blog title."  For a while I was just inserting the date when I couldn't think of a title.  Titles are the most terrible chore.  Someone teach me a good tip for a quick and easy title.

Photos: yes, there are many blogs where the writing is the clear standout and photos are largely and welcomingly absent (my girl, my dear, sweatykid--who just ran the Philadelphia marathon in 3:02:42 after earning it the hard way with a year of intense mileage).  And even I have posted without photos before.  Hard to believe, I know, given my notoriety for photography skills. Those posts were the quickest, easiest posts of all.  But wish I may and wish I might, I continue to insert photos because my instinct is that it pulls the post together.  It throws an image in your mind to connect with a specific post.  It breaks up the monotony.  It allows the eyes to rest on something pretty.


I MADE THIS.  For real.

I know for a fact there is technology out there that would make adding photos easier.  Whether it is uploading the photos straight to your blog from your iphone, or a platform superior to Blogger.  But I don't have any of those [I don't own a camera, and my phone is from 2006, so ya dig, adding pictures involves stealing the Gentleman's iPhone or camera and uploading the old fashioned way].

Ironically, in the best sense of the word (I think), I have just hit a 15 minute problem with photos, in which Blogger is telling me I cannot upload any new photos because my "Picasa album" is full.  And I have to pay $2.50/month to add new photos.  For Beyonce's sake, what? I hate blogging. (No, don't leave me, I love you!)

To come full circle, the short answer is: each post takes about 90 minutes.  Give or take 30 minutes.

2) How many page views do you get per day?

This many:


Honestly, I don't know if it is taboo or not to share this stuff, but crap if I care.  On days I post, I typically see 600-800 blog views.  Occasionally something exciting might push the views over 1,000. On days I don't post, it is usually in the 350-550 range.  And it trickles off from there each day I don't post.

At least I can't make the joke, "thanks mom! I know 500 of those page views are from you!"

I think I heard Cupcakes & Cashmere say once that she gets 100,000 page views per day.  So, pretty much neck and neck with her.  Should be getting a book deal and painting my nails all day soon.

3) Money?

If you're new here and haven't yet heard me complain about the enormously disgusting amount of advertising, cross-promotions, and give-aways on blogs then let me introduce you to the FACTS.

I have never had an ad on this blog.  Not even Google Sense or whatever that easy avenue is.  I have never reviewed a product in exchange for it or for some other benefit.  I have never received anything free because of the blog.  Any free stuff was earned on account of placing in a race, winning a giveaway, or showing up somewhere as my real self, not as a blogger.

I still hate FitFluential and still am glad I dropped that offer like it was hot.  You KNOW WHO YOU ARE, your blog SUCKS right now because of all the promotional shit going on.  I can't read through the cracks to know when a product is worthwhile or when you are just aroused by the free-ness of it all.  

If reviews, giveaways, or going to free events is more than 30% of your blog, then you have officially lost control of your blog.  You are owned and controlled by Stuff.

More than anyone I love free stuff.  I AM that nut at Costco hoarding free samples.  But still, when it comes to the blog, which doesn't even represent the REAL me--it represents the anonymous exaggerated version of me--I still ignore every request in my inbox.

Free? I'll take 40.

I'm sorry to those who have asked for me to review/endorse/try out a product.  I never reply.  I tuck them away in my inbox, and I have considered many of them, but ultimately I can't be bound to writing about something because someone asked me to--even if there is something in it for me.  The only way writing is fun is when it is about what I WANT to write about.

Straight up, we all could use some more money.  Some day I may accept an ad.  For now, with my 600 page views/day, not gonna happen.

Any other behind the scenes stuff to discuss?  

Spill your blogging secrets, please!

**And a running recap in cliffs-notes: treadmill this a.m. due to threat of rain, 8.77 miles in one hour, a progression run starting at 8.5 ending at 9.0 mph.  1.0 incline.  Buttcrease pain level = 3.2 on a scale of 1-10.**  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two Thanksgivings, Two Runs, and a Story

Tonight I have survived, with an extra layer of blubber, my second of three thanksgiving meals.

Saturday was thanksgiving with the Gentleman's extended family, where I got my fix of the classics.  Sweet potatoes, green bean cream of mushroom soup casserole, pumpkin pie.

Today (Sunday) was Friends' Thanksgiving, which nowadays is Babies Thanksgiving, because I'm not exaggerating when I say there were 20 babies there.  I believe the Gentleman and I were the only ones who ate because we were the only ones with free hands to do so.  If I've learned one thing from my friends with babies, it's that they never eat because their hands are full of baby.

At Friends' Thanksgiving I discovered banana cream pie, which I don't believe I've ever had before.  I am a bigger fan and devourer of whipped cream than anyone you will ever meet, so this was pretty much the best pie I ever met.  That pie is 83% whipped cream.

Not my picture.  Mine had even more cream...

