Monthly Archives: April 2012
This weekend, I went golfing….kinda.
I did head over to Chelsea Piers with Jordan and Collin to attend a GOLF FEST, where we tested out our skills on the driving range. Before we made it to the clubs, though, we meandered through the venue, stopping at different booths to get “stamped” so we could enter to win a trip to HAWAII. We listened to a few pitches (“Are you looking for a new, private golf club?” and “interested in playing 18 holes in New Jersey?) and tried our best to show some sort of believable interest. Along the way, we got Chris Canty’s autograph.
He is a big man.
After handing my caddy my Callaway clubs and changing out of my argyle, I headed to the Upper East side to go to J.Crew for bridesmaid dress shopping (!!). The UES is always an interesting place to venture; I’m not sure which I saw first: the main set of Gossip Girl, or a woman pushing her dog in a stroller. Regardless, after two very strong looking men opened up the doors into J.Crew for me (must be heavy doors) I met part of the wonderful wedding party to totally girl-out and try on faaaancy dresses.
Kate is letting us wear whatever, as long as it’s peach/coral/pink/orange colored. And turns out we’re easy to please. We each fell in love with the first dress we put on. (Though, may not be what’s pictured!) We were in and out of there in less than an hour!
Soon after, it was back downtown to head to Boqueria, a VERY tasty tapas bar in Flatiron. On our way there, I think Flo said something along the lines of, “That was so girly, I need to drink a Guinness.” Welp, that did not happen, as we decided on drinking four pitchers worth of sangria, along with crab fritters, sauteed spinach, roasted artichokes, and holy moly: bacon wrapped dates stuffed with almonds. Oy. Vey.
All in all, it was a splendid weekend! I was also able to sneak in a glorious 10-mile run this morning that started in Central Park and carried me down the Westside Highway. The plan was to keep it super comfortable and run 8:30′s, but the hills in CP make me want to run faster for some reason. And then Beyonce comes on and I..can’t…slow..down. But the pace still felt comfy and I was so happy to get a longer run back under my belt. Literally one of the best mood-boosters on the planet.
welp, see ya later
It’s funny to think about… well, the way you thought as a kid.
For instance, I thought “right” and “left” switched sides annually. (Still have trouble with that one.) I also thought “prosecute” and “execute” were synonyms, so whenever I saw a sign that said “all trespassers will be prosecuted,” I was slightly terrified of walking on the wrong side of the road.
That said, I came across a journal from my 7th grade English class, and learned I was pretty spot-on when it came to what I wanted to be when I grew up. Granted in elementary school I thought I was either going to be an ice cream girl or an astronaut….. but by the time I reached the ripe age of 13, it seems I had most of my stars aligned. Evidence?
Case and point #1 — I have always loved to write and tada, it’s what I do! However, back in 7th grade I wasn’t really writing about health and fitness. The story I was referring to, Locust Beach, was actually about a young orphan named Josh, who escaped from his abusive foster home and started working at a corner store to save up money to buy a puppy. The store gets robbed and he is shot in the arm. His arm is amputated. (?) His manager buys him a puppy as a get well present. Then, Josh meets a cute girl, who pity’s him. They build a boat and sail to an island. With the dog. They fall in love.
Obviously, it was mix of tragedy, romance, and adventure. Shakespeare meets Twain, if you will.
Luckily, I gave a second answer too. If I couldn’t write, I would be what else, but a phys ed teacher. (Where the health/fitness comes in, how convenient!)
… little did I (sorta) know!
Perhaps my favorite snippet, though, was my concern with what students would call me if I ended up taking the teacher route. Since my last name is more or less impossible to pronounce, I hoped I could go by “Laura.” This captures my little “attitude problem”:
Either way, it was fun to stumble across this and see how oddly accurate my career choices were. I also now know that prosecute and execute do not mean the same thing, so I can breathe a bit easier.
Guess it’s not so bad to grow up.
As you may know, I applied for the Nuun Hood to Coast team a couple weeks ago. I was incredibly excited about the idea of going, but I did not want to get my hopes up. Rather, I tried to focus on the fact that I LOVED putting together my powerpoint, and it helped me realize and be even more thankful for some things along the way. Also, I didn’t want to be disappointed. I knew a lot of people were applying, and my chances were quite tiny.
