Monthly Archives: November 2009

Ah, Holidays

Five days.  Countless episodes of overindulgance in food and drink.  Exactly one workout.

Why does it feel so good, and then so bad?  Time to get back on track today.  A quick Thanksgiving recap:

– The bus to DC was not so bad.  I mean, the train is much nicer, but given the substantial difference in price, I’d say the bus wasn’t a bad deal.

– My race went fine!  I didn’t set any personal records or anything, but I survived the 10K and finished just under 48 minutes.  The course was very hilly and, fortunately, it was quite foggy out that morning which prevented me from seeing and dreading each upcoming hill.

– Thanksgiving was a great time, full of lots of food and wine and friends.  I don’t know how many years it’s been since either the hubs or I have been “home” for Thanksgiving.  Several.  We’ve sort of turned it in to a friends holiday, which works well for us since (A) it’s a massive pain to travel across the country to see family for just a couple of days, and (B) it’s a fun excuse to get together with friends that we otherwise don’t see all that often.  Anyway, thanks again to our wonderful hosts for a fantastic weekend!

Back to the grind today.  Which for me began bright and early at 6:45 – I finally tried that body pump class at the gym.  Ugh!

Today’s EAT: Leftovers from 20-cent wing night at Malachy’s on the UWS.  We came upon this little dive yesterday after a stroll in Central Park and I’m so glad we did!   Cheap, cheap dinner with lots of leftovers.

Today’s DRINK: Not sure.  We are a little over-indulged from the weekend so I’m guessing no wine with dinner tonight.  However, I’m sure I’ll sip on a TJ’s Mission Street Pale Ale while watching MNF tonight!

Today’s RUN: Well, I did the body pump class thing this morning.  But honestly, it really wasn’t such a great workout.  It was basically just low-weight, high-rep lifting.  I think I’ll stick to my regular lifting routine from now on.  And I’m thinking I’ll try to go out and squeeze five miles in this afternoon/evening if it ever stops raining….

The Wheels on the Bus

The hubs and I are headed to DC tomorrow to see some good friends for Thanksgiving.  And we are taking the bus.

I’m still not used to this whole Northeast travel thing.  Where I’m from, you want to go somewhere, you drive.  Or fly.  Trains and buses?  Not so much.

But I’ve tried Amtrak and liked it.  A lot, actually.  So we’ll see how the “DC2NY” bus treats us.  Purportedly, they have free WiFi and AC outlets at every seat.  If that’s true, it would be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath!

Today’s EAT: Had dinner at a friend’s place and ordered Patsy’s Pizza.  This place is something of a NYC institution, and I’d never tried it, so I was excited!  It didn’t disappoint.  Delicious pizza.

Today’s DRINK: A couple of beers with dinner. Pacifico, yum.

Today’s RUN: Did some crosstraining (30 min on the elliptical) plus a little upper-body lifting at the gym: lat pull down, bench, shoulder press, lat raises, low row, bicep curls and finishes off with a good old-fashioned push up ladder (10 down to 1).  It was a little disappointing because I used to be able to do an entire ladder, 10 down to 1 AND back up, of “real” push ups….but this time I was on my knees by the time I got to 7.  Oh well, somethng to work toward!

In other running news, I am excited to be running a Turkey Trot this year!  I just signed up today for a 10K in the DC area.  Thursday morning is going to be an unpleasantly early morning, but I haven’t done a Turkey Trot in years, so I am thrilled!

WTF NYC Moment of the Week

I love my apartment, but my building is a little odd sometimes.

It was an tenemant building back in the day.  The current mix of residents includes young people, old people (“I’ve been in this building since 1962!”) and everything in between.  The hallways are narrow and kind of run-down but very clean and slightly charming in their own way. 

And at the top of every flight of stairs, there is a random toilet.

The hubs and I always giggle about this.  It is SO weird.  There’s this thing that looks like a closet door, and one day we were curious, so we peered inside.  And there ya go – a toilet.  Not a bathroom, with a sink and everything.  Just a toilet.  Turns out, there is one on every floor.  Must have been some sort of shared bathroom arrangement from days of yore.  I’m glad things have improved since then.

