29 November 2012

Turkey Trotting

I stayed in the DC area again this year for Thanksgiving. I had some extra cousins in town, so we decided to run the S.O.M.E. Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning. Its the same race I ran last year with my dad and sister. The route was a little different this year, they got rid of a weird out and back and we circled back closer to the Capitol Building before heading back down Pennsylvania Avenue to the finish.

getting ready to go

some people got into the holiday spirit
Last year we headed over the the White House for post race pictures, we did it again this year, so now it is a tradition.

First Family and Family Flyers
Again this year the race was huge, they were announcing something like 10,000 participants. I worked my way up to the back of the 8 min/mile pace group with my teenage cousins in tow. I was hoping to run around a 7:40 pace, but the starting area was so packed I couldn't move any further forward. There was some issues with people not lining up in the right area. To my left was a man with a stroller and an eight year old and to my right was a girl in jeans carrying a backpack. Since it was Thanksgiving I didn't tell them what I was thinking about their positioning at the starting line.

Once the gun went off and we crossed the start line I didn't have too much trouble opening up, but I immediately lost my cousins. The first mile went pretty fast as we ran toward the Capitol Building. A little after my watch beeped for the first mile at 7:33 I spotted my cousin Matthew. Although very athletic, at 15 he's not a long distance runner so I was a little surprised to see him at this point. I gave him a nod and a smile and passed him as we headed into the second mile. Mile 2 is the least scenic and flat portion of the race. We looped around some office buildings south of the Mall before heading back towards Pennsylvania. My second mile was only a bit slower at 7:39.

My stomach started feeling a little iffy as I headed into the final mile so I slowed down a little. I hadn't really been running with anyone so I didn't have anyone I was trying to keep up with or pass, mistake. Soon I saw the balloons at the finish and powered through. My third mile was 7:55 with a 1:08 final .1(6). 

My official time was 24:15, another PR!
My pace was 7:49 a little off of my Baltimore Relay Pace.
I placed 593rd out of 3453 (timed participants, many signed up as untimed)
and 61st out of 550 Females 20-29

legwarmers and a headstand for the win

19 November 2012

Fall colors

It's peak leaf peeping in DC right now. I took a walk around town on Sunday (ok I was shopping) and saw some beauties.

F Street

near Dupont

even trees need sweaters

17 November 2012

Old Rag Mountain

Two weekends ago I hiked Old Rag Mountain with a few friends. We were going to be part of a larger group, but then we were running late and since they planned on running up the mountain, we didn't catch up till the after hike winery fun. We looked to be about two weeks late for the prime leaf peeping, but it was still gorgeous. We hiked over 8 miles, which was 3 miles up, 1 mile of rock scrambling, 1 steep mile down and then another 2 or so of easy walking.

on the way up

ready to rock scramble


from the tip top

16 November 2012

24 hours in NYC

Since I had last Monday off of work (thanks Veterans!) I decided to spend a few hours in NYC. 

As soon as the train pulled in to Grand Central Station I headed across town to join my old touch football team for a game. I settled right back into the old routine and it felt like I never left. Especially because we won the game! 

Then,  being a tourist and all, I hopped into a cab for the Upper West Side. I had brunch plans with a few friends, which grew when two other friends ran into us while we were waiting outside.

I was going to walk around after lunch, but was completely exhausted so I watched some cartoons with my friend's one year old.

We then headed to City Winery to listen to Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Ralph Stanley is best known by my generation for singing O Death in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. They put on a great show. The 80 something Stanley infused a good amount of humor into the show and took several requests from the audience. The ended the show with my favorite "I'll fly away". The show reminded me a little of when I would go with my grandparents to the country music show in Missouri, only with a lot more wine.

I didn't have anything planned for Monday morning, other than making it to Penn Station in time for my 12:35 train, but when I woke up I knew I wanted a NYC bagel. My friends' that I was staying with directed me to TAL bagels down the street. I looked at the whole wheat bagel for about 1 second before knowing I was going to go all out and get the salt bagel. Of course I got it toasted and then smeared with scallion cream cheese. Then I walked to Central Park with my bagel and a small coffee with milk.

Central Park was showing a little damage from Sandy, but over all was busting with activity. Runners, bikers, and a lot of kids PE and recess classes.

ugh I want another one

great lawn

sax player under the bridge
After my delicious breakfast and a stroll through the park I headed to Joe Fresh. Joe Fresh is a Canadian retail chain that opened up last spring in NYC. I'd been seeing their clothing in several of my magazines the last few months, with reasonable prices, so I knew I wanted to check them out. I ended up with four shirts and a dress! I just did some online research and it looks like they will be opening up "stores" inside JCP's across the US over the next few years.

