Adopt Don’t Shop

Do any of you remember back in your high school health class days?

(what does this have to do with “Adopt Don’t Shop” the animal rescue and adoption slogan?…. I’m getting there)

Well, back in my high school health days, 1. I absolutely hated the class (sorry Mrs. Bowen)  2. At one point during the course we had to “adopt” egg babies to learn responsibility and what it’s like having a child (although an egg is nothing like a kid I would imagine and we were still gonna spell with people… so again, sorry!).

ANYWAY.  I hate kids.  (there’s a lot of hate in this section sorry [not sorry]) So the last thing I wanted to do was have an egg kid and pretend to take care of it for the grade.  Like I was absolutely against it.  I realized young that it went against my personal morals and beliefs.  I didn’t want  kids and I wasn’t going to have someone tell me I had to.  I know it’s an egg but the principal of the thing!

I had to do the assignment…  so I HAD to come up with an acceptable alternative to an egg baby.

THINKING

THINKING

I would adopt a egg kitten.  I very young kitten that was alone and needed to be fed every 4 hours by a syringe, that needed to be watched all the time cause it could eat something, and would hopefully sleep….  MY sort of perfect come back to a child.

The project was approved and so began my 1. school career of manipulating projects to be what I wanted and 2. vision for an adult like where I had NO CHILDREN (sorry friends with kids, I don’t understand your life choices) but I did have a beautiful little white kitten.


Fast forward about 15 years…. and KITTEN!

I could basically stop right here, swamp you with kitten photos, and make my point.

But that wouldn’t be fun to read (I’ll still bombard you with pictures though).

I’ve always wanted a cat of my own.  For the past several years I’ve wanted a little white girl kitten to name Tiffany (yes, like the jewelry company and deck her out in teal and blue) Carpathian (if you Google “Carpathian Kitten Loss” you will understand).  I’ve waited for the right time, with the right people, the right apartment, and the right financial situation… and it’s finally come true.

I started following a local New York kitten/cat rescue and foster Instagram accounts a while back, thinking maybe I’d volunteer or come across a kitten I loved (check them out on IG @littlewanderersnyc).  The latter happened.  I’d just gotten back from Bali and found out one of my roommates was moving out.  So of course to was scrolling on Instagram to take my mind off the stress that would be coming my way (lol) and I came across a post about these 2 little white kitten sisters who were up for adoption.  It was 10:30 at night and I literally emailed the adoption inquire link right then and there.  They got back to me in minutes with the form I needed to fill out to start the adoption process.

OK, form filled out and emailed back in…. waiting, waiting, waiting.  A whole week and nothing.  I was concerned, was I not FIT to adopt?  Was the kitten already going home to someone else? So I emailed again… and they were just behind due to the holidays!  Alright I can work with that.   I keep waiting and after the new year the gears start to turn.  I was actively following all the action on Instagram and talking with several different people at the adoption group.  One woman had the kitten, so we talked about what she was eating and how to trim claws and choose litter.  Another woman was the accountant and we coordinated to get the adoption fee, so stamp needed as she lived 3 blocks away(!) talk about local.  And someone else about the organization and the history of the kitten and particulars of adopting.  This kitten and her sister had been through a lot in just 4 little months.  They were rescued from the stairwell a crack house where they were being sold for drug money (so the tail goes) and there were malnourished and infected and not looking good.  You would never know if you saw them now!

Finally it was all said and done.  Kitten was healthy, fixed, and microchipped.  She was active and playful and ready for a furever home.  Meanwhile I had gone and ordered 5 different toys and scratchers and collars and food and litter and a bed and a box and a carrier and a blanket and basically anything else I could think of that this kitten would need or want.  With of course, as much as possible being in teal or sky blue.

On a Thursday after work in the middle of one of the most frustrating weeks of my year, my fabulous roommate picked me up and we adventured into Yonkers to retrieve the kitten.  We arrive, we play with the cat, we take a “Going Home Furever” picture and just like that we are back in the car, kitten and all.

Now I spend my nights and days off playing with mice and feathers on a string or being forced to take a nap cause I’m pinned down by a little white fur ball.  Tiffany is friendly, playful and totally curious.  She’s not a cat that will run and hide from people in the apartment and once I got a nail trimmer I started looking like a happy cat parent.

So between Bali tales and running experiences… I’ll be sharing the adventures of Tiffany Carpathia or “Ms. Tiff”!

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Have you adopted a pet?  Cat person or dog person?  Just think she’s adorable?  Keep checking in!

=^*^=

Always,

C

Loving a Memory

I was in love with something that didn’t exist.  Maybe it existed at some point in time but not anymore.  For years now I’d been holding onto a dream, a fleeting memory that had failed to keep up with the times and was no longer reality.

How many times do we do this?  Remember something or someone as they were in some distant time and fail to see how it’s changed.

This failure can promptly smack us in the face when you run headlong into that person or place and are shocked to find you hardly recognize it.  There are familiar landmarks but everything that you had been holding onto in your mind is no longer.  Why does this happen?  It’s a way of coping, a form of hoping… trying not to grow up and change.  Wishing things would go back and be just as they were turning a time when you thought everything was perfect and just what you wanted.

As I grow up and confront more and more in my life, I’m learning to accept this change.  We can never go back.  We can never be something that was in the past.  People change and so do places.  One can walk through the halls of their high school, but it’s not the same high school as when they were there.   One can see a familiar face and rush in for a familiar embrace, only to find it’s hardly the same… that person has years and experiences on them and they are not the same person you once knew.

 

Looking at it from the other side, I’m no longer the person I was 6 months ago or 13 years ago.  Views, values, priorities, relationships, goals, dreams and desires… it’s all changes.  Does that mean I’m a terrible horrible no good very bad person?  No, but if others can’t accept the changes it sure seems that way.

