Looking for Answers: Shinn Estate Vineyards and Central Park Runs

When one chapter ends, another begins.

I’m not a big believer in fate, but I do wholeheartedly think that hard work and determination can lead to those things that you have faith for — or want to have faith for — in the first place.

I am currently in a transitioning phase of my life. Where some parts feel complete, others have a ways to go. I’m in my mid-20’s; I get that I’m not supposed to have everything figured out. And yet that basic, if not frustrating, fact doesn’t make or change the notion that there will always be certain elements that are, or seem, incomplete any easier to understand.

I am lucky in so many ways, I know that. I have an incredibly supportive family and an almost indescribably easy relationship. I have shelter. I eat pretty darn well. I have my health and, more so than ever, I’m in control of my mind. Especially in the wake of natural disaster, it’s easy to be thankful for what we do have. All of a sudden, the difference between “want” and “need” are more apparent than ever.

Running is no different.

On Friday morning, before heading out to the eastern end of Long Island to spend a night at Shinn Estate’s Farmhouse, Noah and I set off for a brief five mile run along the East River. It was cold and windy as ever along the water, but being dressed properly with gloves, a headband that covered my ears and my glittery leggings made it generally pleasant. Dare I say, I actually enjoyed the cooler winter(ish) air.

For the first time in a while, I began to acknowledge that I’ve become significantly faster since crossing the finish line at my very first half marathon last summer. Like so many other positive elements in my life, I have Noah to thank for that; the only way to get faster, after all, is to run faster, and if I want to run with him, I sure as hell have to pick up the pace.

It’s not only my pace that seems to be improving though; it’s the way I feel while doing it. Trying to build speed can, at times, seem tedious, especially when doing so requires track work, tempo runs, hills and the like. It’s the regimented feeling of these aforementioned buzz words that keeps me from actually incorporating them into my running program. I definitely understand that one can find a feeling of accomplishment afterward, but so far, I’ve really just enjoyed the satisfaction that comes after completing a run with someone who’s so obviously quicker than me.

Run faster. Get faster. Amazingly enough, the more I do it — the more I get out there and spend time with someone I’d be hanging out with anyway — the easier and more enjoyable it gets.

If you’re heading out of town, even for just a night, I definitely recommend squeezing in a run — no matter how short or fast it may be — before hopping onto a train, into a car, or whatever means of transportation it is you’re using to get to your destination. Noah and I agreed: We felt great after Friday’s run, which was even more awesome because we were about to spend the rest of the day indulging in food and wine.

First stop, Lobster Roll for, you guessed it, lobster rolls…

…and grilled shrimp (they’re somewhere under those massive pineapple rings, I swear).

For Noah’s birthday this year, I decided to get him a night at Shinn Estate, a vineyard that most would describe as “off the beaten path,” but that I would correct to read, unlike most destinations as you get closer to The Hamptons, simply unpretentious.

Located in Mattituck, NY, Shinn Estate is a biodynamic vineyard complete with a tasting room and cozy farmhouse, good for just four couples at a time. Both modern and rustic, between the delicious reds, impeccable sparkling wine and the sunset that surrounds, it’s a spot that, if you happen to live in the New York area, I really, highly suggest you go.

As expected of any bed and breakfast, the morning menu was nothing short of get-in-my-belly. We were greeted with pineapple smoothies…

…homemade granola and cranberry scones…

…followed by a single sunny side up duck egg (much meatier and more firm than a chicken egg, I learned) atop a mushroom breakfast risotto.

With full bellies and clear minds, Noah and I headed back west just after breakfast and, by Sunday morning, were ready for another run. Whereas Friday could be described as blustery and biting, Sunday welcomed us into her warm, mellow embrace.

We didn’t have much of a plan when we left the apartment on Sunday morning except that I wanted to check out the reservoir (it’s been so long) and meet up with my cousin, my former running buddy who I’ve seen less of since the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. Noah and I met Dori at the 72nd Street entrance and chatted our way up Cat Hill. From there, we ran north on the east side of the reservoir…

…and then made a last-minute decision (show me something new, I was told) to continue heading north toward an oasis of flowers that awaited us on the upper-upper east side.

After stopping for a few photos and getting distracted by the spring-like feel of the air…

…we gathered ourselves and continued back southward, completing the reservoir loop on the bridle path, exiting back where we started, and ending up at home.

Sunday morning marks my longest run since Philadelphia, weighing in at just over eight miles or so. After finishing those 13 miles in Philly, I resolved to allow my shin ample time to heal by sticking to a scattered running program that forbade back-to-back excursions and kept the mileage to a minimum. It’s only now that I can finally say I’m starting to feel confident once again, often forgetting that my shin was ever a nuisance in the first place.

Like I said, I am lucky in so many ways, I know that. I have an incredibly supportive family and an almost indescribably easy relationship. I have shelter. I eat pretty darn well. I have my health and, despite intermittent set-backs, I can run.

I’ve spent the majority of my life struggling to find this balance between what I want and what I need. Whether running falls into the former or latter, I’m not exactly sure — at least not yet. More and more though, I’m realizing that if it is a need — a non-negotiable that has and, if I have my way, will continue to complete me — then what I need is to work hard to keep it that way.

  • Do you consider running a “want” or a “need?”
  • What were your weekends filled with? Wine? Runs? Duck eggs?
  • Oh, and congratulations Erika on winning the Nayad top and bottom giveaway! I’ll be in touch – stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Looking for Answers: Shinn Estate Vineyards and Central Park Runs

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