Tag Archives: New York City

Guiding for Achilles at the 2017 New York City Marathon

On Sunday, Nov. 5, Team Asim spent the day running through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan during the iconic TCS NYC Marathon.

About to make some marathon magic

Although I’m about one week removed from the race, the experience still seems surreal. Did our Achilles group really log 26.2 miles in the Big Apple—with more than 50,000 fellow runners?

Sunday’s journey through the five boroughs marked several second times for me: guiding the marathon distance for Achilles; covering the distance ever; and tackling 26.2 miles this year. In March, I guided the same athlete for the Queens Marathon, but even with this outing, I still felt anxious. Leading a disabled athlete through a race is a huge responsibility, and my biggest fear was that something would happen to me—or to one of our three additional guides—that would impact our athlete’s race. The marathon is an equalizer in the sense that it challenges everyone who toes the start line. Although I trusted my Corona Park experience, I did not discount the inevitable tough patches our team would face. But that’s the marathon: when you’ve been out there for a while, and your legs feel like logs and every step takes all your energy, how do you respond? I had faith in our team to remain positive, hang tough, and cross the finish line.

Marathon weekend unofficially began on Thursday when I ventured to the Javits Center to pick up my guide bib and race materials, and on Friday evening, there was an Achilles International dinner at the Hotel Pennsylvania. That’s when reality of the race started to sink in: athletes from around the world (Denmark, Mexico, and even South Africa just to name a few) were running, and I felt honored for the opportunity to be part of my athlete’s race. On Saturday night, Team Asim—our namesake, four guides, plus family members and friends—went out to dinner, and then we got down to business of reviewing the game plan. Asim tabbed me as the lead guide and pacesetter, meaning I was responsible for locking in to our goal speed, communicating our formation, observations, and needs, and ensuring we functioned as a team. We decided to break up the race into six-mile segments, and though all four of us would be tackling the complete distance, we would take turns using the race belt to guide Asim. (The first guide would do miles one through six, the second six through 12, etc.) Asim asked me to guide him for the final stretch—miles 18 through the end—I was honored. Those later miles are the toughest of the day, so the fact that I got the guide “anchor leg” was a huge responsibility. Mentally, that’s when I told myself the race would start. My goal was to be a sparkplug, to create sustainable, contagious energy that would carry us to the finish line.

My alarm sounded at 4:30am on Sunday morning, and Asim and I inhaled some oatmeal before catching a cab to the Athletes With Disabilities (AWD) buses on 38th Street and Fifth Avenue. It was really neat to see a sea of runners descending on Midtown so early in the morning! The ride to Staten Island took about an hour, and upon our arrival, we hung out in the AWD Village until our 9:50 a.m. wave. During this time, we talked to fellow runners and reviewed the pace plan.  Our goal was to break five hours, but we were prepared to make adjustments as necessary. We would check in with each other every mile, of course, but I wanted us averaging 10:45-11:00 min./mi. My main checkpoints were miles 13 and 18; we needed to hit those miles feeling decent and in control of the effort. From there, the grind would begin—staying strong mentally and continuing to move forward.

Running down our marathon dreams in Brooklyn

Although it was a little chilly at the start line on the Verrazano Bridge, the temperature hovered around 45-50 degrees throughout the day, and there was a continuous light misting of rain. These were perfect conditions for me, but the weather posed an added challenge for a visually impaired athlete: the precipitation led to slick pavement, and the road itself was littered with cups, nutrition wrappers, and other debris that we had to navigate.

Another factor that tested Team Asim was the 50,000-plus other runners. We started the race at the back of the first wave, so the opening miles weren’t crowded, but as we logged miles 8-13 in Brooklyn, the on-course traffic was unrelenting. Most athletes were courteous and moved to the side when we announced there was a blind running approaching. Some racers infiltrated our formation and cut directly in from of Asim, and there were two instances specifically where I “gently guided” these folks out of the way. During our Brooklyn stint, I did a lot of diagonal running with my arms totally extended (think a basketball defensive stance) to create a human shield around Asim with the goal of ensuring no one would obstruct his space.