It’s February after all, the month of obnoxiously large teddy bears, chocolates, diamond, and hears.  All the commercial ways we say “I love you”…  and here I am talking about change and loss.  But these go hand in hand.  So why bring this up?

Well, because it’s important and I’ve been running into it right and left over the past few months.  It doesn’t mean any of us are becoming bad people, but maybe it means our paths are going different ways.  Perhaps they will intertwine again, maybe they won’t, but we will always have the memories.  And as long as we remember the memories are not the present or the future, but a beautiful past, we can happily hold onto them.

All of my fiends from 10 years ago are engaged and getting married or still in school.  They all have someone and I don’t.  But I’m traveling the world and racing hundreds of miles against myself.  How can I relate to them and they to me?  What we have chosen to prioritize has set our lives in very different directions.  Can we find a balance?  Can we still find common ground without just taking about the past?  Maybe some of us can… others no.  There are people in my past that I can’t even be in the same room with and others I can see and it feels like no time has passed.

Is it best to let them fall away?  Or do we fight to hold onto something that may never be again?

With only just hinting at my life stories, I’ll leave this here for you to think on and apply to your own.  The short story- Don’t fall in love with a memory, fall in love with the present and try to keep up.

Always,

C

Bali Files: Trekking and Cats

Doesn’t that just sound like 2 of my FAVORITE things!?  And of course 2 totally unrelated things that we found in Bali.


Trekking, there was actually a lot of trekking on this trip, but something I was looking forward to the most was hiking the Campuhan Ridge Walk just ever so North of the main drag in Ubud.  I’d seen pictures on Instagram about it and seen it mentioned in the guide books… now we were here and I wanted to find it and go on an adventure… getting my own amazing pictures!

What I wanted was to take on this trek without a guide.  I can find a trail and walk along it without paying someone to do it with me.  Besides, I would rather pay for a day adventure I can’t get to on my own two feet… like the waterfall from last post!

Thank goodness I had a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook to Bali & Lombok… because it detailed out very clearly exactly how to find the start to this trail, which was sort of the hardest part.  But once we were off and going, it was a clear trail to follow and an absolutely breathtaking view!  We could see mountains shrouded in clouds far off in the distance, houses hidden in jungle leaves, farmers working in the fields below, and just green as far as the eye could see while listening to the river rushing far below.

Honestly I really can’t do this experience justice with words.  So here are a bunch of pictures from the trail— jungle, mountains, rice fields, trees— basically true beauty in Bali.


Cats.  We all know how I feel about cats.  I love them.  So of course when we stumbled across “The Cat Cafe Ubud” after yoga class one day, I had to go.  We planned it for breakfast the next day.

We arrived in the morning and like any self respecting cat, they were all snoozing on various comfortable perches.  This cafe is home to over a dozen domestic kitties who ended up there for various reasons- abandoned, found, of there sense they were kittens.  Most cats were long haired Persians, but there were a few short hairs as well.

Anyway, so we arrive and of course are the only ones there with a bunch of sleeping cats.  We agree to not feed the cats, step on the cats, annoy the cats in any way, be overly loud around the cats, etc etc etc and we order breakfast.   The whole time being completely ignored by the cats.

That is till the food arrives… then send in the fuzzy monsters (jk, not monsters).  But really, we were suddenly surrounded by furry inquisitive faces that wanted a taste of our food… and they were not shy about it.

Honestly I think they just wanted to cream that my pancakes were soaked in and Megan’s coffee, cause they were pretty uninterested in the green juice!  Typical cat.

Have no fear, no one fed the cats and we left without sneaking anyone in my bag to take home!  I know there are cat cafe’s in New York, but something about not having to fight off snot nosed kids or wait in line for a tiny plate of food, made enjoying this cafe in Bali even more… well, enjoyable!

Have you been to Bali?  What was your favorite adventure?  Share here!

Always,

C

Bali Files: Sidewalks and Waterfalls

I know I’ve kept ya’ll waiting!  But 1 month seemed to go by so fast and I don’t even know where to begin sharing all the adventures and stories from Bali.  675 pictures later… I better have some good stuff to tell and fun sights to share, but where to start?!

Let’s start with the 4 big important things:  1. no one got sick  2.  no once got hurt  3. got back into the country without issue  and 4. got to work Monday like I never missed a beat.

Now of course it’s basically snowing in NYC as I write this and I’m serenaded by the sounds of snow plows instead of tropical birds and rain showers… but whatcha gonna do?


Ok, I’ll pick two fun things to share this time and just keep doling out stories, tips, adventures, and photos for a while!


Sidewalks and waterfalls.  These two things have nothing in common expect that I encountered them in Bali and lived to tell about it.

The sidewalks in Ubud are interesting.  They are a series of raised blocks of tiles that run above (and cover) the water run-off… I’m tempted to say sewer, but as it didn’t smell like sewer I’m not gonna say that.  Every 3rd block of tiles or so was loose… the closest thing to a man hole, from what I could tell, that would allow one to access this water run off area and remove blockage… but the tiles were loose.  And if you stepped on this panel of loose sidewalk tiles it would shift and tilt and wobble and if you weren’t careful while walking… As Megan put it, “You will fall through the sidewalk, into the ‘sewer’, and DIE.”

Ok, maybe we were being a little tiny bit over dramatic…. but it made for some great laughs while walking all over the city.

That is, if the removable panels of sidewalk tiles were even there!  Sometimes there would just be a big gaping hole in the sidewalk for you to jump over or strategically skirt around and be cartful not to walk into traffic.  Other times there were just little holes… as we would have cracks in the sidewalk… these were cracks with nothing underneath them… so  we call them holes!

