Categories
Running Training

No Means No

It may only be June 15, but take a look at my photo stream and it’s clear I’ve already squeezed in an entire season’s worth of activities before the summer solstice.

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I rode an old-timey trolley with my old-timey sister (jokes!) during a whirlwind Dallas birthday weekend.
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I bet entirely too little money on Oxbow at the Preakness Stakes during a whirlwind Baltimore gambling weekend.
I got intimate with the world's best college mascot during a whirlwind Maine drinking weekend.
I got intimate with the world’s best college mascot during a whirlwind Maine drinking weekend.
I came to appreciate the joy of a hot shower during a whirlwind New York festival weekend.
I came to appreciate the joy of a hot shower during a whirlwind New York festival weekend.
I learned humans make better first mates than goldendoodles during a whirlwind deep sea shipwreck weekend.

And that’s just a few select excursions. Ever since the mercury hit 60+ degrees, my weekends and weekdays alike have been jam-packed with summertime staples, from outdoor concerts and backyard BBQs to boat rides and baseball games, not to mention the steady stream of dinner parties and movie nights that span the entire calendar year regardless of climate.

If you were to follow my facebook feed, you’d think I’m having the best summer of my life. And to a large extent, I am. I’ve been constantly surrounded by good food, good music and good friends since Good Friday, and with a Broadway show, a rooftop party and a dim sum date in Flushing, Queens, still on the agenda before this weekend is up, it looks like I’m in store for yet another summer weekend for the record books.

Has it been fun? Absolutely. But throw in a few 55-hour work weeks, a six-day-a-week triathlon training plan and some silly desire to spend more than a few waking minutes per week with my main squeeze and I’m starting to feel a little like Liz Lemon on sandwich day:

Source: The Internet.

But if I’m honest with myself, when it comes to having it all this summer, the truth is I can’t. It’s hard to turn down a social invitation anywhere, but in New York especially, with so many free and outdoor and artisanal-pop-tart-filled events slated throughout the summer, it feels like a crime to decline a single one. As a result, I find myself saying ‘Yes’ to every RSVP that comes my way from May to September, leaving my calendar filled to the brim — and my mental wellbeing on a gradual downward slope.

It’s time I admit it to myself: I can’t realistically keep going out with friends every evening, sleeping less-than-required by doctors every night and then waking up to swim/bike/run every morning and expect to continue to do everything well. By packing too much into each 24-hour period, I may be filling my iPhone camera roll with the best filter-free snapshots this side of the Mississippi (and on that side, if you count my summer-starting weekend in Dallas), but I fear I’m also starting to wear myself precariously thin. I may be making some killer summer memories, but my sleep schedule is out of synch, my cortisol levels are through the roof and my athletic performance is starting to waver, and that’s just not a sustainable model.

Take, for example, this past week’s JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Central Park. Having clocked a finishing time of 26:43 at a pace of 7:38 last year, I had hoped I’d manage a similar finish this year. One year later, one year fitter, right?

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Wrong. After taking more than a month off racing in order to clear my social calendar for the aforementioned weekend getaways, sleepless nights and subsequent hangovers, I arrived at Wednesday evening’s starting line tired and relatively out of shape, and my performance showed it: after a speedy first mile, my chest grew tight, my stride wavered and my confidence plummeted, and I ended up tacking on a solid minute and 20 seconds from last year’s time. I know crossing the finish line at 28:02 is nothing to scoff at in the scheme of things, but the pain I felt mid-race and the soreness I felt the entire next day after racing just 3.5 miles was a real wake-up call that — if I’m going to be a (semi) serious athlete — I simply can’t have it all.

Don’t worry friends: I’m not advocating full-out hermitship. But if I’m going to train for another marathon this summer and survive to tell the tale, I’m going to need to better prioritize the hours in each 24-hour period between now and November 3. That means fewer weekday events and late nights, coupled with more hours of sleep and miles on my feet. It also means convincing more friends to socialize with me on a spin bike or around the Central Park loop, rather than over beers at happy hour. Everyone likes a yes-man, but as I get my body back into marathon shape, I think the occasional ‘No’ is the way to go. It’s going to be a change, sure, but I think it’s a worthwhile one.