When you see one of your friends at mile 24 …

Brooklyn was by far the toughest area to guide, but it was also the most fun. I literally ran into one of my friends who was racing, and I saw two more buds spectating. The narrow streets made it easy to read signs—throughout the day, we read aloud signs to Asim—and it also creating a wall of sound: cheering, clapping, horns, cowbells. The weather was not conducive to watching a marathon so it meant a lot to see so many people braving the elements and urging us on. Our team was super grateful for the energy and the cheers, and lots of fellow runners gave us a thumbs up or a “Go Achilles” on the course. Those moments were magic.

The going got tough for Team Asim around mile 18 when cramps arrived, forcing us to take our first walk break. (That was also when race officials announced Shalane Flanagan won the women’s race!) Prior to the race and even during the event itself, the magnitude of running 26.2 miles didn’t phase me—mostly because I didn’t give it the headspace. But it was impossible to dismiss those feelings in the Bronx. My arms felt like bricks from playing zone defense in Brooklyn. My left hip was also noticeable, but thankfully not debilitating. Finally, I acknowledged everything: I was running a marathon; it’s not supposed to be easy, but I am fine; and I have one job, and that’s to get Team Asim to the finish line in Central Park. But it’s in these moments of discomfort where change, growth, and magic happen—a fact I relayed to Asim. We were all going through our own tough spells, and I told him we were all in this together.

Marathon finishers!

They say if the hurt comes, then so will the happiness. We powered through the final miles in the Bronx and in Central Park, running when we could and walking when necessary. The fans were absolutely phenomenal, giving us all a much needed boost. (And I saw another one of my friends!) As we exited the park, headed along Central Park West, and reentered for the final time, we began to cheer and throw up our hands to get the crowd to cheer for Asim. We picked it up during that half-mile uphill and finished in 5:28.

We look gooooood

Volunteering for Achilles has redefined my outlook on sport, and I encourage all runners, endurance athletes, and fitness enthusiasts to give guiding a try.

‘Training’ for Life

In the run-specialty industry, it’s common to hear sales associates ask customers about their goals: “what are you training for?” is a great prompt to kick off a shoe fitting. Some folks easily articulate their upcoming races while others struggle to identify themselves as runners. For a lot of people, lacing up isn’t about performance, but rather lifestyle—staying active and trying to balance being fit with living life. This principle led to the conceptualization of “training for life” at my old job, a phrase we used in the store. Customers seemed to like it. Or, maybe they humored us. Either way, a lot of the feelings we experience, obstacles we face, and challenges we overcome while sweating prepare us for the uncontrollables we face throughout the course of the day when our workouts are over.

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Central Park bliss

A few weeks ago, I had a great long run in Central Park. I executed my workout, and I felt great during my intervals. I also got some great headspace during my recovery periods; my mind wandered to the beginning of #WingedFootLyfe as my first day was less than 24 hours away. Starting a new job was relatively uncharted territory for me, but training, racing, and competing have been part of my life for 15 years. The more I thought about it, though, the more they seemed similar.

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Inspiration is inspiration

In my training logs, I’ve bemoaned the amount of time I’ve spent in zone two, but it really is an important piece of the puzzle. You can’t go from zero to 100; you need to slowly increase time, frequency, and intensity. For all intensive purposes, #TheRabbitLife was my worklife zone two time. (I’m skipping over college and internships here, but both could fall into this zone as well.) It was my first real job out of college, and I learned a lot—how a company functions, what I value in a workplace, etc. I had the opportunity to work within various facets of the run-specialty world. And thanks to last year’ acquisition, I had the opportunity to work for two different companies essentially.

It was the transition from company number one to company number two when I slowly inched out of zone two and work became more intense: my amount of responsibility increased, my opinions meant more, and ultimately, my colleagues held me to higher standards. And, of course, our key events—the main one being the New York City Marathon—represented slight “touches” to VO2 max work. Over the years, this time “in the red”—operating under tight deadlines and unrelenting pressure—felt increasingly routine. I became comfortable and confident executing campaigns; it equated to muscle memory. I knew exactly what was important, what needed to happen, and how it needed to happen.