The weather was perfect so I concluded my morning in NYC chatting with a friend in Bryant Park. The city was already decorated for Christmas and Bryant Park already had the little shops and ice skating rink up (although the ice was melting and it looked more like a pond).

At noon I headed back down 7th Ave to Penn Station and headed on Amtrak back to DC. Perfect weather, parks, and friends made for an amazing 24 hours. 

15 November 2012

More from Forest to Shore

This last weekend I headed up to Stratford, Connecticut to visit my friend Robert (i.e., my first friend in NYC), his fiancĂ© Kelly and their dog Oso. I met Robert on my first day of work in NYC in July of 2007; he has been inviting me to visit him since about September 2007 and I finally took him up on the offer.

I left early on Friday and took the Amtrak Northeast Regional train to NYC. I got more and more excited the closer I got back to the city I once lived in. I stayed in NYC long enough to get a coffee with a friend before boarding Metro North to head up to Stratford. 

choo choo
First things first, I had to meet Oso, for the occasion I knitted him a bow tie. 

Friday night we grabbed dinner at a cool cafe that had live music. The food and company was good, unfortunately the funk band decided to funk it out at top volume, so we only lasted one set.

Saturday morning we went on a 7 mile hike on the Housatonic Rail-Trail with the dogs. There was still a bit of snow in the shady areas from the big storm they had last Wednesday. 

For lunch we headed to New Haven to get a burger at Louis Lunch. According to their website they invented the hamburger sandwich as we know it today when in 1900 a man asked for something he could eat on the run. In honor of that tradition (and the tight quarters inside) we ordered our hamburgers to go. 

The hamburgers are still cooked in the original grills (seen below) from 1898. We got our burgers with cheese, onions, tomato and served on white toast. They were pretty good.

you put the meat in the rack and the rack in the grill
We then spent some time walking around the Yale campus. The sights:

This tree fell over in the storm and they found three skeletons underneath. Apparently the Yale Green was previously a cemetery and when they moved the headstones they forgot the bodies.

I'm not sure what this building is, but its beautiful.

We went into the library, the library looked straight out of Harry Potter, but with a lot more computers and laptops.

Soon it was time to eat again and we headed to Bar Pizza. Bar serves New Haven style pizza, which is super thin and crispy. We got one of their specialties, mashed potato & bacon, as well as a cheese pizza. I really liked the mashed potato & bacon. 

we inhaled half before I thought to take a picture
We capped off our night at the Owl Shop with Robert's CT crew.
After a delicious omelet and coffee on Sunday morning I hopped back on Metro North to head back to NYC... 

05 November 2012

Halloween & Drag race

For a kind of low key last minute Halloween outing I dressed as Mary Poppins. A coworker had mentioned that he thought I would pull off a good Mary, so I just rolled with it. I bought a new umbrella, the red ribbon, and a blue pencil skirt and then just improvised the rest. I knew it was success when a few parents and kids trick or treating called me Mary.

The annual Halloween Drag Queen Race was postponed from Tuesday to Thursday, which was great, because I forgot about it on Tuesday. I headed with a friend and a group of her coworkers to watch the race, which is more of a parade. The area was packed and some of the outfits were pretty great. A guy with a big fro wig and cheataish outfit won, which was very appropriate. Its funny to watch how slowly some of the contestants "run" the three blocks.

03 November 2012


So most of you know by now that Sandy didn't do too much to DC. The strong winds didn't damage the trees or power lines much due to a huge Derecho storm that hit this summer. Most of the weak trees fell and the power companies upgraded some of the grids. My thoughts are with NYC & NJ this week as they suffered much worse.

The storm did give me a very welcome two days off of work after a long weekend trip. I was also lucky that I had a friend in town staying at the hotel across the street from my apartment. She came over for some squash soup (this time I added triple the veggies and it was perfect thickness!) that I had cooked up Monday and we watched Sex in the City while the wind howled.

The wind started sounding a little fierce so she decided to head back to the hotel. I walked her down the lobby where we were stopped by the doorman. He was locking down the building at 11 pm and was asking if we would be back by then. I wasn't leaving and his stories of 80 mph winds picking us up almost kept Liz from leaving. She braved the wind and made it back across the street safely.

Some of my Missouri friends had asked me to live tweet the storm and since I was short on content I tweeted the lockdown situation... a minute later I noticed the tweet was favorited by a Washington Post writer... a little more investigation and I found that they had reposted my tweet on their live feed. I'm famous!