Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oh, Sandy Baby!

Since so many people last year found my blog by Googling "Flush a toilet in a hurricane" I thought I would do a reprise of last year's post before Hurricane Irene.  Originally posted 8/26/2011 -

_____________________________________________________________________

Unless you have been locked up in a dungeon somewhere being asked to “put the lotion on its skin”, you know that there is a major hurricane coming toward the northeastern part of the United States. 
I know that a lot of people are really freaking out about the impending storm, but there are far more people not paying attention to the warnings. So, from my knowledge of hurricanes (living in North Carolina), here is the advice I can give about preparing for a hurricane.


What can happen:

Rain: This storm will bring a considerable amount of rain. While rain falling from the sky in itself is not hazardous, the accumulation of rain over a small period of time can be very dangerous, leading to excessive runoff and flooding. When it comes to a place like New York City, underground tunnels have the capability of serious flooding, basically halting all traffic in and out of the nation’s largest city.

Wind: The wind will be excessive. Strong, over 100mph winds are nothing to joke over. Trees will topple over, crushing power lines and cars. Some houses may suffer from considerable damages due to falling trees and limbs. The wind will be so strong that cars will be pushed from one side of the street to the other. Rain will come in sideways, ocean and river waves will swell 3 or 4 times their usual height. Which brings me to:

Storm Surge: With New York’s five boroughs being surrounded mostly by water, this could very well be the most dangerous. When the bodies of water are disturbed by the hurricane, waves pick up and slam into the shore. That, combined with natural tides, a storm of this size could bring swells of water in the 20 feet range. This could be detrimental to low-lying places such as Downtown Manhattan, Coney Island, and the Far Rockaways in Queens. New York City has never (EVER) issued a mandatory evacuation for flood zone areas. Take heed and evacuate if you are told.

Power: Power outages across the five boroughs will cause a great inconvenience to most people. It may take a large amount of time to restore power to the masses if downed trees and flooded areas cause problems.

Water, Gas: I don’t foresee the water or gas lines to be messed with within the city, but if for any reason, New York City’s water becomes tainted by sewage, having bottled water on hand will be you only option. If the water does go out, you will not be able to flush your toilets. It may be a good idea to fill up your bathtub full of water so you can manually flush the toilet in the event of a water outage.

With power outages and extensive damage to the transit systems, you may have to stay where you are for several days. This means having non-perishable food items on hand to eat for a few days. Please remember that if you have an electric can opener, it will not work if the power goes out (That seems obvious, but you’d be surprised). Do not open your freezer for any reason. Once the power goes out, you need to keep that cold in there for as long as possible in hopes to save some things that may be in there.

Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t go swimming before a hurricane comes. And don’t rush out to clean things up until emergency personnel have at least taken a look. Don’t touch downed power lines and don’t stand underneath leaning trees. 

One thing to note: If the storm comes straight across Manhattan, it will stop for a period of time. This does not mean the storm is over! The eye of the hurricane is an eerie, slightly sunny, calm period where many people think the worst of the storm is over. STAY WHERE YOU ARE! The second half of the storm will be along shortly. Stay up to date about where the storm is and when it is expected to be over with a battery-operated radio.

It should also be noted that there is a chance that nothing happens at all. I’ve seen storms look like they’re going to barrel straight into North Carolina and disappear overnight as if they never existed. The storm could turn at any moment and go straight out to sea. But, you should always be prepared for the worst. Katrina was the worst hurricane we’ve had in a very, very long time and the catastrophe was heightened by the people’s refusal to listen. They thought the storm would turn, they thought it would die down, it would all be okay. And it wasn’t.

Please keep yourselves (and your pets) safe and be sure to check on your neighbors, friends, and relatives. By law, all pets are allowed to accompany you into emergency shelters. Don’t let people tell you otherwise. Make a plan now so that if the time comes to evacuate, you already know what to do. Phone lines will be flooded with people asking questions. Save yourself the trouble and figure out where to go now. Also, did you know that failure to comply with a mandatory evacuation is a misdemeanor? It is actually punishable with jail time up to 90 days!

Be careful, be safe. Keep your pets and loved ones near you. And remember to stay inside and stay calm. We’ll all be alright.

See you on the other side!

-VA 

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Also - this is all I can think about when people talk about Hurricane Sandy:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest Pins That DO NOT Work!

Cleaning your makeup brushes:


The Pin says: You will surprised to see all the makeup that is left in the water. How to properly clean your makeup brushes. (a tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup of hot water, and a 20 minute soak, followed by a hot, then cold rinse and pat dry will do it. Disinfects, dissolves grease/makeup, leaves no film, and inexpensive.)

