Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks (and Making Do!)

Sometimes NYC can be a bit of a struggle with its cramped subways, busy sidewalks and tiny apartments. But we all make do because we love it here, and in the spirit of giving thanks, I'm so thankful that I've been able to live in this city for the last three years.

Once again, Luke and I decided against overpriced holiday travel and opted to prepare our own little Thanksgiving feast. This year, I made stuffing from scratch! 

And pies, of course! Partially from scratch. Still can't bring myself to attempt a homemade crust.

We also realized that we were missing some imperative T-giving items: extra garbage bags and aluminum foil. Braving the parade crowds to reach the corner store wasn't exactly my idea of a good time, but we caught a few glimpses of the Macy's Day Parade floats.

Finally turkey time arrived! Mind you, we have neither the biggest kitchen nor a plethora of serving bowls and utensils. But we didn't let that bring us down. It was delicious!

After our Tgiving-for-two, we headed downtown to Soho for Tgiving-take-two, this time with friends who were also staying in the city. An orphan's Thanksgiving, if you will. Lots of amazing food and more creative uses of pans, counters, tiny stoves and window ledges. Check out Eat Your Chow for the scrumptious summary!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Running New York City

I've lived in New York for just over three years, and I've seen a lot of sights, heard a lot of sounds, and smelled a lot of....questionable odors. As a runner, I hoped that eventually I would run the ING NYC Marathon.

A couple of months ago--on my birthday to be exact--I decided that 2010 was the year! Since I didn't make it in via the ever-elusive lottery, I decided to fundraise for an amazing charity called Team for Kids. Thanks to my family and friends, I raised over $2,600 for programs benefiting underprivileged children in New York City and all over the world.

As I prepared for the race, I racked up hundreds of training miles, including several long weekend runs with my trusty running partner, AM. On race morning, I felt ready, if a little nervous. No matter how much you prepare, it's still 26.2 miles throughout all five boroughs of New York City (see map below).

I may look happy in this photo, but I'm actually pretty terrified.
As part of my Team for Kids perks, I got to ride in a police-escorted bus to the starting line on Staten Island. Just imagine dozens of coach buses being escorted through New York City by dozens of police cars, SUVs and motorcycles. It was a pretty special way to kickstart Race Day.

I arrived on Staten Island (my first time to the fifth borough) and met up with my running partner AM, just in time to get a few stretches in. As we merged into our starting corral, we found ourselves practically standing on top of Jared, the Subway Guy. Several people were taking pictures, so we politely slid out of the way, so as not to end up in the background of someone's souvenir photo.

The starting gun sounded, and we were off! I'll spare you the mile-by-mile details, but I will say that the first mile is completely uphill on the Verrazano Bridge, but our legs were so fresh at the beginning that we didn't even notice the climb. Plus, the second mile was completely downhill! It was unbelievable to run over the bridge, helicopters hovering above us. This was the moment I'd been waiting for...for years!

The rest of the race went quite smoothly, especially since we had so many people around the city cheering us on. AM's friends were at mile 7 in Brooklyn; my parents and Luke were at mile 8, 17..5, and just before the finish line; AM's parents were at mile 12; and lots of our friends were spread out perfectly along 1st Ave (miles 16-18).

The race wasn't always pretty, especially the last stretch up 5th Ave. But we finished together and in one piece!

I'm asking for my Clif bloks here--not requesting a photo. Trust me.

I was so excited to see Luke and my parents at the end. I couldn't wait to tell them about all the crazy stuff we saw. The fans and spectators were absolutely amazing!

I was especially thrilled that my parents were able to fly in from Wisconsin for the race. It really meant a lot to see them throughout the course and to know that they were behind me every step of the way.