So much else happened this week to talk about! Good runs and bad runs, going mad for Hostess Twinkies (or in my case, Hostess Donettes), and getting mad at the Gentleman, for literally the first time ever, which sucked and I felt very bad about.

First, the week in running:

I ended up with 87 miles for the week, largely thanks to a 22 miler that was one of my top 3 most miserable runs in history.

There were good runs this week too.  After letting my legs recover from the half marathon last Sunday, I jumped into a track workout of 800m repeats and hoped I could hang on for 6 repeats....thought maybe if it was going well I could pull out 8.  Somehow it was just one of those easy days, and I comfortably finished 10 repeats, all in 2:55-2:59 pace.  A one lap or less jog recovery in between each (around 2:30 jog).

So that was a great confidence booster.

Then that horrible 22 miler.  Sucked all the confidence away.

It was scheduled by the nature gods to rain all weekend.  Therefore on Saturday, I committed to getting my long run in on the treadmill at my neighborhood Hot Fart gym to avoid three hours in the rain.  I've done 20+ miles on the treadmill before, and believe it or not I didn't hate it.  It goes by fast because I generally run much faster on the treadmill than I do when I am letting my mind wander outside.

The Hot Fart gym was indeed hot and muggy, and indeed fart scented.  I jumped on a treadmill after waiting for some farter to get off of one, and proceeded to zone out while watching "Old School" since my only other option was five channels of football.

I ran for an hour between 7.9 and 8.6 mph pace, alternating between staring outside and noticing the complete absence of rain, hating Old School for not being nearly as damn entertaining as I remembered, and getting a headache from the thick layer of other people's heat and sweat sticking to my skin.

After 8.25 miles in one hour, I decided there was no fucking way I was running another 13.75 miles in the gym while the clear cool skies taunted me outside.  I made a deal with myself that I would run home, drop of my gym gear, and head outside for the remaining miles.

Which is what I did.  I ran outside until I hit 22 miles.  But somehow the transition from running on a treadmill to running outside made my brain break.  Each mile was slow, miserable, and then more slow.    This was one of my two annual runs where I Hate Running.

Oh you know what else? Sir Buttcrease is back.  Not back in a mean way, but back.  I can feel him haunting my leg while I run.  I'm sure it's the speed work that I am bringing back.

So I left this week feeling comatose and fatty from two thanksgivings and not like someone who can run 26.2 miles in under 3:05.

Oh yeah, I also dug up some Run with the Jets Half Marathon photos.  They were mostly disappointing because I learned that despite my butt work, I still have no. butt. at all.

Curse you, genetics! 

Finish line

1st & 2nd place ladies

I have on good authority that butt cheeks are where gas is stored, so let's hear it for all my small butt ladies.  Really think about that one next time you see J-Lo or Nicki Minaj.

Yet! I wore a tight sweater dress to one of our thanksgiving events, and I demanded a picture after the Gentleman declared that it made me have a booty.


Much. Better.

The cute dress in all it's glory
*****

Here's a story.

For days and weeks and months, since the time tickets went on sale in the summer, I have been very excited to see Louis C.K. in San Francisco at the Symphony Hall.

If you don't know who Louis C.K. is, which I am alarmed to learn is many people based on the zero people in my office who know who he is, I'm going to guess you actually do recognize him (picture, below).  The fact that he is a comedian who can play TWO nights with four shows total, SOLD OUT at a ginormous Symphony Hall should help explain how crazy adored his stand-up bits are.

Familiar?
Our tickets were calendared long, long ago.  We stared at our calendar in anticipation.  Thursday, November 15! The day has arrived! We scrambled out of work, grabbed a quick dinner in Hayes Valley, and walked to the Symphony.

As we were seated, an opener comedian had already begun his set.  We were in the very last seat of the ground level; not too bad.  It was impossible to pay attention to the opener because there was all sorts of commotion around us with other people trying to be seated by the ushers.

Then, a man leaned towards us and said, "we're in these seats."  We had seats 7 and 8, so the Gentleman asked to see his tickets.  They said seat 9 and 10, sorry guy, these are our seats.  But he had a group of four, claimed he has seats 7, 8, 9 and 10, and said "hey babe.  Babe, show him your ticket." To which babe responded, "unnm.  Hun, whatever, I don't know where it is.  You never gave it to me."

We were confused as to why and how they were claiming to have our seats, and then it seemed pretty clear they were lying for some unknown reason because their tickets weren't coming forth.

Finally, some more tickets did come forth, and indeed, these tickets said seats 7 and 8.  Shit?

We approached an usher, who shone his light on our tickets: 7 and 8.  Shone his lights on their tickets: 7 and 8.  He looked up at me and the Gentleman, and said: "your tickets are for yesterday."  SHIT.

My heart literally sank down to my stomach and then out of my vagina.  No, no no no no.  How could this be? We had this calendared for months!

But wait! Usher, save us please, help us! Can he help us? Yes, yes it seems like he can!

Usher: "This happens all the time.  Come with me, I'll take care of you."

