that’s too much dedication

For those of you in NYC these days, you know just how cold it’s been.  I thought leaving Chicago meant leaving the super freeze behind, but NYC has had other plans over the past week or so.  I’m pretty sure I’d rather take the cold wind over the mountains of snow that Boston is endlessly getting pummeled with (hopefully it clears in time for the Boston Marathon – wouldn’t that be a twist??), but I’ll admit the cold weather is getting a little bit trying.

Since I feel like I write about the challenges of training with my work schedule for every single post, I will continue to do so.  I keep thinking that I need to do some runs with people.  As the most introverted person ever, I do love my solo runs, but sometimes you just want someone to help pass the miles with.  Last week’s long run got a little trying near the end, so perhaps this past weekend would be good for finding a long run buddy.  When I checked the weather for the weekend, I realized that most logical people would get their runs in on Saturday – high of 30-ish compared to a high of 15-ish on Sunday.  No brainer, my friends.  As life would have it, I worked on Saturday, so no run for me.  They joked about being so short staffed on Sunday that they would give me a two hour break to fit my long run in (since I said the main reason I wouldn’t work overtime is because I needed to do a long run), but I knew better than that.  (BUT OH HOW GLORIOUS THAT WOULD BE.)  Needless to say, no overtime.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, the wind was HOWLING.  It just sounded cold outside.  It was cold in my apartment.  Getting out from under the covers seemed like a  silly thing to do, especially when I checked the weather and it said it was 14 degrees with no plans to go above 15 degrees.  After a quick shout out to Twitter in hopes of finding someone crazy enough to run, I realized I’d be on my own.  Beth texted me to discuss the weather and how ridiculous it sounded outside…and to give me a pep talk to run.  She walked outside to go to Refine Method and said it seemed manageable.  I texted her this picture and headed on my way:

photo 1 (32) SHOW NO SKIN.

For the record, I used to wear the black thing as an eye mask when I worked night shift.  It’s fleece and was quite toasty – great for cold weather running, not so great for comfortable sleeping.  But at least it did a fantastic job of blocking out the light…

Anyway.  I headed outside, not quite sure what I was getting into.  As I passed my doorman, he said, “Now that’s too much dedication!”  to which I replied, “I’m not really sure how this is going to go!”  No turning back now, though – I’ve been spotted.

My first thought upon getting outside was that it wasn’t so bad…and it wasn’t.  Until the wind started to blow and OMG please cover my face ASAP.  I headed to Central Park because the thought of running along the West Side Highway with wind in my face for eight miles straight sounded like a good way to make myself want to quit running.  At least Central Park is a loop and a little protected from the wind…right?

Although I’ve used my heart rate monitor for the past few long runs, my plan was basically just to get through the long run and feel strong.  I hoped for about 8:15 pace, but I think my legs were in “it’s cold, please get us out of here quick” mode, so we moved along a bit faster than planned.  I figured I’d slow down along the hills, but I surprisingly clicked off some 7:45s without really thinking.  The Millrose Games, a track meet in NYC with so many track stars, was on Saturday, and it appeared that everyone was still in town on Sunday morning.  Lots of fast skinny runners out in matching Nike and Oregon gear.  I felt kind of bad that I didn’t recognize anyone even after seeing them multiple times throughout my run, but I still got excited to see them even if I couldn’t name names.

Other notable sights on the run included a guy wearing shorts – I mean, I’m somewhat liberal in my shorts-wearing-in-the-cold, but it was 14 degrees with a wind chill below zero.  That’s not brave, that’s just silly.  Otherwise, I believe the NYAC girls were running eight across at one point, which seemed like a game of Red Rover when I approached them.  I’m pretty sure I always got immediate tummy aches when we would play that game in elementary school because I hated it so much…luckily, they stayed away and I managed the rest of the run just fine.

I know people think I’m weird when I say this, but this run went by so fast!  I was definitely thinking about the cold and the wind, but I was often on autopilot, thinking my way through the mile I was in, and just concentrating on the next hill or striding out a downhill.  It’s so easy to get freaked out over how much further you have to run, but zoning in on the mile I’m in really makes a big difference in the mental game.  I felt great and the miles were just clicking off.

