August 29, 2011

Love/Don't Love

On Saturday morning, with the Percy Sutton Harlem 5k race cancelled, I decided to do my 5 mile run before the hurricane started. I headed out of my apartment to make my way to the West Side Highway. This run takes me about 1 mile through New York's West Village, which is a really nice area. Shortly after I left my apartment, I was accosted by a man after accidentally bumping elbows with him. You can read the whole story here. I live in a very safe and pretty touristy area of New York so I was shocked that this happened to me. Especially at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. It was an extremely scary experience and really got me thinking a lot about safety for women runners. My boyfriend noted specifically that this kind of thing has been going on a lot in New York with people targeting runners as they tend to be more vulnerable since they're alone and typically don't carry cell phones. A few months ago, one of my girlfriends was mugged in the same area on a Sunday afternoon. Thinking about all of these events has me really thinking about safety for runners and especially women. I typically don't carry ID with me when I run so I'm planning to order a Road ID this week. I'm also thinking about carrying pepper spray around.

As ridiculous as that may sound to some people, Saturday morning was a truly scary experience for me and I would rather be ridiculous and safe then ever have to go through anything like that again. I'm posting this, not to talk about what happened to me but as a warning that it doesn't matter where you live and how safe you think it might be, anything can happen and the proper safety precautions need to be in place.

So with that Public Service Announcement out of the way, I'll move on to the Loves and Don't Loves of this week:

1. Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene left New York City with very minimal damages and I, for one didn't lose power. I'm thankful that the storm didn't cause as much of a fury as predicted and I'm kind of glad the city shut down for a little bit. Love.
2. While I wasn't terribly affected by Irene, my family wasn't so lucky. While everyone is safe and has minimal damage to their homes, my mom sent me these pictures of what my home town looks like: Don't Love.

This is the main street in my town...
And this is the park that I usually run in.
3. I watched 3 movies off The Movie List this weekend while tucked away waiting out the storm. Love.
4. My gym was closed yesterday, the East River and West Side Highway paths were flooded and Central Park was closed (not that I would've been able to get to CP anyway) and I was scared to go run in the streets after what happened to me on Saturday so I missed yesterday's workout. I went 30 days without missing a single workout and a hurricane that wasn't changed that. Don't Love. 

The East of my typical running routes
5. In advance of the storm, I moved my bed away from the window just in case my window blew open and ripped me apart in the middle of the night. While that clearly didn't happen, I decided I really like having my bed in the middle of the room, so I'm keeping it that way. Love.
6.The Pilot didn't make it home because of this hurricane nonsense so we're hanging on to this long-distance thing for a little longer. Don't Love.
7. So far, I love my new boss and my staff. This is definitely going to help me get over the fact that the last two bosses I've had have been horrible. Love.
8. I'm still not completely settled in my apartment and have two more boxes to unload and a trip home to pick up some more stuff. Don't Love.
9. But I love everything about my apartment. Love.

That's that!
I'm working all day today and then hitting the gym to get in yesterday's missed workout!
What did you do this Hurricane weekend?
Any big plans for the week?

August 25, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. On Long Distance Relationships - Since The Pilot and I started dating, we've not only been long distance but have basically been chasing each other all over the country. I've lived in New York, Boston, New Jersey, and New York again while he's lived in Florida, Atlanta, New Jersey, Florida again and Houston. It hasn't always been easy but we've definitely made the best of it and now, after all these years of chasing each other around, we're finally going to be together. He's moving back to New Jersey and we'll only be a short train ride away from each other. We won't see each other every day, or even every week but we definitely won't go through 2 month blocks of not seeing each other and I couldn't be happier about it.

2. Harlem 5k - I'm running a 5k in Harlem on Saturday. It's another qualifying race for NYC 2012. It works out perfectly because my training plan this week calls for a 5 mile run with 3 miles at marathon goal pace. So I'm going to do a warm up and cool down with the race itself at goal pace. I won't PR but using it as a training run is more important, so it works out...unless of course this hurricane comes in full which case I will be running like the wind just to finish.

