#VeganFoodQuestNYC

You know how July 4th happened. On Wednesday. And then New York City happened on that Saturday!

The Plan

Catie and I will go to NYC. We will run our training distance for the day in Central Park. Then we will explore the city with emphasis on vegan food and drinks. It will be a day trip. Leave at 0600, be back in Washington at 2200. It will be another one for me and a first for Catie. Destination Training, is what we call it. It will be filed under #VeganFoodQuestNYC. There will be more #VeganFoodQuests in other cities.

The Goal

I had one more goal, as I told Amy at dinner Friday night, to outdrink Catie. Something that I have never  been able to do but tried and failed. She can usually hold her alcohol well and me, not so much. So it’s a big deal for me. Shh… Catie doesn’t know (cheating, I know).

The Execution

0600. Saturday. Oh wait, 0530. Union Station, Washington DC. We are in the line to board the train that departs at 0600 to NYC. Catie is excited, being her first Amtrak ride and her first visit to NYC. In fact, her first time north of Baltimore, ever! What we were supposed to do, according to the plan, was to keep our backpacks at Amtrak storage in New York Penn station and walk to 59th and 5th and run 5 miles, come back to Penn station, change to non-sweaty clothes and eat at as many vegan restaurants as possible and drink as much alcohol as possible before heading back in the evening.

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You can see we are both so sleepy!

Right after we got to Penn station, we had a setback on step 2 of our plan, the run. Due to events not in our control, we could not run. No biggie, right? sweat_emoji We’ll run in Washington on Sunday. facepalm3 We decided to not cry over spilt soymilk and enjoy the day. After all in we are in New York City and it’s a beautiful day!

by Chloe: First of many vegan food destinations of the day. That breakfast was just amazing.

Brooklyn Bridge: We walked all the way to Brooklyn Bridge. I have walked and ran across the bridge in the past. But it always is a fascinating experience. Except this time it was packed, I’ve never seen that many people on the bridge ever before!

Urban Vegan Kitchen: One Green Planet and HappyCow told us about this restaurant. I had a feeling I’ve been there before and sure enough, I have. You can add any alcohol to any juice to make your own cocktail there. Sweet, right! Their chickpea hushpuppies are da bom! Since we were not hungry enough, also with the plan to hit more vegan places, we just had the hushpuppies. Lunch #1.

Jack’s Wife Freda: While we are planning our trip, we came across an article in One Green Planet about the best breakfast and brunch places in the country. Since One Green Planet is a vegan focused publication, we assumed that Jack’s Wife Freda, which was on the list, was a vegan establishment. I really wanted to go there. I was looking at the map to find the location and Catie goes “look across the street”. And there it was, directly across the street from Urban Vegan Kitchen! We went in, looked at the menu and realized it is not a vegan restaurant. We read the One Green Planet review again and realized that they were talking about just this one tofu dish, Mustard seed crusted tofu, on their menu. Sure we tried it. Hands down, the best tofu I’ve ever eaten! Bonus, meeting one of the vibrant bartenders ever, Fitch. She told us to definitely come back as she was shaking a cocktail, incorporating a full body dance move! Lunch #2.

Mother of Pearl: The last stop in our quest. Incredible how everything – food, drinks, weather, our attitudes – kept getting better and better as the day progressed! Mother of Pearl was a fitting finale for an amazing day. Fully vegan Polynesian restaurant. It was so hard to choose what to order! We ordered everything. We had to try hard to finish our third entrèe (nothing to do with the taste, in fact the amazing taste was the only reason we could finish, we were just too full at that point) and realized that one more, the biggest one of our order, is yet to come. I don’t wanna get into the details, it was bad, all the way back to Washington. see-no-evil-monkey.png Dinner#1?

New York weather was super kind to us, with a high of a perfect 69°! Altogether we walked 13 miles in Manhattan. I think that covers the 5 miles that we were supposed to run? No? Fine. facebook-sad-smiley-facebook-symbols-and-chat-emoticons-Do1w2U-clipart

And how am I gonna burn all the extra calories from the week?

The Win

On the way back, in the train, Catie says “Did you realize you drank way more than me. That has never happened before, you know that, right?”!

YES!

Wut?