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It’s not about the hard work—it’s about the right work.

As I’ve experienced from my triathlon training this year, it’s absolutely important to spend time doing the not-so-glamorous workouts. And that’s OK because training prepares you for something greater. But eventually, you need to challenge yourself; the magic doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. #TheRabbitLife served as nearly three years of training, growing, and figuring things out. And thanks to my experience there, I felt comfortably uncomfortable taking the next step in my career.

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Before that happened, though, I “tapered,” took some downtime, and headed to Sanibel to spend time with my family. I relaxed and recuperated—and became reenergized for the next training block. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my worklife thus far. And much like race-day taper crazies, I did go a little nuts toward the end (mainly due to all the shopping for corporate clothing).

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There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

But back to that run. I entered that meditative headspace easily. And as I cruised along the lower loop, my legs responded; they opened up, they knew what to do. And as I powered up Harlem Hill, my legs reacted; they turned over. A sense of calm confidence set in. ‘Tomorrow is race-day. I am ready.’

Back To Reality—Whatever That Is

Whether it’s a job or a vacation, good things eventually end. My last day of work was one week ago (wow!), and my quality Sanibel time has run its course too; I head back to New York City today.

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My best beach bud

It was nice to enjoy a true vacation. My old workplace had a liberal working remotely policy, and it proved to have its pluses and minuses. On the pro side, I travelled to Lake Placid twice in 2015, plus I went home for the 4th of July weekend and for a local yokel race. And earlier this year when I headed south to Florida for some quality family time, I didn’t have to worry about missing anything important—because I was expected to be contributing on conference calls, checking email, and responding to our social channels regularly. But therein lies the downside: I couldn’t unplug, disconnect, and go off the grid; I couldn’t recharge my own battery.

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For headspace, just add water. (Also, who am I?!)

My coworkers and I joked if I turned off my phone, there was a good chance the Internet would implode. Of course, that’s not totally true. I could leave my phone or laptop untouched for a few hours. But whether I was racing, training, or vacationing, I was still posting content, responding to customers, and making sure our brand didn’t cease to exist in the digital space. Flexibility comes with responsibility.

So this time around—with no work/social media constraints—I got to be as digitally active or inactive as I wanted. Full disclosure: I did not go an entire day without checking my personal platforms, but I dialed back my usage considerably. And when I did use—do I sound like an addict?—it was on my own terms. I uploaded plenty of photos to the ‘Gram of Zelda, and I had a blast chronicling my days on Snapchat. (I’m kind of ridiculous; follow me at carriestevens25 if you feel inclined.) This is a crazy concept, but I used social media for pleasure.

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<3 <3 <3

And as I ready to board my flight, it’s finally starting to hit me: I’m going back to reality—but my old one is over. I’m not going to roll in to the Bullpen (the nickname for my old office) on my own sweet time tomorrow. (Anytime between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. was acceptable.). I’m not going to immediately ask my old Work Husband, “what did I miss?” and then immediately start discussing the Downton Abbey series finale. I’m not going to climb a flight of stairs up to the store and ask sales associates about their training and weekend races. I’m not going to take a field trip to one of the East Side stores and catch up with the store manager and eat too many homemade cookies.

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A delicious birthday throwback

I’m not going to be seeded shoes. I’m not going to have a generous discount. I’m not going to wear running apparel to work.

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Direct, but true

I’m not going to be living #TheRabbitLife.

I have yet to develop a snappy name for my new worklife—maybe #WingedLife or #ClubLyfe—but it starts Monday. Aside from a desktop computer, an office with windows, and a strict dress code (related: who wants to teach me how to walk in heels?), I’m not sure what will constitute my new normal. And I’m sure it will take several months to figure it out. In the mean time, I’m trying to see the beauty in uncertain intricacies of the job, the culture, and the institution. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. It’s a blank document that offers the potential to write, curate, and connect. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new gig—and although there are some uncertainties, it’s certainly exciting.