3. New York - I haven't even been here a week and New York and I are fighting again. My relationship with New York is like that of a guy who you know you shouldn't be with but just keep going back to. I'm making it my personal mission to not hate New York this year as it will (hopefully) be my last year living here but in the mean time, I'm really pissed off about the fact that it took me 17 minutes the 1 mile distance I live from the West Side Highway. I also don't like it when I'm doing speed work and my Garmin tells me I'm running 18 minute miles. Maybe I would like New York more if I wasn't a runner? I'm planning to write an open letter to New York to follow up with my last one so stay tuned.

Is it just me or is this week flying by?
I'm bracing myself for the arrival of three sweaty girls tomorrow and going for yoga tonight!

Hope you all have a great end do the week!

August 24, 2011

Ballpark #15: PNC Park

I always pictured Pittsburgh as a run-down, industrial, depressing old steel mill town. I never had any interest to go there but knew that it was another ballpark I'd have to cross off my list. When Daily Candy sent out an email a few months ago about all the fun things to do in Pittsburgh, I knew I could sucker convince my mom to take me on a weekend getaway to P-Town. She loves baseball just as much as I do, remember? So we planned our trip for shortly after I came back from India.

I couldn't have been more wrong about Pittsburgh. Not only is the city unbelievably beautiful but PNC Park quickly climbed to the top of my list of favorite ballparks. Of course, CitiField will always be my #1 but PNC Park? Definitely takes the #2 position.

The Park is right on the water!
As always, we decided to get to the park early to walk around and explore. All of the streets around the park were closed to traffic which was awesome since it allowed all of the baseball fans to roam around all of the restaurants within the vicinity.

Hello Roberto Clemente!
We decided to eat inside the park and see what the food was like. As soon as we walked in, we were given programs (that's never happened before, you usually have to pay for those) which not only listed the starting lineup for both teams but also detailed the park and its food options...including the plethora of vegetarian options.

PNC Park. You just won me over. I had a fantastic veggie burger with some ballpark fries and it was delicious! (Mom had a regular burger which she was very happy with.) We made our way to our seats to eat and as soon as we sat down, I was absolutely amazed by how beautiful the park is.

You have a perfect view of the city skyline and the Clemente Bridge from just about every seat in the ballpark. By the time we finished eating, the game was about to start. We were going to go for beers but I had just run and wasn't feeling too hot so we decided against it. I know...who am I??? Anyway, they showed this awesome video clip that is kind of like a movie trailer for the Pittsburgh Pirates...but like real Pirates...not the baseball ones. It was pretty cool. PNC Park definitely takes advantage of their jumbo-tron which is great. (It could have been a little bigger though.)

The sun setting on the field was awesome. 
The Pirates were playing the Cardinals which means we got to see Albert Pujols at bat which was super exciting. Not only is he Dominican (heyy!) and extremely philanthropic, but he's one of the division's leading batters. Of course, he scored the first home run of the game giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead but Andrew McCutchen came in and hit a 3 run homer giving the Pirates the lead int he 3rd inning. And then fireworks went off. YES!

And it's just as pretty at night under the lights!
The Pirates held on to their lead until the 6th inning when the Cardinals took a 4-3 lead. Another Pirates homer brought the game to a tie and extra innings! And in the 11th inning, Garret Jones hit a walk-off homer bringing the Pirates a 5-4 victory. (And then more fireworks went off and I loved it.)

Pirates Win!
It was quite possibly the most exciting baseball game I've ever seen live and I loved PNC Park. Everything from the food, the staff, the fans, the team, everything was awesome and I would absolutely go back to PNC for another game.

I'm thinking May. To coincide with the Pittsburgh Marathon. Any takers?

August 23, 2011

Training Tuesday: Week 5

Guess what I just did??? STRENGTH TRAINED! Woohoo! After 4 weeks of setting strength training as my "Goal for the Week," I finally did it! I went to the gym and did chest presses, lateral raises and tricep pulls.

I don't hate strength training. I just don't do it. Well, now i do. Living at my gym is no excuse to not do it. So, there we go.

Last week I talked about how getting in all of my workouts has been really easy since I got home from traveling but that things are going to get tricky once everything picks up again. That's for sure. I just found out that I have to work from 6am to 7pm on Sunday. With a 5k race on Saturday and 3 lovely ladies in town, that means I'm going to have to do my long run on Thursday this week. A mid-week long run? Who am I? Talk about moving things around! But, I'm on Day 30 of not missing a single workout and I'm not about to change that anytime soon.

