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the show goes on

Flights are landing at JFK, the subway is partially open and apparently, the New York City Marathon will happen Sunday. (No one knows exactly how the runners will get to the starting line yet, though.)

If you've been following the story in the news or looking at the NYCM Facebook page, you know how controversial the race has become. Some people feel it should go on, that it will be a metaphor of the city's resilience, that New York needs the tourist dollars. Others feel it's selfish -- the race requires too much manpower, and the police, emergency crews and volunteers should be helping with post-Sandy cleanup, not looking after tens of thousands of marathoners.

I see both sides, and part of me does wish the race was cancelled -- it really does seem like such a silly, frivolous event in the grand scheme of things. Also, the New York Road Runners' maybe-it-will-maybe-it-won't stance the past few days has been really frustrating. (How many times do I have to check the website and see the same message about this being a "very challenging time" and please check back later for more "details"?) As someone who works in communications, I feel the NYRR's strategy (or lack thereof) has been absolutely atrocious. Their social media posts were calendared ahead of time, so while there was a raging storm outside, their Facebook page was telling people to "get excited" for race day. They didn't address the weather concerns until the storm was actually happening, even though the media had been talking about it for days. They also still haven't confirmed online that the race is indeed taking place, even though it's been in the news. And the deferment deadlines and race week schedule are all still outdated on the site.

I realize they likely have family and other more important things to take care of, but you'd think that an organization that holds 50 events each year and receives almost $300 per entry for the marathon would have a crisis communications plan in place and a team to execute it. Just my two cents from a PR perspective.

That said, I'm going to run. I was still planning to go to New York even if the race had been cancelled (I have family and friends there), and now that it's officially happening, I'm just going to do it. Yes, I feel guilty, but in some ways, I also feel like it's my job. I signed up to do this, so I should do it. And I should support the local economy while I'm at it.

Also, I don't want to give the NYRR any more money. If you defer, you don't get your entry fee back, plus you have to pay again to run next year. (And if you count my deferment from last year, a 2013 marathon would cost me $900 in entry fees. That's more than a full Ironman!)

So yeah, I guess this will be me come Sunday.

(Come on, you have to admit it's kind of funny. OK, never mind. I'm an asshole. Throw rotting vegetables at me.)

still grounded

My flight was cancelled. Again. So now I'm attempting to leave for New York on Friday. And even if I do manage to get to the East Coast, I'm not even sure the race will happen.

The upside to this: There is Halloween at home. I stocked up on a ridiculous amount of candy tonight. And now I'm working on putting a costume together.

And I do have a backup plan in case I need to look for another race. I'm not letting those 20-mile training runs go to waste!


I'm sure you've heard about Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. the "superstorm" or the "frankenstorm." (Is it just me, or when you hear the term "frankenstorm," do you picture a bunch of little sausages raining down from the heavens? OK, maybe it's just me. Although imagine that for a moment: What would be worse -- floods of water or floods of sausage? I mean, how would you clean up that much sausage, especially before it started to go bad?)

Bet you can't guess what I ate for dinner tonight.

It really is laughable, though: I've been waiting so long for this race -- dreams of Momofuku started well over a year ago. And I finally make it through training and am down to the homestretch and -- boom -- Mother Nature throws a wiener in my face.

The good news: I was able to reschedule my flight (and at no charge, always a bonus) and will now attempt to fly east Wednesday. And so far, the marathon is still on as planned. (Man, I don't envy those race organizers one bit.)

Fingers crossed.

(One final note: "Superstorm" could also easily describe the SF Giants kicking Detroit's ass. Sweep! That is all.)

without fail

I'm starting to feel like there are two universal laws.

One: Whenever I'm about to go on vacation (in this case, New York for the big race), work turns into crazyville and I somehow find myself with an endless list of items that need to be completed before I get on that plane.

Two: Whenever I take out my laptop to blog, my cat tries to sit on my face.


This was the view from the parking lot at work this morning.

