Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy


At approximately 8:41 a.m. this morning, I turned 23 years old.


Holy cow—talk about old!


Ballet days throwback.  My grandparents included this photo in the above birthday card–aren’t they sweet?

It seems like yesterday I was playing high school basketball, then hanging out at CampHoho going to college.  Where has the time gone?


In all honest, though, 22 treated me very well.


I rang in my second year of official adulthood with plenty of homemade cupcakes and Pinot Grigio.


I ran my first relay race, the Seneca7, with some awesome Writing and Rhetoric teammates.



What?!  Who doesn’t like pondering grammar?

I had so much fun fully embracing the sweetness of senior spring—after completing my Honors project, of course.



I survived my first wine tour.




I graduated?!





I decided to give blogging and triathloning a shot.


I volunteered at the Syracuse 70.3 Ironman—and watched MB kick some serious butt!


I partied through ran the Boilermaker 15-K with Sara.


I bonded with Zelda at the Grapehound Wine Tour.


I finished my first triathlon—and was instantly hooked!


I completed my second and third swim-bike-run events.


I moved to New York City, survived Hurricane Sandy, and found a big-girl internship.


I explored Brooklyn with Gabby and Connie.


I spent lots of quality time with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.


I officially started training with Full Throttle Endurance.


I trigeeked out and met Craig Alexander.


Twenty-two was pretty sweet, but 23, I’m ready for you—let’s do it!

New York Runners in Support of Staten Island

There are many types of running—running recreationally, running a marathon, running off the bike—and whether you’re a weekend warrior out for a quick jog or a devoted runnerd training for a new PR, it’s all about moving forward.  On Sunday, I joined a group of 1,300 fellow athletes to run through the streets of Staten Island and distribute supplies to those in need.  Through this literal act of putting one foot in front of the other, we helped the borough symbolically move forward post-Hurricane Sandy.

It was only after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the cancellation of the world-famous ING NYC Marathon on Friday evening that New York Runners in Support of Staten Island, a grassroots initiative, began to form.  Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports-medicine physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery, planned to run the 26.2-mile endurance event—as did 47,000 other runners—but used its termination as an opportunity to organize a runner-led opportunity to lend a hand.  He created a Facebook page that detailed the plan:  send runners—both those who trained to run the marathon and those who wanted to help—to the hardest-hit areas of Staten Island with non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets, batteries, and other items.  By Saturday afternoon, the webpage received more than 3,000 hits, and it now boasts more than 5,000 “likes.”

Word of the event also spread thanks to Twitter, which is how I discovered it on Saturday.  When the tweet appeared in my newsfeed, I knew joining this initiative would be the perfect way for me to help Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. (After my power was restored Friday evening, I started researching ways to lend a hand, but it seemed like a lot of the groups had enough people-power for their specific goals.) I’m grateful to have the passion, endurance, and physical capability to be able to run; running is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and if I can use my privilege to help others, then it’s a no-brainer–pay it forward.  After doing some research and filling out the survey—in which I signed up to run 8-10 miles and bring granola bars, toothbrushes, and tubes of toothpaste—I packed everything in a drawstring gym bag, laid out my running clothes, and set my clocks back an hour.

At 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, I arrived at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.  According to the Facebook page, organizers wanted volunteers to arrive between 8 and 8:30 a.m.  Even at the early end of the meet-up timeframe, I couldn’t believe how many people poured into the terminal.

Around 8:30 a.m., Dr. Metzl discussed the general game-plan and identified some of the noteworthy donations:  600 garbage bags; 1,500 Home Dept gift cards; and 6,000 KIND Bars.

As he relayed this information, I met Christine who flew in from San Francisco to run the marathon.  Since we both signed up to run 8-10 miles, we decided to be buddies for the day and met Valerie, our of the team leaders. (When filling out the online survey, runners had the option of signing up for different mileage ranges:  6-8 miles; 8-10; 10-12; and 12-14 miles.)

Throughout the next hour, team leaders and lead organizers continued to pass along information and answer questions.

I also met Jessica, Robin, and Rachel; both Jessica and Robin are runners-turned-triathletes like me, and Rachel was training for this year’s marathon.  It was really nice getting to know all the ladies, and thanks to our running backgrounds, we had so much in common. (As the day progressed, I learned how much overlap there is between the NYC running and triathloning communities, which is awesome.) As we chatted away, the first wave of runners and walkers boarded the 8:30 a.m. ferry, and before long, it was 9:30 a.m. and time for us to head over.

[Jessica, Rachel, me, and Christine en route to Staten Island.]

Originally, our group planned to go to Susan E. Wagner High School, which was turned into a shelter, but there was a greater need for us farther inland at the Midland Beach Distribution Center.  After we disembarked the ferry, Valerie relayed this news and told us that running to this location would increase our total mileage from 10-ish to at least 12 miles roundtrip.  No one thought twice about it; we needed to go where we were needed the most.

