Categories
Running

Nine Months

I’m considering making a monumental decision that will overhaul my lifestyle, change my eating/sleeping habits and have a major physical impact on my body for the next nine months.

No, I’m not talking about having a baby. (Sorry Mom and Dad. Your granddoodle is going to have to hold down the fort for the time being.)

"I'm not all that happy about it, either."
“I’m not all that happy about it, either.”

I’m talking about running the New York City marathon.

Last year at this time, I was all gung-ho about the prospect of running this iconic five-borough road race a second time. After crossing that finish line in 2013, I pledged to run nine local races and volunteer at one in 2014 to gain my guaranteed spot in the 2015 event — and I did it. By clocking those 4M, 5M and 10Ks all year long, I gained myself a coveted lottery-free golden ticket into this year’s November event.

marathon 9.1

But now that it’s actually time to fill out that (not cheap) registration form, I’m starting to get cold feet. Do I really want to dedicate 30-40 hours a week to marathon training again this summer? Can I mentally withstand another season of pre-dawn workouts? Do I want to subject myself to the pain and torture that is the 59th Street bridge incline? Is it better to take a year off big races and focus on the shorter distances I know and love?

A big part of me says yes, but part of me is brimming with all sorts of different questions as well.

Will the crowds be deep and deafening again this year? Will the view from the Verrazzano Bridge take my breath away? Will a goal this big encourage me to get back in shape? Will Meb be running in the same exact road race? Will I treat myself to a giant BLT platter after I cross that finish line?

I only have until Feb. 15 to decide, and I could use your input. My head is leaning in one direction, but my heart is leaning in another. Maybe I just need to listen to my gut — which has certainly expanded in the months since I ended my last marathon cycle.

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In the edited words of my favorite Alderaan princess: help me [blog readers], you’re my only hope!

Categories
Food

Out of the Frying Pan

For all the stereotypes about New York City that are ill-founded, at least one rings true: we move too fast.

From whipping out our checkbooks within the first 90 seconds of seeing an apartment to weaving through Times Square tourists like Brer Rabbit in a briar patch, those of us residing in the city that never sleeps move so quickly we hardly have a chance to sit down.

I wish I could tell you that my New Years resolution is to finally rein in my pace, but with a half marathon on my schedule for April and the number of hours in the day stubbornly holding at 24, deceleration just doesn’t seem possible.

Well, except in one area of my life: cooking. Welcome to 2015, folks: the year of the crock pot.

It did not arrive full of meat, although that would have been amazing.
It sadly did not arrive full of meat.

I’ve been wanting a slow cooker for awhile, and that dream became a reality this Christmas when my brother’s fiancée left this New York apartment-sized slow cooker for me under the tree. I might question her taste in in-laws, but her gift-selection skills are downright impeccable.

Why did I want a slow cooker for Christmas, you ask? Plenty of reasons:

  • They allow you to cook entrees without added oils or fats.
  • They do the heavy lifting while you’re at work, allowing you to walk in the door at 8 p.m. to a ready-to-eat home-cooked meal.
  • Owning one makes you feel like a bonafide adult, whether or not you can grow facial hair.
must
It’s like looking in a mirror.

I tried my inaugural recipe on the first workday after the holidays: a slow-cooker beef stroganoff. Of all the recipes on the internet, I chose this one because it fit all my requirements: it only used real ingredients, rather than cream of something soup; it let me throw most everything in at once, rather than browning something first; and it said I could cook it for 8 to 10 hours, which I interpreted to mean 13 hours due to a busier-than-expected day at the office. Whoops.

I’m not sure how the 3 to 5 extra hours of cooking may have impacted the ultimate end product, but what came out of that crockpot that evening was creamy and hot and delicious nonetheless. Most importantly, it went from slow cooker to mouth in less than 15 minutes after my walking in the front door, and that’s an all-star performance in my book.

My first foray into slow cooking was a success, and I’m already stockpiling recipes from friends and blogs to make in the weeks ahead. A few in particular that have caught my eye, so long as they don’t mind being cooked for five to six hours longer than the recipe suggests:

  • This one. Chicken tikka masala with a cucumber-cilantro slaw? Sign me up.
  • This one. Steak house chili with big chunks of sirloin? Yes please.
  • This one. Nah, I’m just kidding. That one was just a link to my niece laughing at a joke.

I have a few ideas up my sleeves, but now I need your help: what slow cooker recipes do you make that I can add to my very limited repertoire? 

 

Categories
Travel Uncategorized

My Maine Squeeze

Last week as the temperatures hovered around a blustery 20 degrees, my boyfriend and I decided to do what so many other New Yorkers have done before us: we fled the city for kinder climates.

Just kidding. We drove due north.

Why, you ask? Because we’re masochists, no doubt, but also because I wanted him to finally see for himself what I’ve been saying all these years: Maine really is the way life should be.

photo 4 (36)
Simpson’s Point: where circulation in your toes goes to die.

You might be asking yourself what the Pine Tree State has to offer two New Yorkers during what I can only imagine was the coldest week in the history of the world. What’s that, you say? It gets even colder up there? My God.

I’ll tell you what Vacationland gave us: three of the best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life. Also, some wool socks form Reny’s.

Now I’m hesitant to tell you what these so-amazing-I-could-die bites were because I’m pretty much just recommending everything that pops up in Google search for “best Portland Maine restaurants nom nom nom.” But I’d be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t suggest you drop everything and immediately book a flight to the deep south of the far north to experience culinary bliss yourselves, so here goes. The best things I ate in Portland were:

  • The lobster roll at Eventide Oyster Co. on Middle Street. There was nothing fancy about this lobster roll, and that’s what made it so darn good. Brown butter, melt-in-your-mouth roll and, you guessed it, lobster. Paired with a spoonful of lobster stew and a half dozen Casco Bay oysters, and I was one content once-and-future-Mainer.
  • The Brussels sprouts at The Front Room in Munjoy Hill. We’re talking a dinner plate layered with roasted sprouts, candied almonds, grain mustard vinaigrette, whipped goat cheese and the true meaning of happiness.
  • The Belgian fries and truffle ketchup from Duck Fat on Middle Street. In the words of my boyfriend, “If I were on death row, this would be my last meal.” I’ll be honest: I am actively considering premeditated murder in hopes I’ll get to eat this side-dish again soon. Maybe that was Adnan’s motive.

Our brief but filling trip also took us to the Allagash Brewery, the L.L. Bean flagship store, a local hockey game, and many walks through the Old Port, most of which culminated in a croissant from Standard Baking Co. or an embarrassingly large number of taste tests at Gelato Fiasco. So while the faint of heart/scarf might want to opt for spring before making their trek up North, be sure to put Portland on your travel wishlist in 2015. You won’t regret it, even if your belt notches do.

 

Truck you, loading dock, for ruining this shot.
Truck you, loading dock, for ruining this perfect shot… for Ben, who really took this photo.

 Where will you 2015 travels take you?