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On one of the day long treks we went on, GitGit Waterfall was one of the planned stops.  The guide book (always trust your guide book, ALWAYS!  Post on this later) said it was a must see, a tourist attraction, and a beautiful twin waterfall in the mountains of Bali.  So OK, sounds like something cool to see. The driver drops us off and points to a sign that leads down a questionable ramp and off into the jungle, mumbles something about getting a guide separately, tickets, and that he will be at the exit…. then off we go.

Not gonna lie, it was a little sketchy.  Not like South Bronx, East St. Louis, or some parts of Atlanta sketchy… but like OK off we go into the jungle with practically no signs and no line of tourist… ok.

But off we went and SPOILER ALERT, this was probably one of the most memorable parts of this trip.  So off we go hiking along and you can hear the waterfall long before you see it.  After paying the what-seemed-rather-expensive “entrance” ticket to get to the waterfall (meaning handing 100,000rupih to a woman sitting on an unmarked bench) and managing to wander into someones living room (I mentioned there are like no signs for were to go to find this waterfall, right?) we found the bridge that led over some rocks and right to the base of the first tier of the waterfall.  There we found some other visitors and… wait for it….img_9275

A ROPE SWING!

 

No line, no health and safety release waiver, no net… a rope tied to the top of the cliff that you could fetch with a stick and swing on into the waterfall and then plunge into the pool below!  Time to break out the bikini!!

Ok, yes mom I’m sure you are panicking and slightly freaking out, but everything was totally fine and amazingly fun!  This is totally not something we would be able to just walk up and do anywhere in the states.

So we took a few turns and a lot of videos before handing the rope off to another group that arrived, then wandered over to another pool to splash around in and OF COURSE… take more pictures.  Cause how often do we get to swim in a waterfall! in Bali!

And so, sidewalks and waterfalls.

Of course there is so much more to share, but I like this format- picking a subject and talking about it.  So there will be more!  (essentially most of the upcoming content, but I don’t think you all will mind).

Any questions about the trip?  Let me know!

Always,

C

Live from Bali

In case you were unsure, we made it to Bali! 

While I was supposed to write  post on packing (Tips to Travel:: Savvy Packer) and one on getting through the airport (Tips to Travel:: Up Up and Away) I was actually packing and getting through immigration… So those posts will come to you eventually. BUT,as I’ve been in Bali now 2 days of this 9 day trip, I thoug it would be a great time to check in and give all you fabulous people a little look at what I’ve been up to!

Yesterday, first official full day here in Ubud, was dedicated to getting out bearings and walking about. That was till yours truly got sick cause she had not been drinking enough water and then decided to go walking about (lesson learned day one, should make for a good trip). So after fetching a lot of water and coffee and carbs… What to do?   A 6 hour spa afternoon? Yes, a 6 hour spa afternoon sounds like the perfect cure to jet lag and exhaustion… That will include Sea Salt foot wash, aromatherapy massage, Royal Javanese scrub of lulur ayu, milk bath, facial, hair cream bath, mani, pedi, healthy juice, and MORE! 

Our amazing home stay (more on this later) has several complexes around the area and this includes the spa. Being able to book this basically from our room and then walk over was to great. Of course until we got stuck in the afternoon downpour and then got kinda lost on the wrong street to get to the spa. But once we were there, all I can say is pure amazing relaxations and reguvination. 

I mean, who would not want to soak in an outdoor tub full of flowers while listening to the rain!?


yup, that was pretty much my day and I feel so much better afterwards.
Today was up with the sun to go hike the Campuhan Ridge. I found this trail in my guide books (read and trust your guidebooks!!! OMG this will be a whole post on its own but seriously) and on various Bali Instagram pages that I follow. I remember back in July sitting in the studio waiting for TRX class to start and reposting a picture of this trail, now I have my own pics and I could not be more in love with this landscape. Trekking through fields of elephant grass and rice paddies with views of temples and mountains in the distance made for a breathtaking although very sweaty morning.  (No filter on photos). 


We hiked with a backpack for water and the guide book a sell as a smal first aid kit and cash. Sunscreen (take it seriously ) was applied before leaving and coffee was had at the end.   

If we wanna talk about weather for a second, it’s the beginning of the rainy season down here and afternoon thunderstorm are a thing.  I finally got to sit quietly and read a pleasure book while listening to the rain fall and not feel rushed or stressed. I could nap periodically and enjoy overly minute of it!  I’m not gonna lie, wifi bee isn’t the best and uploading pics is very challenging, but if you  bop on over to my Instagram account, @nychristiane, there should be some live stories and pics that didn’t make it here right now.  

Once the rain subsided enough it was time to find food and there is no shortage of options! Basically every type of cuisine you could want or imagine is located here and you can walk up and down street looking at everything.  Each place offers a different atmosphere and view. 
The day was ended with a Vinyasa yoga class and I’m just going to state for the record that I will neve ever again take my yoga studio and company onthe upper west side of New York City for granted again.  I’m sure I will write a post about the experiences at this particular yoga studio in Ubud Bali one day in the future, but for now I’m still undecided and don’t want to portray anything in the heat of the moment sort of thing.
And now, while you all are waking up and staring your days, I’m calling it a night. Tomorrow promises to be an early morning and full of new adventures! 

Stay tuned!

Always, 

C

TSC NYC Marathon 2016

So, incase you are just joining us or somehow missed it, I ran THE New York City Marathon this year… on November 6th to be exact.  It took about a week to fully take in the whole event of the marathon and be able to actually talk about it and then another week to try and collect all my thoughts into a post.  I’m not sure where to begin, other then the beginning of “marathon weekend” and see where that takes us.

