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Stream of Consciousness Saturday

After being quite sick for over a week, I’m finally on the mend–I hope.  Phew, I was just about to break down and go to the walk in clinic or my actual doctor!  Sorry to all my co-workers for refusing to  take sick days–I promise I always cover my cough.

Today has been both lazy and busy, Frank’s at work, so I’ve had all kinds of thoughts and nobody to share them with, thank god for blogs, right?

Here are just a few things on my mind, feel free to chime in!

Thanksgiving Live: I love Thanksgiving specials on the Food Network, but apparently, no Thanksgiving Live this year.  Was is because of the very awkward on air feud between my beloved Giada and Alton Brown last year?

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I guess Food Network isn’t taking any chances this year. I wonder if Giada and Alton have spoken since!

Petty is So Cute in his Petticoats

I’ve gone a bit nuts with buying winter clothes for Pettitte.  He’s pretty much always better dressed than me when we go out.  That said, the poor dog is still cold even in his jackets.  The sweater+jacket combo seems like overkill, but it might be necessary. We managed to make it to the vet for a bordella shot, then to petco to make up for the shot, and then a quick trip to the Union Square Dog Park.  It was my first time at that dog park, the dogs there were so nice and Petty had a blast, but it smelled terrible. Not sure if I’ll be back.

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Sweatpants

Is it acceptable to wear sweatpants until I change for a 9:30PM dinner?  I think the answer is no, but I will likely disregard my own advice.

Shake it Out

Will I ever get Shake it Out, out of my head? It’s been weeks.  This is so embarrassing, I need to download something new stat.

Andy Cohen

I read both of Andy Cohen’s books, Most Talkative and The Andy Cohen Diaries in a couple days.  I love Andy. I love Wacha.  How have I never run into him? We seem to go to a lot of the same places in the village.

Giveaway

Most excitingly, I have an awesome giveaway planned! It’ll be up in a couple days, if not sooner.  You won’t want to miss it.

What are you thinking about this Saturday?

 

Beauty Must Haves (Empties!)

I am a very low-key person when it comes to beauty and make up.   However, there are a few products that I really love and use on a near daily basis. I thought I’d share my list of non-make up beauty products that have become my go-tos.

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1.) Supergoop! This is a relatively new product for me. I believe I got it in a Birchbox a while back.  It was an instant favorite.  It’s heavier than my normal moisturizer–#6, so it will be great as we move into winter. I like its creamy texture and the built in sunscreen. $18-20

2.) Blowpro Faux Dry.  Oh my god.  This dry shampoo CHANGED MY LIFE. I tried dozens of spray formulas before I finally found this dry shampoo.  It is literally the only dry shampoo that actually refreshes my hair and saves me from shampooing daily. I have fine, oily hair and it needs a daily wash.   Other dry shampoos actually made my hair greasier. However, Blowpro actually absorbs the oil, blends easily and extends my hair’s life for a day.  I can’t say enough about it. It’s worth every single penny. $20.

3.) Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes. I bought these for Reach the Beach and they were another instant fav.  They are so refreshing. It’s like have cucumbers on your eyelids. A daily moment of serenity if you will. While you might need another eye make remover if you have a lot of make up on, these are perfect for a quick clean. $2.99

4.) Kiehls Creme de Corps.  This was a gift from a friend and I really love it for a weekly body moisturizer. It’s very rich, so it’s great for winter skin.  It has a very mild scent, which is great because I don’t like fragrance in lotion. $18

5.) Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment.  I got this as a birthday gift from Sephora.  I know these have a lot of fans, rightfully so, they are awesome.  They are a light, but effective moisturizer in beautiful packaging.  I find them more effective than your average chapstick and they glide on like silk.  I really like both the untinted and colored. The only downside is the price, $22.50 seems like a lot for a single tube of chapstick!