Let's start with a story: I'm in Germany and I've been conned into purchasing a specialty soap for cleaning makeup brushes thinking that nearly $40 is a great deal.  I keep that block of soap for years, still trying to cling to every bit of soap even when the tin has completely rusted...  Since then, I'll admit, I don't clean my makeup brushes as often as I should.  

Anyway, most of the time I can't be bothered to clean my brushes because of how long it takes them to dry. But, when I saw this pin today, I thought, "why not? let them soak for 20 minutes and rinse? Sounds easy enough."

I doubled the "recipe" so that I could fit all of my brushes in it. I watched an episode of brand new fall TV (yay!) and went to rinse the brushes out.  Yes, there was some makeup in the bowl, but when I went to dry them, there was still a TON of makeup in the brush.

So, this idea simply did not work.  If you want to get your old makeup out of your brushes, I would suggest you use the old stand-by of using a little bit of dish soap and some water, whip those brushes around in the solution like you're whisking up some eggs, then, rinse with warm water and blot dry.  Give them a swirl after they're halfway dry on a towel to keep their shape. Then they'll be clean, soft, and ready to use once they're fully dry.

Pinterest Grade: 1

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stuff My Boyfriend Says...

"Whoa, this peanut butter is like, whipped! That's why choosy moms choose Jif!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to Make a Life


First:

Take everything you’ve ever learned and everything
You’ve yet to discover and place it in a box labeled Thank You.
Second:
Take a picture of your face and remember
That in many years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were.
Be amazed now.
Third:
Find someplace to live.
Make sure it has the ability to let light fall
Across the room in such a way that every so often,
You’ll stop and mouth the words “Ah, sunlight.”
Before you finish dusting the books.
Don’t let the books get dusty.
Open them and reread your favorite sentences
Or give the books away.
Fourth:
Fall in love.
Touch. More than you think.
Have a child if you want one.
If you don’t, don’t.
Let your child out into the world
Discovering for themselves just how magical
It is. Or it isn’t.
It’s theirs to decide.
Give your child a lot of books.
Fifth:
Get a job.
Remember this job is not who you are.
You get to open the silk door of You,
And decide, over and over, as many times as your socks,
Just who you are.
You get to say your own I am.
Sixth:
Do yoga.
Let your body discover what it’s like to move
without your brain holding it’s hand.
Tell your brain to take a hike.
Let your body believe fully in it’s own powers.
Let every person you’ve stored inside your muscles out every so often,
to breathe.
Lastly:
Do things that make you feel good.
Let your joy be contagious and spread through
Your home, your job, your children.
Let it spread through the world
Like a virus so that when you forget it,
Every so often, you’ll catch it from someone else.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fashion Week Favorites

 
Photo from Zimbio

First favorite from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Spring 2013 collections - this darling Kate Spade bow dress.  When bubble hems first came on the scene, I HATED them. I remember telling a friend that a bubble hem dress just looked like a longer dress that accidentally got caught up in your underwear. And, sometimes, I still think they kind of do.

But but but but..... I came around to the bubble hem and actually have a few dresses that I LOVE with a bubble hem.  In this case, the hem, coupled with the adorable bow print and the awesome bow clutch just looks oh so right! (Disclaimer: I will never, ever, support wearing socks with heels.... only tiny girls with ruffle socks and patent leather shoes can pull this look off.)

So, hats off to you, Kate Spade!  More Fashion Week favorites coming up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Imaginary Closet

My Imaginary Closet

My Imaginary Closet by naneenya featuring antique jewelry


Let's play in my imaginary closest.

Fashion's Night Out - It's basically trick or treating for adults. Where the normals go door to door store to store, sip champagne alongside of celebrity, new fashions are displayed, stores are opened, parties thrown, and fun had by all.  When the economy was tanking, Fashion's Night Out was created in order to help boost the economy and to hopefully help the luxury retail market survive. Since then, this annual event kicks off New York's fashion week and even those of us who do not get swanky invitations in the mail for seats along the runway get to play.

So, if my closet was vast and limitless, this is the type of thing I'd love to wear. First, FLATS!

Fashion's Night Out requires quite a lot of walking. Unless you're taking cabs everywhere (not recommended, traffic is horrible!), you'll need some decent walking shoes.  These Miu Miu flats would be comfortable while still being fashionable. Blisters and Band-Aids are the antagonist of fabulousity.

