Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Racing with Roger

Once upon a time, in 2009, Roger and I decided to try running together in Brooklyn.  He'd been running for a few months at school, and I'd been talking about running for a few months while living in Clinton Hill.  When he moved in with me for the summer, it seemed only natural that we would run together.  This worked approximately twice before I started to ply his will with promises of ice cream if he didn't make me run.  Combined with a ton of rain that summer, we didn't really get off the ground.

After I moved back in with my parents, I started running again, for real this time, and ran my first race in 2011.  By this point, Roger had mostly stopped running, and so I ran by myself, mostly in the spring and summer.  Somehow, that changed this spring, when Roger signed up to run the Boilermaker with me.  This was months and months ago, and we saw weeks of training time ahead of us, plenty of time to train for nine miles.

Flash forward through two episodes of back pain, the world's most stressful semester either for both of us, and a whole lot of Chinese take-out, and here we were about a month out from the race.  We decided to buckle down and start training, sometimes waking up at 4:30am to beat the sun and the heat for a few runs.  We weren't doing great (most of our runs were about 3 miles each), but we were surviving, and decided to sign up for the Putnam County Classic as a practice race.  It's almost as long as the Boilermaker (8 miles), takes place about a week before the race, and is in our hometown, so we figured if we couldn't make it, we could get a lift back to my parents' house and reconsider the Boilermaker. The night before, Dave (who came down from Geneva especially to run with us) pointed out that because we know the course, we could just park at the halfway mark, and if we wanted to go home, we could just drive home then.  Genius!  We parked at mile 5.5, and then Dave drove us to the start line. 

At the high school where we met, just before the Putnam County Classic!

Our previous runs had been fine, but they were slow (12 minute miles, mostly) and short (no longer than 3 miles).  When we started racing, Roger and I pretty much knew we weren't going to make it.  But then, an amazing thing happened.  We ran all 5.5 miles without any walk-breaks, something I'd never done before.  We ran it in 57 minutes (so, 10:30 minute miles).  We both felt okay to finish, but decided not to push our luck for the last 2.5 miles, and got into the car.  I can't say I wasn't disappointed, because this makes two less-than-stellar races in a row (last year Shelby and I finished in last place - really), and I really love this race, but I was honestly just super-proud that I hadn't walked at all during it, and was glad we respected our limits.  I can't wait to try again next year!

Of course, we kept training for the next week, and while we were both nervous about the Boilermaker, when we headed up to Utica last weekend, I knew we would finish.  After picking up our packets (and our pint glasses!), we spent the day with Dave in Geneva and then headed to Babes with Shelby, Mike, and our family friends for our free pasta dinner.  I ran without stopping to mile 6, another record for me, and then, as our family friend had warned us, the race got brutal.  mile 6 is a low-grade hill, but it goes on forever, and there's not an ounce of shade.  I was stopping at every water stop (and there were tons, thank god!) and dropping ice down my sports bra, but I was just dying.  Roger, who doesn't ever take walk breaks, went ahead of me, and though I caught up a few times, ultimately, I knew he was going to have to finish before me and I kept sight of him until mile 7, when I lost him for good.  I ran with just increasing walk breaks (though those spectators really don't like walk breaks!) and finally crossed the finish line at 1:52:19, two minutes after Roger had crossed it.  We met up with Shelby in the family reunion area, grabbed our beer and a ton of snacks, and then hit the road back home.  It was a real blast.  Not sure if I'll do it again next year, but I'm definitely thinking hard about it. 

Pre-Boilermaker! (This photo is MUCH better than any of the race photos.)

And in the meantime, it's really nice to have a running buddy in Roger.  Just like with everything else in our relationship, he pushes me to be a better version of myself, waking up earlier, running faster, and (yes, really) hydrating better.  I couldn't be happier.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lines On Which I Have Waited Recently

Roger and I waited in two extremely long lines this month.  Here are their stories.

Line 1 - Cronuts:

Two Thursdays ago, Roger and I woke up extremely early so that we could be downtown by 7am and participate in the hot new craze called Cronuts.  If you've never heard of this before, it is a hybrid between a doughnut and a croissant.  Basically, it is a deep-fried croissant shaped like a doughnut, sold at the Dominque Ansel bakery on Spring Street.  Roger's coworker had one a few weeks ago, and so Roger had to try it, and as his life partner, I came too.  We arrived at 7am, which we were told would give us a good shot of getting a cronut.  At that point, the line was already around the block, and we were told that if we were past the middle of the park, we probably wouldn't get a cronut.  We were right on the edge of the middle (erm...) of the park, and so we knew there was a chance we wouldn't make it, but we decided to risk it.  At 8, the line started to move, and around 9, we were both late for work, but right up at the door.  It was around this point that the woman guarding the door to the bakery came out and told the line that they would likely sell out before we got in.  This caused immense panic, but since we were literally the next people in line, we waited it out and were rewarded with four cronuts.  We said goodbye and each brought two to our offices to share with coworkers.