6.) Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer.  I’ve used this for years, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. While my friends who work in beauty say it’s time to  upgrade, this product has been great to me. It really does reduce redness and even out my skin tone.  $14.99

7.) Origins Cheeks and Balances Frothy Face Wash.  I love this for a squeaky clean face.  I use this mainly in the summer when my skin is on the oily side, and it keeps blemishes in check. $21.50

 

NYC Marathon 2014: Canceled

Congrats to Frank!  A two time NYC Marathoner!  He just rocked the 26.2 miles and he’s strutting around today like it was nothing!

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What a rockstar!  I saw him running by in Long Island City and then I hustled to the subway to meet him at mile 18. I jumped in to run with Frank through the Bronx and said goodbye at mile 23.  Then we met up with friends to celebrate at the Tangled Vine. By the way, they give a free glass of champs to all finishers.

I have to say, this year, despite the crazy winds, everyone I saw on the course seemed to be having the time of their lives.

Not running this year was pretty tough for me.  I just couldn’t get my long runs where they needed to be. A planned 15 miles became 12, a 17 become 13 and so on and so forth. I just couldn’t strengthen my mental game to get in those crucial long long runs. It was tough for me. I’ve only ever canceled on a race I had registered for once, the Brooklyn half a few years ago. A few times, I’d missed a 4 miler, but never anything significant.

I have to say, canceling my registration was beyond unceremonious. It took me three tries on three different days to actually hit the cancel button…and then nothing.  It just said NYC Marathon 2014–Canceled.  No, sorry we’ll miss you this year–hope to see you next year.  Not even an email confirmation with details of how the deferral works.  Nada. Tear.

Not running the marathon reinforced a feeling that I’ve been experiencing a lot lately.  Unfocused. I just don’t have the discipline that I used to have. I don’t know what happened to that person who just always made long runs and workouts happen no matter what. It’s not that I don’t still love working out, it’s just not a priority in the same way it once was.  But mostly, I just feel like I am lazy.

Part of it is sheer laziness.  The other part is a certain little fur ball that I absolutely adore.

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I typically wake up around 7AM and immediately take Pettitte out.  I could stick him back in his kennel and go to the gym, but I feel bad because 7-8:30AM is the only time he gets out of the crate in the morning.  It’s the same deal after work, I take him for a walk anytime between 5:30 and 7:00PM depending on when I get out of work, and then I don’t want to just stick back in the crate when he deserves some time to run around.

I guess Frank and I will have to work out some kind of alternating schedule, but it’s definitely a dilemma that I’ve been facing.

Ashley actually posed a good solution by suggesting a 6:00AM Barry’s Bootcamp class this morning. When I got home, Frank was just taking Petty out for his walk.  I kind of hated my life when the alarm went off at 5:20AM, but having my workout done before work was priceless. It even gave me time to write this blog post. I’m not sure I can always get up at the crack of dawn, but I guess that’s the old discipline thing again!

Oddly enough, I feel better after letting this all out. Thanks blogies!

 

Classpass Review

Over the summer, I subscribed to ClassPass (formerly Classtivity) for two months. I always wanted to write about it, but I’m just now getting the chance.

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What’s class pass? It’s a monthly membership that allows you access to classes at over a hundred boutique studios throughout the city.  They are adding new studios all the time, most recently my beloved Physique 57.  Barry’s, Exhale, Flywheel, etc. are all listed as places you can use your class pass access. For about $89 a month, you can attend as many classes as you want, but you can only visit each studio 3 times.

My experience: My first month, I tried Cityrow, Cyc and Studio 360.  I liked all the classes, each of the studios were nice and having the classpass was a good motivator to try something new.

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So, why did I only go to three classes, which is basically breaking even if you figure a class at full price is about $30?

While classpass does partner with some of the hottest studios in town, you can only sign up about a week in advance for classes that have available.  So you are kind of getting last minute spots.  What I found was that the most in demand places had few to no classes available whenever I checked. For example, I never once saw a Barry’s class available regardless of the time of day.  Generally, most classes that had availability were offered at off-peak hours, so I occasionally saw an Exhale or Flywheel offered late morning or mid-afternoon on weekdays. Overall, I ended up taking 6 classes total in my two months, so I didn’t save any money in the end.