Well today, I saw some weird man on my floor actually using this toilet.  Or going in to the little room and closing the door behing him, anyway.  And there’s not enough room to do anything non-toilet-related in there. 

Seriously?  WTF!  Who uses a random hallway toilet?!

My building is so weird sometimes.

Today’s EAT: Since we’ll be with friends for Thanksgiving this year, and I am a huge dork who loves cooking Thanksgiving, I made a mini-feast for us last night.  That means that tonight is leftovers night.  Yesssss.  I love Thanksgiving leftovers!

Today’s DRINK: A bottle of Goats Do Roam Rose.  Who doesn’t love pink wine with their stuffing and cranberries??

Today’s RUN: My usual five-mile Hudson river route.  Nice and mellow, 42:35.  I was going to hit the gym, but the weather outside was actually perfect, for me, for running: upper 40s with a light drizzle.  I know, yuck, right?  I don’t know if it’s because this was basically the weather for six months of the year where I grew up in WA, but these are some of my favorite conditions for running.  And it was indeed a great run.

Laundry Day

Laundry might just be my favorite aspect of NYC life:

Step 1: Put laundry in bag.

Step 2: Call laundry guy.

Step 3: Give bag to laundry guy, who, BTW, has traveled to your building and climbed five flights of stairs to your apartment.

Step 4: (a few hours later) Call laundry guy again.

Step 5: Accept bag of laundry from laundry guy, who has again traveled to your building and again climbed five flights of stairs to your apartment, this time carrying 30 pounds of your fresh-smelling, neatly-folded, still-warm-from-the-dryer clothing.

Step 6: Tip generously because, seriously, this is awesome.

I know this isn’t anything novel if you’ve lived in NYC before, but for me?  Wash and fold is AMAZING.  I hate doing laundry.  I can’t imagine having to go back to doing laundry.  Please tell me it won’t ever happen.

Sure, it’s a little expensive….but hey, what am I supposed to do?  There’s no washer/dryer in my building.  And I’d like to think that no matter how marginally I am employed, my time is more valuable than spending several hours at a laundrimat (which is not a cheap option anyway).

Another thing that made me happy today: this, folks, is amost a genuine snuggle!

Emmy and Parker were sleeping and touching. :)  Actually, before I got this photo Parker was curled up similar to Emmy, rather than sprawled like that….and giving the camera bedroom eyes like he’s on a fashion shoot or something. 

It makes me happy to see them sleeping together.  I mean, they get along great, but I would absolutely die from the cuteness if they were to start spooning together or something.  One can hope!

Today’s EAT:  I spent a few hours working today over in the East Village and had a delicious Vietnamese sandwich from Nicky’s.  LOVE that place.

Today’s DRINK: Sipping on a glass of Big Red Truck (Trader Joe’s – cheap!) while I wait for the hubs to get home and see what’s on tap for this Friday night.

 

 

Today’s RUN: 5 miles, easy, my usual Hudson route.  43:30.  Recovering from a little speedwork and lower-body lifting yesterday – ouch!

Shoot-Me Showdown: Post Office vs. DMV

Two places you never, ever wanna find yourself.  I KNOW.  But when it comes down to it, which is actually worse?  Let’s discuss, shall we?

Factor 1: Length of Stay.  Unfortunately I can find no data on this, but my gut tells me that the average DMV visit is probably longer than the average post office visit.  Who’s worse? DMV.

Factor 2: Frequency of Visits.  I think the post office has to win this one hands down.  Fortunately for most people, DMV visits are only required once in a relative blue moon – every few years your license expires, you get married and need to change your name, or you buy a car and have to file some crap paperwork that by any practical standard should be able to be filed online but no, it’s the DMV, so you must file in person.  The post office on the other hand…well, I don’t know how often most people visit but I find myself there at least a few times a year.  Who’s worse? POST OFFICE.