Everything really began last year when I secured my guaranteed entry into the race.  That basically meant a month of thinking about, talking about, stressing about, and training for the epic 26.6 adventure.  Races and training runs alike were well thought out and strategically placed to support progress throughout the year. Then summer happened… and training took a nose dive as heat, humidity and illness kept me from adding on miles.  Fall teased me a little and I welcomed the cool break, which of course stood me up at the Navy-Air Force Half in DC back in September (read all about that here).  In what ended up being the worst half I’ve had to date, I seriously considered deferring my marathon entry for a year, thinking HOW can I get  through 26.2 miles when I can hardly get through 13.1 and that’s supposed to be easy this far into training?

Well, I took 2 weeks off.  Put the shoes on a shelf and thought long and hard about what I was going to do and if I was going to get my New York on this year.  Yes, I was getting physical sick but a lot of it was because I was pushing myself to much mentally.  I stepped back.  I re-evaluated.  I thought about how I would feel November 7th- Marathon Monday… seeing everyone with their medals and knowing I gave it up.  (Not to mention I really couldn’t afford to pay this race again).   I decided to approach a long training run with a new mind set— go for time.  Go out for 3-4 hours and see how much ground I could cover in that time, but slowing down if I felt like I was getting exhausted.  And that’s what I did.  3 hours and 15 miles later I felt on top of the world and knew in that moment I had found my key to success for 26.2.  Slow down, enjoy it, maintain a roughly 12 minute miles and get 5 miles to the hour.  I wanted to finish the marathon and feel just as amazing as I did that day with only 15 miles.

So that gave me 4 weeks to continue running and cross training and trying not to panic!

Fast forward: Marathon weekend started as soon as I clocked out for work on Nov. 3rd and went to check out the Marathon Pavillion in Central Park. The best part of that?  The wall with all 50,000 runners names on it.  I was able to find mine at eye level and take tons of annoying photos with it!

Next was the Expo- a HUGE event- for getting race numbers, pre and post race info, t-shirts, and all the gear you could want! Basically it’s an amazing and overwhelming experience and Megan and family came along to keep me on track, as well as get in the New York Marathon Weekend spirit.  Ran into some other runners I’ve “met” through Social Media and checked out all the vendors.  We had fun, although there was no no size Medium in the official Asics marathon jacket… which was a little itty bitty teeny weeny issue cause I wanted that jacket.  Like I really wanted  it… so I now strategically fit into a Small and just can’t gain and weight.  No problem.

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Dinner followed by outfit prep and a foot soak were the perfect way to end the day and get ready for the 4:45am wake up call I had to start the adventure to the start line.

Marathon Day

Oh goodness early morning to get to the train to get to the ferry to get to Staten Island to then stand in a huge mess of a crowd/line to get on a bus to get to security to get to the start village to find you holding zone to wait to get into your corral to get to the start line…

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Up, dressed, packed, and out.  Megan came down on the train with me to be sure I 1. ate breakfast and 2. made it there.  LOL.

img_8466 Having never been on the Staten Island Ferry, I was very content to stand at my spot in the front and watch the morning unfold over the city.  Seeing the Verrazano Bridge come into view and pass Lady Liberty was pretty amazing.

Once we docked the real tedious waiting started.  I didn’t start the race till 11am and I was like “Oh a 7am ferry is soon early”, nope best thing… cause there is a LOT of tedious waiting.  First in a mess of a line… more like a crowd… that moved slowly to a stair case that eventually lead outside.  But no, not to the start… to a LOVELY *sarcasm* cue that funneled us on to busses that sat in traffic to shuttle us to the Start Village.

Standing on the ferry and in about an hour of lines, the bus was a welcome fluffy seat, but the traffic was creating panic among other runners who were frustratingly close to missing their wave start times.   Eventually we were allowed to jump ship and go through security check points, which was actually very smooth. If  anyone remembers Brooklyn Half 2015- work security check point EVER (but that’s seriously another story).

Start Village is color coded and has all the comforts of home- coffee and apples, glamorous portaletts, cold concrete curbs to perch on, and bins full of outer layers to be donated.

Now this would be a good time to mention that the day was perfect for the race.  Clear blue skies and sunny, but with a constant breeze, it didn’t get to hot.  The ground was dry, the air was light, and humidity was low- in my book, all perfect conditions.

I munched, I walked, I stood in lines… finally Wave 4 opened for corral line up.  Somehow I was placed in Corral A which was pretty cool cause I was so close to the Start Line.  I could hear all the announcements and music- we danced to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” before starting, and watch the start gun go off.  Over the bridge and through BK.

The next 6-10 miles are a blur.  So much adrenaline and energy from the crowds, I felt like I flew through the first 6 miles and the next 4 felt pretty awesome too.  Right before the bridge to Queens at the 13 mile mark, I was starting to feel some chaffing threatening to be a problem (tank top issues) and by a stroke of luck the medical tent was out in full force with TONS of Vaseline!  It’s like they knew I would need it right then, haha.  While Brooklyn was pretty straight and flat, Queens threw a curve ball (literally we had a lot of turns and winding roads) with different terrain.

img_8485 I was actually excited to hit the 59th St.  Queensbouro Bridge at mile 15/16.  I’ve heard about this bit sense I started talking about going the Marathon and here it was.  *Disclaimer, by this time I was rocking the “jog a mile, power walk a mile” option.  So YES, I walked parts of the bridge.*  The view was amazing and a photo op. was definitely taken.  But it’s true it’s so QUIET!  I usually run with music and this race was no different- although I turned it off when the crowds were cheering or bands where playing- and I had to turn it off for part of this bridge.  To hear the talked about quiet and just take in that we were shutting down the city to do this!

img_8646 Coming off the bridge- the Wall of Sound!  As we turned on to 1st Ave. the crowds were AMAZING.  The noise and the signs.  So many people right there to share this amazing experience with us.  Megan and family found me a few times along the way, as did friends Amanda and Tyler.  Seeing signed with my name on them was totally thrilling and encouraging.  I didn’t run with my name on my shirt…. it’s SO long… but that didn’t stop me from enjoying support from every single spectator I locked eyes with.