Who do I recommend it for:  Classpass a great option for someone with a very flexible schedule. If you can go to 9:30AM classes, you will have a lot of options. But, if you follow a standard NYC work schedule, it’s going to be hard to find classes you  can attend unless you are really dedicated to checking consistently every day.   It’s also a good option if you want to try a lot of up and coming studios or yoga studios, which tend to have the most availability.

Final Thoughts:  I love the idea of classpass and they do have an impressive number of partnerships with fitness studios, but I found that it just didn’t mesh with my workout schedule. If I did Classpass again, I’d go in planning to check for openings daily and I’d plan to try mostly newer studios.

 

Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon Recap

It was finally the morning of the race. I double checked all the items in my bag and then Frank and I met Amy and Brooke to drop off our transition bags. Even though our race didn’t start until 8:45, we had to drop off our transition bags and be out of the bike area by 7:00AM.

I took my bike to get some air put in my tires. I secured my helmet and water bottle on my bike. Then I just put my towel on the ground and my bag on my towel under the bike. I was so glad I hadn’t laid everything out on the ground because there was a downpour around 7:30AM and my shoes would have been soaked.

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2,500 bikes!

We all went to the water to see if we could see Josh start the Olympic distance (.9 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), which was actually starting from an island across the bay. Unfortunately, their start was delayed and we decided to head back to the hotel to have breakfast. I had an iced coffee, half a Stonyfield protein shake, a banana and half a granola bar. Plus water.

I then realized that they gave me the cap for the wrong age group. I was able to solve this pretty quickly and was really happy I was going to be able to start the swim with Amy and Brooke.

We cheered Frank on for his start and 3 minutes later it was our turn. While I initially planned to hang back for the swim to avoid getting kicked, we somehow wound up close to the front. Fortunately, I was able to stay in the front of the pack around the first bouy. I then transitioned to breaststroke. I thought I’d be able to do breaststroke and maintain a good pace, but I soon realized that due to the current, the breaststroke was far less effective than freestyle. Even so, I suck at spotting, so I mainly stuck with breast. I finished the last 100 meters freestyle. The climb out of the water was really painful due to tons of sharp rocks, so I had to really take my time there.

Overall, the swim seemed to go by quickly, but it was uncomfortable being kicked and scratched by others. I think I’ll be much better prepared next time and able to really make the swim even stronger.

Swim: 400 meters. Time: 7:21. Pace:1:51/100mtrs.

Age Group Place: 15/51

# of times kicked or scratched: approx. 8

T1:

I really wanted to take my time on the transition, so I had time to collect myself and not forget anything. I soon saw Frank. He had survived the swim! Yay. I knew he’d be fine for the bike and run.  I put on my socks, shoes and sunglasses. Took a sip of water and strapped on my fuelbelt. I then strapped on my helmet. The chin strap felt tight and I took probably a full minute trying to adjust it so I could breathe. I figured it was time well spent. As I was exciting I saw Amy just a  bit ahead and called and waved.

T1 Time: 4:19. AG Place: 41/52

The Bike:

I was by far the most nervous for the bike. I really wished I had practiced on a road bike or practiced at all. Other than spinning, I’d only gone on two rides outside all summer. But after I mounted the bike, I realized it wasn’t so bad. The other bikers were careful not to hit you and even though none of the zone rules were followed, I felt fairly safe.

The bike route included four hills—all bridges. I made it to the first bridge and man it was tough, but I was passing lots of people. I wondered if I was pushing too hard? But I kept going. I was passed by 3 people for every person I passed. I was on a very low gear so that I didn’t kill my legs, but I found it frustrating to be passed by people pedaling slower than me. After I conquered the next bridge, I soon found myself close to the turn around. I saw Amy heading back as I was approaching. I almost fell on the turnaround but managed to save myself. From here, I decided to switch to higher gears and I was better able to keep a steady paec with those around me. In a strange way, the bike was kind of relaxing. It was tough, but manageable. The only problem was I still couldn’t drink while biking, so I didn’t take water or fuel on this leg. The hills on the second leg came and went and soon I was dismounting. I was pretty happy with how the bike went as I entered the transition.