A bag big enough to carry all of your swag - and a watch to make sure you get to the next place before it all shuts down!

I love this structured top by Vivienne Westwood and the coral cropped slacks add a pop of color perfect for the summer-to-fall transition.

Are you going to Fashion's Night Out? What are your evening plans??

Shoe Lust

Simone Rocha Brogues

I can't even tell you how much I adore these Simone Rocha wedges. The lucite heel! The illusion! They are truly works of art! (Yes, I am aware that these were shown at last year's fashion week, but if I had unlimited funds and were going to fashion week (or hell, even just going to the grocery store!) these babies would be on my feet!)  The hardest part would be to choose which style is best!


 Image from Personal Uniform

I think a pony hair shoe is absolute perfection. This may just be at the top of the list. But in black or ivory?
Oh, the CHOICES!


 The cross-stitch details on this pair are extraordinary. 
I can't decide if the solid heel or the lucite heel is better... 

 If you're in love with these shoes as much as I am but your wallet would weep for days months at the expense (we're talking over 1000 smacks, here guys) then Jeffrey Campbell has done a decent-ish knockoff. Hey, you get what you pay for, right? Still.. these lucite heels are a thing of beauty.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Missing Piece




“Are you anybody else’s missing piece?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Well, maybe you want to be your own piece?”
“I can be someone’s and still my own.”
— Shel Silverstein, The Missing Piece

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stuff my boyfriend says

Me: "I can't believe the driver took us to the International terminal. They never do that.."

Craig: "It's because you're wearing a onesie."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fangirl

I grew up in the time of N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears fan mania - and while the rest of my friends would swoon over the possibility of acquiring tickets to see Justin, JC, Lance, Joey, and that other one in person, I never had the desire to actually see any of them in concert. Sure, I love music, all kinds of music, and I've been to several concerts - but I have never actually paid for a single ticket. I was always invited to come along, take the ticket after someone dropped out of the group, or just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I've never felt the desire to use my money to go hear music that I could listen to on my iPod. Until now.

I have completely morphed into a terribly obnoxious fangirl.

My boss asked me back in February if I'd go with her to the Kaiser Chiefs concert that week and I reluctantly agreed. "Would you like to go to a non-scary concert with me?" she asked. (She had to specify because she goes to some wacky concerts- I had to know I wouldn't leave missing a kneecap or something).  The concert was at Terminal 5 in the city (I'll admit, I really thought this venue was at JFK airport for a long, long time.) and they were actually very good!



Opening for the Kaiser Chiefs was a band called Walk the Moon.  I have been hopelessly obsessed since then. They've only had an EP available since February and I have listened to those three songs over and over and over again. I have scoured the internet looking for concerts that I could easily get to (let's just say I was narrowing it down to the east coast), following them on twitter and keeping up with their website to determine when they'd be around. Their Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel performance stayed in my DVR for weeks (until I moved, really).



So when I saw that they would be at a small venue in downtown New York in June, I set my calendar for the ticket sale. I was ready to drop my hard earned money on concert tickets, something I had never done before. I'd get those tickets, take Craig to see them, and I wouldn't be annoying him about it anymore because I knew he would love them just as much as I do... and then they sold out. They sold out in 10 minutes!

I was heartbroken. I'd been following this small band for weeks, annoying everyone around me with the same songs played over and over again, thinking that everyone else out there just didn't know who they were (yet.) and then I find out that they're a sell-out-in-10-minutes type of band! It just wasn't fair.

This band has captivated me. They have taken everything I thought I knew about going to concerts and have turned it upside down, giving me that deep down craving to see them in person again.

So when Craig surprised me with two tickets to the sold out show, I couldn't believe it!

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was download their brand new album (released today), set the iPod to repeat, and put the tickets in my bag because I'm going to see WALK THE MOON tonight!!!


If you want some new music, check out Walk the Moon's new album. You won't be disappointed, I promise :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

War of the Worlds

Penny is getting to know the new neighbors -


Friday, May 4, 2012

When my broker tells me we didn't get the apartment

Livin' in Sin

Sometime this month, Craig and I are moving in to a new apartment.. yes, together. (with P.Nelly of course) Right at this very moment, we are waiting to hear about an apartment we have put an application in for, with nervous anticipation.

But, it is also very exciting - here, let me show you:

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE WHEN MY
RENT CHECK CLEARS MY BANK ACCOUNT



KNOWING MY RENT NEXT MONTH
WILL BE HALF OF WHAT IT WAS



LAST 4 DIGIT RENT CHECK GOIN' OUT TODAY, Y'ALL!

