Monday, September 29, 2008

Then We'll Take Berlin

Guten tag from Deutschland! Thanks to delicious German brew and copious amounts of Nutella I'm well on my way to recovering from running 42,2 km yesterday through the streets of Berlin. The weekend was really amazing. We landed Friday morning and met up with my friend Meredith (also running) and her fiance Philip (from Copenhagen) on Friday afternoon at the race expo. At the expo we ran into my friend Erik, who I knew from NY and who now also lives in Copenhagen and was here to run the marathon. Sometimes the world is very small. Both Ken & I were melting at the expo after our overnight flight, so we only stayed long enough to get my number and then came back to the hotel for a nap.

Saturday we met up with 2 more of Meredith & Philip's friends from Copenhagen, Lotta and her boyfriend, Kim (it's a man's name in Danish!). Lotta was also running, and all three boys were here for moral support, cheerleading, and post-race massages (at which they excelled). At lunch we had a discussion about race goals, and both Kim (a spinning instructor) and Philip (an Ironman triathlete) were adamant that we should have specific goal times. I secretly decided then that I'd try to finish in 4:30, bettering my NYC time by 17 minutes. The course here is very flat, and the forecast was perfect (a high of 68F, and sunny), so I thought I'd go for it.

The first half of my race was perfect. I crossed the 21.1 km mark at 2:10, well on track to finish in 4:30. But I wavered in the 2nd half, and as much as I pushed my legs (and push I did!) I slowed down enough that I finished in 4:37. Which really means that my first half wasn't perfect - I could definitely have paced better to have more energy at the end. I also realized that my 2 18+ mile runs weren't enough, and next year (!) I'll do at least 3.

In the end, though, I felt a lot like the Rancho Carne Toros at the end of "Bring It On": I didn't exactly get the result I wanted, but I'm incredibly happy and proud of what I accomplished. And, yes, I'm planning to do another one next year. But for now I'm taking the week off. Prosit!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I. Am. Freaking. Out.

Usually I count down to important events using the number of sleeps to go until the event, for example, "8 more sleeps until Puerto Rico!" or "4 more sleeps until payday!" (One notable exception is my birthday, to which I count down in shopping days.)

However, in my attempts to count down to the Berlin Marathon I've found myself confounded by the overnight flight. That can't count as a sleep, can it? Maybe as half a sleep? Let's make the safe assumption that for once I'll remember to bring one of the myriad inflatable neck pillows that line the floor of our closet, and that I'll take a Benadryl as soon as I'm buckled into my seat. I think in that case counting the redeye as a sleep is fair, in which case:

ONLY 4 MORE SLEEPS UNTIL THE BERLIN MARATHON!

Whew. I don't suppose hyperventilating right now will help, either in the short- or long-term.

Berlin will be my third marathon, which is really hard to believe. It's also the first time I see the value in a training journal, which I haven't kept regularly the last couple of years, and certainly didn't this year. It would be nice to have answers to such burning questions as:

  • Was I freaking out this much last year before the marathon? (Answer: Probably.)
  • Was I eating as much crap as I have been this week? (Answer: Definitely.)
So I guess I'm on track after all!

The race will be broadcast live on the interwebs. I think you can also sign up to get text messages of my progress. I can't find the exact link right now but it's somewhere on the marathon website, and maybe someone who isn't freaking out right now will find it and post it in the comments. Oh and there are profiles of the top female runners - they must've overlooked me but I'll email them about that right now. It might even be fixed by the time you read this - I hear the Germans are an efficient bunch.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pay It Forward!

A few weeks ago, my friend, fellow blogger, and talented photographer Elizabeth posted a Pay it Forward chain on her blog. She pledged to send a treat to the first three commenters on the post, in exchange for their promises to do the same on their blogs.

