25 January 2013

Awesome Running Videos

My friend John Budge has taken to making some brilliant movies...with a running focus. Here are a few - warning, you will laugh at the first one.

I want to freak out that stupid girl too and take that dopey guy's visor.

An Ultrarunner's NYC Christmas....yep, this is how I get my tree too!

And the latest - the Senegal Sensation Meets the Itching Guy!

22 January 2013

Sexual Predators Are Not Funny

I met my friend Emily (friend from NYC Radical Cheerleaders) for lunch today at Crepes du Nord on South William Street in the Financial District. It was really nice to catch up and we had a lovely time – until she went to the bathroom. She saw the following sign on the bathroom door:

After we paid our bill, Emily asked our server what it was supposed to mean.

"That means it's a unisex bathroom."

"A man peering over the wall means it's a unisex bathroom?" Emily asked.

"It's funny. Everyone who comes in thinks it's funny."

"Well, we don't. We think it's offensive."

As he walked away, Emily muttered, "Sexual harassment is supposed to be funny?"

I was really angry when I left; the lunch had been lovely and the food good (though the metal teapots and metal teacups were a bit strange but I digress), but why is it funny when a man peeks in on a woman going to the bathroom - which is essentially what that sign means.

Let me say it straight: a man who is a peeping tom - who spies on a woman, looking at her as she goes to the bathroom, is not funny. Men like that - I don't want to know. That disgusts me.

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, a guy pulled up my skirt and showed my underwear to an entire crowded hallway. I was mortified. I felt terrible. A teacher had seen, reported the student, and he ended up getting suspended. It's rare that these sorts of things get caught and punished. There was the guy who exposed himself to the high school girls as they ran the cross-country races. (Never the boys' races and as far as I know, they never caught him.) I have had men stare obsessively at me at my old job at a public library, frightening me. I have had men try to follow me home. Stare at my building. Sit across the subway from me and stare, stare, stare.

This is not funny. This is scary. Why is our society encouraging this? Maybe you think I'm blowing this up, but I have been a victim of some really horrible things way too many times - and it has never been funny. 

It has been sad. It has been scary. It has been mortifying. It has been soul-destroying. But it has never been funny.


For a filling and delicious breakfast, try this protein-packed delicious breakfast. I adapted it from a recipe from one of those health food mags V sends me (Taste for Life). I made a big batch and will eat this all week.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water

½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup raisins
1 t chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash or so of cardamom
Dash of salt
(add whatever dried fruits or nuts or seeds you want – it’s all about your favourite taste)

  1. 1.       Boil 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of quinoa. When water is soaked up, put quinoa into a bowl to the side.
  2. 2.       Boil 4 cups of water. Add steel cut oats. When it comes back to a boil, lower the heat. Once all the water is absorbed, turn off heat.
  3. 3.       You can toast the coconut and the almonds if you want, but you don’t have to. Just keep an eye on toasting them if you do.
  4. 4.       Add all of the ingredients together. Stir.
  5. 5.       Eat. I prefer with lots of milk or some good Brown Cow vanilla yogurt.

19 January 2013

Recover from the Holidays Fatass 50k

I'm a sucker for a nearby race, even if it's logistically difficult for me to get there, especially if friends are doing it, especially if friends are putting it on. When Vinny told me about the fatass, I figured I'd do some if not all of it - and I got even more excited when he launched a new website and group to promote running in the Long Island Area. (And since I grew up there, admittedly much closer to Queens than to most of Long Island, I am always glad to run some mileage in the county or island where I grew up.)

I've run on the Greenbelt Trail before - it's easy to get to via train (I've done it from the north by taking the train to I think it was Smithtown, and I've also gone by taking it to Massapequa) or have your mom drop you off, and I also ran the 50k there last May. But still, I am SO FREAKING TALENTED that I managed to get lost.

Not once.

Not twice.

Three times.

And every single time, I was with other people.

That's a talent.

I initially thought I'd just do 15-20 miles but if I'm getting up before 5am and traveling out there, well, I may as well just run the whole 50k. It's only a few more miles. And in the company of other ultrarunners, why, it's a blast.

I started out, and Jackie and I began chatting and got lost.

And we got lost again shortly after.

The third time was at the weird field turn-around-ish area.

But the course was good - the Greenbelt Trail is mainly single track at this point. There are some rocks and roots, not too many places that qualify as hills (fairly flat), lots of dirt, fields. It's nice. You have a few road crossings, but nothing too crazy. No stream crossings. Some hikers (eating massive picnics and they are lucky I didn't stop and partake). Some birds. But quiet.

Vinny and Nichole had the race start and finish at a parking lot next to a Stop and Shop - which also was the only real bathroom (though as far as I'm concerned, any tree or bush suffices as a real bathroom!). Normally when I go trail running, this is where I stop to refill my hydration pack bladder. Everyone brought food and I'm pretty sure Vinny and Nichole supplied some of it - and Jessi Kennedy won our hearts once more by yes, winning (Duh, of course she did) and baking the most amazing banana bread and oatmeal cookies. We'd cram pieces of the banana bread into our mouths and shove the cookies in our pockets. Good times.
Julia, Cortney, me wearing a ridiculous bear hat, Mat, Jackie

I ran most of the race with Mat and Jackie and Julia. Cortney ended up getting lost so she ran some of the first loop and the entire second loop with us. I just met Julia for the first time so we spent the whole day you know, baring our entire lives to each other down to the most personal detail - it is ultrarunning, after all!

