October 10, 2011

Best. Weekend. Ever.

I may have just had the Best. Weekend. Ever.

It started with a pretty sucky Friday. I was scheduled for training that I really didn’t have time for, given how busy things have been at my client. But it was mandatory, so nothing I could do but go, and then do some work over the weekend to make up for it. It turned out to be pretty much the most remedial training ever – we “learned” Excel functions like sumif and vlookup (okay, seriously? Is there a person who works with Excel and doesn’t know how to do those like reciting the alphabet?), and I spent the entire day wanting to snarkily ask the instructor if he could help me with some advanced array formulae that were giving me trouble in my work. My snarky mood did not bode well for the fact that I had a first date scheduled for after work – it was a guy I was pretty excited about (at least, as excited as I ever let myself get when it’s someone from an online dating site), and here I was unable to stop myself from making sarcastic wisecracks at every turn.

I texted back and forth with him a bit that afternoon, warning him about my attitude. But when we finally met up (at the awesome Cellar Bar at Bryant Park), he opened by giving me a huge hug in greeting, and we immediately started talking like we had known each other for years. My bad mood evaporated instantly, and the rest of the night and the weekend just got better and better as it went along.

On Saturday morning, I had to get up fairly early for a hiking trip I had signed up for. Going into the weekend, I had been emailing the organizers (Brooklyn Outfitters pretty much nonstop, trying to get understand exactly what I should wear. (For someone who has never been hiking before, “just wear layers and you’ll be fine” wasn’t nearly specific enough; it finally took my friend Lauren, an experienced guide herself, to calm me down by telling me to wear yoga pants, a running tank, a t-shirt, and a light jacket. Thanks, Lauren!). I needed to leave my apartment by 7am on Saturday morning, and thanks to the long and great date as well as perhaps more than a few glasses of wine, I hadn’t packed at all before going to bed the night before. I found myself wearing what Lauren had suggested, but staring at my mostly empty backpack and wondering what I should put into it besides the recommended 2.5 liters of water. I settled for a sweatshirt and sweatpants, despite the fact that the forecast called for unusually warm temps in the high 70s. The rest of my backpack remained empty, and I spent the cab ride over to the pickup point worried that I was woefully unprepared.

As it turned out – I needn’t have worried at all. My outfit was pretty in line with what other people were wearing… except for one girl in my van who had on Converse sneakers, skinny jeans, a trendy sweater top, and carried a clutch purse. We made friends in the van, and I ended up offering her my sweats to wear instead of her original outfit – turning me into the most well-prepared person on the trip. Score one for me!

After an hour van ride out of the city (fueled by a whole wheat everything bagel and veggie tofu spread from Bagelsmith in Brooklyn – yum!), we arrived at Bear Mountain, and proceeded to traipse around the trails. The very first few minutes of the trek were a fairly steep uphill, and I found myself wondering if I was going to be sucking wind and sweating the whole time, but it quickly leveled out and became more of a nature walk than a hike. So peaceful and beautiful!

Being the only person bold enough to go on the trip by myself, I flitted from group to group making friends, so that by the end of the day, I had racked up numbers from a ton of cool women that I wanted to hang out with again. (It was a co-ed trip, but only two guys came along… something my best friend regretted not doing himself when I told him how in his favor the ratio was). According to our guide, we covered 5.2 miles in about two hours – not bad for a “workout” that felt incredibly relaxing and not like working out at all!

From hiking, we proceed to Wilkins Farm for apple picking – and more importantly, cider donut eating. I used to love the cider donuts we would get at Indian Ladder Farms when I was a kid, but I had never had the donuts fresh out of the fryer like they were at Wilkins. They were so incredibly delicious, I couldn’t believe it. I’m so used to donuts being kind of cake-like all throughout, but when you get them hot and fresh, they end up being crispy on the outside from the fryer, but doughy and soft on the inside. SO GOOD. I may have eaten three of them by myself… but you know, all that hiking made it nutritionally necessary to do so.

And of course, you can’t go hiking and apple picking all day without keeping hydrated, so post-apple picking, we stopped at a gallery to admire the art and drink wine. All the different groups merged into one as we lounged around the couches sipping our drinks and discussing anything and everything, and it was just so relaxing and enjoyable to chat with so many different people from all different backgrounds (some super-conservative corporate types, some hipsters, some hippies, etc). We piled back into the van to head home, wiped out from the day’s events, but just feeling blissfully wonderful.

But my Saturday didn’t end there! The van dropped me off in a neighborhood that’s a little tricky for me to get home from (requires two subway transfers), and I decided that rather than deal with all that, I’d just “hike” home across Manhattan. Add another 2.5 miles to the distance counter for the day! Once home, I quickly showered and got ready to go out, then headed to a friend’s apartment for a wine tasting and a game of “who can eat the highest percentage of their weight in cheese.” (Okay, so I may have been the only participant in that one, but pretty much picture me going all Kobayashi on the cheese platter, particularly the brick of sheep’s-milk-with-truffles-and-herbs).

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling not-so-hot from all that wine and cheese, but fortunately, I already had a plan to rectify things – a 3 mile run over to Athleta Upper East Side, followed by a free Zumba class (because obviously those two activites would negate all the dietary damage I did the night before). I started getting dressed to go, but was distracted by my roommate pulling a chocolate pudding pie she had made for her boyfriend out of the oven and asking me to come taste test. Hmm, don’t mind if I do! 🙂

I headed out for the run with renewed energy, and found it be a glorious day for a run. While the day later warmed up to be in the 80s, the morning was still cool enough to be a perfectly pleasant run, and I surprised myself by getting a runner’s high just one mile in (usually that happens for me more around miles 8-10, and with the short distance of my recent runs, I hadn’t experienced it in a while). The result was me jogging through Central Park with a huge dopey grin on my face, smiling and yelling out “good morning” to anyone who was foolish enough to make eye contact. Woo hoo, Sundays!

I arrived at Athleta already sweaty, but in a great mood and totally ready to dance. I had been to Athleta only once before – as a meeting spot for that group run last weekend – but I was thrilled that they were offering free fitness clases like this one. The Zumba class was held right in the store, with the staff clearing away racks of clothes to make a dance floor for all of us, and providing as much Hint water and Luna bars as we wanted – all free. I hadn’t paid much attention to the design of the stores before, but as I danced, I looked around and was really impressed with what I saw. Besides the really cute clothes everywhere, I loved that everywhere there were huge photographs of women being active – skiing, swimming, hiking, or doing yoga on a mountaintop. I found the entire atmosphere to be really empowering and mood-boosting, and while at first I missed having mirrors to watch my own dancing, I soon loved that I could just rock out with my dance moves and not feel at all self-conscious when I knew my booty shaking was nowhere near as sexy as the instructor’s 🙂 By the time we danced to “Born this Way,” I was back to having an exercise high and grinning like a madwoman. woo hoo!

I was pretty wiped after dance class and walked the 3 miles back home instead of running as I had planned. It was really relaxing to stroll through the park and chat with my mom on the phone as we caught up! As for the rest of my Sunday, mostly consumed with packing for the next two weeks (I’m going from client to training to wedding to client before I go home again!), watching the football games at a bar, and then enjoying my “last supper” at one of my favorite restaurants, Kefi, before going to bed early. I love the peacefulness of Sunday nights, especially after such a full and wonderful weekend!


2 thoughts on “Best. Weekend. Ever.”

  1. Sounds busy!
    I think the only thing I typically put in a day-hike pack is (1) water and (2) snacks. A map isn’t a terrible idea, if you’re not familiar with the area. But that’s really all you need. Day hikes are simple! However, backpacking is not, haha!

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