Bike: 13 miles. Time: 53:33 Pace: 14.67 min/mile

Age Group Place: 37/52 Falls: 0

T2: I was thrilled to drop off my bike. I put on my hat. I almost forgot my bib, but I remembered at the last second. Between the wrist band, helmet number, two tattoos, bike number and race bib, you really are well marked during tris. I soon saw Amy once again exiting just ahead of me. She looked great!   I then saw Frank again!

T2 Time: 3:09 AG Place: 39/52

The Run: Frank and I started out together. We were both struggling to get our legs back and so we took it very slow and chatted along. It was brutal, but I tried to stay positive. 3.1 miles and we were dunzo. It was about 90 degrees and with no shade or breeze people were really struggling. I’d say the majority of people were walking right from the beginning.

We approached our 3rd and final bridge and man it was a climb. It seemed never ending. We just kept chugging along. Soon we found Amy. We even saw Josh on the last mile of his run! Amy and I alternated power walking and jogging for a bit. We reached the first mile at the top of the bridge and honestly I couldn’t believe we were only at mile 1. We said our goodbyes at the turn around. I grabbed a Gatorade at the water stop.

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On the way back over the bridge, people were suffering. The heat was really intense and I was passing people even when I was walking. As soon as I was on the top of the bridge again, I committed to running to the finish. It was only a little over a mile. Never before and likely never again will I pass so many people in a race. Even at snail’s pace, I was doing better than most. It was pretty cool as I’m usually in the opposite position, RTB leg 3 for example. Anyways, I finally saw the park up ahead. We rounded in. I saw Josh taking photos. I really couldn’t sprint but I tried to up my pace a tiny bit.

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We rounded a corner, still no finish line. I passed through a street lined with cheering people. Still no finish line. I could see all the festivities in the post-race area and finally I could see the finish line. I realized I was about to finish my first tri and took a moment to take it all in. I was mostly happy to be almost done, but I wanted to also remember the experience.

It felt great to be done. It was now both hot and super humid, so I was looking for some kind of shade. I soon found Amy and she looked awesome.

We watched Brooke finish with such determination. I’m amazed at how strong Brooke and Amy were. Neither have done more than a few running races and they both killed their first tri!

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Then I found Frank, who was looking a lot happier than the last time I had seen him. He’d managed to push through the run and finished a few minutes before me.

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RUN: 3.4 miles <–just realized this was more than a 5K!.

Time: 35:38  Pace: 10:29 min/mile

AG Place; 18/52

Temperature: a cool 89 degrees and sunny.

Seeing everyone at the end was great. The best part was we could just drop our bikes at the Mack Cycles tent at the end. Easy peasy.

It was a fun experience. I might do an Olympic, but I’m not sure I really want to do a half or full ironman ever. I just can’t imagine it. I thought the Escape to Miami was very well organized and well run.  They were amazing about closing down so many main roads and highways.  I wish the course had been a bit more scenic as it was all on the highway, but it was an awesome first tri experience.

Looking back, I learned a lot during the Escape. Here are just a few of the things that I learned:

  • Buy $1 throw away sandals. You’ll likely have to be out of the transition area well before your race start, so if you want to wear shoes during that time, you’ll need throwaway sandals. I ended up just sacrificing mine.
  • The day before requires a ton of prep. You need to practice on your bike, check in your bike. Figure out all the rules. Understand your course. Prepare for transition. Tris have tons of logistics around when you can drop off things and when you can be in the transition area. <–though this could have just been my tri.
  • Fueling is tough. I ended up only drinking two small cups of Gatorade throughout the race. Fortunately, I had a decent breakfast. It was pretty difficult to eat or drink on the bike, so I drank far less fluid than I should have, especially given the heat. All my GUs just sat in my race belt because by the time I was running, they seemed silly to take.
  • Numbers, numbers, numbers. There are numbers on all your limbs and your bike, helmet and shirt. The amount of marking is crazy.
  • It’s cool that you get a time and AG place for each leg and the transitions. It makes it really easy to see what you need to work on.
  • Transitions count! My transitions were among the slowest in my age group and the two areas I placed the worst. It’s important to keep things moving in the transition areas if you care about your time.
  • I was happy that I got to see my friends throughout the race, which doesn’t always happen in marathons. That’s fun.
  • Have lots of plastic bags. Having a plastic bag to put over my transition bag would have been really helpful, although it was pretty protective of my belongings.
  • No music. At least in my tri, headphones or ipods of any kind were punshible with a time penalty. If you love to run to music, practice without in advance.
  • Practice. I really didn’t train for this, but that caused quite a bit of anxiety about the transitions, using a road bike, etc. If I had trained and done a few BRICK (bike and run or swim and bike) workouts, I wouldn’t have died so much on the run.