The Next Step

Generally, I don’t blog a lot about work. My day-to-day revolves around niche topics—shoe updates, nutrition tips, and upcoming events, races, and activations. I could talk about the adidas PureBoost X, a shoe designed for women. (Ironically, the shoe isn’t made in my size.) I could mention new gel flavors that GU released. I could gush about the Los Angeles U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. (I loved seeing Shalane and Amy rocking visors, a.k.a. the unofficial triathlete uniform.) One thing I will announce, though, is yesterday was my last day in the run-specialty world.

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*Sigh* the good ole rabbit times

Unless you follow news in this industry, you may not know the roller coaster of this past year. And I chose not to discuss that topic here. I had no idea what the future would bring, so I didn’t want to publically comment on what was happening or speculate on what could happen. Plus, the news didn’t affect me initially—the same could not be said for coworkers in sales—so it wouldn’t be totally fair for me to voice my two cents. But, in summary, our locally owned and operated specialty shop was acquired by a larger conglomerate, and its portfolio contains more than 70 stores nationwide. Over the next few years, the goal is to rebrand all doors as one entity, and the company chose the NYC market as its first relaunch site.

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The new Rabbit Life

The wheels slowly turned, and our NYC team worked tirelessly to unveil the new brand as the New York City Marathon approached in November. The month leading up to the race (and the day after) was crazy, chaotic, and unrelenting. That’s par for the course when it’s your busy season, and we executed some great campaigns, did some impactful stuff in the digital space, and introduced the city and the industry to the new face of run-specialty.

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And the new face of the Bullpen?  Antonio, our stoic mannequin.  FYI, this is our Western Wednesday getup for spirit week.  We obviously won.

What followed? Post-race blues. You know when you throw yourself into training, devote yourself to the process, and work hard to make sure you are set up for success on race day? You know when race day comes, and you execute and get it done? You know the high you experience as soon as you cross the finish line? You know the thoughts that creep into your head shortly thereafter: ‘what’s next?’ That’s a question I asked myself every day after the marathon. And I struggled to find an answer.

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Can I get some clarity, please?

At first, I put my head down and continued to work. Marathon month felt like an “A” race, and this series of emotions is normal after a big event. However, every other time I’ve experienced these feelings—whether I was racing or working—I had been able to refocus, identify the next goal, and work toward it. This time, though, the process felt different. Upcoming projects were easy to pinpoint, but I couldn’t throw myself into it. I made an effort to be present and embrace the process (#MostAuthenticSelf #RichRollfangirl), but it didn’t click. Things had changed. I had changed.

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Peace out!

It was time to move on.

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Swimming, biking, running, moving … and remembering that time I was a triathlon model

Throughout the next few months, I updated my resume, poked around LinkedIn, and went on several interviews. I didn’t need to leave right away so I had the luxury of time: to find a position that made me excited and gave me a good feeling. (And, of course, would pay me well and challenge me and help me grow as a human.)

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Doggies always give me a good feeling. Now to find a job that makes me feel the same …

As my job search progressed, it became clear one institution would most likely make an offer—which, in turn, meant I needed to be OK with leaving my current position. Mentally, I was ready to leave the actual work. It didn’t stimulate me anymore, and I felt unfulfilled. But the hard part would be saying goodbye to folks I worked alongside.

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Our holiday card. Antonio is not impressed.

I am fully aware JackRabbit Sports/JackRabbit was/is not a normal workplace. A lot of my best friends here in NYC came from JRab when I started nearly three years ago. And after the acquisition, I grew close to a handful of my “new” coworkers who became mentors and friends. And through it all, my Work Husband has been a permanent fixture. He has been my person, and there’s no doubt I would’ve lasted as long as I have without him.

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Some of the best humans I have ever met

But the magic doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. It’s impossible to grow without facing challenges. And if it scares you, then it’s a good thing.

