Monthly Archives: February 2012
Here are some things I’m getting good at. Some are more unfortunate than others.
-Taking freezing cold showers. Either my landlord is evil, our building is cursed, or I’m experiencing some pretty bad karma. Whatever the reason, our apartment fails to provide us with hot water, oh, three days out of the week? I’ve had many a yelling match with my landlord (and I’m a pretty passive person). Just last night I screamed at him “MY HANDS TURNED BLUE WASHING THE DISHES.” Woops. The worst is coming back from a long run in the cold weather and showering in..cold water. Still, I’ve become a lightning fast scrubber and shaver. Gotta look at the bright side…?
-Running instead of taking the subway. The city loves to do MTA construction on the weekends. Which makes sense, I guessss, but still makes things quite inconvenient when I want to borough hop on my days off from work. Luckily, the Williamsburg Bridge is only a mile from my haus, so I ran a comfortable 3.5 miles to Strala Yoga rather than taking three, awfully out-of-the-way subways to get there. And while I planned to subway back, I took the wrong metro card with me (of course), and had to run. But I was SO ZEN from an amazing class that I literally…floated back home. And was able to enjoy the view.
-Drinking seltzer. I discovered a sort of sad thing the other day. Seltzer…doesn’t really quench my thirst. But once again, it’s always about looking at the (seltzer) glass half-full. Since it doesn’t really satisfy, I need to drink another bottle..and another..and another…so I’m totally hydrating.
-Collecting candles. Give me a few drinks, and I become fixated on
stealing collecting candles from bars. It gives our apartment some extra personality, no?
-Drinking with celebrities (kinda). First it was Penn Badgley at the Charleston, and now it’s Michael Cera at Enids. NBD. I’m weird whenever I see celebs, though. I don’t want to come across as star-struck, so rather than pining over them, I just…ignore. Or run away. You know, play it super cool so they think I’m super awesome. Except that they don’t ever see or meet me.
-Doing pull-ups. I’m almost done with my 3-week pull-up program I wrote for work. I was supposed to finish the 9th workout on Friday, but felt way too weird after an….interesting yoga class. So even though I have one more day to go, I tested my strength at McCarren Park after my run. And…I was able to do five pull-ups! (Started out barely able to do two.) I was like a little a kid in a candy store, beaming all the way home.
Till I took a cold shower.
Saw some hip-hop. And danced with the opening DJ. It was silly.
Ran eight miles to Union Square. Wanted to keep going but became ravenous, so ran to the farmer’s market to eat free samples.
Sat in a coffee shop with this one and wrote and wrote and wrote. And filled up on simple deliciousness.
Stayed as hydrated as possible, and saw an old, lovely friend visiting from Maine!
Drove with Al to Redhook to go grocery shopping. Said hi to Lady Liberty (squint) and a crab shack.
I also did my taxes. And by “did my taxes,” I mean I dropped them off at my brother’s, who gets to deal with multiple W-2′s and multiple addresses. Thanks, Jim! The refund is pending, but whatever I get back is going straight to
my savings account a plane ticket. After dropping them off, I was craving some sweet potatoes, beets, and chickpeas blended with cherries, so thank goodness I found this gem. It even came with 91 corn kernels. It’s my lucky night!
Before I started working at Greatist, I’d say I was relatively conscious of my own fitness. Yet I was pretty unaware of the world of exercise that existed around me, and I’m beginning to learn what a complex, controversial world it is. “Fitness” is not one big happy family. In fact, people have stroooong opinions of what the best way to get fit, lose weight, and stay healthy is, and they often ridicule other types of exercise in the process.
There’s backlash, questions, and concerns all over the place: People are claiming yoga can wreck your body, while lifting weights could not only be bad for the eyes, but fatal. And let’s not even talk about CrossFit—this exercise regime gets fingers (and fists) pointed at them daily. But what I was surprised to see was that running gets a lot of shit—more than I was aware. I read one startling article that was truthful in many ways, but was written to firstly create controversy, then display the truth. One of the subheads reads: “Aerobic training increases adrenal stress which can make you fatter and produce other undesirable health consequences.” Using such language like this fails to address the main issue, which is sure: People who clock in slow, boring miles aren’t going to get fit. This article does a better job addressing this point, as does this one, yet I’m still left with a sour taste in my mouth.
