Monday, April 30, 2012

Most of April has been spent in Baltimore. I spent a week at home during my spring break, and took a quick weekend trip to attend the Grand National steeplechase race with Liz, Paul, Melissa and Zach, and hit up Ocean City for the half marathon. For as strong as my love is for NYC, I might love leaving and coming back even more. Especially when the world is in bloom.

Ma n' Pa's front patio. Why not move take spring break here?
While at home, I picnicked in a field, met up with old friends, laid in sunny spots with my dad, swam in the pool at mom's fabulous gym and went to Wegman's as frequently as possible. I made dinner with meats from local farms, ran in the woods, and listened to 89.7, Towson University's public radio station. It took a week to get my fill.

On a dock with dad. Some species are best in their natural habitats.  
I spent some time downtown watching boats chug in and out of the harbor and hit up the American Visionary Arts Museum, which I am SO PROUD to call part of home. By far the most fun museum I have ever been to. Art by people who like to laugh. They said "no pictures," which I kind of respected. Except for the bra ball. Had to sneak a picture of that.

Think giant ball of twine. Except with brassiers. 

AVAM was named one of the most "blinged out buildings" in the world
by some source that I can't remember. 

Posted in the bathroom at AVAM. Make it big and read :)

That boat is light pink and hunter green and has a thin gold pinstripe in between.
I used to daydream about owning it while rowing past it in high school.
Twas so perfect to see it alive and well. 

Final product not pictured. Not sure how to make meatloaf look appetizing,
but it was ridiculously good. You know you're working with special
meat when it it is hand wrapped packages, stamped with the farmer's name.

We ate their friend.
After most of the steeple chase races, there are pony races. Check out the clip below. Obviously, the little man last place is the crowd favorite.

While I have spent FAR too many hours on the Bolt, Mega and Chinatown busses this month, I've also been able to spend rich, quality time in Maryland, which I haven't done in quite awhile. Totally worth the I-95 traffic.

Melissa, Liz, me and Katherine at the Grand National Steeplechase Race. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This weekend was the Ocean City Half Marathon! C'est finit! I ran with Liz, Paul, Maureen and Zach. Everyone finished strong and celebrated heartily.

Liz, Paul and Zach broke ahead from me and Maureen at the start. I wasn't going for a time (okay, secretly I wanted to finish below 2h 30m, which I did with a time of 2:26). Mostly though, I just wanted to finish the race.

Note Maureen's lack of bib

Maureen had planned on running in the 5k, but the race was full, so she decided to just run it without a bib. As we were all lined up at about 6:55 am, Zach pointed out that the 5k didn't start until 7:45am. Not wanting to wait around, Maureen decided to run in the half marathon and turn around or stop whenever she felt like it. By the time we reached the 6 mile mark, she had not yet turned around and decided to run the half marathon. Girlfriend didn't train for this at all. Our pace was a rather leisurely 11:00 minute mile, but we gabbed the whole way, which made the miles pass way faster than any playlist I could have come up with.

Mile 3
While the idea of running 13 miles was pretty significant, the run itself was exactly as expected and felt completely normal. We started at the bottom tip of Ocean City, Maryland, by the boardwalk rides and ran through neighborhoods, past some cows, marshes, a pit beef stand, through the woods, past old eastern shore homes and finished by crossing the bridge to Assateague Island. 

Mile 12

Post race jello legs = no more standing

Post race rum runner at Seacrets also = no more standing

This dude was awesome. He was spending his 80 somethingth birthday at Seacrets.
His cane was stuck in the sand below the bar. 

While running, Maureen mentioned that she was happy to have run her first relay with her dad and the half with me. I like that idea, of races being excuses to see friends. It takes some of the edge off of the race and ensures a fun weekend with friends. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Reading List

I've been lucky so far. I haven't picked any duds to read. Finally ran in to a challenge, but not a ud. Molokai had me in tears. Frequently. A Walk in the Woods had me laughing out loud on the subway. Frequently. The World According to Garp had me turning pages and raving about it. Frequently.