You know what else? I finally hit 500 miles of running this year. I've run 100 miles this month already...that's what running 5 days a week does that to you. Last year, my highest monthly mileage was 126. I'm going to exceed that by a lot this month. Welcome to marathon training.

So let's see what else is going on in Christy's world of Marathon Training:

MCM Training: Week 5
Total Mileage Last Week: 34
Missed Workouts: 0, though I did cut 2 miles off a 6 mile workout because of knee pain.
Trouble Spots: A sore hamstring and knee that is giving me trouble walking up and down stairs.
Planned Mileage This Week: 39

This Week's Training:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 6 miles easy (9:58/mile) with 6 strides
Wednesday: 5 miles easy (9:58/mile)
Thursday: 16 miles (9:58/mile)
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 5k race with 1 mile warm up + 1 mile cool down
Sunday: 7 mile hill workout (most likely will be done on the treadmill when I get out of work)

Goals for this week: Get in all of my workouts, keep my knee and hamstring healthy
Current annoyances: My Garmin telling me I'm running 18 minute miles because New York buildings are too tall.
Things to keep in mind: Recovery is crucial to staying injury free.

So that's my week's moved all over the place from what my training plan calls for but hey, sometimes life gets in the way.

My questions for you this week:

  • I'd really like to start taking ice baths but don't have a bath tub in my new apartment. Any ideas for how to get one in?
  • Do you think it's ok to run my long run only 4 days after my last long run?
  • What kind of recovery do you do after your long runs?
Happy Training!

August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh was absolutely wonderful! It was my first time in the city and it absolutely exceeded my expectations! To be honest, I expected a very industrial looking city that was kind of worn down, instead, I found a beautiful city bustling with people (and runners!) with a gorgeous river front! My mom and I went to the Pirates game on Tuesday night and had more fun than I think I've ever had at a ball game! Wednesday morning, we went to the Andy Warhol Museum which was phenomenal and then made the long journey back home. It was a great trip and I loved the city! So now I'm thinking...Pittsburgh Marathon in May???

The Pittsburgh skyline from the highway

PNC Park tucked way behind the Clemente Bridge
2. Moving - I'm moving into my new apartment tomorrow! I'm really excited and can't wait to see it and spend the week decorating! While I originally thought I would have a one room studio with no oven, I've now found out that I'll have a two room apartment with a full kitchen (including an oven!). I'm also glad that I'm moving in a week earlier than I planned because I can slowly transition from being a bum for the last month to starting my job, internship and classes over the next 3 weeks...and managing to fit all of my runs in.

3. Top 5 Favorite Oldies - I don't have a #3 so I'm linking up with Meghan at The Perfect Compilation Tape and listing my Top 5 Favorite Oldies.
  1.  "American Pie" - Don McLean
  2. "Daydream Believer" - The Monkees
  3. "Knock Three Times" - Tony Orlando
  4. "Turn Turn Turn" - The Byrds
  5. "House of the Rising Sun" - The Doors (not The Animals version)
Two of these songs are from a very popular 1990s movie. Bonus points if you guess which one! What are some of your favorite Oldies?

Happy Thursday!

August 16, 2011

Training Tuesday: Week 4

Last week, I talked about my commitment to training and how I didn't let my spur of the moment travel plans get in the way of my training. Well, I'm happy to say that this past week was no different.

Not only did I get in all of my planned workouts but when I woke up bright and early for my long run on Sunday to thunder, lightning and flash flooding, instead of postponing my workout, I headed to the gym and ran 13 long miles on the treadmill. And you know what? It felt good.

Now, I'm not about to start heading to the treadmill for all of my long runs but it felt good to be so committed to getting that run in that I didn't even think twice about the daunting task of being on a treadmill for over 2 hours.

When I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon, I don't think I ever went a week without missing a workout. This training cycle, I've gone 25 days without missing a single workout. Granted, it's been easy. I've been living at home without a job or a car to worry about and all the time of the world but it's exactly this that is going to help me when reality kicks in next week and I go back to work, move into my new apartment and get ready for classes to start. They say it takes 21-28 days for habits to stick. Well, this habit is one I won't be breaking any time soon. I know that life gets in the way sometimes but this August, I set a goal to not miss a single workout and so far, I'm doing pretty great at it.