It kind of made me want to shake my fist and yell: "Damn you, tourists, and your morning spent floating around and drinking bubbly while I go to yet another meeting!"


In other semi-work-related news, last night I went to a single malt tasting in San Francisco. The entire event was free, and it included one taste each of four kinds of Scotch. To attend, all you had to do was RSVP online (thus sharing all of your personal information with the lovely marketing team of said Scotch producer).

Which made me wonder: How on earth did they pull off this event? The beverage industry is so regulated. For example, at work, we aren't allowed to give anything away that's worth more than a dollar -- it's against the [very antiquated, Prohibition-era] law. So how did a single malt company manage to give away free Scotch (plus hors d'oeuvres) to hundreds of people?

My guess is the education clause. Calling it an educational seminar (which it was -- the program included a video presentation about where the casks came from, etc.) may have made it legal. Either that, or because an RSVP was required, it qualified as a private event and was therefore OK.

Whatever the case: I wish I had thought of it first. Because it was a pretty cool marketing coupe.


In other news, it was 90 degrees today. And I still ran. (Had no choice but to run on my lunch break, largely due to the aforementioned Scotch event, which resulted in a late evening, which meant I didn't wake up in time to run in cooler morning temperatures.) And I was so spent afterward that I actually had to take a quick five-minute power nap in the car before heading to -- you guessed it! -- another meeting.

Thankfully, the meeting was a tasting of Napa Valley wines priced at $25 or less.

(Now it's your turn to feel the envy. Ha.)

what not to do. ever.

This is what the start of a really good 20-mile run looks like.

I honestly never thought “really good” and “20-mile run” belonged in the same sentence. Because I have never, ever completed a run of that length that didn’t involve wanting to die (a) at some point during the run, typically at Mile 17 or 18 or (b) afterward, when I can only walk down stairs backwards and can’t fathom wearing anything but compression socks and shoes with arch support.

But that changed last Saturday. I had a great, easy-paced long run, during which I practiced my nutrition strategy and worked on not starting too quickly. I didn't have any GI troubles. Or any feelings of desperation and/or woe, even though I ran the entire distance alone. (And no, folks, I don’t listen to music while I run. Because I am a paranoid weirdo who believes there are murderers everywhere, therefore I must remain alert!) And I actually had some steam left for a nice kick at the end.

The real problem was my recovery.

Because I basically did everything absolutely wrong. Pretty much as wrong as you can possibly imagine. Dear fellow runners, athletes and human beings: Do not ever, ever follow what I am about to describe.

My demise was due largely to macaroni and cheese. I was co-hosting a Mac Off (and yes, of course a guy came up with that name) in which 20 of us gathered to compete for the title of Best Mac. And since my co-host had to work Saturday, it was up to me to clean the house, make our entry, throw together two salads (to help alleviate any guilt from said mac), come up with stupid prizes, devise a voting system and otherwise prep for the party.

So instead of eating a lot of protein and drinking a lot of water, I proceeded to run errands that involved confetti, tablecloths and fake gold medals. In the hours following my 20-miler, I ate one small bowl of cornflakes with almond milk and a slice of pizza. And I drank maybe two glasses of water. Maybe.

And then party time came around, and I began the evening with very ripe, very big, somewhat high-alcohol Russian River Pinot. On the second sip, I actually said: “Wow, I already feel drunk!” As you can imagine, it only got worse. I believe I didn’t drink a single glass of water the entire night. And all I ate was one plate of mac because when I host parties, I get stressed out and can’t eat.

Let’s just say that I don’t want to see mac and cheese (or red wine) for a very, very long time.

As a result of my complete failure to recover properly from my long run, I was totally incapacitated on Sunday (and didn’t get to ride my new bike, which made me really sad), the entire right side of my body is bruised, I’ve been experiencing lingering vertigo and I feel compelled to apologize to everyone I know for things I can’t remember.

I haven’t felt this shitty since that time after graduation, when I thought it was a good idea to drink jug Sangria.

The moral of the story: Treat your post-run activities with as much attention and care as you treat your pre-run choices or you will really hate yourself, trust me.