Currently working on both Undaunted Courage, a biography of Lewis and Clark by Steven Ambrose and Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James (had to see what the fuss is about!) While I don't usually read more than one book at a time, these are so wildly different there is no confusing the plot lines or characters. Let's just say one is a "to school" read and one is a "from school read" and leave it at that ;)

I can't remember the last time that I read a historical biography, but I'm fully enjoying the exercise of reading a new genre. I am constantly consulting maps, looking up words, and rereading to figure out wtf just happened. At points, I'm reminded of Infinite Jest simply in that I want to put it down and say to hell with this whole book, let me get my hands on an US Weekly. IJ was a huge milestone for me as a reader because I didn't scrap the billion page, footnote riddled project and the gratification did come way later* in the book. In that case, it may have come in the days after finishing it, when I was still stewing on everything. Point being, I didn't put it down and I'm glad that I didn't. Undaunted Courage just got really good. I'm 40% through the book and it just got really good. Lewis and Clark have been living off of meat for two years, everyone is sick, they ran out of whiskey and have just figured out how huge the Rockies are. And it is October. They are about to be seriously f-ed, yet Lewis is intent on saying that he presumes the road ahead will be a good one until it proves otherwise. They are the original long term, budget travelers.

Up Next on the Reading List:
Wild- Cheryl Strayed (SO EXCITED about this one)
The Hunger Games Trilogy
Seabiscuit- Laura Hillenbrand
Letters to a Young Chef- Daniel Boloud
Gifted Hands- Ben Carson
Visit From the Goon Squad- Jennifer Eagan
97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Families in One Tennement- Jane Ziegelman
The Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach

The first three of those are physical books, so I plan to read them before we head out in August. While we are gone though, I'll be reading those puppies on my Kindle. Let me know if you want to borrow Kindle editions or have any recommendations. I LOVE book recs.

*The shoot out scene on the front of the Ensor House is still probably my favorite scene.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Join me for a run?

Zach and I have been preparing for the Ocean City Half Marathon in Ocean City, Maryland. Our race date is just around the corner, on April 28.

This is coming from the girl who decided last year that some people are cut out for running and others aren't and I'm one of those people who is not. 3.5 miles. That was the most I could possibly run last summer. Coincidentally, that was all I had to do for my tri. The stakes weren't high enough.

Then I read Born To Run, by Chris McDougall. I was not interested in running, but a friend recommended to to me while discussing great reads. In the context of "you should read this, it is a great book," I was totally open to it. Had the conversation been, "you should read this, it will help your running," I probably would have passed. Bottom line, the book turns the pages for you. Story, Science, Adventure Travel. It's all in there.

So now I'm training for a half marathon and having fun with it. Every time I go out for a long run, it ends up being the longest run I've done in my entire life, which is a really exciting place to be. A month ago it was 7 miles. Woo hoo! 7 miles! I've never run 7 miles before in my whole life! Then it was 8.5. And last Monday, I ran home from school, which was 10 miles. Mind you, I bitched and moaned silently in my head for quite a bit of it, but my options were limited. Keep running and get home. Walk and get home slower. Plus, it was a BE-YOUUUU-TEE-FUL day, so I kept running.

While running in NYC, the neighborhoods change at about the same pace as it would take you to read a guide book. Little Italy becomes Chinatown becomes the Lower East Side, then up onto the bridge for sweeping views of the city, and down into Hasidic South Williamsburg, along the colorful bike path into Downtown Brooklyn, up and over and back into Chinatown, round the corner into the South Street Seaport, dodge some tourists, past the Staten Island Ferry, into ritzy Battery Park, and on they go just as long as you keep running.

And there is ALWAYS something to look at. Often, while running, I wish I could snap a picture, but the best camera I ever have is my camera phone and I hate to break my stride. I recently biked two of my favorite runs, with camera in hand, to snatch up some of those images that I pass by while running so that I could share them with you all.

Eastbound on the Williamsburg bridge

Great Lichtenstein-esque mural in South Williamsburg

Bike vending machine. Genius. Need more of these. 

Possibly my favorite picture of the bunch. The side of a city vehicle repair shop.

In between Williamsburg and Downtown BK, the Jersey walls are painted
with murals. It completely changes the landscape. 

Creepy federal owned property by the BK Navy Yard

When is the last time you saw a yin yang in a mural?

Sci-fi nerd mural

View of BK Bridge Park and downtown Manhattan from the
Manhattan bridge

Love this. Elegant grunge.

Thanks for the pep talk :)
This is my favorite tag in the city

Chinatown is shady. So much I'll never know about it. 


There's always a party in the projects 
Seaport vendors under the FDR 
Funky seats south of the Seaport

These two buildings may be the definition of juxtaposition.
Located directly across from the SI Ferry

Battery Park

Badass WWII Memorial. 

That omnipresent 'Cuse spirit has not forgotten Staten Island!
One of my favorite memorials in the City.
Don't miss the guy coming out of the water. 

Lady Liberty

This picture is a timestamp.
It's that week when the daffodils die. 

Thanks for coming on my run with me :)