In a few weeks, I’ll continue my career at New York Athletic Club (NYAC) as their social media manager/assistant editor–and I am pumped!

I Mean …

Oomph. This has been the longest, strangest week. And it’s only Wednesday. Everything has seemed off—both at practice and at work. Are the tides changing?

Happy National Running Day!

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Just being a model (again) and hamming it up at work.

If using a crockpot during the summer is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

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Chicken has returned to the rotation thanks to this recipe. I made some swaps—chicken breasts instead of thighs, one can of black beans and one cup of quinoa instead of two cups of black beans, all the sweet potatoes, etc.—and I highly recommend this meal if you like Mexican/Latin flavors. So good.

Speaking of food, almond butter and jelly has been my, erm, jam. Before every bike workout, I toast a waffle and layer on this combo. I’m a little kid at heart.

… and I’m a little kid who can’t count. During swim workouts, I can keep track of laps up to 200 yards, but then all is lost. If the actual swimmers have any tips, then I’m all ears. #wannabeswimmer

Somehow, I end up in charge during workouts. Even though I got bumped up a cycling group, I’m definitely on the brink—meaning I’m the slowest and hanging on for dear life—but everyone turns to me: “Carrie, what’s the workout? Carrie, when do we attack? Carrie, should we be sitting or standing for these climbs?” It’s amusing because (1) I’m the youngest, and (2) I’m the least experienced. Yes, this happens during swim and run too, but who would’ve thought I’d be captaining my bike group? Certainly not me.

All I want is a maxi dress that actually touches the floor. I went shopping on Thursday and tried on all the clothes, but could not find one acceptable dress. You’re to blame, swimming shoulders and cycling legs.

I don’t blog about work a ton, but it’s going well. However, in recent weeks, I’ve been struggling to maintain a work/life balance. My schedule is unique (I’m off Thursdays and Sundays), which makes it tough to leave work at work, especially during the week. When I was the editor of my college’s newspaper, I trouble pressing “stop”—signing off email, taking a break from editing articles, and leaving the computer suite even though the InDesign layout wasn’t complete. I’m hardwired to work hard—if you’re going to do it, then really do it and give it 150 percent—and this is a blessing and a curse. I need to figure out how to “power down,” and I hope changing my work schedule will help.

How do you “unplug” after work?

Spill It

Hey, look who’s popping in on a weekday and blogging!

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Jokes.  You know you work at a running store when …

I know, I know.  Blogging has fallen to the wayside since triathlon training began in January.  There aren’t enough hours in the day, and something’s gotta give.  But in an effort to start again, I’m taking a page from Alex’s book and spilling it.

The last five people you spoke to on the phone:  Do people still talk on the phone?  Aside from work-related calls, I talk to my mom everyday, and that’s about it.  So let’s go with texts instead.

Coach – re: triathlon stuff

Sister – re: boyz and nailpolish colors

Sister – re: the dentist

Mom – re: finally getting a Valentine’s Day card because I don’t check my mail

Friend/coworker – re: inside joke/making fun of someone

The last five meals you ate:  Hello, standbys.  Aside from Whole Foods sushi and Taco Tuesdays, I cook 95 percent of my food.

Eggs and egg whites with spinach and avocado

Chicken fried rice from The Feed Zone Cookbook

Indian-spiced turkey burgers with roasted Brussels spouts, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes from Practical Paleo

Protein smoothie with banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, almond butter, and protein powder

Turkey wrap with spinach, hummus, and avocado

The last five places you traveled/will go:  Define “traveled.”

Stamford, CT to swim in a long-course pool

Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run The Cherry Tree 10 Miler

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The Armory in the Bronx to watch some friends from work race

“Upstate,” aka about an hour and forty five minutes outside of the city to see my sister and Zelda

And I will go to South Beach in 38 days to race!

The last five workouts you did:

See training log—swimming, biking, running, and strength training.

Five things that make you happy right now:

My friends (both coworkers and teammates) – I’m surrounded by some awesome people.  It’s a blessing to train and work alongside folks who truly “get it,” and they constantly inspire me to become a better athlete and employee.