I move into my new apartment Friday. I start my new job on Monday and go back to my internship next Thursday. Classes start in 3 weeks and so does the start of my thesis writing. But this semester, I've made a commitment to training and using training as my me time. So as I go into these last weeks of summer, let's see what training is going to look like:

MCM Training: Week 4
Total Mileage Last Week: 32
Missed Workouts: 0
Trouble Spots: Super tight hamstrings and sore calves
Planned Mileage This Week: 36

This Week's Training:

Monday: Rest Day (I did go swimming though, but it was easy swimming)
Tuesday: 5 miles easy (9:58/mile) with 5 strides
Wednesday: 6 mile hill workout
Thursday: 4 miles with 2 miles at Marathon Pace (8:46)
Friday: 6 miles easy (9:58/mile)
Saturday: 15 miles (9:58/mile)
Sunday: Rest Day

Goals for this week: STRENGTH TRAIN. I've had this as my goal for the last 2 weeks and haven't done any of it. That needs to change. (Shouldn't be too much of an issue once I move into my new place on Friday...which has a fully equipped gym in the basement)
Current annoyances: None. =)
Things to keep in mind: Strength training will make me a stronger runner.

That's the week ahead!  I usually take Thursdays as my Rest Day and run my long runs on Sunday but this weekend, The Pilot is coming to visit and I want to get it out of the way before he gets here so I'm hoping that running 5 days straight won't cause any problems.

Well, I'm off to Pittsburgh! Let me know how your training is going! And as always, you can follow my day to day training on Daily Mile or Twitter!

Question: Do you ever move around your training to accommodate plans? What's the longest "streak" you've ever gone on. How do you spend your rest days?

August 15, 2011

Love/Don't Love

1. I woke up to thunder, lightning, torrential downpours and massive flooding yesterday which left me running 13 miles on a treadmill at the LA Fitness I happened to find a free 7 day guest pass for online. 13 miles. On a treadmill. I finished it feeling super badass. It helped, that I had "Eye of the Tiger" on repeat for the first 5 miles while the TV in front of my treadmill showed replays of the start and finish lines of the NYC, Boston and London Marathons from past years. Love.
2. I also ran my 13 miles in my brand new shoes courtesy of Jack Rabbit Sports. Don't worry, it wasn't my first run in them. I took them for an easy 4-miler on Saturday and chased them down with 13 on the treadmill on Sunday and I am happy to say that after 4 years of running in Nikes, these New Balances have stolen my heart. MCM? Meet your match. Love.

3. I did not go to the Kenny Chesney concert on Saturday and am super bummed. Reason number 4,057,276 why I need to leave New York: not enough country music lovers. Don't Love.
4. The Pilot is coming home this weekend! He will be extremely tired. I will be extremely bouncy. Love.
5. After yesterday's 13-miler, I came home and had a beer. And an enormous bowl of pasta. I deserved it. Love.
6. My Blackberry has died for the 400th time this year. I am not happy. Dear Verizon losers, please just replace my phone already. Don't Love.
7. I'm moving into my new apartment on Friday! I'm excited to have my own apartment again, live in dangerously close proximity to the Trader Joe's wine shop, and have an elevator for the first time ever. Love.
8. Mom and I are taking a little road trip to Pittsburgh tomorrow to fuel my love of baseball and pay a visit to the Pirates Stadium. Love.

9. Lately I have realized that I am not getting enough support up top on my runs. This was particularly evident on yesterday's 2 hour treadmill ride. Ladies, please recommend a high impact sports bra because waking up post long run having boobs that are more sore than your legs is really not ok. Don't Love.
10. Mom and I went and saw 'The Help' this weekend. Oh my God, it was incredible. I loved everything about it. I also took my 5-year-old niece to see 'The Smurfs' last week and it was amazing. Love.
11. I'm on Twitter. I'm don't think I like it. We'll see. Don't Love.
12. It's Monday and today is a running rest day. I think I'm going to go for a swim. Love.

That's all for today!
Please, please, please recommend sports bras! I'm getting desperate!
Did you see any movies this weekend? 
What have you got planned for the week?