So as I’m sitting on a patch of grass outside a strip mall in Greenacres, FL (visiting my beloved Grandma, and waiting while her and my mom browsed in Marshalls…), I took out my fancy-phone and checked to see if I made the team. And as I tried to convince myself over and over “don’t be upset, don’t be upset,” on my tiny little screen I caught my name.
I think I jumped. Then ran into Marshalls. I never thought I’d run into a Marshalls.
Thank you, Nuun, SO MUCH for this wonderful opportunity. I cannot really explain how excited and grateful I am, along with the fact that I want August to happen..now. In and of itself, Hood to Coast is a dream. It’s a 200-mile, overnight relay race that starts on the slopes of Mount Hood and heads west, through Portland, over the Coast Range, and down to the beach on the coast. Holy moly.
But I’m even more excited that I’m running with Nuun. Besides the fact that I think their product is quality awesomeness, I totally admire their company (suppp startups!) and the pride and belief in their product is both honest and contagious. They believed that active people deserve better than what’s out there in terms of hydration (sugary gatorade, sodium-filled water, etc) so they went out to fix that. Totally inspiring!
Now, mix that in with traveling in a van with other awesome, strong women, shlepping around sleeping bags, making new friends, runnnning, roughin it…
…and the view. I can’t even talk in real sentences right now. This opportunity basically puts together every. single. thing. I. adore.
I still can’t really believe that a year ago, I would have never thought I’d be in this position. I’m so lucky to wake up every morning and be excited for work, and I’m so happy it has exposed me to another world of people that are truly incredible. And I neeeevvverr thought my blog would grow like it has, that people actually read it (and return!) and it could really help me start doing the things I truly love to do.
All in all, SO STOKED. And thrilled. And Congrats to all who applied — everyone is incredibly worthy. As for the Nuun Team, I can’t wait to tweet ya, meet ya, run with you, and make a ton of new friends !
April has been great.
I ran my first twenty-miler, headed to Long Island for Easter, celebrated my 24th birthday, ran a half marathon, got back into yoga (namaste), and am now, in real time, sitting with my mom by our hotel pool in Florida, enjoying wine and cheese after an afternoon of hard chilling with my Grandma.
Yet, there’s more.
This past Thursday, Greatist celebrated its first birthday. I am nothing but impressed, humbled, and incredibly grateful to work with such an amazing group of people, and I was so proud of our team as we celebrated the big day — especially those who have been with Greatist since day one.
And celebrate we did. After a champagne toast (followed by quickly finishing off three bottles…#wearegreatists), we headed uptown to Rosa Mexicano for a delicious dinner of guacamole and sangria (with a side of individual entrees). After a wonderful meal and nothing but entertaining conversation, we parted ways. And as I traveled back to Brooklyn and (not soberly) hopped into bed, I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve: We were going hiking the next day.
It’s a little more than obvious that I love escaping the city and enjoying a good stint with nature. But to do it with six friends…even better! Our trail leader picked us up right at HQ, and we enjoyed a nice drive about 50 miles north, abandoning the city and the smells and the sounds and the rhythms, if only for a few hours.
We hiked around Canopus Lake in Fahnestock State Park while taking in the sights and fending off bears, mountain lions, and other wild beasts (Sorry, I’m in Hunger Games mode.) We did pass the occasional frog, dragonfly, and bird, which was more or less just as exciting. And less life-threatening.
But the fun don’t stop there. After the hike, we drove to the Millbrook Winery to sample some wine and make a human pyramid. (In that order, actually, which is maybe why we decided on the pyramid.) The tasting was super fun, too; one of their white wines surprised me (the half oak, half steel fermented one), and my favorite red ended up not being a cab, but something else…that I forget. But it was great.
Now back to the vino with the madre. Here’s to another nine wonderful days of April!
“This can be the most amazing hour of your life.”
I was in a room that was about 95-degrees, and it was only getting hotter. My hamstrings were painfully tight, and sweat was already forming small ribbons down my back. I was in down-dog.
“Or, it can be the worst.”
I knew there was a catch.