Roger, maniacally happy about cronuts.
The Verdict:  The first bite was incredibly greasy and overly sweet from the frosting.  I was pretty disappointed.  But then, I started peeling it layer-by-layer, eating from the bottom up.  This was much better.  There were a few layers with cream that were especially delicious, and a layer of jelly that was also quite good.  The top, with the frosting, was still very sweet, but I was more used to it after eating from the bottom up.  I'm glad we went and participated in the trend, but I likely wouldn't go back, at least not until that insane line settles down.  In the meantime, the rose petal doughnuts at Donut Plant still win.  They are the greatest thing ever, and there is never a line.

Cronuts at the office!

Line 2 -Iltar:

Yesterday, after a morning of cleaning and a lunch of sandwiches at Columbia, Roger and I walked down to the Guggenheim to see the Turrell exhibits there.  We waited on line outside the building to get in, and then waited on a somewhat shorter line to get tickets, and then headed into the museum to see "Aten Reign," an enormous light installation that takes up most of the rotunda.  A lot of people were lying on the ground staring up at it, and it was pretty cool, as was "Ronin," a corner cavity that is lighted so it looks like an opening to an extremely bright place.  My description of these is my exact feeling: pretty cool, and not a whole lot more.  Then, we got on the line for "Iltar," and waited as we slowly, slowly walked up the ramp.  At one point, my feet were tired, so I sat down and read part of the exhibition catalog.  The interview was really brilliant (and mentioned Carl Sagan, so of course I was sold), and made me think that maybe I could appreciate the art a little more than thinking it was "pretty cool."  Then we waited on line for a little longer, and we could sit down right before getting into the gallery.  We were on line for a total of 57 minutes, about half the time we spent on line for cronuts.
The crowd gathered for Aten Reign.
The Verdict: Pretty boring, and definitely not worth the wait.  It was all shades of grey, and even with the added insight into Turrell's work, I was just not struck by the divide of realities like I'd wanted to be.  I was at once disappointed that it wasn't the rain room, or cronuts, or more of Turrell's interviews.  I think I'd be happier to read a book by him than see another exhibit.  Maybe I'm just not a visual arts person.
Aten Reign

Friday, July 19, 2013

{This Moment}

My waist.

Our lovely cat, who has been waking me up every morning at 4am to be fed.

Champions after the Boilermaker!

A great bar with great friends.

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Friday, July 12, 2013

{This Moment}

Oh, just a week late.  But last week was a good one, so I thought I should share.
We celebrated our 9th anniversary on 7/11/13

We were totally ridiculous and followed the trends to buy cronuts on 7/10/13

We had a wonderful weekend trip to Boston!

{This Moment}
A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Patriotic Documents

I just spent my lunch hour visiting the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights at the NYPL in an exhibit they call "Foundations of Freedom."  This is the first time these two pieces have been shown together and the room they were displayed in was absolutely beautiful.  It was great to see these two immensely powerful documents in person and up close, right before the day celebrating our independence.  Very moving.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What to Pack: Boston Edition

Legit, this is what I am bringing for my Independence Day Weekend.

I'm pretty good at packing light, and so I thought it might be nice to give everyone a peek at what I pack for different trips.  As a general guide, I use the One Bag principles, and have since I was in college.  It's always held me over well, and I've found I can even pull off many things from their universal packing list, because you really don't need everything on there.  In the summer (or when visiting someplace warm), I can pack for a week in a biggish tote bag or normal backpack.  In the winter, that usually expands to my backpacking backpack, just because sweaters and boots take up more space than dresses and bathing suits.

My best advice would be not to worry that you're underpacking.  It might seem like you *need* to have that third pair of shoes or extra tanktop, but honestly, you probably don't.  You can wear outfits multiple times.  I wore the same pair of jeans constantly for five weeks in Europe, and I'm pretty sure I only washed them twice.  And one of those times was by taking a shower with them on.  Eww.  But I'll never see those people again and neither will you.  Bring pieces that are in the same color family, and layer to create a different look.  If you realize something is missing, chances are you can buy it somewhere or live without it for a few days.  If you think it's possible to live without it, it probably is.  Toss it back in your closet.

