January 31, 2012

Ultimate Foodie Weekend, Part 2

Despite my late night at Per Se, there was no sleeping in for me – I was up at 7:30am on Sunday morning to take care of stuff around the apartment before my Athleta group run at 9:30. Unsurprisingly, I woke up not even a little bit hungry (hmm, wonder why?), so I skipped breakfast and tossed a protein bar in my bag to have after the Athleta run.

Sunday’s discussion before the run focused on crosstraining. Crosstraining has really been the cornerstone of my running training – I would guess that I spend a lot more time lifting weights and on the elliptical than I do running! I think this has been one of the secrets to my lack of injuries – by mixing it up, I’m not stressing the same muscles/bones all the time, but I’m still keeping my cardiovascular system used to exertion and endurance. While I think it’s important to get your body used to running long distance, I don’t think it’s that crucial to do a lot of short runs (which are usually the cornerstone of most marathon training plans). In my plan, I emphasize getting a workout in six days a week, but not worrying if you have to substitute the elliptical or the stationary bike for the treadmill or a run outside (at least, except for your long run on weekends).

But since today was Sunday, it was “long run” day. For the beginning group at Athleta, that meant 2.5 miles in Central Park. For me, it meant a bit more than that. As soon as the run was done, I headed for the 2 express train to Brooklyn – I had 65 minutes to make the 30 minute trip down to Jack Rabbit Brooklyn, where the newly formed Jack Rabbit Runs group was leading a 10 mile “Bridges” run: over the Manhattan Bridge, up through Chinatown, and back via the Brooklyn Bridge. I had invited Jocelyn and Laura to join me, and then we were headed for the Bell House to see Susan compete in their Mac & Cheese Takedown. After all, 10 miles of running should give us a hearty appetite for mac and cheese, right?

Alas, it was not to be for me. It seemed that I had not learned my lesson from Saturday’s stressful time getting to the Hot Chocolate 10K – because even though it was 11am and a time when trains should have been fully functional, it took me just about 90 minutes to get to Jack Rabbit. Remember, this trip is only supposed to take 30 minutes! I was livid when I got off the train, knowing that I had long since missed the runners, and sent a regrettable tweet about hating Brooklyn. Dear Brooklynites, I have not given up on your lovely borough quite yet… but can you please find a way to make your neighborhood more accessible instead of taking just as long as it does for me to reach my client in Charlottesville, Virginia? Perhaps the lesson in all this is that I should just run there…

I was in an awful and sulky mood when I reached Jackrabbit, and part of me really wanted to just find a cafe, stuff myself silly on pancakes, and watch TV on my phone. But I tried to remind myself that all was not lost – while it was too late for me to catch the group doing the bridges run, I knew the location of Prospect Park (from the race the day before), and I could go run there. I’m not going to lie, it kind of sucked to do two loops of the same course that I did two loops of the day before (scenery is often what makes a run for me!)… but when I arrived back at Jack Rabbit just 5 minutes after the bridges group had returned, I was really proud of myself for getting 8 miles in. Only 2 short of ze plan!

I can get a bit tantrum-y (at least in mood, though I try to stifle the expression of that mood) when things don’t go my way, so I was proud of myself for making lemonade from the lemons I was given. And now, I was in a great mood and ready to hit the mac & cheese fest! After some water at JackRabbit (I felt too guilty to take any of the donuts, coffee, or coconut water, since I hadn’t been on the official run), Jocelyn and Laura and I set off to walk the mile to the Bell House (does it still count as mileage if we walked it?) for my second foodie feast of the weekend: Mac & Cheese Takedown!!!

Arriving about 30 minutes before the festivities, we exchanged our tickets for hand stamps and then headed to the bar to “rehydrate”… on wine (Jocelyn), a bloody Mary (Laura), and beer (duh, who else). But before we could even finish either our drinks or our gossip session, we saw that it was 1:59pm. All systems ready for takeoff! Mac & cheese, prepare to be devoured!

Being the second group through the door, we quickly secured a table (I had learned my lesson about that from the Cookie Takedown I went to in December), and were among the first to get samples. 24 kind of mac & cheese, all served with a rather generous scoop into a 1 oz portion cup means… well, by the time I ate seconds (okay, and thirds) of my favorites, I’m now doing the math to realize I probably Hoovered up 3lbs of mac & cheese. Good thing I did that 8 miles in the park!

Photo courtesy of Judge Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York

Picking favorites was so hard though, in part because all the recipes were so different. There was the one that was super creamy (that one won audience favorite), the one with barbecue ribs and hot sauce, the one with fried chicken and a cilantro pesto sauce, the one with tons of rosemary and herbs… oh, the possibilities were endless. And that’s not even mentioning Susan’s incredibly gourmet creation – a lobster mac with cheese she smuggled back from Belgium on a trip last week! I got it narrowed down to my top six (and of course, kept sampling more and more of those six just to be sure), and then gave up and just voted for Susan’s. It’s not like I was really going to vote for anyone else, anyway!

Post mac & cheese, I was tentatively supposed to go on a first date. But if there is one thing that is not conducive to feeling flirty and sexy, it’s eating three pounds of mac & cheese… so I postponed. (In my defense, the date was arranged last minute anyway). With a crazy busy week of travel ahead, I spent the rest of my night catching up on TV shows (The Office always puts me in a good mood) and getting myself together for the week. Lights out at 9:30pm so I could get up at 5am for my flight, and it was glorious!

Today: caught a 7am flight to Kansas City, hit the office there for a few meetings and to onboard some new team members, and now I’m on a 6pm flight to Columbus, Ohio, where I’ll be for all-day meetings Tuesday and Wednesday before flying back to Kansas City on Wednesday night. Thursday morning, one final day in the office with my team, and then I finally fly back to NYC on Thursday night to stay for the weekend. Seven flights (including connections) in four days, plus trying to squeeze as much work as possible in between? I think this week is going to be a doozy…


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