Leaving the terminal and beginning to run led to an immediate sense of heaviness and desertedness.  There’s no doubt jogging with an extra 5-7 pounds caused this fatigue—which wasn’t that much compared to the 25-pound backpacks others lugged—but as our group headed farther and farther inland, this weight went from physical to emotional.  Trees were ripped from the ground, side streets were still flooded, and homes were completely destroyed.

At one point, we stopped to regroup, and I talked to a resident who asked why we were wearing orange and wondered what we were doing.  After I told him about our group and the initiative at large, he said where we were standing would’ve been the start line of the marathon.  Instead of sleek banners, there was a rack of discarded clothes with a sign:  “Take what you need.”

I don’t know how to articulate this juxtaposition and do it justice; I don’t know how someone could stand at that street and talk to these people and still hold the marathon and have zero guilt.

Eventually, we arrived at the Midland Beach Distribution Center, which spanned an empty parking lot.

At this point, Valerie told us to help in whatever way we could—distributing meals, sharing information, or simply talking to residents.

The girls and I went to the food area, grabbed cups of hot soup and bags of fresh bread, and started walking farther inland.

During the next three hours or so, I didn’t take any pictures.  I’m usually not shy about snapping photos, but yesterday, it felt like an invasion of privacy; these were homes and lives destroyed.  Seeing families faced with the daunting task of cleaning up their homes and rebuilding their lives served as a humbling experience.  These individuals will spend the next days, months, and years dealing with and recovering from Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.

At 1:30 p.m., our group reassembled and ran back to the ferry.

Even without the extra weight from our backpacks, it was still a heavy run back.  Although I was able to talk to Jessica, Valerie, and Robin about NYC triathloning, I also reflected on how extremely lucky I am:  to be part of the runner/triathlete community, to be unharmed by Hurricane Sandy, and to be able to help others.

Hurricane Sandy—Back in Business

Good morning, friends!  Happy Saturday!  Guess where I’m blogging from today.

Yep, my apartment with heat, electricity, and the like.  Around 6 p.m. last night, power was restored in my neighborhood—woohoo!  As I walked down the street, cheering, dancing, and celebrating quickly ensued; after four days sans cable, Internet, and running water, it was truly a cause for celebration.  I went to Whole Foods to pick up some produce and almond milk, and on the way back to my apartment, I witnessed Broadway going from a pitch-black street to lighting up like a Christmas tree.  Everyone, including me, began cheering.

Before power returned yesterday, I found this Post-It display taking shape outside of Fishs Eddy on Broadway.

What neat act of social activism.

Although my neighborhood is relatively back in business, I realize others aren’t so lucky.  With extremely limited access to the news this past week, I’m seeing a lot of the Sandy aftermath for the first time.  I’m completely floored; I heard it was bad, I knew it was bad, but seeing the severity of it for myself has put everything into perspective.  I plan to resume normal Fitness and Frozen Grapes blogging, but there will definitely be more Sandy-related posts within the next few days.

Hurricane Sandy—Reading up a Storm

Hiya!  Another day post-Hurricane Sandy means spending another morning at Starbucks and charging up appliances.

Friends, I was so close; I almost got power back last night.  My apartment made it onto “the list” of places that theoretically should be back in business, but even after one of the building realtors fiddled around with my circuit board, the cable, electricity, and running water refused to resurface.  Boo.  So although power hasn’t been restored, I did get two packages—yes, plural—yesterday from Premier Protein and Honey P. Nutty.

Talk about ideal timing; it’s like they knew I needed more Hurricane Sandy snacks.  Anyway, once I sample these products I’ll post my reviews.  In other news, I went running yesterday, and I’ve read three books, including two for Jamie’s virtual book club.

There’s nothing like a natural disaster to bring out your inner bookworm.

What the last book you read?  What’s your all-time favorite read?

Hurricane Sandy—Keep on Keepin’ On

Greetings from Starbucks!

(Can we please note the festive cup?  When I camped out here yesterday, Starbucks didn’t hand out these holiday ones.  Maybe Nov. 1 marks the start of winter festivities?  Too soon?)

Friends, thank you so much for your texts, tweets, and comments; I feel so loved and lucky you’re concerned about me and my fellow New York City Hurricane Sandy warriors.  So how are things?  Well, I’m keepin’ on—still no power, but luckily, there’s a vacant apartment in my building that has running water, so my grunginess has been resolved. (City officials say power should be restored Friday, so keep your fingers crossed!) I’ve also been enjoying some romantic candlelight dinners.