Me and a few friends were at Prana Yoga for our new Monday night ritual of hot vinyasa followed by cold smoothies and warm brussel sprouts. It’s a nice tradition; Monday’s are actually one of my favorite days of the week, and I look forward to both capping the day and starting the week in a small room filled with other half-naked yogis drenched in sweat, harshly getting rid of whatever it was about the day through their pores.
“Just give yourself one hour — one simple hour — to do something for yourself. In this small amount of time, everything is only about you.”
The instructor’s words are smart. Moving from down-dog to plank, my breath is controlled, and I tune into my body. For once, other people don’t matter.
Then she added something along the lines of, “Take this time to devote your practice to a teacher from your childhood who made a big impact on your life.”
I was confused. I understood the sentiment behind her actions, yet after channeling my energy into making this the most narcissistic hour of my life, I couldn’t redirect my thoughts back to another person. So I (like Kelli, which I found out later) simply devoted the practice to myself.
The first thing I tried to do for good ol’ self-devotion was let go. This idea of getting rid of thoughts is something I think about often (maybe that’s my problem?), and fail miserably at even more so. To be fair, the amount of thoughts we have daily is super overwhelming. The roundabout number is up for debate (how would you calculate it, anyway?) but some believe we conjure up to 60,000 thoughts a day. Doing a little math, that’s 2,500 thoughts an hour. So, to just throw out over two thousand thoughts during a yoga session is, well, hard.
Maybe I should have dedicated this to Mrs. Flood.
We’re moving through some flows at a rapid pace, and if it wasn’t for the whole 100-degree hot box thing, I think I would’ve faired a little better. We’re repeatedly moving into chaturanga, jumping up into chair pose and low lunge, and jumping back into the flow again. I’m hurting, I’m shaking. I’m convinced I’m sweating more than any other person in the room. Fuck: I’m thinking.
Yoga is without a doubt the most challenging thing I put my mind through. Stick me in a gym blasting Rihanna and I’ll vinyasa no problem — side plank and low lunge and sit in boat pose till I’m out in some river. But being able to do that in a yoga class doesn’t actually matter at all. What matters, as #namaste as it may sound, is to actually embrace that hour in the class and look inward, to stop fighting the heat and the burning and the tightness, and fall out of poses and climb into child’s pose and just accept it, and yourself, because that’s what you should do and it doesn’t matter and nothing matters, and the practice is wonderfully and selfishly yours…. and only yours.
Race report time! I’ve never done one of these…so I guess I’ll start off by saying this was my first half, and there will be MANY more to come. This racing thing is addicting, eeesh. My training leading up to the race has been awesome, and I was really curious as to how fast I could run it and how I’d feel.
To be fair (and to state it now), I have never felt soooo shitty running before. My whole office was hit with the norovirus last week, and since then, I’ve been feeling really off. This whole week I was unusually exhausted, yet I was hoping to feel better by Sunday. Alas, by mile three, I didn’t even know if I would finish. Shall we break it down?
Before the race, I bumped into Jocelyn and Ellie, a wonderful surprise! I was lucky to start off in the second coral, so was able to cross the start line about a minute after the gun went off. The crowd energy was AWESOME, and I got goosebumps seeing the huge pack of runners start moving once the race began. I also had Countdown playing (obvs) which set the mood. I did some weaving, but mostly stayed with the pack in order to keep my pace under control since I tend to go out too fast. So far, so good. Mile 1- 7:57
I actually did more weaving in the second mile while trying to find a good, comfortable pace. The second mile was in 7:41 and I felt like I was finally beginning to settle.
Then mile 3 happened. I oddly started getting the chills, as if I had a fever. My body would get super hot, then super cold, and I felt nauseous out of nowhere. I thought I was going to puke, which is maybe why this mile sped up to 7:25 (run away from the sickness!) I definitely freaked myself out, but tried to ignore it and carry on..
Mile 4- 7:36, mile 5 7:54. This was back by the Harlem Hills, which are no joke. I felt good going up them, but still was experiencing some nasty chills and really started to worry. Luckily, Rhianna’s “Yo Da One” came on and it put me in a better mood.
By mile 6, my body felt better, so I tried to re-find my groove. Mile 6 was in 7:37, and mile 7, 7:32. At this point we finished one loop of the park and I felt more optimistic, even excited. I saw my parents in the crowd and gave em’ a wave, and was ready to conquer the second loop.