The hardest part about the run was how frozen my energy chews got!  I have pockets in the back of the Brooks fleece thing I was wearing, so I put the chews in there.  They got a little stiff out there in the cold, and it was a little hard to handle them while wearing two pairs of gloves.  Maybe the run went by so fast because I spent half the run chewing…but seriously.

The run was really so comfortable, even in the cold, and soon enough I’d finished two loops of the park.  I had to add on a little to make it 16 miles, but I just cruised.  My legs never felt tired or achy…I was a little thirsty since I decided against carrying water, but I think that was the right choice.  I was surprised by how quickly 16 miles flew by.  I’m not sure I quite had another ten miles in me at that point, but I like where I’m at.

And I never take Garmin shots, but I feel like 16 miles in 14 degrees is worthy of shot…

photo 2 (30) Not pictured:  The tights I’m wearing UNDER my tights.  #allthelayers

And some splits:

image

Fairly even splits with some speedier miles at the end.  The only miles above 8:00 (and just barely…) were both on Cat Hill.  That hill just gets me…and not in a good way.  But I’ve got some good mental strength that I’m gaining from running these hills over and over and over again, so I think that’s important.

I got home, showered, and quickly ate some eggs with salsa + cheese, toast, and clementines.  Aptly consumed after reading Heather’s notes on refueling after the run.  I’m not always the best at eating right after running, and I did feel great for the rest of the day…maybe there’s something to this.  However, it was absurdly cold and windy for the rest of the day, as documented by Baker’s birthday crawl and this snapshot of us all being blown away…

10994591_10153151846606204_1212710020608416253_n I’m so glad my birthday is in June.

Although I will openly say that it really wasn’t that bad running in 14 degrees (seriously, it was fine), I’m ready to close the chapter on winter.  And so is my laundry hamper because Eric can only take so many large sweaty, smelly running clothes being draped all over the apartment…

mom’s visit to nyc, february 2015 edition

Lest you think all I did was run while my mom was here, I assure you I did not!  What’s nice about my mom coming to visit is that she usually visits twice per year, so she’s already seen a bunch of New York and will visit again in the future!  This is great because there’s not a need for go-go-go-must-see-everything-right-now.  (There was one time when my friend Katie came to visit, and I walked her 11 miles in one day.  Our feet survived and so did our friendship…at least we saw so much!)  Since my mom knows I’m not a morning person, and she’s become less of a morning person since she retired, we usually do our thing in my apartment, have lunch here, then head out for the day.  Great for having a relaxing visit and for saving money by eating lunch at home!

But don’t you worry, we still had plenty of fun.  A mix of New York things and mother-daughter fun.  Away we go!

friday

My great-Aunt Rebina, of People Magazine fame (seriously – check it out, especially if you’re interested in transgender rights), is 93 and still fit as a fiddle…my mom always visits when she’s in New York, so we get to hear about her life and her thoughts on aging.  (She says the key to be old is to never go to the doctor, ha.  And don’t stop working.)  We chatted at her apartment before heading to the diner we always go to for lunch.  She’s certainly had an interesting life, and it’s fun to hear about.

After lunch, my mom, Eric, and I headed down to the 9/11 Museum.  It was a little confusing to get to and the Port Authority Police weren’t the nicest in giving us directions, but we made it. I’ve been to the 9/11 Memorial multiple times, but I had yet to visit the museum.  I remember there being some mixed reactions when it first opened, but I thought the museum was really well done.  My mom said she read somewhere to expect to spend about two hours in the museum…we were there for about three and a half and easily could have spent longer.  The most interesting part about the museum is that I’ve never visited any sort of museum of something I’ve actually lived through.  Unlike other events in history, which I can have feelings about from what I’ve learned, I remember where I was on 9/11.  Although I wasn’t personally affected by 9/11 (well…my brother was at West Point at the time and subsequently deployed, but I didn’t know anyone from the events of the day), I still have memories of that day, which is different than any other museum I’ve been to.