Did she know my secret goal? I know she didn’t but it was killer finish to the best day evuh, that she acknowledged it and that it was her who brought it up after all!

It’s the small things!

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La Jolla Half Marathon… and more

Pacific West Coast 

I go to LA a few times every year. My best friend and his family live there. They are like my family. In fact, they are my family. So last week I decided it’s time to go to LA again. The timing couldn’t be better because there was a protest against the cruel, unnecessary animal experimentations (more on this archaic “science” later) that occur in UCLA. I could join the protest. And I did. Here’s my new activist friend, Michael and I. 18034235_216115568876071_5141022368381432664_n

I looked for a race to do while I’m in LA, you know, as one would. I found one in San Diego! La Jolla half marathon. More on that later in this post.

I landed in LA on Thursday. Friday morning I did my first SHFT training session. I stayed in my target zone for 46% of the time! (Fuck yeah!) Then Shan and I went to a running store in Santa Monica for him to buy his first pair (of running shoes). It happened to be the venue for the packet pickup for a 5K (Leslie Cohen Law 5K) happening the next morning, by a beach. Did I walk out of there without registering?

Saturday morning : Ladies and gents, we have a first time racer, Shan! IMG_8496.JPG

La Jolla Half Marathon           I have done over a 80 races since 2008. This race course was one of a kind! (Oh, I bought the Spectacles by Snap last month and I wore them during a race for the first time at this race.)

It was one of the most beautiful courses I ever raced.

 

This race course was also one of the toughest, yet. The hills just kept on going up and up and up…

 

Luckily the sun was in hiding until after the finish! Plus there were high fives and water guns!

 

And the downhills were amazing! The last quarter mile to the finish were all downhill and was able to Finish Strong.

 

Then there was one McLaren MP4-12C!

 

And then I finished at the beautiful La Jolla Cove!

 

And then there were seals and sea lions!!!

18056062_10154839126461886_5440057302426119336_oThat’s Rocky, who knows he is the dabom, giving me some attitude. And I did not invade his personal space, I was respectful of his privacy and kept a safe distance.

BTW, I’m still injured!

More stories from LA comin up….

 

 

The Beauty In The Bits

SUNDAY

Last  summer, in the midst of my intense training for Fire and Ice, there was one “off” weekend, thanks to an injury. I went to Philadelphia with a few friends. It was a Sunday.(Sundays are when most distance running races occur, throughout the country.)

/*A training interrupted means unwise decision making that may lead to self inflicted embarrassment and related catastrophic events.*/

https://ir4ablog.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/old-friends-and-wine-or-alcohol-in-general

As they say, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop (tho there is no “devil”, but you got the idea). In my case, it was an elephant sized boredom and a Large Hadron Collider sized frustration. I started asking  out ALL the pretty ladies and ALL of them said no, as if they planned the response together. Then, as the above post says, there was J.  But I did not ever get a chance to go back to Phily. 

Last Sunday, I went back to Phily, because why not. Went to the same restaurant for dinner, because, hey, good food. Sure enough J was there, different hair but as pretty and cute as I remember. And… wait for it….

She remembered me!

Amtrak. IMG_8405

 

Running in Central Park

It finally happened.

What would an out of work, bored, runner would do on hump day?

Go to NYC and run in Central Park (I’ve been wanting to do that for such a long time. Finally happened). CheckIMG_8222

Then spend the rest of the day in the city. And walk for over 17 miles, hit at least 3 vegan restaurants. Check

Not to mention, miss the 4:45 AM train and then find out the next train is sold out and the one after that has been cancelled, then buy an Acela ticket for about $300 and get to NYC half an hour earlier than the original train and get an early start to the awesomeness that followed. Check 

OK, full disclosure. I am preparing for my next certification and I was supposed to study all day. Anything to avoid studying.
Right?

I wanna say Acela was the highlight but it wasn’t. Freedom Tower or Brooklyn Bridge walkway? Nope. It was the Korean vegetarian restaurant Hangawi.

In the morning I got out of the train, walked straight to Terri, the cool vegan joint, then walked to Central Park, ran 4 miles, then walked to Penn station, got may bag out of the storage, walked to Hangawi, stuffed myself with vegan goodness, subway-ed to Brooklyn Bridge, walked to Brooklyn and back, went to the top of Freedom Tower, walked to Urban Vegan Kitchen, stuffed myself with more vegan goodness and cocktails, walked to Penn station, caught the train back to DC.