So we followed him out of the seating hall, me thinking of happy visions of being scooted up to the extra best special seats that are reserved for emergencies.  We follow him all the way down the hallway, wonder where he's taking us? Hm this is strange, we seem to be headed towards.....

the exit.

He gave us a sad look, and then abandoned us, dumped outside like the non-ticket holders we were.

I was pretty much in shock.  This cannot be happening, there must be a solution, there must be a computer glitch, our tickets are for today!  It's on our calendar dammit, I know how calendars work!

We walked over to the guy at the ticket booth, where he was all alone because the show had started 15 minutes ago and everyone seeking last minute tickets had been turned away from the sold out show hours ago.

Please sir! help us!

No, sorry, you guys are idiots.  The show is completely sold out.  There's nothing I can do.

I dipped into the realization that we really were not getting in.  I went from not being able to focus at work all day, completely excited for Louis CK, to trying to get my brain to realize that I was not going to see Louis CK.

I wallowed over to a bench and alternately moped and got mad at the Gentleman who had purchased and been in charge of the tickets, and at myself for never once looking at the tickets.  This was the worst part of all.  I felt immediately regretful for not just giving him a hug and feeling sad together, and instead pointing the finger at him and acting like I was the only one whose plans were ruined.

10 minutes later we decided to find out if there was any chance the ticket guy could get us into the 10:00 p.m. show.  As the Gentleman approached him, he handed him two tickets, and in a voice that still sounded mad at us for being idiots, warned us, "this is on Louis!"

We ran inside with our shiny new tickets, and were sat in excellent amazing seats at 7:40 p.m..  We missed the opener, and as far as I could tell, about 10 minutes of Louis CK's set.

It was hard to transition into comedy mode after that.  I was feeling gross about getting upset.  But ultimately of course, Louis won us over and we had a fantastic time.  And then I tried to win the Gentleman over by apologizing ten times for being a brat.  (Even though, next time, I'm in charge of tickets!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tease

In my last post, I left with a teaser about how I would talk about my shiny new goals for CIM.

I chose the “let’s talk about it later” sendoff because I…have…no…plan. 

It’s a tough one, and I don’t feel like making a plan.  If you peek back to this post, I declared a complete release, sadly, of my sub-3:00 hour marathon goal.  The choice was to take a break to let my angry hip area heal rather than suffer through continued training to build up to that goal of 26.2 miles at 6:50 pace.  I let the goal go, I am content knowing there are a billion other marathons per year that I can devote that goal to. 

So now where does that leave me for CIM in 2.5 weeks? Let’s talk it through together.

In many ways, I am in the same shape as I was exactly one year ago, at which time with no gentle exertion, I ran a 3:05:08 at the CIM.  I really don’t think there’s much evidence that I am stronger or faster than I was then.  So that puts me at “aim for a 3:05-ish again” capability.  Again.  Boring.

But there are differences from one year ago.

I had more endurance last year, from weeks and weeks of 20+ mile runs on the regular.  I don’t have that going for me right now as I haven’t run a straight 20 miles or more in something like 5 or 6 weeks (I’ll try for 22 miles this weekend and see how that feels).  Without that endurance, I’m thinking that puts me at 3:05-3:10 territory.

I have more speed-work under my belt this year.  Granted, not much of it has been within the last month, but there is some base there in which I spent many a day at the track this spring and summer.  Do I have this in my favor? Will it make any difference? I don’t know.  So back to 3:05 territory, maybe we can dip into 3:04.

I tapered like a good girl for about a 3-week taper schedule last year.  This year, I'm planning on tapering for about 3 days.  I guess we'll learn if tapering is magic and science, or malarkey.  (Thanks to Joe Biden for reminding the world about the word malarkey). 

This year it could be so wonderful if my butt-crease pain and the leg-lock stays under control, or at least behaves better than it did last year.  That could gain me a minute or three.

Conclusion: I think, although I don’t know for sure, that I am going to go out for a 1:30 first half, and then just see how long I can hang on.  This is admittedly a terrible plan, but I am not one to negative split, probably won’t be smart enough to run a marathon that way for a while (I don’t have that trust in me that I can run fast at mile 25 no matter how conservative I started).  So that’s my plan.  If my second half ends up being 2 hours, too bad so sad at least I tried, and I can sign up for another marathon later.

****Other Running Stuff****

The last two days I’ve been sore in the good old leg muscles, so that left me with swimming (about 90 minutes on Monday a.m. in f-f-f-forty degree c-c-c-cold weather) and dance partying.  Proof of the dance party is presented in exhibit A.

Oh, you didn't know? That dance parties require costumes?

We call this T1, transition into the second stage of dance party


This is what it looks like.  When the doves cry.

Before the half marathon, I squeezed in three “speed work” runs with pretty abysmal results—which is part of why I was nervous and expecting to run slower at the half marathon. 

One workout was 10x400m at the track.  Pre-break, I was hitting 400m at 78-82 seconds.  Last week, I was at 84-86 seconds.  Not a great sign, right?

