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Posts from July 2008

Ooh, That Smell

Yesterday in the office I stopped in the mini-kitchen/pantry on my floor to put something in the fridge.  A colleague was making coffee.  Although it was three in the afternoon, and I always have my coffee in the morning, it smelled so good that for a moment I really, really wanted some.  I realized there are three things that always smell ridiculously delicious to me -- so much so that I always want them when I smell them: bacon, coffee, and popcorn.  Does anyone agree? 


Hold on to Your Silverware . . .

John giving Frank some direction

I know Pete was disappointed when he realized that there wasn't anything terribly exciting happening after I said that.  I literally meant that people should hold on to their silverware for the next course -- it just sounded like something wild was coming up next.  "Hold on to your silverware, folks, it's time for the flaming shots!"  Or something.  But no, merely another course in the pan-Asian dinner I cooked up on Saturday night after a week at the beach.  I copied the menu from a dinner party I had earlier in the year (for those of you interested in the recipes, you can find the links to some of them in this post; the rest are in New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant).  The rest of the week was filled with sun (although not enough), a few recovery-paced runs (thanks to Tara for the company), food, friends, and good laughs.  It also included building of a new bike rack (not by me -- see the picture above), a trip to Ocean Beach, some delicious biscotti made by Emilia, and one perfectly perfect martini. 

The only stress in my whole week was not being able to get the ice cream maker to work -- I literally yelled at it at the top of my lungs.  I screamed at an inanimate object.  While I was on vacation.  We had delicious ginger "soup" instead.  Enjoy this week's pictures.  Just a note -- some of the shots include Caroline's gorgeous makeup jobs on both me and Tara -- the pictures don't do it justice.  Frank took the professional (FoPro) shots.  If you are ever in need of a makeup artist for a wedding or special occasion, I'll put you in touch!


Who Knew There Were Jellyfish in the Hudson?!

DSC_0052
I certainly didn't.  But there are.  Or at least there were yesterday at about 6:35 a.m. when I started the NYC Triathlon.  I had gone to bed the night before at 9:30 after some carbo-loading at Lupa, and woke up at 3:30 a.m.  Had my pre-race breakfast of a pb&j on whole wheat, a banana, and a little iced coffee, then headed out the door at 4:30.  On the ride over, I passed through the Meatpacking District, which was bustling with activity and people still enjoying their nights out.  I arrived at transition yellow, my home base for the race, and the full moon gleamed above as the lights shone down on a sea of bikes.  I placed my gear, and joined my friend (and fellow triathlete) Amy for the walk up to swim start.  Along the way we got body marked (number on the left arm, age on the left calf), and picked up our timing chips, made some last minute pit stops, and wriggled into our wetsuits.  We waited in our designated staging areas until it was time to head down to the swim start barge.  The first racers hit the Hudson at about 5:50 a.m., and while I waited, I watched the other swimmers take off.  I felt pretty calm at that point.  I did see something that looked like a jellyfish in the water below, but I remember thinking -- nah, that's not possible.

I felt pretty good jumping into the water (not cold) and gave myself a little swimming space after the horn sounded.  I hadn't ever worn a wetsuit before, but I was glad that I chose the sleeveless version -- it felt a bit restricting.  Glad, that is, until I felt stinging on my right wrist, then a few minutes later, stinging on my left ankle.  Yep, jellyfish.  I kept swimming without incident until I bumped into a drinking straw (no injuries, but I expected garbage to be in the river), which I passed by to complete the swim.  FYI -- the Hudson tastes nasty.  You can't help getting the water in your mouth.  All along the run from swim finish to transition -- a 400 or so yard run during which you strip off the top half of your wetsuit, I kept spitting to try to get the taste out of my mouth.  The jellyfish stings were fading, but I felt kind of itchy.  I tried not to think about it. I did see my family when I got out, which was great -- they stayed put to wait for me to ride past on the bike start.

Back at transition, I peeled off my wetsuit, rinsed off my feet and donned socks and bike shoes.  I ate a gel, washed it down, then on with the gloves, helmet, and glasses, a little extra bodyglide in key places, then off I went.  Somehow this whole process, including the run from swim finish, took me 10 minutes and 55 seconds.  It's like I went off and had a picnic or something!  I left transition and headed off for the bike leg, passing my family again on the hill out to the course.

