January 9, 2012

Running (and dancing and eating and drinking) with friends

When I laid out my plans for the weekend on Thursday, I didn’t fully intend to accomplish all of them. That was a lot of workouts schedule for just one two day weekend! However, I ended up doing all but one, and had a ball in the process. Viva la busy lifestyle!

I woke up on Saturday surprisingly sore – presumably from the bootcamp I attended with Katelyn on Friday morning. When I caught up with her later in the weekend, we both agreed that we thought we had wussed out and given up far too early on the workout for it to get results – but my aching muscles on Saturday morning told me otherwise. Fortunately, I wasn’t too sore, and I knew that my weekend was mostly going to consist of cardio training anyway.

The next surprise of the morning came when I jogged over to Athleta Upper West Side for a “barre” class that I was taking with my friend Lauren. We hadn’t read much beyond the title of the class, and even there we had been remiss in not noticing that the full title was actually “classical ballet barre.” Expecting one of the trendy barre classes like those at Physique 57, what we actually got was the barre portion of a regular ballet class – and I was thrilled. I am really serious about getting back into dance classes, and this was great to ease back in with a beginner barre that was challenging but low pressure. The instructor looked every inch the part of a graceful former dancer, from her lean figure to her elegant chignon. However, the one thing that really stood out to me was her dark rose blush and jet black eyeliner – when I realized that so many of my ballet teachers have applied their makeup in a similar style. There was something oddly familiar and comforting about being taught by someone who felt like she had been my instructor for years, and the feeling was compounded by the fact that the music we were dancing to was the same exact piano accompaniment that many of my teachers used growing up (Lauren asked the instructor about it and learned that it was a popular ballet music CD for which each track was named by the exercise that was meant to be danced to it).

After class and a quick stop at Housing Works for Lauren to drop off some donations (eek, I totally need to do the same sometime soon), we headed across the park and toward 43rd and 1st, for the start of AbbeLew’s Whiskeython. With 7 runners participating, Lauren and I got bibs #4 and #5 (when have I ever gotten a bib that low? So cool!), and prepped by nervously trying to get a sense of the (unmarked) route. Neither of us had ever run on the East Side bike path before, but we were assured that all we’d have to do was head down 1st Ave, turn at 34th Street, and turn one more time at FDR – from which point it would be smooth sailing till the finish 5 miles later at Water Street and Wall Street near the South Street Seaport. The start of the race was amusingly low key – we waited for a pedestrian to walk by, but then when Abbe’s back was turned, a cyclist started coming from the other direction, only to find six runners coming right at him! You have to love a race that starts with laughter 🙂

I enjoyed running along the East Side, though the constant traffic presence made it not as nice as running along the West Side (where the highway is broken up by pretty parks and piers). I chose not to look at my phone for the entire run, so I had no idea what kind of pace I was keeping or how much more I had to go, but there was some wind coming off the East River and I felt incredibly sluggish, so I estimated I was running about a 10 minute pace or so. When I got to the finish (thanks to a chance sighting of two other runners who were waiting to cross the traffic light), I was shocked to learn that my time had been a fast 40:55! While I had apparently run the course a bit short at 4.7 miles, that was still an 8:43 average pace – much faster than I had anticipated, and an “aha” moment when I realized why I had felt so tired. I was running at a good clip! My favorite part of the race was probably the tunnel we formed with our arms, through which each finisher ran. Most unique finish I’ve experienced!

The race concluded with a fabulous brunch at Fraunces Tavern, a historic downtown establishment where Washington and his troops used to quaff drinks back in the day, and we hastened to follow in his footsteps and enjoy some tasty beers with our food. As a bonus, the waitstaff seated us in a private fancy room where we had the “chef’s table” overlooking the kitchen – presumably because they were trying to keep our sweaty runner selves away from the other patrons, but it worked out great for us! However, I had underestimated how long it would take us to get to the restaurant, order, and get our food, so at 12:55pm, I decided to skip my planned 1:30pm Kangoo class in favor of hanging out with friends a bit longer, and was so glad I did. That’s the beauty of making lots of tentative workout plans – you can skip a few and not feel the slightest bit guilty!

Besides, I still had another workout on tap for the day – Kundalini yoga with the Greatist team. I was pretty tired when I stopped home to pick up my yoga mat and wondering how I was going to get through the intensity of a Kundalini class, but all of the meditation and singing (yes, there was singing) actually blissed me out and had me leaving feeling even better and more well-rested than I had gone in. Awesome! The studio we went to, Reflections Yoga, was only about a mile from my apartment, too, which made for a nice jog on the way there (thanks to running late) and a pleasant walk home on the way back. I’d definitely consider going again to get that feeling of Zen.

My busy day concluded with a wine and cheese house party out in New Jersey – my first time taking the PATH train across the river to Hoboken. I had a lot of fun (though may have indulged on a little too much cheese/crackers/dessert), and crawled into bed at midnight completely pleased with how my day had gone. On to day 2!

Sunday morning started with some catchup with my best friend at 8:30am at our favorite neighborhood breakfast spot, Le Pain Quotidien. I love their steel cut oatmeal, especially with a generous spoon of praline or chocolate nut butter to turn it into a decadent treat, and the oatmeal provides exactly the right dose of slow-burning carbs to fill me up and fuel me for the day. From there, it was back up to Athleta Upper West Side to lead the week 1 long run of my half-marathon training group (see last night’s post for a full recap, and come join the fun!)

After our 1.5 mile jaunt to Central Park, I stuck around the store to do a little shopping for something cute to wear to next week’s Bermuda Marathon, and fell in love with a cute purple ruffled skirt and black tank with a purple-blue-white-green paisley design – sold! I am going to look so chic next week, and I’m excited 🙂 I headed home to drop off my stuff, but opted to test out the tank top for my next run of the day, to make sure it didn’t chafe or otherwise cause problems while running.

My final workout of the weekend was my long-awaited Courons à la Cassoulet, and it ended up completely exceeding even my high expectations. Beginning from the 72nd Street transverse in Central Park, Laura, Katelyn, Jocelyn and I retraced the route from the Whiskeython to head down 1st Avenue, over to the East River, and then down and over to the East Village for the 4th Annual Cassoulet Cookoff at Jimmy’s No 43. Other patrons remarked on our running outfits, impressed that we had opted to combine fitness and food, but we were too busy downing yummy bowls of cassoulet to worry about our perhaps-sweaty-and-disheveled appearance. And hey, we even flirted a bit with the hot Austrian chefs who made by far the best cassoulet of the day – and took home the grand prize (that’s right, we called it in advance).

The afternoon was topped off with one of my favorite beers, Brooklyn Brewery’s Concoction, which I got to introduce the other girls to for the first time, and we all got along famously. I can’t wait for the next event! Stay tuned for more 🙂


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