Maybe it’s because I’m a runner who’s simply getting defensive. Or maybe, my idea of fitness is different from yours, from this other guy, from this women, and this teenager, that it’s nearly impossible to create standards for what people should and shouldn’t do, and why. I am a firm believer that fitness is extremely personal and you’ll only get the results you want if you’re genuinely having fun. It is sad to see people log in slow, painful, and boring miles on the treadmill, thinking that’s the key to health. It’s equally as disheartening to see the same people at the same weight machines everyday, lifting slowly… and heavily (that a word?)…and drowning it all down w/ a muscle milk. And maybe they do it because they’re nervous of what may happen if they don’t, that the muscle will shed off, the fat will pack on, the abs will disappear. The startling truth is that most could stop exercising completely and just eat really well,and be as well off as the rest of them. Want to lose weight? Lose the brownie. It’s pretty simple. (Or maybe not?!)
If people start choosing their workouts based on preference, rather than choosing what seems to be “the best” option out there, then it’s absolutely the best fitness answer—for them. I have my own fitness goals which means I don’t have to do CrossFit daily—even if they claim to have created the best program to get fit. But what is “fit,” exactly? Can there be just one definition? Maybe, I don’t know. But what I do know is I workout because I love it, because I want do, and because it’s fun—not because I see exercise as a means to an end. I choose to go on the treadmill every now and then because call me crazy—but I enjoy it. I’m not saying I like a push up as much as a concert or a roller coaster ride, but …even push ups have a place in my heart. I don’t lift everyday (even if it does the body wonders) because I just don’t love it enough. This is not to say, of course, that if you absolutely love hatha yoga or long distance running you should only stick to those forms of fuel. Having fun doesn’t mean not pushing yourself or feeling uncomfortable from time to time; it means feeling strong and confident when you’re working, and proud..and enjoying the community around you and the people who motivate you, knowing you’re making the body healthier.
So what’s the single best exercise? Guess what, there probably isn’t one. So I think it’s sad when (some, but not all) runners have to get defensive, lifters act like know-it-alls, and CrossFitters think everyone else is just naive. Since when did fitness become this totem pole with everyone scrambling to the top?
Recently, Scott from iRunnerBlog was in a running funk, so his friend created a list of reasons why he liked to run. Inspired, Scott wrote his own list, and then asked that others do the same. (There also may be a contest + prizes involved, but nbd).
So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I figured I’d give this list a try. I’ve also been drastically cutting back on my miles, since I’m doing a 3-week pull-up training workout that leaves my arms numb and my legs bored. So, running—I miss you, and here is why I love ya:
1)The runner’s high at mile five. Always mile five.
2) The wonderful friends I have made.
3) Post-run brunch. Eggs. Always.
4) Long summer runs at Sunken Meadow. Sports bra and shorts. No headphones. Miles and miles of trails. Then run into the ocean.
5) Racing: Putting your bib on and lining up. Excited. Nervous.
6) Having strict “me” time where nothing else matters
7) Speed workouts—200m cutdowns. Running the curve.
8) The sense of accomplishment + pride from the discipline running takes.
9) How it clears my head and improves my mood—always.
10) Spitting. It’s fun. And completely necessary.
1) On Friday, Ali and I met on the LES to go to a bar & see a show. Yet once we got there, neither of us wanted to drink or pay $10 to see the band, so we decided to walk home. Over the bridge. Here I am “modeling” with Flat Stanley.
2) The two of us are also on a seltzer/diet ginger-ale kick. It’s bad. And too good. We brought over our own ”six-pack” for the Superbowl last week and kicked back with some carbonation.
4) My best friend Danielle was chosen to shoot for Fashion Week, because she is baller. And amazing. Here is one of her instagram photos. I can’t wait for her to become famous.
5) The only thing I miss about the summer is riding the train with this one and doing the crossword. Thankfully, the tradition was brought back for a short while when Nic stayed with me last week. (The easier the crossword, the better.)
6) I did not have a lick of alcohol this weekend, but probably only because I had my fair share w/ my partner-of-crime on Wednesday. What was supposed to be a quick “grab a beer and catchup” at our local bar quickly turned into way too many free shots of tequila (after I ironically wrote an article on the health effects of binge drinking). Woops.
7) I recently stumbled upon this blog and became enamored with this post. Kolby Kirk hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and recorded his travels in five mole-skin journals. It’s such a beautiful way to capture memories—putting things down by hand, having them tangible. (You know, unlike a blog…)
8) This weekend, I also had the pleasure of helping ref the New York Rogue Runners Hot Dog Challenge. The race? A 3-mile course that involved stopping at eleven hot-dog stands. Eleven. And eating a hotdog at each one. I recruited my friend David Tao, because although he is not really a runner, he is an eater. And you know what? He beat everyone. And won $250! He’s a Greatist!