LET'S DANCE!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Colon Cancer Challenge 15K

Two days before the Colon Cancer Challenge was to take place, I found myself wishing I had selected the 4-mile option instead of the hefty 15K (9.6 miles). Yes, I had run 9 miles two weeks earlier, but I just didn’t feel really ready to tackle the 15K in a race setting. Still, I suited up that Sunday morning and headed out to Central Park.

The option to move to the 4 mile race was still there, and, as I saw, many people had taken that option. I was one of 6 people in my corral! That was scary, to say the least, but it was nice to get closer to the starting line by moving up a few corrals.

The race consisted of nearly two laps around the lower part of the park. Heading up the east side, instead of continuing up into Harlem territory (where the infamous, torturous “Harlem Hill” looms) we cut across the 102nd street transverse, down the west side, back around the bottom, repeated the top, before shooting in the 72nd street transverse to the finish.

I won’t lie, this race was extremely hard for me. Central Park is extremely hilly and even though I have done all of my training there, those hill still get me. 

I didn't have a good start. Could have been nerves, or the fact that the race began at 10:30am (instead of the usual 7:00-8:00 start times) giving me ample time to eat a decent breakfast. I don't run well when there is food in my stomach. This one was not planned well. 

Being in the back, I didn't really have to worry about maneuvering around people, and I didn't have to worry about people needing to go around me, so I was able to focus on keeping my posture upright and breathing deeply through the stomach cramps. The cramping seems to come about when I stop paying attention to what I'm doing (trying the "just run!" philosophy) and I stop breathing correctly. In fact, I actually hold my breath while exercising if I'm not paying attention!  Who does that? Really! Well, apparently, I do that. So I consciously breathe in, breathe out... breathe in, breathe out... repeat. 


It's a strange thing; when you actually have to think about breathing, since it is something that is supposed to come naturally, but I'm getting used to it. Hopefully once it becomes second nature, I can actually "just run" like everyone tells me to.

I had a lot of cramping in the beginning. I think I walked the most during those first three miles! I was getting really discouraged about how poorly I had started, so I took some water, stepped off the road, stretched out my legs a bit and recomposed.

Getting back on the road 10-15 seconds later, I felt better. I decided that no matter the outcome, I was going to finish this race. Sometimes, I wonder why I'm doing this. When it's cold outside, when the wind is blowing, when it's 7:00 in the morning, when everything in my body is telling me it's not worth it.. I wonder. And honestly, I couldn't answer that question during that race. So I 'gave up'. I don't mean that I quit the race, I don't think I would allow myself to do that, but I gave up on trying to do anything than run. I gave up on complaining about how slow I was going, I gave up beating myself up for how many people passed me. I gave up on caring about anything other than keeping my feet moving and air moving through my lungs.

So I started looking around me. I watched dogs play in the park, said hello to a man pushing a jogging stroller, took note of how the cherry blossoms were blooming, and I just kept running.

Around mile 3, I heard a commotion behind me: "Lead runner, coming through! Move aside! Lead runner coming through!" The leader had reached mile 8 in just over 40 minutes. I was on mile 3. Unbelievable.

When I started getting tired, I had to push myself mentally. I took water at every station, making sure I at least stayed hydrated throughout the race. My paced breathing turned into deep breaths in and chanting "don't stop. don't stop. don't stop." while breathing out. I kept moving. 

After the fatigue set in, I took a Gu, busted through "the wall", and kept moving. But, shortly after, comes the pain. Every nerve in my body came alive and I started to feel those individual pains. The bottoms of my feet are suddenly on fire with every step. That sock is rubbing a bit on the left side... and I'm pretty sure there is a rock in my shoe...

After the first loop around the park, I tried to really kick it in to gear. I found a girl that had basically kept my pace and I stuck with her. She'd run ahead, walk a bit, I'd run up, pass her, then I'd stop and walk a bit, then she'd run past me again. 

By mile 7 or 8, I was pretty much done with running altogether and just wanted to quit. My body hurt, bad. I was tired. My stomach was cramping almost continuously and the only thing that kept me moving was the realization that the faster I move, the faster I can stop running. 

The photo to the left was actually taken just before turning onto the transverse just after mile 9. I can't believe I actually mustered a smile at that point! I was still racing "the girl" (photo below) and I think I had run past her and set a pretty wide gap between us.