After the triathlon we enjoyed a well deserved day on South Beach.  This was followed by a victory dinner at Prime 112, which was excellent!

 

 

 

Reach The Beach: Legs 2 and 3

Hello! I greet you from Miami! Tomorrow I am going to attempt to do my first sprint triathlon–so help me god.  But I’m not here to talk about that today, I wanted to recap the rest of my RTB experience a few weeks ago.

While the first leg is all fun and games, things get tough in legs 2 and 3.  We had to run in the dark in the middle of the night and then we had to run again on tired legs with little sleep or food.  But the running is manageable, we are “runners” after all. The hard part is being in the van, I kind of think society breaks down a little bit after 30 hours in a van.  This is why the race is actually intended to be finished in 24 hours but how anyone is fast enough to accomplish this is beyond me!

On a side note, Reach the Beach reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite MTV shows from back in the day–Road Rules!  Does anyone else remember that show?  Honestly mad respect for all the time they spent in the winnie.

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In any event, we had a fair bit of time before our night legs which was spent organizing the van, napping and just hanging out.

Then it was time to send Jess off once again!

The night legs started off with a beautiful sunset. Temperatures had really dropped, so we were all bundled up in the van.  While I really had fun driving during the day, I was not able to drive at night because I am just not a good enough driver to feel comfortable driving in the dark on small side roads.  But we managed.  My night leg started at 11:30PM.  The first half was great, it was through a cute little town well lit by street lights.  The second half was basically a 2 mile climb uphill.  The uphills were tough, but the night leg might have been my favorite after all. I knew my team wanted to sleep, so I tried to run hard when it wasn’t straight uphill and not completely die when it was.

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After my leg, we all attempted to sleep at the next transition area.  Unfortunately, I was freezing and still damp from my run, so I wasn’t able to sleep.  Instead, I quietly willed my stomach issues to settle down.  We were all thrilled when it was morning because it meant we’d be able to start our third leg soon.

It was the first time we were able to meet up with van 2 for any significant length of time.  Marissa and Allie seemed pumped and ready to go.  It was actually really inspiring since I think Van 2 has harder times of day to run.

The 5th and 6th van legs were shorter than the first four for most, totally around 50 miles total.  Jess was off and had a brutally hilly last leg, but being the unwaveringly strong runner she is, she finished strongly and even wanted to go further due to a strange wild card transitions.

Side note: a wildcard in Reach the Beach is when you can decide where you want to transition between two legs.  So if leg 1 is 8 miles and leg 2 is 3 miles, you can transition any point after mile 4.5 of the first leg, to more evenly distribute the miles if needed.

Everyone powered through the last of the never-ending hills until it was my turn once again. I felt super lucky I only had 3.1 easy miles for my last leg.

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My legs were sore and I felt like I was really hobbling along and being passed by every runner on the course.  But when I saw the finish line ahead I was able to really power it out. I almost ran smack into Allie!

Thanks to Theodora for taking pictures of my finish!

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After finishing we drove to a cute little town called Exeter. Theodora, Christine and I grabbed lunch at a little diner. I was famished by this point and greasy diner food was kind of appealing. I ordered an omelette platter and 1 chocolate chip pancake. I wish I had taken a picture of the feast. I hadn’t had much more than a clif bar and a handful of animal crackers since lunch the day before, so I enjoyed the omelette and a few bites of the pancake sans guilt.