Conquer I did not. Mile 8 was in 8:07 and I thought I was going to pass out. I felt super woozy and light headed, and was seeing black spots (sorry I didn’t mention this ma, kinda downplayed it!). There was also a hill in there I pathetically climbed, while most people passed me.
Mile 9 must’ve been a downhill, since I ran it in 7:49. At this point, I just wanted to hit the 10-mile mark, since then I could tell myself I only had a 5k left, and no matter how awful I felt I could suck it up and finish.
At the 10th mile, I was really unsure if I was going to finish. I was incredibly frustrated since my legs felt great, but the rest of my body was struggling. This was also the second round of the Harlem hills, which were nooo bueno. Mile 10- 8:20.
Mile 11 and 12 were in 8:37 and 8:24, and I had to refer to my ol’ pep talk: “This hurts, but it’ll hurt just the same if you slow down. So go faster and you’ll be done sooner.” It really does work — the pain doesn’t lessen thaaat much if you drop your pace a little bit, and at this point I just wanted to find the finish line. The chills were back and I had goosebumps all over my body. Funny though: At this moment I also felt incredibly lucky that I was able to push through all of this, and that my body was actually letting me finish. I knew I had slowed down and wouldn’t hit sub 1:45 (my goal), but I didn’t care. I even think through all the delirium, I smiled.
Mile 13 was in 8:06, and the last .whatever was in 7:44. According to RunKeeper, I ran 13.5 miles (probs cause of the weaving), and my official time was 1:46:40. I’ll take it.
After the race, I had a little moment that included the fetal position, a patch of grass, and a nice man who brought me over some water. Then I chugged some gatorade, found my parents, and felt a tad better. We cheered on Laura, who was running with her mom (so wonderful!!) and then afterwards, it was to Lansky’s for a deliciouuuuus brunch with Laura, Theodora, + families/friends! The conversation was anything but dull. Mimosas helped.
So while I’m not suuuper stoked about how this race turned out, I’m excited to try again. Oh, and it looks like I will be running a marathon in the future. Jocelyn and Laura are purchasing me a marathon entry for my birthday. How..sweet. (They’re sneaky like that…) Ps- “swashbuckling fun,” Jocelyn??
CONGRATS TO EVERYONE WHO RAN!!! And thank you for all the support and well wishes for this first race. I feel like I’ve just joined some super awesome, secret club that I never want to leave… : )
Today I turn 24. And I’m stoked, because I really like the number 24. So to celebrate, here are 24 things* I’ve learned in my little life:
1. (Sober) dancing solves most things.
2. Sushi solves everything else.
3. Birthdays are overrated.
4. You’re never too old to nap. (Ignore the masks.)
5. Life….it gets better. But you have to make it better yourself.
6. Never forget to play hard to get.
7. Don’t walk through a swamp in birkenstocks, then put them in a plastic bag and forget about them. They will mold.
8. When in doubt, eat (and finish) pie.
9. Politics suck. But they’re also important. So follow along.
10. Whiskey shouldn’t be ruined with pickle juice.
11. Your mother and your mother’s mother are just older versions of yourself. Wait for it (…)
12. Long Island may suck, but it’s pretty.
13. Skiing hungover is one of the most nauseating experiences ever created by alcohol and humankind.
14. Alpacas are the cutest animals in the world.
15. Everyone can run a mile.
16. Ghana is a magical place. And so are a thousand other countries. It’s your experience that makes it that way.
17. Playing an instrument is one of life’s secret treasures. (Yep, I just used the phrase “life’s secret treasures”…)
18. Ginger ale may be better than water.
19. Weekday happy hours are better than (most) Saturday nights.
20. Pool tables should be in every bar.
21. Pitching a tent is very gratifying.
22. Eat well mostly because it’s delicious, then because it’s healthy.
23. $5 Beer + shot is why I like Brooklyn.
24. When you need something pretty in your life, just look up. Skies are always beautiful.
*Hopefully by next year, I can learn one more thing.
If someone were to combine all of my absolute favorite activities into one event, I’m preeety sure the Hood to Coast Relay would be it. A 199 mile relay race? Trecking from Mt Hood (<3 mountains) to the beautiful Pacific coast? (OMG). Running night legs, and ”roughin’ it” in a sweaty van and sleeping bags with other amazing people the rest of the way? Yes. Please. So when I found out Nuun was opening up the opportunity for more relay teams for this year’s event, I knew I had to apply.