I don’t really remember running over into the Bronx.  I was starting to get seriously tired and the feeling of actually working set in.  Yes, the sign about the talked about “hitting of the wall” reminded me this was probably what my body and mind were working with… but I wan’t stopping.  I just started wanted every sort of food I could think of!  Once again, the medical teams were at just the right place with a little salty pretzel snack, which I darted back to grab and continued on.

Then we were back on a bridge (the last one as everyone around was excited about) and back to Manhattan.  While it was starting to get later in the day, so many people were still out, leaving no runner un-cheered.  Finally turning onto 5th Ave. meant only one thing- Central park and mile 24 here near.  A little pain and rubbing in my left shoe required a short pull over to adjust a sock and put into perspective that I had less then a 5K (3 miles) and definitely less then 30 minutes left to run.

This was thrilling and scary all at the same time- I was about to finish the New York City Marathon- oh wow but then it will be over and THANK GOODNESS I’m tired and sweaty!

Mile 25 included charging West along Central Park South just as the sun was setting over the buildings and a wall of spectators lining the left side of the street.  I’d been power walking to try and ease the slight pain I was feeling in my left heal, but I promised myself I would run the finish and as we turned into Central Park for the last 800 meters, I picked up the pace and did just that.

The sounds of the announcers and the lights of the finish line got nearer and nearer.  I could feel myself choking up and focused on breathing to finish happy and strong. (But tears happened at the finish anyway)

img_8490 Snapped this pic and had that medal hung around my neck.  I DID IT.  Still smiling, I finished the TCS NYC Marathon.

Now other stories I’d heard came to mind.  The walk and the wait to get to your soft fuzzy desired Post Race Poncho and get out of the park.  The finish shoot is ridiculously long and after grabbing a “recovery bag” and managing to open the water bottle, I was slow… every muscle was beyond tired and this bag was like the heaviest thing I’ve ever carried.  For fear of having to go to the medical tent, I refrained from leaning along the fence even just for a moment and just kept walking.

Finally we turned off to see the iconic ponchos up ahead!  Once wrapped in fleecy loveliness- and YES PLEASE I would like my hood put up, thank you VERY much- you are set loose on the streets on New York.

This was hard, slowly wandering down the street to the meet up point with friends, but the energy of every other runner was humming throughout the city streets on the Upper Wests Side.

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Let’s fast forward  cause this is getting a little long… that night I showered, got home, had a grilled cheese and a lot of fluids, soaked my feet and went to bed super early.

Yes, I was sore but no bad pain.  My knees hurt a little but that went away and my left ankle was a little inflamed for a time.  BUT no headache and no back pain, no getting sick!!

img_8531Monday Marathon Monday

It means taking off work and sleeping in.  Wearing your medal all day long and as much Marathon gear as you want. You are a super hero for the day and no one rushed you across the street.

I followed the advice of my dear friends Holly and went to get my medal engraved then we hung out and took ALL of the post race finisher photos.

I’m still reeling about that day.  I ran a marathon.  I ran the New York City Marathon.  I have the medal and all the memories.  The question I get now is, “Will you run it again?”. The answer— I’m not sure.

I never thought I would run a full marathon to begin with and sense I had such a great experience, I don’t feel a need right now to change that.  What I would hate is to do it again and get sick or hurt.  For now I’m going to enjoy that I had (for me) the perfect race and that’s how I want to remember it.

Perfect weather, conditions, outfit, training, course, city, people, everything.  I finished right were I thought I would and I felt great, can’t argue with that.

Did you Get Your New York On?  Share!!

Always,

Cimg_8521

In Light. In Thanks.

If you are in New York City, you will know what I mean… If not, this may be a confusing post.

But in light of recent events and the current political scene, you know there is some (to be polite) sadness, fear, anger, frustration, confusion, and wonder where we- as a people and a country- will be headed come the new year.

Let’s talk about the proverbial elephant in the proverbial room… the 2016 Presidential Election results.  I don’t (I mean I personally do), but as a blogger I’ll try not to offer advice or opinion… I have to understand we all have the ability to make our own decichiosns and did so for reasons we see fit and right.

However, I will say that New York City was LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY in a rain cloud grey day after the election results rolled in very early Wednesday morning the other week.  There were tears at office desks, heartfelt “thank yous” to Starbucks baristas, and moments of eye contact and genuine care on train cars.  A city of driven, serious, stressed, “cold hearted” people all came together in unspoken confusion, worry, and supported each other this week.

It’s become clear to me we all moved to this magical place for a reason.  To surround ourselves with similar, understanding people… be us women seeking other strong women… members of the LGTBQ community seeking support and acceptance… artists seeking creative outlets… Likeminded people flocking together to New York City… the “melting pot” city… the City of Dreams.

I’ve been reflection a lot on my move here.  I was alone (contrary to what many believe, I did NOT move up here to follow my man), I was lost, and I was looking for something different then I had before.  I was free to go where I wanted and reinvent myself if I chose.  I came here with no more then I could carry of the plane and now I find myself an active member of my community, a member of a team, and a part of an extensive network of friends and relations.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about where I was about this 10 years ago… sitting in a movie theater watching Happy Feet (tap dancing penguins… can you see it now) and avoiding eye contact from the man I eventually moved in with and would have given my life to.  We traveled, we moved in together, we made decisions based on each other… and ultimately we did not last.  Do I meant to be dark and depressing?  No. Do I mean to use this as a chance to reflect, to make amends (although only through words that may actually never reach the ears they are meant for)?  Yes.  I mean to say that in light of all the events that have shaken my city and tested friendships, I am thankful for all that I have experienced.  For all of the people I have met, loved, hated, worked with, cared for, or ultimately decided were/were not the right fit for my life.

