Healthy, fit, happy. That was the general theme of this past weekend, and I’m incredibly grateful to be able to feel that way.
While my body is beyond tired from 2 really hard, mentally and physically rewarding days of running, I’ve enjoyed a really much-needed, restorative 3 days in a row now, beginning with kale margaritas on Thursday night. If the thought of a kale margarita doesn’t make you smile — or at least curious — then you might want to reevaluate your priorities. Whether or not you like tequila, this drink was seriously euphoric.
For those of you who live in Manhattan or plan on visiting any time soon, The Wayland is a health nut’s paradise; a small country getaway tucked away in alphabet city, ripe with farm to table dishes, refurbished wood everything and, most importantly of all, unique kale-packed elixirs.
While New York City can at times feel overwhelming, finding hidden gems like this, surrounded by community gardens, can turn it all around in an instant. All you have to do is walk (or run!) around and explore, and I promise, you too can find these same miniature oases that transport you away from it all.
Friday evening was equally as perfect and was spent catching up with old friends. I started the night after work at a little dive bar called No Fun, which actually turned out to be a lot of fun when it came time to pay the bill: $9 for two glasses of wine! Gotta love happy hours in New York City.
Fortunately, I spent the rest of my life savings not long after at Stanton Social, which was definitely a restaurant I had been wanting to check off my list for a while if only for the French onion soup dumplings. Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, coming from a very harsh food critic, the meal was totally worth it.
Unlike last weekend’s hangover of the century, I woke up on Saturday morning ready for my shakeout run. I had spent the previous week making a considerable effort to “taper” for my race, strength training on Thursday and taking a full rest day on Friday, and so with a 3-miler on Saturday, I should have been golden.
The plan: to set out with Noah, who was doing one of his first marathon training runs of the summer, and to break off at the bottom of Central Park and head home, which would give me just about the distance I needed. Saturday morning was so incredibly beautiful though (albeit slightly too hot), and I was having difficulty justifying the idea of cutting a weekend run that felt oh-so-perfect short for the sake of a race the following day.
My brain said turn back, play it smart. My heart, however, said go with it, enjoy the morning, satisfy your body’s craving for distance. And so, knowing that I wouldn’t be jeopardizing my shot at first, second or third during Sunday’s race, I simply ran — and loved every second of those 10 miles.
As my cousin put it, “You ran 10 miles the day before a race. That’s foolish.” But as we ran past the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, Noah and I wanted to keep going. So we did. And as we ran past the Engineer’s Gate, we wanted to keep scanning the city streets. So we did. And finally, we entered somewhere near the top of the park, cutting off Harlem Hill and running south on the west side.
We stumbled upon this little gorgeous garden (see what happens when you run without any particular direction in mind?).
Then we exited at the bottom of Central Park near Columbus Circle, and ran down 8th Avenue (this turned out to be a horrible idea), finishing at Paragon Sports on 14th Street, where I was picking up a friend’s race packet for Sunday’s 10k.
10 really strong, powerful and satisfying miles later and a mile-long walk home from Union Square, and I knew that I had ruined my chances of hitting my ultimate goal for Sunday. This was something I came to terms with quickly though, and simply allowed myself to bask in the sense of contentment brought forth by what I had accomplished on my own, for no particular reason at all.
Of course, I spent the rest of Saturday recovering, drinking water, and nursing a dehydration headache. I massaged my calves in preparation for Sunday; I made guacamole served on homemade whole-grain Parmesan crackers for fuel.
On Friday evening, I caught up with a dear friend over a bottle of wine and delicious Mexican food at El Parador. Walking home knowing that I’d be going to bed nice and early, full and satisfied on so many levels overwhelmed me with a sense of calm. Ah, there’s that mental tranquility I had been searching for over the last week.
Of course, this brings us to Sunday, the much-anticipated Governors Island 10k. Going to bed early the night before made the 5:30 wake-up call seem less daunting than I prepared myself for — especially when compared to the last time I woke up so early for a race (the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler), which was dark, cold and an I-wanna-just-get-back-in-bed-right-now kind of miserable.
Wednesday through Friday’s heat wave made me nervous for race day, but like the weatherman promised, it was beautiful as ever.
On any normal race day, I’d buy a pre-race muffin for fuel. Yet “any normal race day” since I began signing up for these shindigs last August have also consisted of 10+ miles. With a 10k, I figured I’d try something a bit less aggressive and closer to my normal breakfast, and instead prepared a latte to get things moving and 2 whole-grain Wasa crackers with all-natural peanut butter and wild blueberry preserves. Simple, summery, delicious and nutritious.
I probably could have taken the subway down to the Battery Maritime building, but my lazy side got the best of me and I hopped in a cab instead, meeting my childhood best friend, RS, and her boyfriend, along with a few other colleagues and great people, at the southern most tip of Manhattan to catch the 7:10 ferry.
The views from the ferry were enough to stir up energy and excitement inside me, and even though I had run 10 miles the day before (not my finest choice perhaps), I knew that I was nevertheless going to have a great, fun, strong run — whether or not it was my best, or a PR, or accomplished whatever else it is that people sign up for races in order to achieve.
So this is where I leave you, because I think we can all agree that I’ve covered enough ground — literally and metaphorically — when it comes to this run, food, fun-filled weekend. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow, when you can catch my official race recap of the Governors Island 10k, with mile-to-mile details of what it’s like to run 6.2 miles with all of your heart and soul after a 10-mile run the day before.
As a little preview (because I know you’re all dying to know), all of us who ran on Sunday very much deserved our post-race mint Prosecco smoothies from Westville afterward, even if we were by far the sweatiest and saltiest patrons in the restaurant.
I loved this weekend, and hope you did too.
- What was your favorite part about this weekend?
- Did you run or race? What were your goals and how did you do?