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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?

 

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.

photo 1
I rode an old-timey trolley with my old-timey sister (jokes!) during a whirlwind Dallas birthday weekend.
photo 2
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
Running Training Travel

Life Has a Funny Way

I’ll blindly stand behind most things nineties — Lisa Frank, Tamagotchis, that puppet dinosaur show that briefly aired on TGIF — but Alanis Morissette’s hit single “Ironic” has always annoyed me just a bit.

A traffic jam when you’re already late. A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break. It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. It’s meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife.

Catchy, sure, but the misuse of the song’s titular theme drives me a little crazy. Pick up a dictionary and irony is defined as incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result. Rain on your wedding day isn’t ironic, Alanis — it’s just unfortunate. Also, it’s probably time to thin out your silverware drawer, you spoon hoarder, you.

But while a black fly in your Chardonnay is arguably more unsanitary than ironic, I believe I actually did experience some de facto irony this past week. You may recall that after two years of injury-free running without any supplemental strength training, I finally decided it was time to stop pushing my luck and build some lean muscle mass. Countless studies have shown light weightlifting and strength training can help prevent common running injuries, and with my second marathon training cycle fast approaching, I figured I really shouldn’t leave myself so susceptible to wear and tear. So I woke up early on Wednesday, trekked to the gym, squatted and lunged my way through a 60-minute strength class and returned home proud of my preventative efforts at keeping myself injury free.

I then packed a suitcase with tons of running gear and a surprising lack of 80s paraphernalia given I was on my way to my five-year college reunion, grabbed my boarding pass and hopped a plane to the always hideous Maine coast.

Worst. View. Ever.
Worst. View. Ever.

I knew my reunion weekend would be busy between beach trips and lobster bakes and dance parties and — let’s be honest — the caliber of hangover only a 27 year old pretending to be a 21 year old can muster, but I still figured I’d get in a few gorgeous runs beneath the pines before returning to New York City tonight.

My right knee, however, had other plans. Fast forward to Friday morning, and I suddenly couldn’t walk.

Now I’m not talking run-of-the-mill-sore-muscles-couldn’t-walk. I’m talking couldn’t-bend-my-right-knee-without-agonizing-pain-couldn’t-walk. Somehow between going to sleep on Thursday night and awaking on Friday morning, my right knee had forgotten how to straighten or transfer weight or traverse stairs, leaving me with excruciating pain, a noticeable limp and my first debilitating exercise-related injury since my second-grade self fell off her bike and broke her leg.

I skipped my planned Friday run in hopes the pain would pass, but after waking up to find my knee just as stiff Saturday morning and still not 100 percent today, I’m afraid maybe I really did do some damage. I guess it’s possible my unidentified injury didn’t have a darn thing to do with the weight training class at all, but since I hadn’t changed anything else in my routine leading up to it — and had even reduced my mileage in recent weeks — I can’t help but think my “preventative” workout was to blame for this weekend’s pain. Oh, the irony.

I know the first rule of sports injuries is to take more rest than you think you need — that, and eat a lot of RICE, or something — so I promise to take it slow this week as I focus on my recovery. The plan for tomorrow is to hit the pool for some slow, kick-free laps, and we’ll take it from there.

Still, while I’m disappointed not to have worked out even once this weekend — and will be downright distraught is this becomes a recurring issue — spending four days on my former campus doing nothing but sitting around stuffing my face with the No. 1 college food in the country felt pretty darn right. My NYC marathon goal — and waistline — would prefer not to take four consecutive rest days ever again, but at least if I had to be sidelined for an extra-long weekend, I was surrounded by my favorite people in the process.

No, it wasn't an all women's college. Why do you ask?
No, it wasn’t an all women’s college. Why do you ask?

Have you ever been sidelined for an unidentified injury? How did you cope? If your answer is “eat more blueberry cake,” then you and I are more similar than we ever knew.