August 12, 2011

When Running Takes Over Your Life

Last night, I went to Jack Rabbit Sports because Ali was having an event to fund raise for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. I also needed new shoes and knew that 15% of all proceeds from the night would go to Ali's fundraising efforts, so it all worked out perfectly!

Holy Blogger party! There were so many amazing girls (and guys!) out tonight supporting Ali that it just reaffirmed everything I've ever felt about blogging being such a great community. I spent most of the night chatting with Celia and Christine and also chatted with Theodora and Susan. It was so nice to spend the night talking about running, blogging, traveling, summer vacations, music, boys, whatever!

I love my friends. I really, truly do. They've been with me through everything. My friends from college? We reminisce about old memories. My friends from high school? We talk about their babies and kids and husbands and what people from high school are up to. My friends from grad school? We talk about current events, women's rights, child trafficking, and the economy. It's always nice to catch up with old friends but in New York? I feel like I can't have a conversation with someone without it turning into issues in international affairs. I truly love what I'm studying but sometimes, when you're out drinking with friends, you don't want to talk about those things when you've spend 8 hours at work, 3 hours in class and 2 hours studying them.

Last night? I talked about running. Something that I'm proud to say has taken over my life. When I was in high school and I was performing in 2 or 3 plays/musicals a season, I had a t-shirt that said, "I can't. I have rehearsal." That was always my excuse and I loved it but I spent so much of my life on stage transforming into other characters so that I didn't have to be myself.

Today, I'm wearing a new t-shirt.
Ali's I <3 Sweat shirts were on sale last night
When you're in the middle of a 10 mile run and it's 90 degrees outside with 75% humidity, you can't be anybody but yourself. If running has given me one thing, it is the self-confidence to be 100% myself 100% of the time. In the last year and a half since I started running, I've become so much more confident and sure of myself and when I'm in a room full or runners, that feeling of confidence just radiates from every single person in the room. Tall Mom wrote an amazing post yesterday on what it means to be a real runner. The short answer? You are a runner if you run. That's it. That's what makes you a runner. It's just so simple and I love it.

I love running. And I love that I got to spend my night last night with runners and new friends with whom I can talk about running, get advice about running and more importantly, with whom I can run.

August 9, 2011

Training Tuesday

Last week, I was dedicated. I wasn't about to let an accidental trip to Texas and a late flight home stop me from getting in all of my workouts and I didn't. I switched things up a bit, sure, but I still got all of my workouts in.

You know what I learned last week? That despite what I read in the blog-o-sphere...I don't really think that anyone runs at 5am. Tuesday night, I went to bed bright and early. I set aside my running gear and set my alarm for 5am so that I wouldn't have to bring my running stuff to Houston. I was only going to be there for a day so I wanted optimal time with The Pilot. Well 5am came along and it was pitch black outside. I don't know where you supposed-5am runners live but in my summer neck of the woods, there aren't very many street lights and running at 5am is impossible...unless you want to feel like you're running with a blind fold on.

So I got up, made breakfast, and repacked my overnight bag to include my running gear. It's a good thing I got on the first flight I tried to get on and The Pilot was still working otherwise, we would have had to turn our  less than 24-hour visit into a sweaty visit...which I didn't want to do this time around. So my question to those of you "5am runners" you all live in Norway where it's daylight 23 hours a day? If not, then what time do you really run.

Anyway, we're hear to talk about training. So let's take a look at what this week is going to look like shall we?

MCM Training: Week 3
Total Mileage Last Week: 28
Missed Workouts: 0
Trouble Spots: Horrible cramps. To all of my gym teachers who said that regular exercise helps menstrual lied. My hip flexor was still tight through the week but after Saturday's yoga fest, I'm feeling much better.
Planned Mileage This Week: 32

This Week's Training: 
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 4 miles easy (9:58/mile) with 4 strides
Wednesday: 7 mile hill workout
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 4 miles with 2 miles at Marathon Pace
Saturday: 4 miles easy (9:58/mile)
Sunday: 13 miles (9:58/mile)

Goals for this week: Decide what my marathon pace will be and lock it in. Since getting into the gym to start strength training was a major fail, try getting in at least 2 Nike Training Club workouts.
Current annoyances: My Garmin has been very temperamental this week.
Things to keep in mind: Electrolyte replacement is key and yoga really helps loosen up my hamstrings and hip flexors.