Another workout was a one-hour treadmill progression run.  I started at around 7.2 mph and worked up to 9.2 mph, totaling about 8.2 miles.  Dude, I was running 9.4 holy moly miles per hour on the treadmill early this year.  (how?!).  So, equally not thrilled to hit 8.2 in one hour.

Last was a hokey plan to run around the lake a few times, alternating 1 mile with effort, 0.5 mile relaxed, for somewhere around 8-10 miles of effort.  I did 6.5 miles of effort (each around 6:45 ish) before my Garmin died and I died with it.

Now we’re all caught up!  I’ve been swimming 2-3x per week, relaxed and fun.  Totally enjoying it, but I would look forward to it so much more if it wasn’t so cold when I head outside nearly naked to throw myself into a bowl of water…

And last, I should mention that I am so happy to be feeling improvements in my chronic butt-crease pain (it has chosen to heal at almost exactly the one year mark!).  I have been doing one simple thing consistently for a month now, and nothing more: hamstring stretch.  Hold it for a long time, at least 3x a day.  I have completely STOPPED foam rolling, and I think this has really helped! I have also slowed down the glute strengthening.  Is less more? I can handle that.

***Deep Thoughts***

You know how we can all agree that there is a comfortable limit to how much one is allowed to publicly announce their mushy love and affection for their significant other on the ‘net?  I’m calling for an equalizing limit to the same vein of announcements of mushy love and affection regarding friend-to-friend and blogger-to-blogger relationships.  

Yeah yeah yeah.  You LOVE that blogger you finally got to meet after months of commenting on each others lives.  You met another reader/blogger at a race and they were SO CUTE and sooooo sweet! Cavities are growing after meeting that sweetie pie!  Relays are the best experience ever, drunk with love for runner friends (or drunk with lack of sleep?)  Just keep it coooool.  

Sometimes I feel like the internet is full of drippy love praise for boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, kids, friends, bffeeee's (that’s best friends forever and ever and ever and ever), and babies.  Of course you love your baby, got it, but I will cringe if you post a "just woke up to this face, so blessed!" status.   I’m only impressed by this baby (arrow pointing downwards).  And even then she’s a booger because she barely likes me.

My niece, who is not naked.  She has a cute diaper on.

Also impressed by this unbelievably awesome little girl 


(how can I make sure that if my birth control fails me that the kid ends up like this one?)

Love and compliments are super duper, but let's keep it mostly between the happy couple.  Instead of splashing it to your unsuspecting facebook friends/blog readers.

Counterpoint (haha, beat you to it): announcing how much love and happiness and fun friendship times is in your life is a beautiful happy thing to spread and share, and RoseRunner, you, are just bitter and no fun at all.

Rebuttal: sharing how awesome your love and social life is does not equate to other people being happier for hearing it.  Possible side effects may include a recipient feeling like their life is lacking, like they are unlucky in love, like they have a deficit of schaudenfraude for the day.  The more “blessed” you claim you are, the more others get to wonder, “so…does that mean if I don’t have an adorable baby…that someone decided not to bless me?  You got the special treatment, huh?”

Speaking of announcements of mushy love, good grief have I been keeping a secret up in here.  It’s been almost a year of sealed lips.  I need to clear a few sources and then fair warning, its mushy time.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Run with the Jets Half Marathon 2012

The thing that happens when you run about 6 half-marathons a year is that they lose the fanfare and become a "sure, guess I'll do that tomorrow" kind of thing.

When I started this blog, half-marathons were brand new to me and "a bigg-ish deal," in which I dutifully took the day or two before the race easy, in which I took care to go to bed early, to eat a good meal the night before (not too fibery, a little extra carb-y), in which the Gentleman came with me for support and for the picture memories (it kind of felt like "I need pictures, this is a rare experience!").


Same race, 1 year ago. 

Now that I've run who knows how many half-marathons in large part thanks to the SF Bay Area's wonderful abundance of them (I could probably run at least 35 a year if I wanted, without driving more than an hour!), they're no longer a big deal.

Hence, I found myself at the Run With the Jets half marathon in San Mateo this morning, having discovered it was happening about 4 days prior, deciding Saturday to run it, telling my favorite half to stay home instead of come support (the new pattern.  I want to save that resource for important races, like marathons).  Ah yes, and went to bed late (watching 007 and his mumsy), ate some sort of haphazard dinner at midnight.

I arrived at the race nervous!

Partially, because of the heart-pumping jitters and butterflies that caffeine gives my low-caffeine-tolerant body.  But mostly because I was scared to heck that I would discover:
a) my running issues that led to my recent two-week break (left butt-crease, front of the right hip) would flare up with a vengeance; and/or
b) I was significantly slower than earlier this year, prior to August, which is when I started taking sporadic breaks from running due to various pains and slowing down a little.

