A Change of Pace: Snapshots of a Birthday Weekend

The last few weekends have been based around running far. This weekend, as I eased in to my 25th year, I decided to shoot for a change of pace, instead focusing purely on enjoyment.

I’m not big on birthdays, but if there was one thing I wanted to do on Friday morning as I turned a quarter of a century old, it was run. So that’s exactly what I did: an easy 5-mile run around the lower loop of Central Park.

Central Park was delicious as always, the sun shining bright as ever even though the rest of the day turned out to be on the cloudier side. 5 miles went by quickly, and before I knew it, I was heading back south toward my apartment.

The run was a winner for two reasons. For one, it was a fantastic way to begin my quarter life crisis. On another level, if you’re new to WRFG, Friday runs are simply one of my favorite ways to kick off a weekend. And it was a great weekend indeed.

To start, my mom and I share a birthday, and so it’s become somewhat customary to spend that special day together. Noah and I met my parents for dinner at Pylos, one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York City. Traditional Greek comfort food was a welcome meal following an indulgent night out with Noah at the Bourgeois Pig, where we shared drinks and a cheese plate…

…and Upstate in the East Village, where we dined on scallops with brown rice and mushroom risotto, crab cakes and kale, and oysters. (This was my fourth time trying oysters, and I’m still not crazy about them; actually, I don’t really get them at all. They taste like ocean.)

On Friday night, I met a handful of amazing friends out at a great little bar called Summit in Alphabet City and made a valiant attempt to maintain some level of sobriety and ultimately keep it classy. After all, I wanted to be able to run on Saturday morning.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting in some pretty hard core runs – 12 milers followed by 15 milers followed by many consecutive 5-plus mile days. So when I woke up on Saturday morning, I decided to take it slow – you know, lounge around the apartment and cook breakfast before even thinking about getting dressed (in a particularly girly, pink outfit at that). I also decided that, instead of anything aggressive, I’d make Saturday’s run a strictly fun one.

Noah agreed to run with me downtown to the Hester Street Fair, which was opening for the season. If you’re not one for giant, overwhelming markets, but love artisanal food and cute hipster finds, then the Hester Street Fair is for you.

The total distance was probably just around 4 miles, or maybe even a little less, but the primary portion of the run took us along the East River, and that alone was enough to satisfy my craving to be outdoors and in fresh air. I hadn’t taken such a short run in a few weeks, but in reality, that was exactly what I needed.

I figured that Sunday would be more of the same, and woke up early enough to get dressed and leave before Noah had even opened his eyes. My goal was to run between 3 and 5 miles, depending on how I felt, and to take in the sights on the High Line, which I hadn’t been to in months. It definitely didn’t disappoint.

Whereas the first mile, as I crossed from the east to the west side of Manhattan, wasn’t particularly special (my calves were unusually tight and I couldn’t shake my exhaustion), I started to pick up the pace somewhere in the middle of the High Line. At that point, I was finally feeling good – like, really good.

Maybe it was the music; Noah recently introduced me to Kaskade’s Coachella set (listen here), which completely blew my mind. All I want to do when I it is race, and run up big hills, and totally kick ass. (There was a time when it would have made me want to go to a rave, but see how far I’ve come?) This is going to be a playlist staple for weeks to come.

Or maybe, it was the warm sun and blue sky. Either way, I couldn’t help but begin to feel like I was walking on air. Or running on air. Whatever.

To be fair, I wasn’t moving quickly; I was simply moving contentedly. And so I kept going, making my way to the Hudson River and heading south on the West Side Highway.

When it was all said and done, I had squeezed 8 1/2 miles under my belt, managing to hit the Financial District, Tribeca, Soho and Gramercy. The official route:

After 2 solid days of delectable restaurant eats, I dedicated the rest of my weekend to preparing food in the comfort of my apartment – simple ingredients without the butter and salt. When I got home from Sunday’s early run, I enjoyed a much-needed, healthful breakfast of cucumbers, avocado (with a bit of black pepper), a hard boiled egg white, and a crab salad roll from Grand Central Station.

I spent the rest of the day taking in New York City the way it should be: on foot. Noah and I managed to get ourselves out of the apartment to enjoy the flawless weather, taking the ferry over to the Brooklyn Flea Market; I had never been and was dying to check it out. The day, the food, the shopping, and, above all, the views, were spectacular all around.

So yea, that’s it from me. Overall, this was an unbeatable few days. And while food, friends, and fun little purchases were the primary factors for why I enjoyed the weekend so much, at the end of the day, I was also completely taken aback by the freedom with which I ran. From Friday through today, there was no pressure. It was just me, New York City’s people-packed streets, and the sense of happiness that running has always – and hopefully will always – instill me with.

How was your weekend? Did you run? Race? PR? PDR? Take pretty pictures? Eat good food? Drink fine wine? Conclude that you still hate oysters? 

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4 thoughts on “A Change of Pace: Snapshots of a Birthday Weekend

  1. Awww, glad you had a fabulous birthday weekend! I did not run, I donated blood instead. But I did enjoy fine wine. 🙂 NYC sounds amazing!

  2. Happy Birthday, looks like a great weekend! That market looks cute and I have been meaning to get to the highline. I think I will go when my Mum visits me soon.

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