But first, do you know what Nuun is? You should! Think of it like better-for-you Gatorade; they’re electrolyte tablets that easily dissolve into water, have NO sugar, less than 8 cals, and are a great way to hydrate before and recover after a workout. It’s pretty much genius, and I use em quite often. (Even when not working out…)
I’m not video saavy, so decided to create a pimped out powerpoint for my application. In it, I wrote a poem (another one of my “hobbies”) that sort of tells an abridged story of my life, and how running helped take me to where I am today. It’s kind of personal/sentimental, so hooppppe you enjoy!
My mind is just buzzing thinking about the opportunity…so fingers crossed until the teams are announced. Good luck to all who are applying!
…you have nothing on Long Island. Yeah, I said it.
This weekend I went home for easter — doesn’t this photo screammmm spring? And while I mostly rested/caught up on sleep/hard chilled/got my brother his bday gift (from trader joes….), ate sushi, and received birkenstocks (thanks mom!), I also thought it would be smart to try running again after being sick. So of course I headed over to my ol’ stomping grounds: sunken meadow.
I went for a relaxed 5-miles, and stopped along the way to take some photos. I just wanted to enjoy my surroundings. Now do you understand why it was hard to convert to being a city-runner?
And here I was, from a map’s perspective. Far, far far from the city.
More/Fitness Half in less than a week! Whooooo’s running? Who’s excited?!
Yesterday, I half-died with the rest of the Greatist team, thanks to a mysterious stomach bug. (We may or may not spend almost all our time together.) And while I was wondering if my organs would give up on me or if I could make it to the bodega two blocks away (read: nope), I also had an extra, odd urge to be active. Blame it on being a prisoner to my own bed. (Anyone remember “The Yellow Wallpaper“?! Kinda like that, minus the baby and losing my mind.)
But rather than wanting to lace up my sneakers or head to my favorite yoga studio down the block, all I could think about was what will always, always be my favorite form of exercise: hiking.
I grew up vacationing in the Adirondacks, so was introduced to dirt trails and slick rock way before over-crowded beaches, stubborn tourists, and all-you-can-eat buffets. The first mountain I climbed was Rocky Mountain in Inlet, New York, and I even managed to do it in a cute purple skirt:
So at a very young age, I created a bond with the beautiful outdoors, and if I could choose only one type of exercise for the rest of my life, it would without a doubt be hitting the trails. Here’s my reasoning:
Don’t feel like running 26.2 miles? Don’t blame you. Luckily, walking 26.2 miles is way more feasible, and doesn’t take months of training.
You get to climb up things.
The best part about hiking is the climbing. Not only do you feel badass when you’re scrambling up rocks, you’re probably doin’ those functionals movements from time to time. And in certain cases, if the terrain is real tough, bike helmets are included.
Think of it like doing savasana right after holding a warrior 2 for waay too long, or cooling down between sets of pushups — while other workouts don’t always allow stopping, hiking encourages it. The views are good anywhere.
I know, the gym is great for however many reasons…but sometimes you need to get out of the sweaty confinements of the fitness floor and breathe in some fresh air. Plus, there are no creepy guys lurking…just a dad every now and then.
You can eat at the same time.
My two favorite activities in one! Besides eating some GU during a long run (does anyone actually think that stuff tastes good?) eating while working out doesn’t happen. And trail mix? C’mon. Best thing ever.
Who needs closed-toed, expensive Aasics or bball kicks when you can “work out” while your feet breathe freeeee…
No matter where you are, the view is always wonderful. (No yoga studio can match this.)
There’s literally a path, hill, mountain, or canyon wherever you are, along with amazing people who want to experience similar sights. And there’s something to say about reaching the summit with others…
Places left to hike:
Mt Kilmanjaro, Appalachian Trail, West Coast Trail (British Columbia), Tongariro Northern Circuit (New Zealand), anything in Zion, Annapurna Circuit (Nepal), Inca trail, Tour de Mont Blanc (France..), anything Smoky Mountains.
What’s on your hiking bucket list? Or…if you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be?!?!