While nervous, I reminded myself that this was a "fun run" in the sense that I was just running it to see where I was at (for a good imprint of what my goals should be for CIM in 3 weeks) and to get in a nice 13 mile tempo run.

Because of the designated "fun run" status, I tried a few new things today:

  1. Ran in capris (usually race strictly in shorts! Reminder that capris require anti-chafe application in certain places I wouldn't have thought of....)
  2. Ran before the race (only 2.2 miles, but still)
  3. Listened to music the entire race (usually no music, or I save it for the last half of a monotonous race or marathon)
  4. Ran after the race (5.7 miles, for a total of just over 21 miles for the day with the 13.26 run).  Ew. ew ew ew, I hated running after the race.  I was not feeling it AT ALL.  It was a slow drag of 9:00-10:00 minute miles, but I had promised myself to make this a long run day since the other option was running long on Saturday, and....I didn't wanna.

Nerves, new things, but everything went very well!

First place woman, 1:27:18, 6:35 pace (by my Garmin at 13.26 miles), 19th place overall.

I saw 1:27:10 when I passed the finishing chute, but whatevs.

Winnings: one pair of running shoes from A Runner's Mind (I'm leaning towards the new Mizuno Wave Riders, but we'll see what options I have when I visit the store!) and a pair of running sunglasses that had a tag reading $230 (!!!???)....which I'm calling BS on.  There's no freaking way sunglasses cost that much.  All mine are less than $15.

I was relieved.  My speed is pretty much the same as it has been all year (compare to a 6:32 pace at my half-marathons in the spring/summer), and my butt-crease pain with the locked-leg feeling that follows when I run hard were MARKEDLY better than they were a month ago before I took my 2-week break, at which time I had ran the San Jose RnR half-marathon with a lot of misery.

My legs are not perfect (a little of that leg-lock feeling between miles 8-11) but an improvement for sure.

Another relief is that I didn't lose my mental game, which I normally do in half-marathons, around mile 7.  I tend to slow down between miles 7 and 11, and will usually find a 6:55-7:05 mile or two on my watch that will discourage me.  This time, all miles were just about 6:30-6:45.  Pretty even paced, besides a curiously fast first mile (I SWEAR I felt like I was going so. slow.  I was aiming for a 6:40, and thinking hmmmph, too bad it feels like this will be more like 6:50 if I'm lucky)

ok splits:

6:15
6:33
6:32
6:30
6:35
6:38
6:35
6:38
6:37
6:40
6:43
6:45
6:30
0.26 = 1:40, 6:23 pace

Run with the Jets notes:

  • Super flat, fast course, but monotonous and zero crowd support.  Nice view of the water, but again, monotonous.  Also not a big field of runners (I think between 350-500), so I often had no one in sight to chase or pace with.
  • Nice cool temps starting in the mid-40's, but the trail is on a path with the bright sun and no shade so it felt warm quickly.
  • What's up with the 0.1, race directors? This is the second race this year where after I passed the race's sign for mile 13, they have you run noticeably more than 0.1 miles.  Do they think we really want to savor that last stretch or something?  I hit the 13th mile sign at 13.05 by my watch, and finished at 13.26 by my watch....meaning the "0.1" was 0.21.  Maybe they didn't want to bother with making the half-marathon homestretch different than the 10k homestretch (which is accurately 0.2). 
  • Shout out to Jen (2nd place woman!) and Melissa, my lovely fast ladies who found me and said hi.  See you at the CIM Melissa!

I have slowly picked my running back up--it's been about 2.5 weeks since I came out of my running break.  I'll try and devote another post to how I built back up in the past two weeks.  And also talk about my new plan and goals for the CIM....three....weeks!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Running in Washington, D.C.

My Vacation, part two: Washington DC, Running in a Tropical Storm, and Hanging Out on a Hotel Room Bed.

I last wrote about my 3.5 days in the marvelous city of NYC with the Gentleman (who had never been!). 

We caught a bus out of Manhattan for the 4.5 hour drive to Washington D.C. in the wee hours of Saturday morning the weekend before last, as buzz about hurricane Sandy's approach spread.  I thank my lucky stars we didn’t plan our vacation in reverse, something we had considered, which would have had us in our old, dirty, fragile NYC hotel instead of our much more comfortable (and out of harms way) D.C. hotel during the hurricane.

I don’t think we really caught wind (har har) of the seriousness of the hurricane rumors until Saturday afternoon.  It became increasingly clear that the storm would hit right when we were supposed to fly home – Tuesday – and for fear of being stuck in DC for who knows how many days, missing work and paying for a hotel, we scrambled to try and get out early.  Everything Sunday was sold out, so we picked 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.  Spoiler alert: that flight was cancelled.

Who cares about your vacation, talk about running!

The Washington DC Run:

I was giddily anticipating a run or several in Washington DC, because during my semester there as a college student intern I ran...a lot.  A lot a lot a lot.  Back in college I ran 7 days a week, barring weather, probably somewhere between 8-15 miles each day (pre-Garmin days y'all. I never knew what distance I was running).  