After stopping into the local shops it was time to meet Van 2 for a glorious finish!. We soon met up with the rest of our team at the finish area and our amazing NB liaison Mary.  We found  a prime spot on the beach to watch the teams come into the finish. Lorraine came in with all kinds of swagger. My hat’s off to her for finishing a large portion of the run on sand—so tough on tired legs.

We all finished and were super excited to proudly hold up our medals for the cameras.

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Unfortunately, the celebration was cut short by a huge rain shower. We all piled in our vans and took off for Boston. I had originally had a really late train that would get me in to NYC at 2:30AM, but we were able to change it to 6:30PM. We made it to South Station with just minutes to spare thanks to Mary’s amazing van driving skills.

I slept most of the way home. I was pretty sleepy when I was exiting Penn station will tons of bags hoping to find a cab quickly, but suddenly I heard my name being called. It was Frank.   Sometimes he is just the best. I couldn’t have been happier to see him waiting for me—and I quickly gave him my bags to carry.

Overall, it was RTB #2 was a really great experience. The  New Hampshire course is longer (207.8 miles!) and more challenging, but also more scenic. Check out a great quick video recap here:

I’m proud that I finished my 17.5 miles, I was not really sure I was ready and I have to thank my team for the amazing support and New Balance for being so amazing in sponsoring my travel, registration, gear and food. I can’t thank you enough.

I’ll be sharing my favorite pieces of apparel and footwear, as well as soon tips for packing and organization soon.

Happy Monday folks, I hope the week is off to a great start.

Reach the Beach: Leg 1

After the New Balance Factory tour, I was pretty pumped for the race.  Definitely nervous about my legs (8.6-very hard, 5.8 hard, 3.1 easy), but excited for the weekend ahead.

We arrived at an adorable townhouse set in the most magnificent mountainside.

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It was rustic and charming….

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And as all good cabins in the woods should, it had a wind up gondola in the stairwell.

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After setting down our bags, we met up with about a dozen other new balance teams for a delicious team dinner.  As I had worked until midnight the night before then had to be up at 5am for my flight in the morning, getting sleep was high on my priority list, I crashed like a baby at 10PM. I actually felt refreshed when I woke up and put on my pre-packed outfit for leg 1:

Leg 1 included a New Balance Racerback Tank Top and long running pants that had these great zippers on the ankles.  Remember when jeans had zippers at the ankle? Plus a long sleeve pull over that matched the tank top.  I am obsessed with grey and baby blue color palette!

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Probably the most clutch items of clothing of all was the lounge wear.  Never underestimate the importance of your down time clothing when doing a reach the beach relay.  You’ll immediately want your wet clothes off and warm, soft clothing on.  Not that I ever need a reason to don sweats and leggings.  My pumped up kicks were the New Balance 1260s, which are stability shoe that are great for overpronaters like me!

These went on over my race clothes since it was chilly at 5am.

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The morning was hectic to say the least.  We were all rushing to get out and on our way but that was easier said the done.  Things went further downhill at registration.  It’s a 5 step process of which the team completed about 3.5, but somehow after several laughable fails at the security table, we were passed on to orientation. Carrie and I sat for while the rest of the team made sure Jess got to the starting line.  It was already past our original start time, which meant we skipped the team photo. But we did get to see Jess off and into a trail in the mountains.

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Once Jess was off, leg 1 was a lot of fun, all smiles and positivity.

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Here is Carrie ready to take the snap bracelet from Jess (who FLEW through leg one). Carrie destroyed her hilly 9 mile beast of a leg.

Gia was flawless on her run.

Then Theodora killed her tough leg and finished with gusto

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This part of the race was so stunning. I can’t even describe other than to say it was breathtaking.

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Christine also had a tough leg and made it through like a champ.