It wasn't until I had the finish line in sight that she roared past me, sprinting toward the finish. So, I picked it up, I ran as hard as I could, as fast as I could across that line. After I realized that the girl was going to "beat me" I also realized that the finish line was just ahead and I just focused on getting across it.

Craig was on the other side, cheering me on (he had finished well ahead of me) and I was just happy to see that I had achieved my original goal: Finish in under 2 hours.

I came across the finish line at 1:52:43, which gave me a 12:08 pace. Sure, my ultimate goal has always been to get under that 12 minute mile pace, but since I'm still heavily reliant on taking walking breaks due to the cramping, I'm happy that I seemed to walk less than usual during that race.

Crossing the finish line, Craig ran up to me and said "oh God, are you okay??" Apparently, my face was yellow. Like jaundice yellow instead of flushed red like it should be. I mentioned that I was tired, and in some pain, but otherwise okay and hoped it would go down shortly.

I took the Gatorade and bagel and walked for a bit with Craig. It actually took a few hours and a shower to get the yellow color out of my face.  Any one have any ideas what could have caused the yellowing of my face? I don't think it was a "not in sunlight" thing because Craig noticed it immediately and several volunteers at the finish line stopped me to ask if I was okay. I checked it out in a mirror on the way home and it was definitely yellow. So weird.

Edited to add: There WAS a rock in my shoe the whole time and it settled right underneath my big toe on my left foot. I really thought there was going to be a giant, bloody hole in my foot when I took my sock off. But, no, no injury, just a bit of pain!

Anyway, some of you may remember that I dedicated this run to my Grandmother, a colon cancer survivor, and that still holds true.

This race was hard. Really hard. But I think going through Chemotherapy is probably a lot harder than running 9.3 miles - so I am happy to do that in honor of her struggle.

After rolling out with the foam roller (I'll post about that later), icing my knees, and a long, hot shower (where I spent most of it laying in the tub), we ordered some enchiladas and rested for the remainder of the day.

I counted the 15K as one of my long training runs in preparation for the half marathon. 9.3 miles on the books. 2 weeks later, I would run 13.1

Monday, April 16, 2012

Run and Done!



I have 3 (count 'em.. 3!) races to update, but while those posts are being worked on, I wanted to pop in and say I have completed the Half Marathon! I may be exhaused and in more pain than I can ever remember being in, but the feeling of completing something so difficult is AMAZING!

More soon, dears!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

9 Miles


This morning, I ran* 9 miles. The farthest I have ever run at one time. Also, it was the first time that I realized that I am actually getting better at this.  *I walked a little

Last Monday, I attempted a double loop of the inner circle of the park - appx. 8 miles - and nearly died. I experienced what most runners refer to as "hitting the wall". On the west side of the park (opposite of where I need to be to get home quickly), I hit the wall around the 6 mile point. I was exhausted. My legs ached. My feet hurt. It was getting dark and I knew I needed to just get home. **Though it is completely safe to run in Central Park in the evenings (plenty of people out, police presence, etc.) after a certain point, most runners have finished their run and the park starts to get a bit scary** The pain and exhaustion combined with the panic of feeling alone in the park made my chest feel tight. How would I run away from harm if my legs couldn't even move from my own will?  I was anxiety ridden and put everything into keeping my legs moving in small bursts of running to get out of the park as fast as I could.

Hitting the wall hurts. Hitting the wall sucks.

But, there is a way through the wall - along with properly fueling your body before a long run (something of which I did not do on Monday), energy gels (like Gu) can help break through the pain and exhaustion of reaching that point.

Today, I ran prepared. I properly fueled my body the night before (knowing I had planned a long run this morning), filled both bottles in the run belt with electrolyte-filled Gatorade, and packed a berry-flavored Gu within the pocket of the Amphipod.

**The running belt belongs to Craig and he kindly lets me borrow it when I need the hydration during long runs. He has been resting and recuperating from running the NYC Half Marathon last weekend.**


After a full loop of the park (appx. 6 miles), I decided it was time to test out the Gu. The horror stories I heard about this stuff made me apprehensive, but I found it to be not so terrible. Sure, the consistency is unusually thick, but the flavoring wasn't bad. The tri-berry flavor tasted sort of like how the interior of a pre-packaged jelly doughnut would taste. You know, that fake kind of filling that is a little bit too thick for the outside of it?  But, it served its purpose. I gives you that boost that allows you to feel like you can keep going, at least for a little while. Even if it's raining outside. Miracle product, I swear.

So, I finished the 9.2 miles in approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. And, for the first time since starting this, I feel like I might actually be prepared to complete the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in 3 weeks.