By Bob Hicock
This is the story I’ve tried to tell. Guy
exists. Father mother sister brother.
Oh pretty stars, oh bastard moon
I see you watching me. The trembling
years leading to sex, the trembling sex.
Death as garnish. Death as male lead,
female lead, death as a cast
of thousands. God in, on, as, with,
to, around, because who knows
because. All the while feeling air’s
a quilt of tongues, that spaces
between words are more articulate
than words. It’s not like you’d hope,
that anyone can make sense.
Look around you, let your ears
breathe deep — almost no one does.
Have another drink. When they throw us out
there’s a place down the street
that never closes, after that
we’ll climb a fire escape and praise
the genealogy of light. The Big Bang
sounds like what it was, the fucking
that got everything under way.
That love was there from the start
is all I’ve been trying to say.
So…I think I’m slowly becoming addicted to racing. And it’s funny—while I loved it in high school, there was always this added pressure being on a team. Some people live off that, but it just stressed me out. Now that I’m only running for me, I can go into races not freaking out. And there’s something to say about the camaraderie. Runners just connect, and even though racing is competitive, everyone is down-to-earth and super friendly.
And for me, there is something way more satisfying about a Friday night in with friends and a documentary followed by waking up early and joining a herd of runners by the starting line. Saturday was an 8am wakeup call for another 10K (over in Riverside Park). I wanted to run it as a workout—not all-out, but not at a normal pace—and was pretttty successful! My hip was sort of out of whack and my breathing not so hot, but the power of positive thinking really did its thing as I kept repeating “it gets easier, it gets easier.” Which is so true. I ran negative splits (check em out) and felt better during the second loop around the park (except for those two damn hills. Eek.) And it’s super rewarding when you cross the finish-line, no matter what the clock says. Six miles is six miles, and now it’s over!
Unless it’s not. Which is also awesome. Laura, Jocelyn and I reconvened after we all finished, and slowed down the pace to run a comfortable five miles down to City Bakery to eat overpriced, but well deserved food. 11 miles in before 1pm? Try it sometime.
And as I woke up late this morning, sort of hungover, all I wanted to do was erase all the cabernet floating in my bloodstream and lace up my sneakers. I want to race again, and maybe push myself harder this time, and see how fast I can really go. And now I’m wondering, is 10K the magic distance? Will a half-marathon be feasible? Will I cross a marathon off my bucket list in the next year? Time shall tell.
But until then, Jocelyn tagged me in this blogger-question thingy. And to be honest, I wasn’t going to do it..but she said she “highly doubted” we would. So, gotta prove her wrong
1. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Probably a giraffe, so I could see the world at crazy heights. Or a cat, because they’re mischievous little creatures that hard chill all day.
2. What is the best date you have ever been on?
A gentleman took me out to a really nice restaurant once, and we were engaged in such an interesting conversation that we barely remember the awesome food. That’s how it should be, right?
3. What is your favorite book?
How We are Hungry, Siddhartha, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, The Dance of Life
4. Dogs or Cats?
Both. If you’re an animal lover, you like cats & dogs for different reasons.
5. If you could be any character from a TV series who would you be?
Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords, or Sawyer from Lost.
6. What is your favorite fruit?
7. If you were able to live any where in the world, where would it be?
Right now? Has to be NYC. Forever? Pacific Northwest. No job or no obligations? West Africa or Northern India
8. What would you do if you won the lottery jackpot?
Invest in Greatist, start/invest in a project abroad, give a bunch to my parents, lease out an apartment in Williamsburg on the water. Buy an amazing mattress.
9. Favorite flower?
10. What’s your favorite Web site?
The New York Times (nerd cough AH)
11. What is the best concert you have ever been to?
Fleet Foxes. Magical.
So, we rate things (sometimes unknowingly!) in life, right? And some things are overrated, and other times… they’re underrated. And I was thinking about this when walking home in the rain the other week, because I believe this to be a lovely, yet underrated activity (which I wrote about this summer!). So then I thought to myself that I should create a list with allllll the things I think are over or underrated and put them on this blog. Cause I can.
1. Fantasy Sports—I don’t understand the point of taking players and putting them on different teams and having “imaginary” games and betting lots of money and constantly checking stats… when you can watch REAL sports on tv. I just..don’t get it and never will :/
2. Rain boots—The thing with rain boots is… you need it to be raining ALL day for them to be a sufficient article of clothing. In my experience (singular because I’ve worn my pair once), rain boots aren’t really an all-day kind of wear-fare, and only really come in handy if you’re outside ALL day and it’s raining ALL day. Doesn’t seem worth the splurge.