I was next and last in my van. I had an 8.9 leg that was deemed very hard by RTB–mostly due to the length.Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 10.17.29 AM

It had a few hills at the beginning but the real tough part was that the shoulder narrowed to just an uneven dirt path.  The first 4.5 miles went okay. I was just more bored than anything on the last 4.4, which I struggled through. The beautiful mountain landscape was gone  I was running through a tiny town with only railroad tracks for scenery. I met quite a few people along the way, everyone was super friendly and encouraging.  I really just felt like the leg would never end. But end it did and all was well again.  Not going to lie, I was elated to see Allie waiting for me at the transition area. We were also outfit twins, which was a nice little bonus.

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Most of van 1 happy for a break.

We all celebrated the end of our legs with a delicious lunch at Flatbread Company.  The flatbread seemed the same as pizza and that was fine with me. This post is getting long, so I’ll stop here, but stayed tuned for more RTB recaps!

 

New Balance Factory Experience

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to run a Reach the Beach Relay on behalf of New Balance.  I was part of their blogger team a few years ago and you can read about that experience here, here, here, here and here.  While I was super excited to run the race again, I was just as excited to visit the New Balance Factory again.  Maybe I’m a nerd, but I just love how inspirational it is to visit where baby new balance sneakers are born.  The factory is also super inspirational, there are motivational quotes everywhere, walls of innovation, and you can tell every single employee is proud to work at New Balance–in fact, they will tell you so themselves.  New Balance is hands down my favorite athletic outfitter and they have a level of integrity that is unparalleled in the industry.

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Snoopies in sneakers. I die.

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We got to see how the New Balance 990 is made. It’s so shocking to see just how much work goes into making 1 sneaker.

To make one sneaker it takes:

  • 35 people
  • 2.5-3 hours
  • 50+ individual steps

Every step is 100% guided by a person.  A person makes sure that the holes to lace your shoes are punched in the exact right place.  It’s truly incredible.  As a side note, New Balance makes 100% more of their shoes in the USA than any other major shoe brand.

Here are just a few of the steps that goes into make the NB990…

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After the factory tour we got to see some of the new things coming out of the innovation lab! New Balance is using 3D printing to test out products in amazing ways.  By 3D printing the soles of shoes, athletes and consumers can test shoes much faster and New Balance can make adjustments overnight.

Check out some of these 3D printed shoes…

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I took these babies out for a job….just kidding, these were made for an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pretty cool.

 

 

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Then we went to the smash lab where machines put shoes through the ringer to test stability, flexibility, durability and much more.

 

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Then Carrie got to see her stride in real time using a complex configurations of cameras and sensors on her shoes.

 

 

 

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Shoes, shoes and more glorious shoes.

 

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And here’s the all star team:

Team picture at NB factory

 

From left to right: Theodora, Caitlin, Carrie, Jess, Gia, Christine, Melissa, Marissa, Alli, Melissa, Lorriane and me.

After the tour, I went to the factory store to pick up gifts for the hubs, plus a few things for myself.  I bought him a pair of his favorite NB sneakers, and he had them on so fast, I didn’t even get to take a picture.  If you live in Boston, I’d definitely recommend taking a trip out to the factory store in Lawrence, MA for some great deals!

Next up, you’ll hear about my 2nd RTB experience.  It was the New Hampshire course, which was very different from the MA course. It was colder, hillier, longer (yes, really), but also much more scenic, IMO! Stay tuned.

A Choosing Raw Dinner

photo 3A month ago I celebrated something truly special.  The cookbook launch party of Gena’s new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat. The idea that I know someone who authored a book is truly astounding to me.  It’s crazy to see Hamshaw on the binding of a book at Barnes and Nobles.  But
Gena is one of the hardest working and most intelligent people I know, so it really all makes sense.  I’m sure everyone is familiar with her beautifully written, thoughtful, insightful blog, the book builds on this and details so much more in one organized guide to a healthful raw foods lifestyle.

To celebrate this remarkable accomplishment, Gena held a gorgeous dinner for her friends, family and colleagues.  She so generously hosted us in the stunning suite three-oh. The feast was elegant and feast for the eyes and the stomach.