I have noticed that I am needing to walk less and less each time I go out there.  I am feeling like my legs are getting stronger, and my breathing is getting better. There are still times when I need to stop and walk through the cramps that pop up, but those seem to be subsiding faster as well.

Two months ago, I was feeling continuously defeated. I felt like there was no way I could get any better and that I would be plagued with the inability to run for the rest of my life. But, the more I try, the more I get out there and do it, the easier it becomes. Is running easy to me? Ha, not by a long shot. Yet, it's easier than it was. And that is what matters, right?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I am scheduled to run the longest run I have ever attempted. Also, I will be attempting to take energy gels for the first time.


I have seen so many runners choking down these things while running in the park. It should be interesting to see how well I do with them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On listening to your body...

"Listen to your body" is something that anyone who has ever done anything fitness related has heard over and over again. "Your body knows what its doing" "Your body knows what it needs" "Your body is telling you what to do" "Listen to it."

Yeah, well no offense to genetics (sorry, Mom and Dad!) but my body is a whiny little bitch. There. I said it!

Never being one prone to physical fitness, this new "fit" lifestyle is completely new to me. Sure, I danced as a child (up until college), I swam and dove competitively, and even played some team sports as a wee girl (didn't last long); but I was never the "give it my all" type of athlete. I was in it to participate. In it for the friends, in it for the "fun".

The first thing I ever found to be 'hard' (fitness related) was spinning. Riding a bike isn't hard, right? Well, I coughed and hacked my way through my first class and clutched my stomach trying to force the nausea away while shuffling my way home. My legs burned, my heart was pounding, so I spent most of the class sitting on the bike just pedaling along.

When I began running, everything hurt. My knees, my thighs, my butt actually moved up and down as I trotted down the road, leaving the muscle actually sore from impact. (Hint: compression pants are your friend!) My lungs burned, my heart raced, and my body was screaming "STOP! STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW!" So, I stopped. I always stopped.

Granted, there are times where walking is necessary, and I have stopped beating myself up over the absolute need to slow it down during a run; but, listening to my body often leads to me accepting less than what I can actually do.

Sure, my body feels like it knows what it needs.

"Rest today. Feel the hurt in your legs? It's because you did too much yesterday. Know what would be better? Order pasta in and just rest."

Riiiiigght.

My body thought it knew what it needed 50 pounds ago. Now, I can power through a 45 minute spin class pushing myself harder each step of the way. I can push myself hard to get a tough workout even if the instructor, for lack of a better word, sucks. And running will eventually be the same. Body screaming "Stop!" or not, I'll show that little voice just how much more can be done.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Al Gordon Classic - 4 Miles - Prospect Park, Brooklyn

The day after my first race, I registered for a second. There was another 4 mile race two weeks after the first and I jumped at the opportunity to prove to myself that I could do better if given the opportunity. Spending the week with a terrible head cold didn't prove to be the best for training purposes, so when the actual race came along, I knew that no matter what, I just needed to do it. I could walk the entire thing and get credit for the 2013 Marathon - even if I was sneezing and coughing the entire way.

Craig and I live nonsensically close to Central Park, so getting back and forth from a race there is no problem. But, this race was in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It ended up taking us three different trains to get to the park (by 8:00am!) and over an hour and a half in travel time. After finally getting onto a train that would get us within walking distance of the park, I was able to relax a little bit. (Seeing other people with tags on their shoes was a relief!) My nose was running, but I was feeling pretty good for being sick all week. Once we got off the train, we walked a block or two over to the park and what is the first thing to greet us? The Mile 1 marker. The start of the race was an entire mile into the park! So, we were speed-walking/running just to get to the starting line, dropped the bag off quickly and slipped in with the crowd to start the race.  The corrals were a mess and there were people standing all over the place since so many of us showed up with barely time to spare.

*VA not pictured. VA in the "very far back group.

The race was extremely congested in the beginning, and because corrals were so mixed, there were slower runners in front of people who were faster, and even people that were walking at the very beginning. I was feeling pretty good about myself, running past a lot of people at the start (it's not very often that I pass people!)

The first mile was a long hill, gradual, but still steep, and I didn't have much of a problem with it, despite my history suffering through hills. I knew since I had walked down the hill getting to the race that the 1 mile mark was just ahead and when I passed the clock, I noticed that I had run my first mile in just over 11 minutes. Woo hoo! Right after the first mile, exhaustion set in. Some coughing, nose running, side stitches, you name it! I slowed to a walk and vowed to only walk 100 steps. Counting them off, 97, 98, 99, 100 - and I set off running again. I popped a cough drop in my mouth and the menthol actually helped open up my airways a bit.