My job – I don’t talk about it a lot, but it’s going well.  Really well.

My health and training – My life centers on swimming, biking, and running, and again, I feel so blessed to have the health, body, and support—from my family, teammates, and friends—that allow me to train.

(Pictures of) Zelda

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And my Dad’s coming to visit this week!

Your turn—spill it!

What I Do When I’m Not Training

… because swimming, biking, and running have taken over my life.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  But let’s be real:  The running, triathloning, and healthy living communities constantly surround me.  After all, I go to practice and then head to work and help others discover this lifestyle too.  With that being said, here’s how I spend my time when I’m not working or working out.

When I’m not training …

… I’m drinking coffee.

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I am not a verb!

Please don’t tell me this surprises you.  Early-morning wake-up calls demand pre-workout java, and there’s no way I can ride the subsequent endorphin high all day.  However, I have discovered I can make it to 3:30 p.m. or so before crashing. (Which also means if there are evening plans on the agenda, then I need my second cup around this time.)

… I’m cooking and meal-prepping.  Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Whenever I have 30-45 minutes at home, it’s likely broccoli, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and/or sweet potatoes are roasting.

… I’m watching Downton Abbey and/or Parks and Recreation.

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Seriously two of the best TV shows ever.  Speaking of, happy Galentine’s Day!

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… I’m hanging out with coworkers, a.k.a. work friends.

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Whether it’s watching them race, grabbing drinks on the weekend, or simply supporting their non-JRab endeavors, I’m so grateful to call them friends.

And eventually, I will write one of those “day in the life” posts.

How do you balance fitness with other activities?  What do you do when you’re not working out?

Real Talk

TGIF … seriously.  It seems like count down mode never ends—first keeping track of how many days until Thanksgiving, and now crossing off box after box in my planner until Christmas.

On that note, you know I’m all about keeping it real over here.  Sure, this post has no definitive common theme, but in the words of Hollie, it’s real talk time.

Yet again, my workout motivation has vanished.  I blame being home for Thanksgiving and playing catch-up this week.

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And spending too much time with Zelda who naps while I plank.  What a load!

Also, maybe the fact that my season officially starts in one month (yes, exactly one month) can be credited with some of this motivation zapping?  After all, if I’m going to skip workouts, then I may as well do it now—because it definitely won’t fly in 30 days.

as has my endurance.  So I attempted two speed workouts this week—and bombed both of them.  Darn you, offseason.  No, you can’t maintain peak fitness year-round, but I don’t feel good about where my run stands as of right now.  Not to mention my first race of the season is exactly four months away.

But I get to be a “real girl” for another month.  Holiday parties and team gatherings comprise my social calendar for the next few weeks, and you better believe I’ll YOLO now because January 6 looms overhead.

Why couldn’t I go to The Running Event (TRE)?  Every year in Austin, runnerds from across the country gather at this conference/trade show to geek out and talk about the industry for a few days.  Our higher ups attended.  I’ll get there one day.  Gives me something to shoot for, right?

My coworkers are the best.  With the pre- and post-marathon booms behind us, traffic at the store has slowed, which is normal for this time of year (until the holiday shopping starts, of course).  Since we’re not cranking out shoe fits constantly, there’s time to complete several projects that get ignored during the busier months—and opportunities to talk and get to know each other better.  Without getting too sappy, I feel blessed and grateful to be surrounded by these folks; they truly care, they truly “get it,” and they’re so much fun to be around.

On that note, I’m off to work—have a great weekend!

Foodie Friday – Broadway Bites

TGIF, friends!  Did this week drag by for you too?  For whatever reason, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday seemed never-ending, so it was especially nice to grab dinner with Gabby at Broadway Bites this week.

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[source]

Similar to Madison Square Eats, Broadway Bites showcases 25 New York City food vendors.  Some of the market’s offerings changed when it moved from the Flatiron area to midtown Manhattan, and the biggest difference was the atmosphere.  Whereas the Madison Square Eats edition was packed into the park, Broadway Bites was spread out, spanning two city blocks.  There’s more room to walk around, so it doesn’t feel as congested, but it’s just as crowded.