The bike was relatively uneventful -- a great 40k ride over rolling hills up to the Bronx and back.  I pushed hard on the downhills and flats and accepted the uphills, giving myself a time of 1:36:47. 

Back to transition, where all I did was take off the helmet, gloves, and sunglasses, and switch to bike shoes and a visor, but my transition was still 4 minutes (I'm hoping the bathroom break I took at this point was part of that rather than my run time).  Despite starting on an uphill, the first part of the run felt great.  I took it at a modest pace, knowing that it was hot and that running is not my strong suit.  Saw the family again on 72nd Street and headed off to Central Park. 

The run wasn't bad, overall.  Sure, there were hills, but nothing like the steep ones on last year's tri.  The water stations were spread out in between the mile markers, so I always had something to look forward to -- a mile marker or some water.  Given the heat, I slowed to a walk and had water at every hydration station, picking up my run again when I tossed my cup in the garbage.  Still, by about mile 4.5, I had about had it.  Luckily, I ran into Marla at about that point, which boosted my spirits, and then ran into April, who was out training for her half-marathon next week (good luck!!).  She ran along with me for about 1/2 mile or so, which helped so much. By the time she left I was in the home stretch, although I got frustrated by the crowds telling me I was almost there.  Sure, they were right, but it didn't feel like it!  For me, the "almost there" moment came at the last turn, when I heard my family call my name again, and then finally spotted the finish line and the race clock up ahead.  I dug in and sprinted the last 50 yards or so across the finish.  I was euphoric.  My run took 1:08:40, which was about what I expected.

They handed me my finisher's medal (which I wore the rest of the day -- hell, I earned it!) and an icy cold wet towel and off I headed to athlete recovery for water.  I spotted Rodez and Rebecca as I wandered over, and John, a high school classmate who I had run into the day before (hadn't seen him in 20 years before then; he does Ironman triathlons all over the world).  My family joined them, and they took a bunch of photos in my post-race high.  After a bit I was about ready to keel over, so I sat with my family for a bit before heading back to transition to collect my bike.

I finally made it home, took the best shower ever, and rested/stretched a bit before my post-race lunch and celebration at Otto.  Thanks to everyone who made it out, sent good wishes and provided support along the way, and joined me to celebrate.  I couldn't have done it without you.  My final time was 3:24:50.23 and pictures are here (no, I didn't post any of the swimcap/wetsuit ones.  blech.).  Congrats to Amy too -- it was great to have some company along the way.

Off to the beach for the week to recover, so likely offline till next week.


Tri, Baby, Tri

Well if Jennifer Lopez can do it, I should have no problem.  Here are the down and dirty details for tomorrow if you want to come out, or just follow along at home. 

My swim wave starts at 6:35 a.m. and I'll be wearing a lovely black swim cap, goggles, and a sleeveless wetsuit.  If you take pictures of me in this outfit, I will hunt you down and kill you.  After what was promised to be a personal-record breaking mile swim (I normally swim a mile in a half-hour), I'll be headed off to my home base, transition yellow.  I'll be dropping my bike off later today.  At the first transition I'll strip off my wetsuit, don a helmet, glasses, gloves, socks and bike shoes, down a power gel and head out for the bike leg, which will take me roughly an hour and 45 minutes.  After that it's back to transition to trade the bike shoes for running shoes, swap out the helmet for a visor, and lose the sunglasses.  One more gel if I feel the need, then on to 72nd Street for a clockwise loop around the top of the park.  The finish line, which I should hit about an hour after I start the run, is on Dead Road, just west of the bandshell on the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park.  Here's the whole course map.

According to the website, good places to watch include:
1. Swim Start - Riverside Park & 98th Street on the Hudson River.
2. Swim Exit - Riverside Park & 79th Street on the Hudson River.
3. Run Course along 72nd Street from Henry Hudson Parkway to Central Park West
4. Race Finish - Dead Road in Central Park near the bandshell off the 72nd Street Transverse

Also got more info yesterday that suggests a few other spots -- for the bike, there's a great view in Riverside Park from 83rd Street to 106th Street.  For the swim finish/bike start, Riverside Park at about 81st Street or wherever they let you go.  For the run you can try the West side of the Park, Park Drive East (I'll stick near the spectator side) or Cherry Hill before we head to the finish on Dead Road (this appears to be just north of the bandshell).