That's the week ahead! Today's run was great! I had never done strides before in a run and I really enjoyed the short bursts of pushing myself on a shorter run. I'm also glad I'm out of the prescribed 10:xx mile runs and am starting to speed things up. My training plan has my easy runs getting faster and faster over the weeks which is good because I feel like starting slow is really helping with injury prevention. I'm feeling great going into this week!

So what's going on with you? Are you training for anything right now? How's your training going

PS: Don't forget to add me on Twitter!

August 8, 2011

love/don't love

1. Today is Monday and that means it is a rest day. Love.
2. NYRR posted on Facebook this morning that when it's 90 degrees outside (which it was yesterday), the sidewalks are about 150. That explains why my 10 mile run yesterday beat the hell out of me. Don't Love.
3. I am surprisingly not sore after my sweat-tastic weekend of yoga and running. Love.
4. Escape to Yoga Island was an absolutely fantastic event and I wish Lululemon did it every weekend.

5. Governor's Island might be my new favorite place in New York. Love.
6. Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band are playing at the Meadowlands this weekend and none of my friends like country music leaving me without a country music buddy. Don't Love. 

7. I still have 3 more weeks of vacation before school starts and I'm only working very minimally during this time. Love.
8. I caved. I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. You can follow me here. Love/Don't Love.

That's all for today!

I'm in the planning stages of giving my blog a bit of a revamp and I want to hear from you! What do you like about my blog? What keeps you coming back to it? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great week everyone! 

August 7, 2011

Ballpark #14: Minute Maid Park

When The Pilot texted me last week asking if I wanted to come down and go to the Astros game, I couldn't refuse.

The Astros are one of the few teams that I've actually never seen play so I was excited to see a new team on the field...even though they're currently the worst team in major league baseball. We got to the game about an hour before it started so that we could walk around for a bit...and of course take pictures.

When we got to the Box Office, we were looking at the seating chart trying to decide what we wanted when the lady behind the counter said, "We have Field Box seats for $11 today, interested?" Field Box seats? For $11?? I'm in! We ended up sitting about 10 runs behind 1st base. It was awesome.

The jumbo-tron was huge!
We were both hungry when we got to the game so we stopped at the FiveSeven Grill for a bite to eat. The menu was a little pricey so we decided to share the spinach and artichoke dip as an appetizer. Spin dip with tortillas and crostini? Yum.

The FiveSeven Gill
After we ate, we walked around the ball park for a while and (of course) stopped in the Team Store. I've been collecting pins from all of the stadiums I go too and the one I picked up in Houston is definitely my favorite.

By the time we got to our seats, it was already the 3rd inning and the Astros were up by 2 against Cincinnati. By the 6th inning, the Reds had tied up the game which made it interesting. In between at-bats, we stopped to buy some Blue Bell ice cream because they only have it in Texas and it's amazing. Of course, as soon as we left to get ice cream, the Kiss Cam started up and we missed it. The Pilot and I have been trying to get on the Kiss Cam at every baseball game we go too! And our seats were so good, I'm almost positive we would've gotten on if we had stayed in our seats because every time they panned the audience, our section was always shown. Bummer!

You can take the girl outta the Honky Tonk...
Anyway, we devoured our ice cream in about 35 seconds and watched the rest of the game. At the top of the 7th, the Reds scored another run taking the lead 3-2 but the Astros came back at the bottom of the 7th and brought the game up to 4-3 and scored another run in the 8th. Despite the Reds scoring at the top of the 9th, they were unable to take a 9th inning lead and the Astros won.

The Home Run train was...anticlimactic. 
When the game ended, the stadium erupted. You would have thought they had just won the NL Championships or something! They had won the series which I don't think they had done in awhile and people were just jumping up and down, cheering, screaming, it was great! I don't think I've seen fans that excited over a win at any game before.

I loved Minute Maid Park. It's a domed stadium and they had the roof up so we were indoors but all of the windows in the outfield brought in enough natural light that you still felt like you were at a baseball stadium. That was my biggest gripe about Tropicana just didn't feel like a baseball stadium. But Minute Maid Park was great. The people there were all so unbelievably friendly. It felt like everyone at the ballpark was making an effort to make sure I was having a good time. Now that's how a baseball stadium should be...unlike my last baseball stadium experience.