Chef Daphne Cheng took recipes from Gena’s book and added a touch of her own inspiration by mixing and matching dishes and sauces in her own unique combinations.

The menu:

photo 1Each dish was paired with the most fabulous complementing wine.

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photo 3To start, we had a delicious corn chowder with a micro mustards. It was light, yet offered a complex range of textures to really enhance the sensory experience.

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My favorite course was probably the sweet pea hummus on homemade bread.  One of the most amazing things about Gena’s recipes is how simple they are, this is such an easy recipe with such a rich taste. Hint: it’s on page 156 of the book. Make it. asap.

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Next up was a raw pasta classic with a Gena twist, zucchini and carrot papparedelle with arugula pesto. This is the kind of raw dish that is hearty enough to satisfy pretty much anyone–even my husband who likes all his meals hot.

Speaking of hot, look at this smokin’ couple.  It was so great to meet Stephen!

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Next up was a mouthwatering japanese yam quinoa risotto with cauliflower rice paired  with a smoky yellow pepper sauce. This had so much going for it.  It was creamy, toothsome, crunchy and completely delicious. To top it off, it was paired with the most stunning wine ever–Inman Family Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir 2009. So yummy.

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And to finish, a sweet ending of raw chocolate ganache tart with a burnt sugar coconut ice cream and a chia pudding. Smashing.

Thank you Gena for such a delicious dinner. You are such a generous, talented and loving person. I’m so honored to call you my friend.

 

 

NOLA Part 2

I can’t believe I’m just posting part 2 of our NOLA trip!  Better late than never I guess. It was just too fun not to share! (Here’s the link to part 1)

We woke up pretty early on Saturday and headed out for about an 8 mile run.  We ran from the French Quarter up Esplanade Ave and around City park before making our way back to Bourbon Street.  I wish I had pictures of Esplanade Ave, it had so many beautiful Southern homes. The miles flew by because there was so much to look at! City Park was also beautiful and there was a nice half mile loop around a lake that was great for adding some milage.

When we got back to the Royal Sonesta to get ready for the day.  We spent a few minutes by the pool taking in the sunny morning and then we went in search of the Gumbo Shop, which had been highly recommended.

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There you have it–authentic new orleans gumbo.  This seafood based gumbo was surprisingly light. I kicked it up a notch with lots of hot sauce.

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After lunch, we enjoyed some jazz in Franklin Square.

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Then it was time for MORE FOOD.  We shared an order of barbecue shrimp from  Deanies. Wow, this stuff is INDULGENT.  Really amazing though, it might be my favorite food of the trip–and definitely the messiest.  Sorry I don’t have a picture–how did that happen?  Instead, here’s a picture of Frank looking very serious.

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Then, of course, more music at Legends Park.

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After some more time around town, we took the street car to Emeril’s Delmonico.   The only other Emeril’s restaurant I’ve been to was Emeril’s in Orlando, which was amazing, so I had high hopes.

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Strawberry fig salad–yum

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I had a white fish crusted in cornmeal and served with a pineapple slaw and plantains.  It was very different but very good.

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Frank’s filet.

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After dinner, we headed to Frenchmen’s Street, which was a really fun, hipster area with jazz in every club, coffee shop and restaurant.  It was a nice change of pace from Bourbon Street.

Our last morning, we did a 2.5 mile to the Garden District, where we did a self-guided walking tour of the homes.  For a history and architecture nerd like me, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  While I failed miserably at taking pictures, highlights include Sandra Bullock’s house, John Goodman’s House and the childhood home of Eli Manning. But even the non-celeb homes had really interesting histories. While I’d love to go back and do an expert guided tour of the area, if you’re short on time, I do recommend this free self-guided tour from Frommer’s.

Wednesday I leave for trip to Ireland, Spain and France. I can’t wait! I have some great trips lined up for this summer:

June: Wedding in Ireland, eating and wine tasting in San Sebastian and Rioja, relaxing in Paris.

July: Martha’s Vineyard for 4th of July and Savannah to see Ashley and Bo!

August: Visit upstate to see my family

September: Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon!

Do you have any exciting travel plans?