It had been a solid 8 years since I last visited the many sidewalks, bridges, steps, trails that I regularly ran over, so my memories of my favorite routes were blurry and dreamlike.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to find and retrace them,  or if they'd be as magical as I remembered.  The city layout always confused me and made running difficult (with its star shaped streets that burst out of “circles” instead of a simple tic-tac-toe grid). 

Happily, I was still able to find some of my favorite paths.  I ran around Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, my old temporary neighborhood; I ran through Georgetown, running by and trying to cheer for all the Marine Corps Marathoners (had no idea this was on that weekend!); and my favorite of all, I ran over the leaves and boardwalks of the Theodore Roosevelt island.

A little drowned from the Storm, but that boardwalk is dreamy to run on




I would love to run the Marine Corps Marathon one day, if I can ever convince myself to travel for a race.  It seemed pretty spectacular.  It's like a trip through American history while you run, how nerd cool is that?

We tried to cram our planned 3-days of activities around D.C. into one day, before our earlier flight home (or unbeknownst to us, before our hotel hibernation).  One of you recommended a morning kayak adventure around the Potomac river, and oh man I was excited to do that (great recommendation!). Until, of course, water became the thing that everyone was supposed to stay very far away from.   

We picked it up to view most memorials, the Capitol, hit three museums on the Mall, ate a lot of food (the fry bread in the American Indian Museum is scrumptious), and watched the Giants win the World Series.

West coast taking over
Relevant, cause this dress was just re-elected for First Dress

We learned our flight was canceled, booked an extra two nights in the hotel, ran in the early bits of the hurricane (pictures in the linked-post are fixed), I posted about it to entertain myself. 

In all honesty we had a fun-ish and memorable time adjusting to our vacation.  It was a sight to see all the hotel mates milling about in the lobby, the hotel restaurant earning the BEST business it had ever seen when all of its occupants were on lock-down inside.  Lights flickered but never shut off; the food thankfully did not run out; the bar was hopping.  The tiny hotel gym, with 3 treadmills and 2 ellipticals, was packed with people happy for a hamster wheel over sitting in their beds. 

I ran on the treadmill one morning, and it was depressing how slow I feel I’ve gotten from the past several months of running, then taking a break, then running, then taking a break.  Maybe it was a bad run, but when I tried to hover near 8.8 mph (close to the 6:50 mile pace that earlier this year I was gunning for as my goal marathon pace) I felt like I was wheezing!  I couldn’t handle it.  I’m hoping it was just a very broken and challenging treadmill. 


Running

In a poncho

To hug you
*****

Now that it's way less relevant, less saucy, and less helpful, I'll take a small bite at all the discussions last week.

I'm a mere bystander (not a "by standard"—I can’t tell you how many people I know who think “bystander” is “by standard”) to the hurricane and cancellation of the NYC marathon.  My cousin/aunt/uncle/brother/parents didn’t lose a home, and I wasn’t signed up for the marathon, so I have no dog in this fight.  I merely lost two days of my planned vacation to the innards of a hotel room.  

(Boo-hoo, I know.  Surely having emotion about a failed vacation is even more reprehensible than being sad that a marathon you were training for is cancelled.  We’re all terrible insensitive people! Unless you are physically doing something RIGHT NOW like handing over money or food or repairing damaged property, in which case, the internet approves of you).

However, in the wake of the NYC marathon cancellation, a race which may forever be tainted even though people will claim it came back stronger and better than ever next year, I have two thoughts/observations.

1) Runners are Individuals and Not a Herd of Rude Stampeders

From the chatter of non-runners (and maybe even some runners) last week, you’d think running was among the seven deadly sins, right in between gluttony and greed.  You’d think these runners were insisting that all of a sudden, they wanted to fly to New York City, buy a box of donuts, and sit on a luxurious couch with a front row view of people trying to clean up the streets of New Jersey, while a cabana boy feeds grapes (and donuts) into their mouth.  Do something celebratory while others are suffering.

Running is a hobby or a passion just like any other.  It may be considered a selfish one, at least compared to the hobby of volunteering at the hospital or food kitchen or tutoring inner-city kids.  But running makes people happy, and physically and mentally healthy. Running is stress relief for many people.  They may feel the need to run even more so than usual in the wake of a catastrophe for a little breather away from the stress.  Not particularly ill-intended to run amidst hard times, on an individual level (clearly the complication here was the massive number of runners and resources they would require).  Nonetheless, I heard some real disgust with runners, even as individuals last week.  

Every time you run or indulge in your selfish hobby of choice, there is probably a local cause you could be devoting time to instead.  The best you can do is to try to balance your life between how much focus is on "me me me" and the people you love, versus people you don’t know.  For example, you can vote in a way that supports the good of the community rather than your own pocketbook (did ya!?).  