Deep down, I knew I wasn't having a good run. I had pains in my legs, a cramp in my hip and in my toes. The stitch in my side and the pain in my shoulder would only subside for a few seconds at a time. So I started doing the "walk 100 steps" every time the pain got bad. For some reason, being able to count out the steps kept me going for a while. At the 3 mile point, I stepped off the road and tried to stretch out my hip flexor because it was really starting to cramp up badly. That worked for the next 10 minutes or so, and pushed me toward the finish line. In my heart, I knew I had done so poorly that I had literally given up on making any sort of "time" and just wanted to get across the finish line. Going up the final hill was a series of "run a bit, give up, walk further. Push self into running again, give up, walk further." At one point, a woman said "you and I keep run/walking past each other - do you want to run together to the end?" I agreed and the two of us pushed past the finish line. I lost her in the crowd just after I was able to breathe out a "thank you". Honestly, without that woman, I would not have run to the finish line. I'm absolutely sure of it.

Craig was there, with outstretched arms and greeted me over the rail at the finish. With tears in my eyes, I told him I was in pain and he walked with me to grab a bagel and led me over to stretch in the grass. After resting a minute, we walked out of the park together, straight back up that first hill, while we talked about our run. Craig did extremely well (under 9 minute miles!!) I was disappointed in myself but not in a "I want to quit" sort of way, which, I suppose is a good thing.

Back at home, I threw my shoes off, propped my legs up and went in search of the race results. Imagine my shock when this appeared:


A full 21 seconds off my pace? Are you kidding me??? I seriously thought that I would have been posting 13+ minute miles. Imagine what my times would be if I actually ran decently the entire time!

There is still A LOT of work to do. In fact, my next scheduled race is the New York Colon Cancer Challenge on April 1st, which I will be running in honor of my grandmother, a colon cancer survivor. It's a 15K (9.32 miles) race and right now, I'm shakin' in my runnin' shoes, because hot damn, that's a long way to run!

*Photo courtesy of New York Road Runners

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Milly for Sperry???

GET IN MY CLOSET


Seriously. I want. I need. Ahhhhhh!!!!

To see the entire Milly for Sperry line, check out Piperlime

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Remember that day I purchased hot pink jeans??


*this is not me



Oh right... it was today ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cat Wrangler

Do you have a cat? Did you know that they will literally knock anything off a counter/chair/shelf/table and sit on anything that you want to use? Because they do.



In the bouquet of roses Craig got me for Valentine's day, there was a palm leaf. Penny is so afraid of the leaf that she will not go anywhere near it and if it is even touched, she'll be under the bed immediately.

So, I've been using it to protect my important things** when I have to leave the room.


**Shut up, wine IS an important thing!

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012 Gridiron Classic - 4 Miles

Last Sunday, I participated in my very first, real life, running race. Okay, so I wouldn't really call this a "race" because I had no intention of actually beating anyone across the finish line, I simply wanted to finish the race without injury or death. (Also with a fairly decent time, I have been trying, you know!)

I joined the New York Road Runners association back in December in hopes to participate in several races throughout the year and automatically qualify for the 2013 NYC Marathon.  So when I signed up, I also registered for the Gridiron Classic (Note: It is pronounced "Grid Iron" - when Craig said it out loud it was shocking because I had been trying to pronounce it as "Grid-ree-on") It was a Super Bowl themed race (complete with a longest football toss competition!) where the general premise was to support your chosen team by wearing a jersey, tshirt, etc. from your team and also splitting the racers into two separate lanes representing the two teams. Sort of a ''running vote", I guess.  Being one who doesn't really care about football (or passionate about sports in general) I just wore my regular running clothes. Confession: even if I did have a jersey or tshirt, I probably wouldn't have worn it. I was way too nervous about the actual race and I probably would have equated non-running clothes as a 'distraction'. Yeah, I'm real weird.

Anyway, the race began at 9:00am with the football throw starting around 8:00. So what did I do? I made Craig get up and head to the park with me at 7:45am. It was a chilly frigid morning, so I had to have the full gear - jacket, leggings, etc.  What I didn't have? GLOVES! Since November, I've run outside several times and I've never worn gloves or a hat or ear coverings. (While we're on the subject, I haven't worn a pair of gloves this entire winter. Wut?)  So, I figured that the run that day wouldn't need them as well.  I WAS WRONG. It was FREEZING out there.