It was my lucky day - I was the third commenter! And on Labour Day, Miss Elizabeth arrived at my apartment for an afternoon brunch bearing this lovely tin:


Isn't it pretty? Let's have another look:


In the busy-ness of hosting brunch I didn't open the tin until much later that day, and nestled inside I found rows of neatly-wrapped homemade caramels. Little did Elizabeth know that caramels are my absolute favourites, and these beautiful sweet treats barely lasted two weeks sitting on my coffee table.


I'm so grateful to Elizabeth for these treats (and I'm hoping she'll be kind enough to pass on the recipe, as I'd love to include them with my Christmas cookies this year!). Now it's time for me to pay it forward. The official rules of the exchange are:

I agree to send something fun, cute, and nice to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry. In turn, those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on. Unfortunately, due to postage costs, I can only pay it forward within the United States. If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment!

You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who comment on your blog so that this continues. When the first three have commented I will email you a request for your shipping address and I will send out something that I hope will make you smile!

The only thing I like more than receiving something fun, cute, and nice is giving something fun, cute, and nice - so comment away!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bark the Vote

1. Go here.
2. Vote for Puppy!
3. Read Puppy's owner's blog, which is really funny.

PS: If you put lipstick on Puppy, he's still Puppy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Oops

I met fellow TNTer Amanda earlier this season in Brooklyn. She moved to Boston about a month ago, and since I'm here (that is, in Boston) until tomorrow morning, we decided to go for a run together this evening. We met at (in? I don't know the lingo, help me out) Boston Commons and crossed the Longfellow Bridge into Cambridge, then ran west along the Charles. Amanda had mapped out a six-mile run, which seemed quite reasonable for a school night, but after we'd been running for... a while, and it was dark, we both wondered if the map had been wrong or if we were just running really slowly.

It was definitely the former.

We ran to Harvard and crossed back into Boston over the Larz Anderson Bridge. I think this was our fatal flaw - the original map had us crossing over the Boston University Bridge. I think. At any rate, I ran over 12 miles tonight, 12 miles for which I prepared by sitting in a conference all day, wearing heels, and eating ice cream. Twice. (Really. My boyfriends showed up at lunch for a quickie, then at the break this afternoon there were make-your-own sundaes, to which I have never said no. And during this important political season, we all know how important it is to have a consistent voting record, right?)

Holy smokes, I'm tired. Anyway, I'm not sure what effect this is going to have on the 20 mile run I have slated for this weekend, but I suspect at the very least I'll have to move it from Saturday to Sunday. Or not. I'm hardcore that way.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

90210 Tasting Menu

Last Thursday I sprawled out on a blanket under the Brooklyn Bridge to watch "The Shining" and, inspired by a post on Chowhound, brought spinach frittata cut into the shape of a hedge maze, accompanied by rum punch (redrum, anyone?). Last night's season premiere of Gossip Girl was accompanied by dirty martinis (and Virgin Marys for my pregnant friend, who was kind enough to sit through my exclamations of "Oh no she di'int!" even though she hadn't seen the show before. She claims she's hooked).

Tonight, my friends, is the big event: The series premiere of the NEW 90210. Sadly, so sadly, I am in Boston for a conference and will miss Kajal's viewing party, which will almost certainly involve oversized t-shirts and spandex biker shorts, with a few slouchy socks and scrunchies thrown in for authenticity.

My absenteeism did not, however, stop me from brainstorming a tasting menu - perhaps for the season finale next Spring?

We'll start with Brian Austin Green Beans served alongside a Joe E. Frittata. Homemade pizza Doherty is always delicious (be sure to punch it down well after it rises), especially when it's extra cheesy. To wash it all down? We're talking about Beverly Hills here, and certainly only champagne will do. Finally, we'll have fresh, seasonal stone fruit for dessert (be careful not to bite a Peach Pit), accompanied by a glass of Donna RĂ©my Martin cognac, of course.

Bon appetit!

P.S. The obvious culinary choice for tomorrow night's 2 hour season premiere of America's Next Top Model is to chow down on Doritos and Little Debbie Snack Cakes, then throw up during the commercials.