Taking food photos hasn’t been a high priority at this point, but I am working on a couple “upbeat” Hurricane Sandy-related posts.  Oh, and my workouts have also fallen to the wayside—Chelsea Piers is closed indefinitely, and I haven’t been running since Monday—so I’m not sure if I’ll do Saturday’s Dash to the Finish Line 5-K.  I hope to run this afternoon, and I plan to make a decision regarding the race Friday night/Saturday morning.  Actually, holding the NYC Marathon has been a hotly debated topic.  Hurricane Sandy successfully destroyed the city’s marathon fever, but according to race officials, Sunday’s 26.2 mile event will go on as planned.  Even though I don’t have power, I still want everyone (who can) to run the marathon.  After all, they’ve trained hard and logged the miles, so as long as the city and course pass safety precautions, I say take on the 26.2 trek!  That being said, though, I think race officials should offer runners the option of transferring their registration to next year (if that’s logistically possible, of course).

Updated to edit:  I just found out Saturday’s NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5-K has been cancelled.  Race officials want Sunday’s marathon to be their “sole focus,” which is totally understandable.

Given Hurricane Sandy’s damage, would you run a race on Saturday?  How about the marathon on Sunday?

Hurricane Sandy—I’m Alive!

Greetings, everyone!  Thanks for your kind comments, tweets, and virtual hugs throughout the past couple days.  Hurricane Sandy hit New York City hard Monday night, and I’m still without power.  Needless to say, it’s been a tough (read: grungy, ha!) few days. (On the bright side, I got quite a bit of reading done.) Anyway, welcome to my view.

Hello, Starbucks!  Power in my area won’t be restored for another 4-5 days—glahhh–so I’ll do my best to update the blog and tweet when I can, but I’ll most likely be off the grid for the time being.

Please stay safe, friends!   Any ideas for fun activities that don’t require power or electricity?  Any book recommendations?  What are your plans for Halloween?

Red Lentil Soup

During stressful times, everyone copes differently.  As Hurricane Sandy loomed overhead this weekend, I ran my emergency errands—I am now a proud owner of a flashlight, boom box with AM/FM radio, and Bath and Bodyworks aromatherapy candles—and relieved my anxiety through exercising.  And cooking.

There’s something therapeutic about spending time in the kitchen, and although I really wanted to bake cookies, I figured whipping up a batch of soup would be a smarter–and healthier–decision.

Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly—and inspired by this recipe—this is a basic, no-frills kind of soup.  It’s tasty on its own, but it won’t overshadow extras you want to add.

I’m already thinking about adding a can of chilies and maybe some sausage next time.

Until then, though, I’ll be slurping my soup and waiting out Hurricane Sandy.

Red Lentil Soup


2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced and fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cups dry red lentils

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

8 cups water

1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1.  In large stock pot over medium-high heat, add oil and cook carrots, and celery.

2.  Stir in garlic, oregano, and basil.  Cook for 2 minutes.

3.  Stir in lentils, broth, tomatoes, and 8 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

4.  Just before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar and spinach; cook until it wilts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Hurricane Sandy Precautions

Hi, everyone!  First, thanks for your supportive comments and tweets.  Hurricane Sandy is supposed to hit New York City pretty hard today and tomorrow, and it means a lot that you’re thinking of me and my fellow Big Apple residents.  Both the city and my apartment building have been adequately preparing for this storm, and as you might have heard, the subways/public transportation closed last night at 7 p.m. (as did Whole Foods!); my building has sent a slew of emails and circulated fliers.

During Hurricane Irene in 2011, my building didn’t have to evacuate, and right now, management predicts it won’t be necessary this time around.  However, Chelsea Piers isn’t so lucky.

Yep, Sandy canceled this morning’s scheduled swim session. (Yoga Vida also canceled classes today and says practices tomorrow are TBD.) Although I briefly entertained the idea of swimming in the choppy Hudson River waters—totally kidding!—I ended up reformulating today’s workout plan.

Workout – Running

In the hope of avoiding Sandy’s wrath, I hit the pavement around 7:30 a.m. for a quick run.  I usually run farther west, but due to the city’s evacuation and at-risk zones, I avoided my usual routes.  Instead, I made my way up to Times Square—and was totally surprised to see tourists!  I figured the streets would be pretty deserted (given the relatively early hour and hurricane threat), but there were a fair share of visitors bustling around.  Even with the rain, I felt good and loose, so I picked up the pace, which basically resulted in a 40-minute tempo run. (I wanted to get back to my building as soon as possible.) There was one point where the winds became terrible—it felt like I was running with a weighted sled—but luckily, it lasted only 30 seconds or so.


Back at my apartment, I made a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich.

With plenty of Tabasco of course.

I spent the past few days stocking the fridge, so I have enough grub here to keep me going for a while.

I also made not one, but two soups.

Red lentil and tofu vegetable.  Recipes coming your way shortly!

Please stay safe today, friends!