For timing purposes, or if you live in another state, you can follow me online by registering for alerts via text or email.  If you're looking for me on the course, I'll be wearing black tri shorts and a top that's lavender on the front and white on the back and turquoise seams (it's not as ugly as it sounds).  I ride a royal blue road bike wearing a white helmet, and on the run I'll have on a white Jackrabbit visor.  Oh, and I'll have a yellow number -- 2146.

Best of luck to the other triathletes out there, including Amy, Nick, Catherine H., and RennaissanceTriathlete.  See you across the finish!  If you're around and want to help me celebrate later on Sunday, shoot me an email.


Yaz!

After Sunday's trip back to the 80's, I took another trip last night to see Yaz at Terminal 5.  After having "Nobody's Diary" in my head all day, I was so excited that they opened their set with it!  Alison Moyet sounded pretty damn good.  Once again, the floodgates of my memory were opened, not just with the songs like "Situation," "In My Room," "Goodbye Seventies," "Midnight," "Bad Connection," but so many others I had forgotten about -- "Ode to Boy," "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)," and "Walk Away from Love" (how could I forget that one!?).  There was a bit of a false start to "Midnight" as she started in the wrong key (um,  Fourth of July, anyone?), but otherwise I was pretty impressed with the show -- the crowd was fantastic.  Roopa, Rumona, Andrea and I ended up on the upper level having our own little dance party in the corner, and I ran into Jules and Leah for the second time in less than a week!  All that and I even got to bed early, which is a must as the tri is on Sunday.  Going to pick up my race packet today!


Consumed

I'm a little obsessed with the triathlon at the moment, fretting about all the little details: where's my racebelt?  How am I going to get in and out of my wetsuit?  Can I make it through the whole race without a trip to the port-o-johns?  What did I get myself into!!??  Clearly it's time for a little attitude adjustment/positive thinking:  I have trained for this and am more than ready.  I am going to finish within my goal time.  I am going to feel great and have fun doing this!  Plus, there's a vacation waiting for me across the finish line, which helps.


The Final Countdown

Themightyhudson
Just a little snapshot of the Hudson that I took on a walk yesterday.  Yes, I'll be swimming in it on Sunday.  This weekend was primarily devoted to some serious tri training, since my race is less than a week away (ack!).  I stayed in on Friday night and cooked myself a lovely dinner of soft-shell crab with a side of pumpkin ravioli with sage and then had a hot date with Viggo Mortensen (I watched Eastern Promises).  Got up early Saturday to pound out 25 miles before a family luncheon, then headed home for a nap before Carrie's bday festivities.  Sunday I ran the Central Park loop (thanks Eric and Ammar for keeping my slow pace) before beginning the rest of the day.  The cap off to the weekend was seeing the Alarm, the Fixx and the English Beat at Irving Plaza, where the air conditioning was non-functional.  I stood on my weary legs for about four hours and got covered in sweat, but had a fantastic time.  The Alarm absolutely rocked, and stuck to a 2 new songs/1 old pattern, which kept their set moving along.  I had forgotten how many songs I actually new:  Absolute Reality, 68 Guns, the Stand, Spirit of 76.  Although the Fixx was my least favorite of the evening, they had the surprise "where was that stuck in my brain" song of the night -- Secret Separation.  The English Beat didn't necessarily have the same energy they did back in the day, but they were a blast to dance to.  I'm still absolutely shocked at how much of my brain space is filled with 80's song lyrics.  Thanks so much to Karen for keeping me company for my trip back to the 80's!

Happy 4th Birthday, Gothamist Food!

Our little food section turns four today.  Here's where it all began.  Some of my favorite posts:

My 722 posts, in all their glory (plus one later today), can be found here.


A Fun, Food, and Friend-Filled Foggy Fourth

Lovelyladies Well, the weather didn't cooperate all that much, but the weekend was still a success.  Not so great for tanning, but perfect for the annual pig roast (complete with annual rice and bean-cooking panic), a day trip to Ocean Beach, quality time on the deck, two semi-decent runs, the nastiest sandwich I ever ate (although it was made with love) and belly laughs galore (I won't get into what I was told my laugh sounds like).  You can find the pictures here.