Oh, and despite all of this, I still won the Mac Off. Go figure.

new york, nom nom

I know New York is getting close because I've set all kinds of alarms on my calendar to remind me to call restaurants for reservations. Apparently, a lot of the fancy-pants restaurants in Manhattan won't take reservations any earlier than 28-30 days in advance. And then to actually make the reservation, it's like calling for concert tickets -- you call as soon as the reservation line opens and keep hitting redial until someone picks up the phone. If you're lucky, you'll get through and there will still be tables available.

So where exactly do I plan to eat during this trip?

The pre-marathon dining will be a little tricky, since I'll be cutting out gluten. Thankfully, I stumbled across this article, which lists a number of great places sans wheat. I've also consulted my semi-hipster Manhattanite cousin, who is also gluten-free.

Since Risotteria doesn't take reservations and usually has a ridiculously long wait, my pre-race meal will be at Bistango. (I didn't want to risk eating too late and having digestive issues in the morning.) I'm pretty excited about the menu -- they have gluten-free stuffed pastas! I will actually be able to eat ravioli if I do so desire!

I'm also planning to check out Lilli and Loo. I've never had gluten-free Chinese food -- really curious about the menu options and what everything will taste like.

Of course, once I've crossed the finish line, I plan to completely let loose. And by that, I mean I want to go all-out, no-holds-barred, we're-celebrating-this-mofo, so-stuff-my-face-please. My plan: wd~50 and a little molecular gastronomy action. (Guess what I'll be doing at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning? That's right -- hello, redial button.) If that doesn't work, Annisa is a back-up option. And I've also thought about Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern (a little more traditional). And folks: If you have other suggestions for the Celebratory Meal to End All Celebratory Meals, please share!

Other restaurants on the list: Anything in the Momofuku group, Dassara (ramen with matzo balls!), Balthazar (largely because I'm sick of people telling me to eat there after they learn what my last name is) and Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles.

I'd also love to return to Ippudo. Here's a little flashback from my last trip there:

Sometimes I think the marathon is really just an excuse to go out there and eat a ridiculous amount of food.

the plan

Most of the time, I feel like my training plan is more of a journal than an actual plan. There are so many blank spots, and I'm constantly making changes.

hello, october

Where has all the time gone?

I guess my expression says it all -- less than five weeks left before New York. And I didn't run this weekend thanks to Gran Fondo. Did the 65-mile Medio route with -- surprise, surprise -- zero training. Hadn't ridden at all since Ukiah. And even though we took it easy (so easy, in fact, that Arvan and I sang showtunes and Carly Rae Jepson throughout most of the ride, much to the dismay of anyone around us), I still got my ass handed to me.

Dear Coleman Valley Road: You are one steep bitch. I was fine until this point. Stormed up the hills in Occidental and Bodega Bay, no problem. But Coleman did me in. Had to get off the bike and do the walk of shame. (And even walking was tough -- the incline was so steep that my Achilles tendons hurt.)

And it got worse. What goes up eventually comes down, and the descent was absolutely terrifying. Switchbacks in the shade, so I couldn't see any potholes or oncoming traffic, and then my sunglasses fogged up, and then my left contact lens fogged up, and basically I was clinging to Bibi and praying for dear life.

After that, I was so shaken up and exhausted that I had to walk the next hill. (And I had a mini meltdown right before getting off the bike -- my legs were so tired that I couldn't clip out, and I started to panic and imagine that I was stuck in my pedals and had to keep cycling forever and ever and ever ... Oh, the places a tired mind goes. Not pretty.)

But it wasn't all bad. I'd say 85 percent of the ride was honest-to-goodness fun. (How can it not be, when you and your good friend are singing the entire score from "The Sound of Music"?) And I think if I'd been in better shape, I would've enjoyed it more. (Which means that I'll probably sign up again next year because I'm a crazy masochist.)

And the views were sweet.

And even though Coleman was a bitch, the top was a nice place to be.