You probably won't look your absolute best (and this can be discouraging in Paris), but you're traveling!  You're seeing the world!  You're an adventurer!  You look awesome, friend.  You do.  And if you're worried, nothing glams up an outfit like earrings.  I bring a cheap pair with me on every trip, even to the beach because, damn, who doesn't look good in big glittery earrings on the beach?

Okay, so, what am I bringing for my trip to Boston (with a stopover for an 8-mile race and barbecue in my hometown) this weekend?

  • Toiletries*
  • Four shirts
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Four pairs of underwear
  • Two bras
  • Tevas (my summertime walking shoes)
  • Running shoes
  • Two running outfits (shirts, socks, sports bras, shorts)
  • One pair of pajamas
  • Faux-pearl earrings
  • The same tote/purse I always carry (with pocket umbrella), along with a clutch-wallet
I'll also be wearing a pair of capris, shirt, sweater, and moccasins for the trip, so I'll have those to rotate out as well.  It's worth noting that this is my first trip using my new wheeled luggage (we're driving there, so it seemed easy - backpacks are generally better for hauling stuff over long distances and city streets) and I'm very excited to see how it goes.  I'll certainly keep you posted, since I haven't traveled with wheeled luggage since 2006.

I hope this inspires you to pack a little lighter for your next trip, and feel free to let me know any packing tips you have in the comments!

*I keep a pre-packed bag of toiletries ready at all times because we take so many weekend trips, and that's been really helpful to be able to grab and go.  Just for listing's sake, I keep a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, extra contacts, hair ties, bobby pins, band-aids, tylenol, lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara and blush in it.  It's a clear bag, so I can just pull it out at security.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekend Wanderings

I had a really nice, relaxing weekend that still felt reasonably productive.  (So rare these days!)  On Friday afternoon, I walked from my office to the Great Lawn in Central Park to watch my cousin play softball.  It was a beautiful day and I got a little bit of a sunburn, and generally enjoyed my long walk and then my long sit on the lawn.  After the games, we wandered over to George Keeley's and had some beers before meeting up with his fiancee, Cari, and Roger for dinner at Jacob's Pickles.  I had the fried chicken caesar salad, which I usually love, but which unfortunately was a little heavy on the anchovies that night.  It was really great to catch up with Mike and to finally meet Cari, and I can't wait to see them again on the 4th of July!

Softball on the Great Lawn

On Saturday, Roger and I woke up pretty early and spent some time cleaning up the house before I met up with Cat, Abba and Sophie at Buttermilk Channel for brunch.  (Roger is a god and did laundry while I was out.)  I had the eggs huntington, which were some of the best eggs benedict I'd ever had.  We hung out at Abilene for a while after, and it was really great to catch up, since I don't see my friends from school nearly enough.  We chatted about utopian fiction (I'd just read "The Lottery" on my way over), and now I can't wait to read On the Beach.  That afternoon, Roger and I stopped for dinner at Toast, and I miraculously didn't order a burger (but their BLT is out of this world!), and then went downtown to see Frances Ha.  The movie was fine, but everyone kept saying how hilarious it was, and I just didn't find it particularly funny.  It wasn't depressing, and I guess a lot of movies like that can be depressing, so maybe that's what made it funny to people?  Either way, I certainly wouldn't waste $14 on it again, but it was nice to get out of the house and spend some time together.

The Last Met Badge coincidentally matched my outfit.

On Sunday, we woke up early again and went to the gym for a bit.  After showering, we went grocery shopping and then walked down to the Met, where we got our very last badges.  It was a nice leisurely visit, and we saw a lot of really interesting things we hadn't noticed before.  Also, The Boxer is visiting until July 15th as part of the Year of Italian Culture (something we'd seen a commercial for the night before, with a film festival).  Since it's one of the very few things I remember from my art history class, it was amazing to see in person.  Also, I walked right past it while looking for it because it's enormous!  I'd always thought it was palm-sized.  It's beautiful, from the cauliflower ears to the empty eye sockets.  I just loved it.  We spent the rest of the afternoon being a little productive, responding to emails and packing for this weekend.  Lately weekends feel either entirely rushed or much too slow, and it was really nice to have something in-between this time.

Have a good week, everyone!