Anyway, we kicked off the evening with spiked apple cider from Sigmund’s Pretzels and then began our main mission: eat as much food as possible before the market closed at 9 p.m.  Challenge accepted!  Seoul Lee Korean Barbecue was our next stop.

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This sesame chicken taco was savory and packed a delayed kick of spice–delicious!

Since we had a deadline looming, Gabby and I briefly split up to cover our bases: truffle fries and gourmet grilled cheese followed, plus spicy chickpea and sweet potato stew from Two Tablespoons.  It was a windy and cold night, so the cider, stew, and Mexican drinking chocolate proved to be excellent choices.  Oh, and dessert happened too.

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I joked that my Italian grandma probably wouldn’t like me buying cannolis from an inauthentic-sounding vendor (“Stuffed Artisan Cannolis”), but my cookie dough one still tasted pretty good.

Wait, Gabby—we took pictures of our food, but didn’t get one together?  Unacceptable!

Rumor has it the market will move north to Columbus Circle area next month.

Enjoy the weekend, friends!

How often do you eat out?

Operation: Sloth Week

Hey, friends—how’s it going?  First, thanks for your kind comments on my previous post.  Although that half-marathon went from really good to really bad in a matter of seconds, I probably spoke too soon when I swore off the distance.

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Shout out to my mom for the picture.  Even though my stomach was down for the count, it looks like my form is somewhat decent, ha.

I will not let 13.1 miles get the best of me!  But before I make a rash decision and sign up for another race, I’ve been taking advantage of some much needed downtime—which I’ve deemed Operation: Sloth Week.

The premise is simple: no training, no exercising, and eating whatever I want.

Let’s start with eating because that’s easy.  My dad is visiting this week, so we’ve been enjoying meals out.  As you saw on Sunday, we hit up Madison Square Eats, and on Monday, we went to a neighborhood favorite, Markt, a Belgian restaurant.

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Boo for poor lighting.

This meal isn’t incredibly slothy: red snapper with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Unpictured, however, are two glasses of wine and coffee heath bar ice cream.

Tuesday evening, we went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.

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It won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical, and it was a great show!  Plus, how can any form of entertainment that centers on shoes (shoes, shoes, shoes, OMG, shoes) be a bad thing?  We grabbed some pizza after, and I inhaled it so quickly that I forgot “proper blogger technique” and didn’t take a picture.

It’s also highly possible I had pizza for lunch yesterday.

We also had a store meeting last night, and since I’m working on being a real person, the 8:30 p.m. start time didn’t phase me as much as it would’ve last week.  And no swimming at 5:45 a.m. this morning meant I could actually have a beer.  I know—I’m going crazy.

So yeah, the food has been great, but honestly, not working out has been challenging.  I relished in doing absolutely nothing Monday and Tuesday, but I really wanted to run yesterday.  And today. (Victoria, you were so right; it’s Thursday, and I’m dying to do something!) On the bright side, I have an outreach “meeting” tomorrow morning at a cycling studio, and the instructor invited me to try out her class. (Have I mentioned how much I love my job?) So slothing—in terms of not exercising—will end shortly.

One aspect of Sloth Week I didn’t anticipate included how going from regular training to absolutely nothing would affect me mentally.  Monday was OK because it seemed like a normal rest day, but by Tuesday, I felt ancy; I didn’t have as much energy, I didn’t feel sharp mentally, and I basically didn’t feel like myself.  And I’ve also felt like a poser this week at the store.  I mean, when customers ask how often you run, what do you say?  ‘Usually four times a week except when I’m being a sloth’ doesn’t sound legit.

Anyway, yes, I’ve taken advantage of this unstructured downtime, but I’m definitely ready to start sprinkling in some swimming, biking, running, and strength training again.

How often to you take a break from training and/or exercising?  How does working out affect you mentally?