November is often sold as a month to be thankful for friends, family, warmth, health, and love. Businesses market it as a time to spend a little more, to give back.  Family use it as a time to see you.

I have to say I  am thankful for all the life experiences I’ve had- the good, the bad, and the ugly- as I would not be the “jet setting  marathoner with a stable job” that I am today without them.  I would not have moved to New York, said “I love you” to someone special, turned down job offers, accepted job offers, or started running without every experience and person that has made me… me.

To the City of New York right now, we need to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off.  Unite and band together rather then get angry or hide away (although it’s ok sometimes i guess).

To him, I’m no longer mad, confused, upset, angry, or still in love.  I’ve forgiven myself.  I’ve forgiven him.  And I’ve moved beyond it… because being angry forever will not help anyone.

All in all to sum up this raw, potentially controversial post… we ALL need to take a moment and shine a light on what we have.  What we have accomplished and how strong we are together and alone.  There is still good in people and we can tap that.  There is still love in me and I can fine that.

Always,

C

Tips to Travel: Let’s Talk Money

I’ve never been comfortable discussing my financial state or income with others.  I feel like money should be included in the list of things you DON’T discuss over diner with polite company.  But times are a changin’!  It’s easy to dream big and want to do it all, to talk things up and not be able to follow through.

But at 25 and already living on a budget, planning this trip meant looking at and considering a lot of money options and making plans based on that factor.  I am also traveling with other people, so i need to know I can fund my way and uphold my part of the expenses.   Without going into great detail, I want to share here some budget tips and things to consider before taking off.

First, decide how much you can and want to spend on your trip (per person).  Set yourself a reasonable range BEFORE spending or booking then, as you look at expenses, add things up to see how it compares to what you are willing to spend.  Remember that there can (and most likely will) be unforeseen expenses and you will want to buy things at your final destination, so remember to include some funds for that.

Costs you will probably be considering can include travel (flights, bus tickets, gas, etc), lodging/housing, food, souvenirs, tickets, fees, rentals, and so on.  As well as anything you have to buy before even landing in your  destination (clothes, luggage, power converters, medication, etc).  Don’t let this hinder your adventuresome spirit but don’t get taken by surprised or stuck.

Something I have recently earned second hand and been reminded of many times::  be sure to balance your personal comfort and sanity with your budget travel.  How will you feel about your trip if you choose to save money by taking the bus, but end up having a screaming child in the row behind you and stuck on the bus for 3 times longer then you would on a plane… makes that $15 you saved seem like nothing at all for a fast, quiet trip instead.

Alright, no more stalling—

What were my big upfront costs to #BaliBound #BaliBirthday 2016?

  • Getting there
    • For this trip that means airline tickets.  Big tip:  Book in advance and travel at “off peak” times.  If you’re not traveling for the holidays, don’t travel over holiday season.  My trip has been strategically placed after the Thanksgiving rush and well before Christmas.  But I had to consider that the country I was headed to wasn’t a Christina nation and other holidays needed to be considered too.  Booking in advance is always best as is looking at the days of the week you travel.  Flying on a Friday or Saturday are notoriously more expensive then a Tuesday or Wednesday!  Best practice:  Look at several options and consider giving yourself some wiggle room, a one day shift in travel could save you a lot!
  • Staying there
    • There are many ways to save when it comes to your living arrangements on a trip.  This is a good time to also consider what sort of experience you want.  Do you want to take the 5-star Hotel Resort and Spa path OR the family compound Homestay?  How close do  you want to be to the culture and people or have to worry a little less about the cleanliness and water quality.  No place will be perfect.  I’ll just say that.  But deciding what you want out of the experience and how comfortable or uncomfortable you are willing to be needs to be considered along with price.  You will probably be someplace for a few days (at least) so check if there are specials for multiple nights and/or guests.  What is included in your stay- breakfast?  pool access? rentals and tours?  How close are you to the attractions or city center?  Accommodations right in the heart of things can cost you more.  Does your budget allow it or would you be OK walking a little further but have ore spending money later?

All good questions to ask yourself.  From experience, don’t always go with the first place you find!  Do some research.  Look for their website but also check your guide books (remember those?  We got them last entry!) and if they recommend a place it’s probably good to consider.  In this day of social media, I also checked Instagram and Facebook for tags and entries of my homestay before I booked my room.  I wanted to see if it looked like they said it did, and what a better place to look then another tourists pictures!

As the 4 Weeks Till Trip mark approaches, I am uncovering other costs that are important.  For example, I would love to purchase an Ospry backpack that is carry-on size and able to hold all my belongings.  I have duffles, sure, but who wants to get off in Indonesia with a hot pink, cotton, floral, Vera duffle?  I also have feelers out to borrow backs from friends who are travelers, but anyone can tell you there is something extra special about having your own NEW bag to play with and eventually pack.  *To justify purchase, this way I’ll have it when I travel more!  and It’s basically an early 26th Birthday present, right?*

I also have to get power adaptors, be sure I have proper clothes, shoes, and transportable toiletries.  Many things I know I can get at my final destination and not worry about taking through TSA and customs, but things from home are always nice to have on hand.

Well, looks like those are the big things I can think of that require spending before the trip… but that does not mean the spending is over!  There will be things I need (food) and want (stuff) to buy in Bali.  Remembering there is a conversion and that the USD is strong there is great, but spending is spending… and it’s easy.  Yoga classes, clothes, spas, cooking classes, fare and fees, possibly snorkeling, tours, and more are all things I’m considering when building my budget… and in doing so, my trip.