Because of my corral number 7929 - *Hint: they went up to 8000* I was put in the last adult corral. There was a corral of kids behind me. Kids. Nice. Craig was one ahead of me so we spent as much time together as possible before having to separate into our corrals. He did his best to calm my nerves, but I knew that it wouldn't be an easy run. Stupidly, our schedule allowed for no time for running the entire week before the race! Running cold turkey and being a cold chick was not a good combination.  Craig did give me a "little hottie" to help me stay warm, but It didn't really do any good. I pulled my hands inside my jacket sleeves.

Current NYRR members told me that my first race will be fun! That I should really take note of what was happening around me and enjoy it! Honestly, I was so nervous and so cold that I hardly noticed anything "fun" about the beginning. Some thoughts at the time: A girl next to me talking on the phone? A woman beside me blowing her nose into her Burberry running jacket... who does that to a Burberry jacket?? Who even has a Burberry running jacket?? Why am I standing next to people who are in the green group? Why is it so frakin' cold?? Can I see Craig? Oh, we're moving forward a bit. Is my nose running? Why are people running now? We're not at the starting line yet!! Alright, I'll pick it up to a jog... and then I was off.

I had to be very careful about starting, I knew that - I have a big problem with going way too fast and too hard in the beginning of a run and two miles later, I literally could fall down and die. So, in my head I was saying "slow and steady... you've got 4 miles ahead of you, slow and steady."

When I saw the first mile marker up ahead I gave myself a little pat on the back. 1 Mile! Without stopping once! And up Cat Hill! Woo hoo!  Remember when I couldn't run a mile? I do. Shortly after the 1 mile mark, a water station came up. A 4 mile race doesn't really need water, but I decided to take a cup anyway. I was running a race! That's what race people do! So I jogged alongside the table, grabbed a glass, then put it to my lips to take a sip. And now a real question: How do people drink out of cups while running?? I was already numb all over and proceeded to pour cold water all down my chest. Way to go, VA, way to go.

At one point, I had to walk a bit up a large hill (I realized that my large walking steps might get me up the hill faster than my tiny running steps - hello, ass burn!) but for the most part, I ran the whole way! After passing the 3 mile marker, I knew that the finish line wasn't that much further away. I had run this route before. It was mostly downhill, people were yelling and clapping, telling me I was doing great... yet it felt like torture. Every step came with a mental pep-talk. I knew how upset I would be with myself if I stopped just before finishing. So, I kept going. I spotted Craig in the crowd and noticed he was scanning the runners for me. I gave a shout and he ran outside the barricade with me. And then, I was done! Done done DONE!


Here are my official results. Yes, it appears that I run a 12 minute mile. When I saw that, I'll admit I was a little disappointed. A whopping 344 people finished behind me. But you know what? 3 months ago, I cried when trying to run a mile. It may have taken me 49 minutes to finish, a whole 40 minutes longer than the winner of the race, but I finished. And now, I have something to work from. My first race, I ran an average pace of 12:23. And the next race? I'll beat it. And then I'll beat that one. And the next.

In fact, I signed up for a second race (4 miles) for the 25th of this month. And, it will be better.


The final picture of the day: Craig and myself after the race finished. (Note: They give you bagels and fruit after the race. I would have run it again if they offered veggie cream cheese with it! - oops, that's the fattie in me talking.. but seriously, that was the best plain-plain bagel I've ever had.)  A special thanks to NYRR and all of the volunteers at the Gridiron Classic - especially you, Mile 3 Lady who said "you are amazing!" Because, sometimes, you have to stop and think about how amazing you are. I may not be the best, and hey, I may have come so close to last it's laughable, but I ran 4 miles that day. And for me, that is amazing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stuff my boyfriend says..

(Set scene: C-In shower, V-Just out of bed)

V: The water sounds funny in there, is the shower not draining?

C: What?

V: The shower. Is it not draining?

C: What? I can't hear you!

V: Nevermind, not important.

C: No, tell me! What are you saying?

V: Is it not draining?

C: No, it's not raining. The sun is shining.

V: Right. Got it. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.
Andy Rooney

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Makes Love True, Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. has started an interactive place to share love - www.whatmakeslovetrue.com

After all, love is what makes the world go round! Spend some time and share the love!


Awards Season!

Gonna go ahead and predict.... lots of greens and yellows for the red carpet this awards season.

Left: Elizabeth Olsen in Emilo Pucci, Right: Emma Stone in Jason Wu

Very Eastern Alamance, huh?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012