But in general, it is normal to spend the majority of your days thinking about things that immediately affect you and your family and friends.  It is normal to want to run a marathon that you trained months for.  It is not despicable. Helping others in a way that is appropriate to you is wonderful, but I don’t fault people for focusing on themselves.  It’s our nature.

This observation is not related to whether the NYC marathon should have taken place--a doomed prospect with the vision of hindsight.  My observation is strictly about the noise that was directed at "runners" in the wake of the stress, desperation, and frustrations last week. “We don’t need you running! It’s disgusting how selfish you are! If you run, it better be to transport gas or food!”  

I just hope the bad taste from the messy marathon decision doesn't linger on runners, individually or as a group (unless a given runner really is a jerk, then hate on).  They're already so unlikable with their snot rockets, their stinky 'pits, their short shorts, their chunky watches, their Gu wrappers, their lies about running a two-fifty-somethin' marathon, their chatter about splits.  Let's not add city stomping conspirers to the list!

2) The Power of Complaining on the Internet

I don’t know if the marathon would have been canceled without the fervent feedback.  Maybe they would have discovered the impossibility of the task on Friday evening no matter what.

But I assume the decision to cancel was heavily based on the feedback that NYRR and Mayor Bloomberg received, and in massive part, from the internet.

Pretty cool.  The internet allows voices to spread and be heard, and in mass, it is powerful. 

This almost makes me think I need to step up my internet complaining.  Who, me, complain? Who's with me!?

So sorry for dredging up this outdated topic of the marathon cancellation.  Talk to me about something else instead.  
What kind of reputation do you think runners generally have?
Do you miss old running routes from a place you used to live? 
Do you run when times are hard or do you curl up on the couch with brownies instead?
Is this the most questions I have ever asked you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Running in Central Park

I figured out during my run this morning which candies kids most dislike (I probably could have figured this out regardless): Mounds bars.  No joke, I saw three fun sized Mounds bars on the ground at various times during my run.  And one fun sized whoppers, one fun sized taffy.  Next year I will remember not to bring fuel with me while running on November 1st so that instead I can eat discarded candy from the ground.  I was pretty tempted during the 90 minute mark to pick one of those Mounds bars up.

90 minutes? I’m back to running!? Well, yes.  

To quickly review, I took two weeks OFF running and cross-trained primarily with swimming, plus one spin session, lots of stretching, and a medium amount of strengthening.  I took the break because I am in the process of learning what it is that bothers me in my left upper hamstring/lower butt area when I run at faster speeds, and also to give the front of my right hip a break because it had been feeling testy.

Then I left for a 7-day vacation that turned into a 9-day vacation because I was caught in the most internet-ed hurricane of all time, Sandy.

During my vacation, I soaked in two beautiful runs through Manhattan, one glorious run around Washington D.C., and one hated treadmill run in the hotel. 

My legs felt a little wobbly and unfamiliar when I first made them run after the 2 weeks off, but I guess the most important news is that: 1) I undoubtedly lost major speed during those two weeks of rest, and 2) neither the butt crease nor the front of the right-hip pain disappeared.  Both feel….better.  A little better.  Just slightly better.  

Swimming and spinning did not bother the butt crease (at least nothing I could feel), so I am planning to keep both of those in my rotation as long as I can afford the fancy new gym with a swimming pool (which is probably through December).  I’ll also incorporate the elliptical maybe once a week, a strength training session once a week, stretching daily.  

I’ll possibly get back to my doctor and let her know the two week break wasn’t the cure, but I’m a little hesitant to waste any more time with her.  I do see some promise in continuing to stretch often and cross-training several days a week instead of running 80+ miles per week, so I just might try that first for a bit longer before dealing with a doctor again.

While I am running somewhat comfortably, I’m worried about the idea of running the CIM in exactly four weeks.  For one thing, I will definitely not be tapering—rather, I would spend every last bit of the next four weeks building up my stamina with long runs (so far my run this morning was my longest in a month, and it felt hard – 15 miles).  I lost stamina during my rest by sticking with workouts that were only 60-90 minutes, whether in the pool or on the bike.  No idea if my gains will be quick or not, but either way I’m not comfortable going into 26.2 miles without some desperate attempts at 20+ mile runs for the next 3 weekends.  No tapering.

The other option is to let the race entry die and not run the CIM.  I don’t really see any reason not to at least give it a try.  That’s my only thought on that option.

The NYC marathon was advertised like crazy everywhere. 

As for the NYC/DC vacation, I know no one is here to read my vacation recaps and luckily for you I’m going to try and keep that pretty short, and focus as much as possible on the running portion of my time on the East Coast.  On past vacations, I used the blog to record my memories, but this time I kept a private journal on my iPad.  The Gentleman and I also tried something new, which was to snap short, 1-minute or less videos once a day recapping where we were, what we were doing.  Most of the videos go something like, "what? is it on? are you filming? oh, ok."  I'll have to share one, they make me laugh.