Overall, you will have a better travel experience if you can relax and enjoy it, noting you will not be totally broke at the end.  Having a relatively planned budget with some wiggle room will make the trip fun and manageable.   Always let you bank know you are away from home, we will touch more on this in later posts, but having charges flagged or accounts frozen can put a damper on anyone’s plans.

No matter what you can spend, your trip will be what you make of it and I’m excited to be seeing Bali for as long as I am and in the best way I can!

Other budget travel tips?  Share them here- for me and any other reader getting ready for adventure!

Always,

C

The Last Half: Navy Air-Force Half Marathon 2016

With the NYC Marathon just days away, I figured it was time to look back on another of the races that helped get me this far.  It’s not always pretty… it’s certainly not easy… and sometimes the reward doesn’t show up till much later.  But every mile is another one closer to the big 26.2, it’s another mile I that wouldn’t have been run otherwise.

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Early morning train rides call for glasses & sweats!

Back in September, Megan and I packed bags, jumped on a train, and head down to Washington DC for the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon.  Let’s just say the trip started out on the opposite then right foot, with a cab driver who wasn’t quite sure how to get to Penn Station (NYC problems)… and the fun continued as we, in early morning Amtrak required glasses and oversize sweatshirt, watched very drunk people tottle around Penn waiting for their commuter trains home on a Saturday night (morning).

Once on the train, it was smooth track for the morning.  Having never been to the country’s capitol, I was excited to see a new city, earn a new medal, and see the sights.  We pulled in as the sun was just starting to lighten the sky over the White House and bound past the chatty homeless people outside into out waiting car (thanks Aunt Diane!).

img_7997 Saturday morning was for coffee, monument viewing, and packet pickup.  The Expo… sort of disappointing I have to say.  Either I’ve been spoiled by the BK Half party of an expo or I was looking forward to the massive Marathon every… There just wasn’t must to see or things to do.  Get your number, get your shirt.. look over the green of the ball park and head back to the car.  Ok, so at least it was easy to get into and out of!  With race numbers acquired, the only other thing to do was eat well and sight see- not wearing ourselves out to much- and rest before the race the next day.

This is when we really got a taste of the weekend weather— seasonally way to hot and HUMID— so not my ideal race conditions.  * Side note, I’ll run in rain, snow, wind, the dark, etc without a single complaint… but as soon as it’s excessively hot and humid without a breeze, I’m out.  I overheat way to fast! *  I should have known then to re-evaluate my race plan and not push it.  But did I listen, of course not.


5:30AM Sunday morning- We are up, dressed, hydrated, and out by 6.  The Start line right by the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial was beautiful as the sun rose with just a few clouds in the sky.  Energy was high all around as runners and teams assembled to start out on the 13.1 mile trek.  I felt good till about mile 4, that’s when I started to feel the heat.  The sun was up and the course, while relatives flat, had minimal coverage and only breeze when we were by the water.  Starting around mile 6 (at least I got through the 10k) I started alternating Run a Mile, Walk a Mile.  I was determined to finish, but could feel my shoulders locking up and my breath getting short.

It was about this time that I started to question HOW I was going to make it through the 26.2 miles in November that I was planning on doing.  But anyone else who runs (any distance really) you know that running is as much mental as it is physical.  I had to get my head space into a better place- fast! other wise I knew I wouldn’t finish this race or any other.  Singing, reading other runners shirts, looking at the scenery all around me, feeding off the crowds and giving every high-5 I came across.

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Finisher photo with the White House in the background!

Having family and friends on the course seriously helped.  The community support and energy was amazing on this race and I would say really kept me going.  Each water station had a different theme and made all kinds of noise!  We actually got to vote for our favorite water/cheer station, so they had an awesome reason to pull out all the stops and make noise!  Leading up to the finish line, more and more people could be heard cheering and encouraging us along.  To exhausted to sprint the finish and knowing I wasn’t gunning for a PR, I crossed in at 2:45 and, the hot sweaty tired mess that I was, earned her DC medal!

OK, so the race itself wasn’t bad… it was all me… and the bad part came later……. post walk to the car and post shower… my usual post race migraine.  Ok, that’s nothing to surprising, I’m sure you are tired of hearing me mention it.  Usually I can sleep it off, eat something and be fine- ready to see more of the city… but not this time.  Hours later there I am, curled up on the couch, so sick to my stomach, migraine and all with ice and crackers.  What a great way to end a race day!  Could it get any worse?  Of course!- I had to get on a train and get back to NYC.  Oh great…

Once the actual being sick part stopped I was just tired.  I was that annoying person on the train taking up 2 seats (sorry y’all).  Try sleeping curled up on a train car with a migraine after running 13.1 miles… actually, don’t try that- take my word for it- NOT FUN!


Sunday night- September 18th, 2016… what happened that night?  Anyone? Anyone at all?  Elizabeth, NJ.  Ring any bells yet?

Yes, that night- while I (and tons of other passengers) were just trying to get back to NYC, although very few of them had just run a half and even fewer had a stomach bug and migraine… I digress- there were bombs discovered at a train station in Elizabeth NJ.  (this is after the Chelsea NYC incident)

We got stopped in Trenton NJ.  For like 3 hours.  Stuck on a train in the middle of nowhere New Jersey at 11pm.  You can imagine how thrilled everyone was.

After about an hour of being stuck, contacts came out and glasses went on.  The social media and google searches began to find out exactly what was going on… cause, bless our train crew, they were not telling us much and clearly overwhelmed (and tired… wait, that was ALL of us).  Eventually we were moved up a few station and a little closer to the city.  There we de-trained and were told, “Shuttle busses will be available for transport to New York or stations past the incident”.  That’s great!  We all thought… till it was only 2 busses.  2 busses for a whole train of passengers.

Now, 2am maybe, due tempers!