I definitely recommend these restaurants:

Hangawi – Korean, vegetarian, wonderful ambiance, delicious food. Most dishes are vegan.

Terri – Vegan fast food, quick service, tasty plates.

Urban Vegan Kitchen – As the name implies. Amazing food, pricey but totally worth it.

DC vegans got nothing on NYC vegans. le sigh….

Pepper!

It’s been over a month since I ran my first race of the year. A half marathon on the beach at Huntington Beach, CA. Although the longest distance I ran until that point was just about 5 miles, I had a strong race. It was my 3rd fastest half! The weather was perfect, about 45° and sunny. I ran the first 5 miles without stopping at about 8:30 per mile! Whoa, right?

Right.

 

Then there was another half in Woodside, CA the next Saturday. I reach my friends’ place in Menlo Park on Friday evening, one thing (whiskey) led to another (whiskey), I decided not to run that race. Hey, there will be more races, but not much free-single-malt-scotch-excellent-food-good-company around.

Hydroplane. Thats what happened during my trip to SF from LA. Over 20 (TWENTY) times. With almost zero visibility. 12675130-Illustration-of-a-scared-yellow-emoticon-isolated-on-a-white-background-Stock-Illustration My rental was a 328 (the purpose behind that was strictly to show off before my friends) which all of a sudden became my life saver. I can go on and on but that one amazing machine. Here is Pepper (I had to name her)! 16266094_10154601730656886_2063570189866537222_n

More catch up sesh coming up soon.

 

2017?

I can never top 2016. It was the best year of my life, ever.

I did 13 running races altogether, not counting the multi-stage ultra, Fire and Ice, in Iceland. 12 of them destination races. Plus travels not related to racing, which adds up to more than one out of town trip per month. The big dent in my wallet will take years to fix.

I ran close to 700 miles in 2016!

Good news is that I am fully healed from my stress fracture (I think). I’m now running 2-3 times a week, between 1 and 5 miles at a time. So far registered for 3 half marathons (LA, SF and Nashville) and a 10 miler in DC. Need to start low and make my way up. Oh wait, then Ellen made me (hehe) sign up for a 50K in Feb! Whoa!

BTW, Ellen is running another multi-stage ultra in April, in Nepal, organized by the same team that did Fire and Ice! Wha…!

On New Year’s Day, I went on a 5 mile run, an hour of HIIT with George and an Hour of Vinyasa with my new absolute favorite yoga instructor Jessica! Can’t get a better start for the year.

When I’m not running… part II

My friend Michelle is NOT a runner. She started experimenting with running, like a year ago. She asked me things about running and I was helping her out with the things I know about running. Then she expressed her interest in running a marathon! Never say no to someone who whats to run a marathon. I said I will help her plan the race and that I will run it with her. We registered for Running For The Bay Marathon together.

That was before Fire & Ice.

I injured my back last Monday. Wish I had a great story behind it, like, it happened while I was saving a drowning dog or rescuing a kitten stuck on a tree etc. No, it was a stupid mistake involving a super heavy bag of kitty litter and early morning and lack of sleep etc.
Although Michelle may be fully capable of finishing the marathon by herself, I felt super shitty about not being able to keep my word. If it was just my stress fracture, I would run but with the back in jury… I can’t.

Fuck me, right?

I talked to Michelle and let her know that I won’t be running but I will be there at the start and finish to cheer her on. She said that means at least one of us will be at the finish!  lol-emoji
So I met her at the start, waved her off, on to the race. After hanging out with Scott (Michelle’s better half), we met her at mile 12-ish. We walked with her for a mile-ish. The worst part of the whole race is just up ahead and I offered to walk that part with her. She didn’t say no. At the end of that stretch, which was a 4.5 mile long bridge, I decided to finish the race with her!

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There were dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, butterflies and other runners along the course. Minutes after the race, I drove 6 hours, back to Atlanta to catch my flight.

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I was wearing my jeans and T shirt, you know, as a spectator, per original plan. BUT I had my running shoes on. Never leave the house without your running shoes. Because you never know…

Can I get a medal please?