Here is my 3.5 days in NYC in as short as I can make it:

Pizza





So much pizza.  My goal was, literally, to grab a slice every time I saw a different pizza place.  The plan was even if I was full, I would buy a slice and just have one or two bites (I mean they’re cheap slices, no big deal).  We had one slice at 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning right after arriving in the city, and then four more slices by the afternoon of the next day….at which point I tuckered out.  I didn’t crave pizza the rest of the week, so sadly, I ended the vacation with a measly five pieces (which believe it or not, does not match the number of pizza places I saw in NYC.  Rather, I saw approximately 8,000 pizza places).  

The slices were all outstanding, but the scary news is that my favorite slice of all was in times square.  Probably a tourist party foul to admit the food in times square is good, but the very specific way that like my pizza is the way that Ray’s in times square does it.

Spidermannnn….Spiderman! Listen to me Spiderman, I already asked you nicely three times.  Would you please, please turn off the dark.



This was kind of the inside-joke theme of the NYC portion of the vacation. We passed dozens of advertisements for the broadway play “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” and decided the play must be about Spiderman’s mom getting really annoyed that Spiderman kept forgetting to turn off the dark. 

And um…now that there are thousands without electricity in NYC, I think Spiderman should especially get moving on this.

People.

There are lots of these in Manhattan.  Incomprehensibly more crowded than San Francisco, which is itself suffocating.  

Here is what is fun: you are running late for your tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway, so you have to haul ass through the busy streets of downtown and Times Square at 7:00 p.m.  You literally have to start running, in your nice Broadway clothes, in order to get to the show (after paying an exorbitant amount for Broadway tickets, we were not going to pay for a cab), and it feels like you are Bruce Willis/Keanu Reeves/Matt Damon/your-action-actor-of-choice trying to chase or escape someone amidst a crazy crowd of people.  It was not easy! 

I now fully believe that crowded streets would be a legitimate obstacle for someone who is trying to chase someone else, and not just a movie gimmick.  


Walking the Brooklyn Bridge was a people dodge-athon

Comparisons to San Francisco.

I couldn’t help myself from making comparisons.  Manhattan notably did not smell like urine, and did not have an endless line of tweaking homeless people to introduce me (the tourist) to the downtown area, the broadway district, the park district, the subway system. 

San Francisco literally greets you as you exit the BART (subway) station to the shining streets of San Francisco with human excrement and 100 people who will curse at you for not giving them your change (true fact: if the BART escalator isn’t operating, it’s because of poop.  Human poop).  

How does NYC do it? Do they get the homeless people drug-free and employed? Hide them with Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rafael in the sewers? Ship them off to San Francisco?  I don’t know if it makes me heartless, but I appreciate a big city that feels safe and clean in a way that central San Francisco doesn’t, largely due to the lack of a thriving homeless population.  That’s a huge win for NYC in my book.

The famous Central Park gate cage

Running in NYC

While running in Central Park, I would not have guessed it is smaller than Golden Gate Park—it seemed like an endless wonderland of trees and adorable couples and water…so much sparkling ponds and reservoirs of water.  


source


One thing I favor about Central Park to GG park (besides the whole safety/homeless people thing) is that you can get a hill workout within the park – it was rollers the whole time for me.  Of course, while GG Park doesn’t have the same rollers, you can turn in any direction and get the hills you crave in SF.

The other fun thing about running in Central Park was that I felt like I was running in a race for chunks of the Park!  I was out there around 7:00 a.m., and fell into step with a herd of other runners heading upstream.  The only other time I’ve been in such a herd is in a race; hence, it felt like a race.

with 12 of Central Parks most average trees

Two days later I went on my second NYC run which also included a chunk of Central Park and then headed out towards the riverside of the Hudson River (thanks to a reader recommendation!).  This was the calmest part of the city.  I really welcomed that escape.  It was a neverending path alongside the water with just a handful of other bicyclists and runners. I liked it so much that later that day, when we found ourselves with a few extra hours since we didn’t get into the Jimmy Fallon show, we headed back to walk along the water.

Other tourist stuff accomplished that would bore you: 

Brooklyn Bridge;
Wall Street/NYSE;
Rockefeller Center; 
diamond district;
battery park/statue of liberty;
9-11 memorial/reconstructed World Trade Center (beautiful. I somehow managed not to cry due to the influence of my heartless guy who never cries.  The security to get in to see the “in progress” memorial was intense, like the airport x5);
failed attempt to get into see Jimmy Fallon (we woke up early to nab standby tickets, then came back in the afternoon to cash them in, but no dice.  Jimmy Fallon hurts);
Metropolitan museum of art (got bored after the 3rd of 3,4982,389 paintings of Jesus);
union square;
central park walks;
Hudson river;
visiting with a friend I have known since elementary school;
UN center; 
Greenwich Village (the Gentleman loved this area);
East River; etc.

the place where Jimmy Fallon rejected me

the place in NYC that gave soap opera flattering lighting


the Beautiful Hudson River with a dilapidated dock

More thoughts and things to share about that past 10 days, including D.C, up next!