Not to mention, the stadium is beautiful! I love the way it's set up. I love how all of the new stadiums are being built so that you can walk around the entire ball park and really see everything. And I have to comment on the paint was fantastic! The way they painted that stadium to reflect the Astros colors was really nicely done!

Whenever I tell people I'm on a mission to visit every MLB stadium, the one question I always get is, "What's your favorite so far?" And I always have a tough time answering. On the one hand, I'm a Mets fan and I love CitiField but I feel like because I'm a Mets fan, I'm biased so when considering my favorite ball parks, I always try to leave CitiField out to be as fair as possible. Until last week, it was a toss up between AT&T Park and Camden Yards. But I think Minute Maid Park just climbed to the top of that list!

So that's that! 14 ball parks down, 17 to go! Making it before 25 is definitely going to be a challenge but hey, at least I'm having fun along the way!

August 5, 2011

Oops...I went to Texas

When I came back from India, I swore I wasn't getting on a plane again until at least September when I have to travel for a wedding.

I'm so tired and worn out from traveling and living out of a suitcase that the simple idea of this travel-loving girl leaving to go anywhere on a plane was appalling.

As soon as I landed, I had all of my friends around the country saying, "Oh! You came back early? Come to ______!" Boston, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, name it, someone was trying to lure me onto a plane to suck the travel life out of me for good.

I said, it's not happening. I swore it wasn't happening.

Then, a very handsome pilot who happens to be in Houston at the moment training for his new pilot job sent me this text message on Tuesday afternoon:

Woah. Wait a minute. I had just gotten back from my run, I was doing my hair, minding my own business, thinking he was going to come see me the next day. And I wasn't supposed to be going anywhere! Well, that was Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, I found myself on an 8:30am flight to Texas.

Handsome pilot + baseball game + new stadium to cross off + handsome could I not??? I have a weakness for baseball. And boys in uniform. Well, one boy. In a pilot's uniform.

So I broke my vow of travel abstinence and I went to Texas. I landed around noon, got some food, checked into the oh so fancy hotel (not really) that my boyfriend and all of his other pilot friends are living in for the summer and hit the gym for a 5 mile hill workout...sans headphones because I forgot them. 5 miles and a shower later, I was watching reruns of "Friends"  in a hotel bed (I love hotel beds) waiting for Mr. Pilot to get done. Then, he whisked me away to Ballpark #14. And we had a blast.

I swear, we could have fun in a dungeon. We went to the game, got dinner afterward and the next morning, we went to the airport, walked around it for about 3 1/2 hours and then I hopped on a flight home.

It was perfect. While I still have no desire to travel anywhere requiring me to pack a suitcase (I brought a purse on this trip with a change of clothes and my running shoes...that's it. I should win an award for how light I pack), I would absolutely take another overnight trip to see my handsome pilot again because this was quite possibly one of the best times I've ever had with him. (Mush, mush, mush, I know, I'm sorry)

But we're both hoping that those overnight trips don't have to happen anymore so that we can finally take the LD out of our LDR. We'll see.

Oh and today? Despite getting in late last night and still sneaking in a 4 miler at 11pm, I spent the day dancing on the streets of Queens...and got paid for it. I love my job. (Sometimes.) Then I took my 10-year-old niece to go see High School Musical at the community theater I used to perform in.

That's right. I used to do community theater. And you know what? I was good at it. But we can talk about that later because now, I need to go to bed. I have 4 miles to run tomorrow and a lot of yoga to do. 

Hope you all had a great week!
Have a fantastic weekend!
Oh and go do something spontaneous. It's good for you. I promise.

August 2, 2011

Training Tuesday

The start of the end of summer means one thing for most runners...Fall Marathon training is in full swing.

For me, though, I'm really just getting started. While I have a training plan, being in India for the first week of training really made it difficult to run any more than 4 miles without suffering from heat exhaustion. (I got pretty sick after one such run in Delhi.) And coming back from India was even harder...between jet lag, being sick and just being exhausted from traveling, my 2nd week of training was a bit of a bust as well. I still managed to get 15 miles in out of my planned 28 for the week...not terrible.

But that meant that last week, it was time to crank things into full gear...and work really hard at not getting injured by basically going from 8 mile weeks, to a 15 mile week, to a 30 mile week. But I did it and it was tough, but I'm feeling strong.