Ok, maybe it didn’t get that bad… but as the wait for more busses continued (and we were eventually told they got lost and not coming, so other busses were being arranged) people- complete strangers- began banding together to get home.  Calling Uber cars to various destinations there 4-6 people were headed.

We broke down and went in with 4 others to get back to Penn.  It’s 4:45am.  Trying not to totally pass out in the very back seat of as SUV, I honestly hardly remember getting to Penn and promptly falling into a cab with Megan to get home.

5:30am Monday morning- When I fall into my bed, fully dressed and totally exhausted, just so glad to be home and off that darn train.  Pain, hunger, excitement all gone, all I wanted to do was sleep and sleep and sleep.

I don’t know that I’ve had a longer 24 hours.  Needless to say, I was not at work that day.  About 3pm, when I woke up, it was time to evaluate the food situation, stinky laundry pile, and add the medal to the wall.  I got through one of those things before promptly going back to bed.

Maybe not the best race.  Maybe not the best travel.  But it does make a great story.

Anyone else run the 2016 Navy-Air Force Half in DC?  Or get stuck on a commuter train that night?  I’d love to hear shared stories here!

Always,

C

10K- Halloween Edition

Sleepy Hollow is known as the home of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, haunted grave yards, beautiful trees, and plenty Halloween spirit… and of the Riverside Runners Sleepy Hollow 10K.

Yup, one last race before the Marathon, and a seasonal one was in order.  The historic village is just a little 30 minute drive from my front door, so perfect for a Saturday race.  Where to start in the days events? img_8279

Sense this was not an NYRR or NYC Runs event, the race numbers were not conveniently located on the Upper West side for me to pick up while on a stroll after work.  No fear! Megan is here!  This time her job was a hop skip and jump from packet pickup, so she took care of that for all runners in our party.  Races in the cooler seasons usually mean long sleeved race shirts and this one was no different.  (I’m now a proud finisher and owner of a very orange are shirt).

Weather this time of year can be unpredictable and change in the blink of an eye.  Pre-race evening= cool and breeze.  Race Day= grey, windy, and rainy!  Like not pouring-can’t-see-the-road-ahead rainy, but like my-shoes-are-gonna-be-soaked-before-we-even-start rainy.  And did I mention cold?  Incase you missed that, it was wet, windy, and cold!  But we’ve all run in worse and to quote a course volunteer from a past race, “you look so much more bad-ass running in the rain!”

img_8276 So morning of, layered up and ready to go we hop in the car and head to Sleepy Hollow.  The weather definitely made the start line a little messy and confusing.  Everyone was huddled up under store front awnings or strategically held umbrellas.  The energy felt low until we saw the Headless Horseman heading our way (I’ll leave out the part where we saw the rider getting in costume and no he wasn’t holding a pumpkin), but as he lead the way to the starting line and we all fell in behind, it felt like we were heading off on an adventure and the rain, rather then be an annoyance, was all part of the experience.  The gun sounded and the horse reared.  Nothing but scenic Hudson River views, colorful wet leaves, steep hills, haunted turns, and costumed characters stood in our way.

I could tell right away this was a community event.  Starting out on the “seed yourself” course, everyone was talking and chatting, stopping to take pictures and going way to fast to maintain a pace the whole event.  But once we were about a mile into the course, and out of the downtown area, races set in and runners spread out, hunkering in and assessing the terrain.  Front lawns were decorated with signs of haunting encouragement (Don’t stop, something might be gaining on you! and Run for your life!) and families were out to cheer us on.  Race course support was dressed to impress, or scare, and the Horseman made another appearance- waiting for us around a tight turn.

The course… hilly.  Hilly, so hilly, that’s really all I can say.  Beautiful but hilly!  There were moments I had to wonder, as I approached yet another steep incline and had to crane my neck and look almost straight up, HOW am I going to make it up this one??  There were some times when just as you thought you were at the top and flattening out, there would be a second tier to tackle before downhill even became an option!  I’ll fully admit, there were hills I had to power walk up, not necessarily because I was fatigued, or because a walk/run strategy is what I will be using for the marathon, but because I’m actually not sure if my little legs would be able to run up some of the hills we faced.

Then of course- what does up, must come down!  I cane definitely say I was more intimidated by the uphills but fearful of the down.  Leaves and pine needles are treacherous as they are when on the road.  Add in the rain and downhills could easily become a painful slip-and-slide.  Taking a slower pace and accurate footing ensured I didn’t take a tumble. img_8285

I felt like the miles flew by, which was also a relief as struggling through 6.2 miles would not have been a good sign right before tackling 26.2…  There were beautiful views of the Hudson River and the excitement of the conditions to take my mind off everything else.  The finish line, I knew would be exciting.  We passed it on the way out of town and it was at the top of a small but intense little hill (OMG did I mention the course was hilly?).  Once I could see it, all of the excitement powered me up and across!

What gets me is when spectators shout “It’s all downhill from here!” when it’s DEFINITELY NOT and “You can see the finish” when you DEFINITELY CAN’T.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the support, but in the moment of the race, what they say and what I experience are not the same.  Of course they can’t know that I don’t appreciate what they are saying, but what is “just around the next turn” to a spectator can be a lot longer for a runner.

I digress, race spectators will be race spectators.  And no race would be the same without their support.

img_8283Finishing!  I finished right were I wanted to be, at 1:10.  By then the rain had let up (for the time being) and the wind picked up.  I felt cold again!  It wasn’t till mile 3 that I could feel all my fingers and of course slowing down meant getting cold all over again… but our Brunch reservations kept me going as did the thought of getting OUT of my wet layers!

After brunch the car ride home was made even better by the blasting heat that blew right on my cold, tired, still kinds damp footsies and the thought os nothing else standing in my way of a nap.

The important things to a runner!

What is your favorite seasonal race or race day story?  Share here!

Always,

C