3. Brad Pitt—Sorry Brad you have a square head and will never be good-looking.
4. Cheese—I knowwww, I just, don’t really like cheese that much? Add it to a sandwich or scrambled eggs and I can’t really tell! Some hard-cheeses are good (parmesan!), but goat cheese is whack and way too sophisticated for me (esp w/ beets). And fondue? That’s weird. It’s like fancy cheese-wiz.
5. MGMT—Hi I like wearing American Apparel and I like listening to MGMT. All their songs sound the same/ make me kind of anxious, they’re apparently bad live, and their band name isn’t an acronym. (But still in caps). Elitists.
6. Vodka—Rubbing alcohol in a bottle… even the good stuff. Vodka, unless you’re in a bloody mary, I hate you. (Plus you make me reaaally drunk).
7. Netflix—Why do I feel like everyone I know has/loves Netflix? I don’t have the attention span to sit and watch television/a movie on my laptop. Besides, I feel like films and episodes should strictly be a real-sized TV/couch kind of thing.
8. The Color Blue—Blah blah blah EVERYONE loves the color blue (as do I), but pick a new one. No one likes orange. Try liking orange.
9. New Years Eve—If I had it my way, I’d sit at home with a few friends and have wine (sans cheese) and play board games and maaybe acknowledge the stroke of midnight before putting some more houses on Park Place. The hype of New Years always freaks me out (although I genuinely enjoyed this past one), and a single champagne hangover is more than I can handle.
10. Money—There is having enough money (and being smart and generous to yourself and others for all your hard work to earn it)… and then there is having too much money and spending it for the wrong reasons and being greedy and unhappy and dramatic and oy. Money can make shit weird.
11. Facebook—Facebook, you official creep me out. I learned that the Giants won in OT because of you. You now have this timeline feature that confuses me. At least the poke thing is gone me thinks?
1. Loofahs—Okay, if you’re showering without a proper loofah, there is no way you are making that body wash soapy enough. Good loofahs are the key to cleanliness and happiness, and lots of soap suds.
2. Giraffes—These camels meet leopards are the COOLEST. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t talking about them all day. Their necks are insane (which these use as weapons!), their tongues are two feet long, they can’t cough, and one was famous enough to sponsor Toys R Us!
3. Seltzer—Why is non-flavored carbonated water so good? I dunno, but it is. And I drink a gallon and a half of it every night. Everyone else should too…it makes you feel “classy.”
4. Fela Kuti—All it takes is a few seconds of listening to realize Fela is a musical genius (RIP). So give him a try, he’s a pioneer of the Afrobeat: a multi-instrumentalist and composer meets human rights activist and political maverick. Not to mention a 100% Nigerian badass.
5. Flight of the Concords—I’m pretty sure this show died after two seasons, but the first season is hilarious, their songs are amazing, and they wear non-hooded sweatshirts better than anyone I know.
6. Lamps— I am pretty convinced there is nothing worse that those abrasive fluorescent lights in dorm rooms, offices, and apartments. If I had it my way, I’d never turn them on, and just plug in a bunch of quirky lamps. I currently have one in my room. It’s a tree lamp with bears climbing up it. Yep.
7. Graphic novels—Nope, these aren’t comic books. Not really. They’re longer, bound differently, and..well I’m not sure exactly how they’re different. But graphic novels are amazing and you should definitely give them a read. I recommend Persepolis or Fun Home
8. The NHL—Sigh. Nobody likes hockey these days (around here), and it’s a shame! It’s just as fast moving as basketball, except there are sticks, ice, and fights (!) involved. It’s like the perfect hybrid of the NFL, the NBA, and figure skating. I’m not sure why people aren’t obsessed.
9. Bob Dylan—Every now and then, I meet a Bob Dylan hater (ahem.. Rich). And this boggles my mind! His voice is cranky? Realllly? But that harmonica is just sooo good, and his songs are a crazy influential mix of Woody Guthrie meets Buddy Holly meets Little Richard. What’s not to love?
10. Socks—Can’t live without socks, and neither can you. There is nothing more perfect then getting home and putting on a pair of wool socks. Nothin!
11. New Mexico—This state— the Land of Enchantment— is by far one of the most magical in the U.S. New Mexico has both landscapes and urban culture. Albuquerque is colorful and crazy. Taos is breathtaking. New Mexico is a billion times better than Arizona, even though they’re next door neighbors. It’s insanely beautiful. You should go!