Factor 3: Complexity of Duties.  So, take the DMV.  It’s a horrid experience, but I guess on some very, very distant level I can understand why *some* of their activities might take a little while to execute.  I mean, they’re in charge of issuing the primary form of identification that most of us use for everything short of international travel.  I guess that’s pretty important.  But the post office?  Putting stamps on packages and retrieving things from PO boxes?  I’m pretty sure that college mailrooms accomplish these same tasks in a fraction of the time.  And they are largely staffed by hung-over 19-year-olds.  Who’s worse? POST OFFICE.

Factor 4: Comfort.  When was the last time you saw chairs in a post office?  They may be flimsy and covered in whatever filth the last patron left behind, but at least the DMV has a place to sit while you silently seethe and curse the inefficiency of local government.  Who’s worse? POST OFFICE.

Factor 5: Convenience.  Is it just me or are DMVs located exclusively in random, barely-marked storefronts in obscure stripmalls in suburbs you’ve never heard of or, at least, would never otherwise go to?  Who picks the location of these things?  At least post offices are usually downtown and/or in other central locations.  Who’s worse?  DMV.

Factor 6: Cost.  I guess there’s one thing you can say about the good ol’ USPS – you pay for what you get.  It’s still cheaper to mail a package through the post office than it is to deal with UPS, FedEx or DHL.  The DMV on the other hand?  WILL find ten ways to charge, surcharge and tax your replacement drivers licence or plate renewal.  And they’ll demand cash or a check (like ANYONE carries checks around anymore!)  Who’s worse?  DMV.

Factor 7: Entertainment Value.  The DMV wins here hands-down.  Seriously, go to the DMV on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 PM if you want to see a real cross-section of society.  The last time I was there, I saw a guy with an iron lung – I’m not kidding.  The post office?  Is full of people just like you and me who are just as annoyed.  Yawn.  That’s just not as interesting.  Who’s worse? POST OFFICE.

There you have it.  In a narrow 4-3 victory, the post office is officially worse than the DMV.  Disagree?  Arguments to the contrary are welcome!

Today’s EAT:  Made some yummy Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Sauce for dinner.  Yay finger food!

Today’s DRINK:  We are runnin’ dry around these parts.  I had a bit of wine left over from last night, but I think I’ll be making a stop at Trader Joe’s tomorrow!

Today’s RUN: Had a nice, mellow run around Hudson River Park.  Didn’t take my watch or follow a route, and really enjoyed meandering around the random little piers that I never let myself explore.  I think I was gone for about 35 minutes, so let’s call it 4 miles and change.

A Bitchy Little Boost

I’m going to say something that sounds pretty horrible and bitchy:  I totally got a boost from another runner’s pain on my run today.

To back up a bit.  My first run since the marathon was a week ago today.  I intended to return to regular running last week, but….um, yeah.  Didn’t really happen.  I was pretty good about going to the gym and such, but just couldn’t muster any enthusiam to lace up my running shoes and head outside. 

Today, I got a brand new pair of running shoes in the mail.  It piqued my interest just enough.  I decided it was time to suck it up and go for an actual, real run instead of copping out and heading to the elliptical.

So out I headed to Hudson Park, my normal running course.  Through the village, across the west side highway, along the riverfront and past the marina to a certain set of benches; turn around, repeat in reverse.  Five miles, roundtrip. 

I’ve done enough marathons to know that I shouldn’t expect much of myself for those few weeks after the race.  I don’t know whether it’s mostly physical or mental, but I’m always just….sluggish.  Today was no exception.  I plodded along, silently pouting.  New shoes or not, I felt like crap.  This was NOT fun.

As I hit those particular benches that mark my halfway point, I let out a frustrated huff.  Halfway?  Really?  Do I HAVE to run back?  Ugh.

But then I heard a huffing and puffing that was far more pronounced than my own.  A girl, about my same size and build, came plowing around the corner and swept past me along my intended route.  I sized her up.  She seemed to be going about the same pace that I had been running – or maybe just a little faster – and she was WORKING it. 

Eff that, I thought, and set out after her.

And this is what I usually mean when I say I’m a competitive person.  I am most certainly not out there winning races every weekend.  I’m not even in that realm!  But I will be damned if this random person on this random run is going to run by me and “beat” me!