I'm running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30 and I couldn't be more excited about it. I've been out of training mode for almost 4 months and I've realized that that's way too long for me to go without training, so now that I'm finally in full swing for MCM training, I'm really excited about it. I'll be writing these posts each week to talk about how my training is going, solicit advice, offer advice and keep track of how I'm preparing for my 2nd attempt at 26.2. I've got big goals for this race and I'm excited to share them! So, here's what training Tuesdays are going to look like:

MCM Training: Week 2
Total Mileage Last Week: 30
Missed Workouts: 0
Trouble Spots: A tight hip flexor that left me stretching on the side of the road half way through my long run
Planned Mileage this Week: 28

This Week's Training: 
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 4 miles (10:04/mile)
Wednesday: 5 mile hill workout
Thursday: Time Trial (1 mile)
Friday: 4 miles (10:04/mile)
Saturday: 4 miles (10:04/mile) + Escape to Yoga Island!
Sunday: 10 miles (10:04/mile)

Goals for this week: Get into the gym and start strength training
Current annoyances: Sweat dripping down mosquito bitten legs is painful
Things to keep in mind: Body Glide is my friend and foam rolling is not just for after a run. 

I'm really excited to go to Yoga Island on Saturday with one of my girlfriends who I haven't seen in ages! I also might be meeting up with some blog friends there, so if you're in the NY area and planning to go, let me know so I can come say hi! I'm also hoping that getting in the gym and doing so me yoga will help with the tightness in my hip flexor. I've had some issues with it in the past and it even creeped up with me at Mile 18 of the Philadelphia Marathon so I'm hoping that yoga, stretching and foam rolling will get me loosened up this week!

So, that's Training Tuesday! Let me know what you think! Do you like the way this post is set up? Do you want to see more of something/less of something? Let me know! I'd love your feed back! 

August 1, 2011

June & July Recaps!

Hey there friends! Happy August! I hope you all had a fantastically sweaty weekend! I absolutely did! With Marine Corps Marathon training finally under way, I enjoyed nice, easy 5 mile runs on Friday and Saturday, a not-so-easy 9 miler on Sunday followed by a 3 mile shakeout run Sunday evening. Can I just say that running doubles makes my legs hate me heart beat a little faster?

I've been home from my round-the-world travels for 2 weeks now and I can't tell you how good it is to be home. Especially since I'm home home, like at Mom's house, enjoying Mom's cooking, my own bed, my two adorable nieces who live around the corner, and my very nearby aunt's wonderful swimming pool. It was a tough trip and I'm still recovering from it but I learned a lifetime of experiences and while I didn't love every single minute of it, I absolutely cherish everything I learned and experienced and did.

Oh Sarajevo, I miss you already <3
So let's see, I should have been writing June's recap while I was in Bosnia, but I was too busy enjoying my new favorite city in Europe and telling you all about it to worry about recapping. For those of you who are new here (hi friends!), each month I recap how I'm doing on my 25 Before 25 List! It's a fun way to keep track of how I'm doing and plan what fun things I'm going to do for the next month! So, without further ado, in the month of June, I:
  • Read the Book of Job
  • Read The History of the Pelopponesian War from The Book List
  • Watched 3 movies off The Movie List: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return of the King and Se7en
  • Made 2 recipes: The Power Classic & Avocado Bruschetta
  • Took a photography class!
And then I left for Europe and had a wonderful time studying, shopping, eating and drinking in Europe for the rest of June and into July, during which I:
  • Read the Books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs
  • Went to India!
  • Read Machiavelli's 'The Prince' and Tolstoy's War and Peace
  • Went on a trip by myself (Rome and India)
Oh did you see that? I read War & Peace, the number 1 book off The Book List. I loved it.

It was definitely a challenge to read and if it wasn't so long, I would turn around and read it all over again. It was that good. I've had really mixed opinions on the books on my book list but so far War & Peace and Gone With the Wind have been added to my list of favorite books and I can thank this list for that! 

All in all, it's been a really productive summer! I'm excited for what the month of August will bring, especially the high mileage that comes with Marathon Training! I promise to myself to never go a year between marathons ever again =) 

Hope you've all had a fabulous Monday! I know I have!
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