saturday

Eric left in the morning to go skiing in Colorado, which means my mom and I got girl time!  We made the most of it by declaring Saturday our craft day.  My mom is a crafty woman from sewing/quilting to scrapbooking to knitting.  She tried to teach my sister and I how to sew when we were younger, but it didn’t quite stick.  I remember learning how to crochet (never finished that blanket…) when I was younger, and my mom just taught me how to knit a few months ago.  I finished my second scarf just before she got here (I borrow her needles and wanted to give them back!), and then we headed to the local knit shop to get supplies for our next projects.  She got materials for a summer sweater, I’m tackling another scarf.

photo 4 (9) My finished scarf!  (See Kim!  Make one!)

photo 5 (3) New scarf with a waffle pattern.  Maybe I’ll finish it before winter is over…

And finally…scrapbooking.  My mom has done many, many scrapbooks about our lives, but I never got into it.  However, over the year my dad has sent me many newspaper articles, letters, and cards, and I’ve kept them in a shoebox.  I’ve asked my mom multiple times how she thinks I should make them into more of a keepsake instead of paper in a box.  For Christmas, she got me some scrapbooking supplies and brought a few more with her in her suitcase, so we were able to get to work!  Luckily Eric and I bought the IKEA table that folds out to seat a bunch of people…or to be crafty on.

photo 1 (30) Crafters at work!

We kept it low key on Saturday night and made dinner at home – asparagus and sun dried tomato risotto, which my mom made while I was crafting.  We then wrapped up the night with knitting while watching Netflix. 

photo 2 (29) Ah, I love risotto.

sunday

SUNDAY FUNDAY.  After my long run (and lunch), my mom and I headed out to get some more scrapbooking supplies – thank goodness there’s a Michael’s in the city!  We had some time to kill before our afternoon activity, and we happened to walk by Madison Square Park and Eataly – gelato it is!  I got chocolate chip and my mom got salted caramel and life. is. good.

photo 3 (18) The little spoons make it so much better.

After the gelato, we headed over to our afternoon activity.  The main reason for my mom’s visit was to see the U.S. Aerial Championships.  A girl I went to elementary through high school with is a silks and hoop performer, and she competed in the championship.  (Same person Eric and I went to see at the Slipper Room a couple weeks ago.)  All the competitors (women on silks, men on hoop) were quite impressive – so strong and flexible!  I have a severe fear of heights so I don’t know if I’d ever be able to try such a thing.  (And I could never do the rope climb in gym class – no upper body strength!)  Many of Brenna’s friends and students came to watch her, and it was so interesting to hear the ladies talk about their love for silks or pole.  It was like when I talk about running – some take classes four-six times per week!  I’d be fun to try (push myself outside of my comfort zone…) if anyone wants to try with me.  Anyway – Brenna was AMAZING and placed as first runner-up.  Per the Facebook page, the videos will be soon, but here’s picture from her routine:

2015 U.S. Aerial Championships - Day 3 : News Photo

Photo credit.

It was really cool and something different to see – one of the many reasons why I love NYC!

My mom and I followed up the show with some Indian food – always delicious.

sunday

For my mom’s last full day in NYC, we had some low key plans – my mom is a retired elementary school art teacher, and the Museum of Modern Art was wrapping up their Henri Matisse – The Cut-Outs exhibit.  Late in his career, Matisse used cut paper (made while using giant scissors…) to create his art.  He would cut out the shapes and pin them to the background – or have his assistants pin it as he directed.  Some were small project while others took up full walls.  My mom used his artwork in her classes, so she was really excited to see it.  It sold out on Monday so luckily we bought our tickets early!

Mom and me.

My mom wanted a cool tshirt from the exhibit, but the shirts weren’t interesting at all.  Instead, she bought me a magnet that had a circus elephant on it – thanks, Mom!

Never enough elephants.

Both of us have been to MoMA before, so we headed out after the Matisse exhibit.  Not ready to go home yet, we stopped by an Irish pub for some beverages and nachos, complete with mother-daughter conversations.  Multiple beverages later, we headed home to watch the Bachelor!  Thank goodness some of the girls I disliked the most finally left…

And of course, I cried before going to bed because my mom was leaving in the morning – I keep saying that one of these days I won’t cry, but at 30 it hasn’t happened yet, so maybe it’s time to just accept it.  We had a great visit and lots of fun – now to get to work on that scarf and scrapbooking!

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