It took me a several minutes to catch her.  But as I slowly narrowed the gap between us, I stopped looking at my watch every minute and agonizing over how many minutes until home.  I stopped cursing every step and bemoaning my leaden legs. 

As I passed her, I could hear her short, breathy gasps and her shoes slapping the pavement quickly and forcefully.  This girl was not just out for a run – she was running.  She was working hard and she was NOT feeling good.  Believe me – there is not an ounce of judgment here; I have totally been there.  I was impressed.

And as I slowly pulled ahead of her, I realized she was not going to let me go so easily.  Gliding by her, suddenly everything felt easy.  I was running far more quickly and gracefully than I had been before – and it felt effortless.

But the slap-slap-slap and the labored breaths of my competitor stayed with me.  I have to give this girl a ton of credit – for the remaining mile of my run on the park path, she remained right on my tail, her footfalls churning faster as I continued to push the pace.  I could hear miniscule little moans interspersed in her breathing.  She was giving it her all.

As I split off to cross back over the highway and weave my way through village streets toward home, part of me wanted to stop and give her a hug.  Even though as I targeted and challenged her – I admit, my primary motivating was wanting to beat her.  She made my workout infinitely better, and I hope I did the same for her.

If nothing else, I’ll have that random girl to thank when, as I lace up my running shoes tomorrow, I feel energized and excited about running again.

Today’s EAT: Dinner was a mishmash of leftovers from yesterday’s dinner at Ping’s in Chinatown.  Oh, and I found an awesome new lunch place near my apartment today – a tiny little coffee/sandwich shop called Local.  I had a ham, fig and fresh mozzeralla sandwich.  Divine.

Today’s DRINK: Hubs and I are splitting a bottle of clearance-rack Rosemount Chardonnay.  The pleasure factor is about what it cost, which is to say, not much.  When will I learn not to buy sale rack wine??

Today’s RUN: See above.  Ended up doing 5 miles in just over 41:00, but my pace was much faster during the second half of the run!

And the Laziness Sets In

It is easy after a marathon to get super pumped up about your future running/fitness plans.  It is, apparently, much more difficult to actually execute them.

Case in point: me, this afternoon.  I had two and a half hours between work meetings and somehow convinced myself that there was no way I could get a run or workout in.  Umm….what?  My lazy ass needs to get off the couch (which, unfortunately or fortunately, is also my office) and DO IT.

This happened to me last year after the Marine Corps Marathon, which was in October 2008.  By December 2008, I found myself groveling to a personal trainer at my then-gym.  It was an expensive lesson, and one  I’m not anxious to repeat!

Which is why tomorrow morning, I’m going to do something that I hate more than almost anything.  I’m going to get up early and go to the gym.  There is a “body pump” class that I think would be good for me right now, and the only time it’s offered it 6:45 AM.  UGH.  But, I’m determined to not let my marathon fitness totally slip away from me.  It  must be done.

Tomorrow’s 6:15 alarm is going to suck.  I’m a non-morning-person if there ever was one.  Wish me luck!

Today’s EAT: Had a lovely little dinner at Camaje Bistro.  Affordable French-ish food in a very casual – almost coffe-shop – atmosphere.  It was great!

Today’s DRINK: Found a new bar in the ‘hood that I think will become a favorite: The Room.  I guess it’s technically in SoHo, as it’s half a block south of Houston, but it’s a five minute walk from my apartment and is appropriately cozy and cute while maintaining a decent beer selection.  I love exploring all of the fun little places in our neighborhood!

Today’s RUN:  Ummmmm…..yeah.

*cough cough*

I’ll do better tomorrow…I promise!

Summer in the City

In November?!  You betcha!  It’s been 70 degrees in NYC the last couple of days!

Today, I decided to take advantage of the weather and celebrate by running for the first time since the marathon.  It actually felt pretty good; no aches and no pains, with the exception of a painful knot in my right calf…which I suspect has nothing to do with the marathon and everything to do with a certain pair of 4″ heels and the dance floor at the Gansevoort on Saturday night.