How do you make social sacrifices for your training schedule? 

Categories
Travel

Her Name is Rio and She Dances on the Sand

Two weeks ago, I was pretty pleased with my Dallas, Texas, hotel room view.

And what’s not to like? Space-needle-like architecture, didn’t overlook a public landfill, smelled slightly of barbecue and came complete with a dramatic sunrise or sunset, although I now couldn’t tell you which one. After years of opting for the local Bates Motel in an effort to submit the cheapest expenses my company has ever reimbursed, I had moved into the big leagues of short-term accommodations.

Or so I thought. Just two short weeks ago, staying in a downtown Dallas hotel that glowed rainbow colors after sundown was enough to get my rocks off. But five minutes at the Rio de Janeiro Sheraton, and the bar has been raised infinitely higher. I apologize in advance for being super obnoxious here, but check out my view today:

But that’s only if I step out on my 22nd-floor balcony and look right. If I look left instead, the view is even more awesome, to use the word as it was meant to be used.

What’s that? You can see the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue from your bedroom, too? Oh, never mind then.

But before you go getting all jealous of my ridiculous views, I should point out that traveling in Brazil isn’t all fun and games. In fact, I’ve been dealt a pretty big blow today:

I guess we all have to make sacrifices.

Where’s the most epic place your work travel has brought you?

Categories
Races Running Travel

I Won’t Mess with Texas

I usually limit my lists to trifectas, since most things – holy trinities, blind mice, Hanson brothers, etc. – are better in threes. But since everything is bigger in Texas, I’m going to break from tradition here and dabble into the double digits. So without further ado, I bring you:

The Top 10 Things I Like About Texas

10. Every single time you tell someone you’re from Manhattan, you’re magically transported into an early 90s salsa commercial.

9. The healthy dairy option at Starbucks is 2% milk. And it’s delicious.

8. The City of Denton advertises its local 5K on a giant, orange truck.

7. You can win third place (female) in the afore mentioned 5K by running not particularly fast. My Saturday morning race only had 400 participants, plus a mascot, meaning my non-spectacular-by-NYC-standards 7:44 pace was actually fast enough to earn me a medal. Thanks, Texas! Thanks also for the brisket you distributed at the end of the race at 8:30 a.m.

6. Brisket.

5. When you rent an inner-tube at a classy establishment dubbed “Hillbilly Haven,” they throw in a separate “beer inner-tube” for free. Good thing, too. My beer never learned to swim.

4. Old-fashioned tractor festivals that you decide to attend after seeing the event advertised on a giant, orange truck.

3. All of its movie theaters have waiters, tables and full menus.

2. And those menus include spicy, fried pickles. Come on, New York. Keep up.

1. This girl.

I usually end my posts with a question, so here’s one for you. New York: why should I ever come home?

Categories
Travel

Dallas, Here I Come

My sister has planned a ridiculously fun itinerary for us in Texas this weekend, which is surprising, because we’re always so serious when we’re together.

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Yes, I had a pretty sweet haircut as a child and yes, I’m thinking about bringing it back.

The tentative schedule that arrived in my inbox this morning came complete with activities like “BBQ dinner” and “drinking on inner-tubes” and, oh yeah, “Moonlight Festival and Outhouse Races.” As you are all aware, outhouse races are my all-time favorite pastime. To quote an over-caffeinated Jessie Spano, I’m so excited.

I’m also running a 5K tomorrow morning for good measure. That’s the only item on the agenda I’m kind of skeptical about, but I can’t really complain because I brought that one on myself.

Speaking of skepticism, gratuitous adorable photo, anyone? Done.

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How will you try – and likely fail – to top my epic weekend plans?