Monday, September 17, 2012

The New Me?

This past weekend, I accomplished something I never even imagined I would try.  I ran in, and completed, my first 10k! I still find it hard to believe that the girl who would dream of various potential accidents to self-inflict (hammer to the knee? tripping down the main staircase?) in middle school to avoid running the timed mile, would ever be crazy enough to sign up, train for and FINISH a 10k.  This past year or so, I've taken up running as a means to combat the impending obesity and diabetes my profession is sure to inflict on my body.  My contempt of this form of exercise has diminished from a a deeply rooted hatred to a middling tolerance even, dare I say, occasional enjoyment? I asked for and received new sneakers for Christmas and even invested in far from cheap exercise clothes to serve as incentive to maintain the little shape my body had obtained.  The last pair of sneakers I owned were purchased in middle school.

So late this spring, when my friend (and roommate) suggested we all sign up for the Color Me Rad 5k race in July, the concept was just fun enough sounding with being far enough in the future to remain abstract that I agreed to participate.  Similar to the Color Run, but on a much smaller scale, that 5k promised packets of vividly colored corn starch that would be hurled at us by onlookers and at one another leaving all participants a rainbow of color.  Every kilometer or so, a new color was provided.  Not surprisingly, July 15th rolled around far too quickly but the fun and casual vibe of the race was just enough to convince me that maybe, these race things people had been talking about for years, weren't such a bad idea.

Perhaps this might have been a false sense of security, but when another friend sent out an email chain proposing participation in the Trails to Ales Portland 10k, the concept didn't sound half bad.  The responses ping-ponged into my inbox while I was at work and before I knew it, I had my credit card out and I had signed up! Instantly, a sense of doom overwhelmed me but I figured a combination of peer pressure and public shame if I didn't participate would be just what I needed in order to mobilize and actually run. The problem with this strategy was that convincing myself to run in the summer heat and humidity as training proved quite difficult and before I knew it, August 15th rolled around and race day was a month away.  While my co-runners all lamented that they too hadn't trained enough, I knew for me, that wasn't an option.  I had to kick my butt into gear.  The days I allowed myself to come home from work, sit down and then try to rally were not an option.  I set my alarm early and went for runs before work.  I wore my running clothes to work and ran home. I by no means ran every day, but I was making a solid effort.  I hoped that would be enough, but I wasn't sure.  My co-runners were a former college soccer player, 2 half-marathon runners and 1 Boston marathon runner. Needless to say, I was the weak link.

Race weekend rolled around and plans were made for our mini road trip to Maine.  I was so excited for every aspect of the weekend except the race itself.  I had told everyone my plans- coworkers, friends, family. There was no backing out.  As I like to say, thundercats were a go! The morning of race day dawned and our sneakers were laced.  I could not have ordered a nicer race day in terms of weather.  The sky was piercingly blue and the air was refreshingly crisp.  The route circled the Portland Harbor, providing ample scenery to distract myself with along the way and ensured a relatively flat course.  I was extremely nervous as we milled around, pinning our race bibs to our shirts and stretching our hamstrings.  We filed to the start line and the gun went off! I had my phone with me so I could listen to music as I ran, but found it more comforting to run alongside my rockstar friend who pushed me to never slow down to a walk.  Together, we finished in under an hour! I clocked in officially at 58:04! I think I'm still coming down from my runner's high.  This is by far my biggest physical achievement in my life.

The race ended with an after party sponsored by Portland Pie Pizza Co, Whole Foods, a massage parlor and most importantly, Shipyard Brewery.  What better inspiration to run than free Pumpkinhead Ale? Not a shabby reward.  They had originally promised us two free beers per runner, but eventually just started handing out the extras.  Between the gorgeous day, the impressive race times and the amazing company, I would without a doubt call my first 10k a success!

We shall see how I feel in the coming weeks but running may remain an active part of my life.  We've even been emailing back and forth today about signing up for Bay to Breakers, a half marathon in San Francisco!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Farewell Summer!

I have to say, this summer has been pretty legendary.  Seeing how it was my second summer as a workin' gal, but the first summer with semi normal hours, I took full advantage of my free time and the fabulous porch(es) attached to our apartment.  There is something wonderful about the freedom adulthood brings. My free time is truly mine, with no papers or studying looming over me.  I'm a huge proponent of the belief that there is plenty of time to sleep when you're dead.  While this has led to many struggle filled mornings at work (let's just say my Saturday morning shift is never pretty) my stories of the evenings before are well worth the sleep deprivation and only occasional alcohol headache. Between free outdoor classical concerts on the Charles at the Hatchshell, Shakespeare in the Park and training for a the first 5k and 10k (more on this later) of my life, the nights and occasional mornings have been action packed.  I got to actually go to Canada this year, and celebrated my return (I couldn't go last year due to my old job) by bringing seven friends with me.  Having fourteen people total was a first for Lackawanna Island and the guest cabin, and PB and Al had no idea what was coming. It was a first that will definitely be repeated.

Both the adults....
And kids (no matter how old we get, we'll always remain the "kids")  had a blast

After the summer I've had, September loomed with an increasing sense of bittersweetness.  There is something truly unique about the change in spirits and general demeanors of New Englanders after beeing cooped up all winter long and flip flop season begins.  To me, part of what makes summer so special is the very fact it doesn't last forever.  If I have to say goodbye to beach days, at least I can take comfort in the fact that pumpkin donuts and apple cider are just around the corner.  That being said, Labor Day has a funny way of sneaking up on me, but I feel very good about my farewell to summer this year.  My family decided to throw a traditional lobster bake for the first time. This proved to be a challenging endeavor but that did not slow my dad down.  He borrowed custom made racks from a friend (who knew such a thing existed??) recruited my brother for all the manual labor (who doesn't love digging 3'x3' holes at 7 AM on a Saturday morning?) and proceeded to stress out until the moment dinner was served.  No amount of internet research could have properly prepared us for all the hiccups we were to face, but I think all 18 guests would agree that undercooked potatoes and gritty steamers aside, the experience as a whole was a must repeat.  Dad's already done all the post-event YouTubing one could imagine to troubleshoot and prepare for LobsterFest 2013. 

The men braving the hot coals to ensure a properly prepared lobster bake

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

Morgan has really been winning the blogging battle but I, too, am back with a new post. I spent some time reading old posts and was pretty shocked by how many posts we had! We shared a lot of great, hilarious moments with all of you dear readers.

Anyway, I spent some of the weekend being hipster in Brooklyn (note: I wasn't being a musical hipster at ezoo, just a normal Brooklyn hipster). I finally made the trek to Brooklyn Brewery though for some quality day drinking.  It was an afternoon well spent - though it is actually much smaller than I imagined.  It's been on my list of things to do for years and I'm finally able to cross that little guy off the list.  We also noticed a lot of infants at the Brewery - which I actually find oddly encouraging as it's nice to see these families still have a life.  I also have found that my old age is setting in as I got to the Brewery, went to get my ID and...did not have it.  The kind man at the door let me in anyway (because I'm hot, probably) but I also pulled this same move on the evening of my birthday. That was not one of my finer moments but my friends were rockstars and saved me that night. Well, I continued to panic at the table and then found ID wrapped up in museum tickets.  Typical ID.

Well, I will leave you all with a lovely tidbit I read in a hipster Brooklyn book that made me laugh way more than it should have. What is the highest-frequent noise that a human can register? Mariah Carey.