Today’s EAT: Nothing exciting today, but I must share these awesome scallops that I made as an appetizer on Friday night.  Hubs and I were committed to staying in, being good, and eating our leftovers instead of spending money going out.  So I treated us to these Seared Sea Scallops with Mango Sauce to make things a little more fun.  They were super easy and delicious!

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Recipe here!

Today’s DRINK: Again from Friday night.  Festive cocktails make a night in fun!  Chilled vodka + chambord with a little (cheap) champagne over the top. 

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Today’s RUN: The recovery party’s over…back to running!  I’m doing a 10k in December, and it would be nice get a little faster pace going.  I took it easy today though.  4 miles in Hudson park, 37:30.

WTF NYC Moment of the Week

We all know that NYC apartment life means making some sacrifices.  Things like dishwashers, closets, balconies, laundry facilities….ah, all a distant memory.

You also live right on top of your neighbors and, given the lack of space, start to know bizarre things about their lives.  For instance, I can tell you much about my next door neighbor, even though I have never met her or even seen her:

* She is French – or, at least, primarily speaks French

* She takes a shower at 9:20 AM every day.  At 9:35 she blow-dries her hair and at 9:50 sharp, leaves the apartment for the day.

* She’s a pretty decent cook.  At least, my nose thinks so.

All of that’s fine – honestly, I don’t mind hearing (and smelling) my neighbors from time to time.  It’s part of the NYC experience.

However, I recently learned something disturbing about someone in my building.  He or she has acquired a tuba.

I am not even kidding – an effing TUBA.  Or maybe it’s a french horn?  No, I am going with tuba.  The sounds coming into my window are tuba all the way.

For the sake of everyone in my building, I can only hope that tuba lessons are not far behind.  Because band practice is going to get old very quickly.

Today’s EAT:  Trying an Argentenian restaurant in SoHo tonight.  Excited!

Today’s DRINK: Going to meet some friends at Bua for drinks after dinner.  Yay for a night out!

Today’s RUN: For my first real post-marathon workout, I went to spinning class today at the gym.  One thing I love about spin class is that you can make it as hard as you want to.  I picked a bike in the back and opted for not hard at all. :)  It felt great to get my legs moving again though!  I am officially not sore or stiff anymore, and I can’t wait to get  back to running again next week.

Take That, Rachael Ray

Okay, I swear, I don’t regularly watch Rachael Ray.  But, as someone who works from home, I usually have the TV turned on to the music channels, or something mindless (enter: Rachael Ray) to drown out the sounds of the city and make me feel less alone.

The other day, the tube just happened to be tuned to RR.  And I happened to catch that she was making something that actually sounded pretty interesting: a “lasanga” with pumpkin and sausage.  I just happened to have a pack of turkey sausage, with destination recipe unknown, thawing in the refrigerator.  Perfect!

So today, I googled Ms. Ray’s show, assuming I could find the recipe online.  As it turns out….not so much.  Her website was out of date, listing the ingredients of the recipe but refusing to divulge the instructions, stating that the show had “not yet aired.”   Very unprofessional, R-squared!  Shame on you!

However, I was so excited about the prospect of using my turkey sausage in this unconventional manner, that I decided to go ahead and try to make a lasagna like the one I’d seen.   And I have to admit: it came out phenomenally.  Probably even better than the one on her ridiculous show.  HA!

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Full recipe is below.  And I’ll go to bed with the smug knowledge that while I don’t have an audience of thousands of viewers who tune in every day to watch me make paninis and be artificially perky….I have you, my blog readers. :)

Today’s EAT:  My version of Butternut Squash Lasagna with Turkey Sausage.  Recipe and full write up here.

Today’s DRINK:  I’m chugging Airborne.  I have a slight stuffy nose today – allergies, I hope!  I do not need any swine flu right now, thankyouverymuch.

Today’s RUN:  No running, but I did go for a nice 30-minute walk.  I’m anxious to get back to some sort of working out, even though I’m taking this week off of running.  Maybe something easy at the gym tomorrow.