Some friends of mine opted for the 10 or 20 miler - Ken was flying through the 10 miler and I believe was the first one done. Karen looked great on the 20 miler and I'm pretty sure got lost less than me. 

The weather was sunny and predicted to be 50 - it didn't get there, but was still nice.

And after, after we finished our final steps and ate more banana bread than we really had business eating, hopped on a train towards showers and food and naps and love...but really, ultrarunning is all about love so yes, it was a day of love.

11 January 2013

Hasta Luego, Mexico

written my last night in Mexico, at the airport....

Lump in my throat. I’ll be back.

Had an amazing trip in Mexico. From the ancient ruins, well, everywhere – from Palenque to Monte Albon to Yaxchin to Teotehuacan to Templo Mayor…to improving my Spanish…to hiking. To long walks alone, to long walks holding Wayne’s hand. To chilling on the beach, to sitting on a crowded bus. To reading in a hammock, to sipping pina coladas, to a month of no work, to Mexico.

To all those who said it was super duper dangerous – I told you. I’m not part of the drug cartel so I was safe. The North is the more dangerous part, many would say. Those border towns (hmmmm does it have anything to do with the U.S.?).

Theft occurs, yes, and other bad things as well.

But Mexico, I learned so much from you and I plan on coming back.


Mexico City seems like a highly unlikely place for good trail running – but after a friendly Ultralister reached out to me, I knew I’d find the jewels of trail running in Mexico.

Wendy, Alex, Scott (who is coincidentally a friend from NYC) and I headed to the trails. Wendy told me horror stories of Wasatch, but she kept saying how great it was. (When is it great, after you were speaking in tongues and puking and blacking out? Oh no, before, that’s great. J)

The run started at 9,000 something feet and basically mostly went up to 12,600 feet. My asthma felt a little bad at times – I had to use my inhaler two extra doses and I could feel it, especially as I climbed towards the very top.

Beautiful views – of volcanoes, pretty rocks. The trails were dirt and rocky at times, but not too bad. It was a really lovely place.

The downhill part was just great. Down, down, down, and not too technical. I had a blast going down.

And afterwards, Wendy and Alex heated up some vegetarian tamales and we sat in the garden with the cats in the sunshine, talking about running, eating, enjoying the day.

All before a 5pm flight back to the states!

05 January 2013

Cinco: Mexico City

My last full day....

Got up early and cranked out a decent run. 

Hopped on the Metro. When getting off the train, some complete jerk used it as an excuse to grab my butt. F*** YOU!

Then, headed over to Templo Mayor to see some amazing ruins. Sad how the conquistadors tried to completely erase a civilization.

Next, had a bit more time, so stopped by Museo Archivo de la Fotografia, which was full of old photos of Mexico City. Really interesting. Also stopped by Museo del Estanquillo which was mainly drawings (which are not my favourite thing) but it did have a lovely terrace.

I strolled around the Zocalo, getting a nice goodbye to Zocalo and the Centro Historico. Vendors selling wares (and getting hassled by cops), traditional dancers, all sorts of fun. I hopped on the Metro back to my hostel, checked out. I left my big bag and storage and headed out to explore Roma and Condessa a bit more. 

I went to MUCA Roma which was really strange. They had this whole bizarre exhibit where they told you this plant was unknown and toxic and blah blah blah and you had to wear a mask and a lab coat and walk through chlorinated water and stick your head under this mirror thing and it was so strange, I can't explain.

Then I got lunch at an organic cafe with plenty of veg options. Wooohooo!

I wandered more around Roma and Condessa, popping into stores. I got an amazing brownie cheesecake cupcake, visited some shops, sat on a park bench, drank a chai, read. I felt so relaxed.

I hopped in a cab over to fellow ultrarunner Wendy's house. The ultra list is powerful and connects all those who are interested. We hung out, chatted, got dinner...a lot of fun. Ultrarunning is such glue.

And tomorrow...a trail run! Can't wait!

04 January 2013

Run Love

One of the best things about running is it allows me to see a lot more of the places I travel to.

My body was tired - I had a ton of racing last autumn, so I decided I'd use my time in Mexico as downtime. I ran most days (I only had three days off, I think, in the entire 3.5 weeks, and most of those I had to take off due to travel days (w/ impossibility to run)) and some days I didn't run long, but getting out there, stretching my legs, seeing more of the city was great.

Mexico City has been great for running - I'm close to a massive park so I spend mornings running there. You see a different view of the city.

I have a trail run scheduled w some Ultra Listers and, very nicely, a friend from back home. That will be my last day here - not spent in museums or at tourist spots but doing the one thing I love doing most: running.

I'm looking forward to it!

Cuatro: Mexico City

Getting into the energy of this great city...

Got up early, another great run in the park, this time with plyometrics! Wheeee!

Then I showered and ate and hopped on the Metro to the Frida Kahlo Museum. It was a bit of a walk from the Metro and while the museum was good and a must for Frida Fans, I was disappointed that it was rather small. I hopped in a cab and took it to Frida and Diego's studios. Again, small, not very much Frida - except for a really long great documentary with subtitles. Very interesting.

I walked to the Metro, stopping for a 29 peso torta on the way. I went to the Museo de la Memoria y Tolerancia - basically, a museum that focuses on the horrors of genocide. Really interesting stuff. I got the audio guide because I was worried I'd miss out (all of the signs are in Spanish) but you really need to know Spanish (and my Spanish was good enough) to figure stuff out.

I got a small snack and wandered the park, stopping at various vendors to check out the wares. Interesante. A nice guy started talking to me, just being friendly and we chatted for a while. Then I went into the Diego Rivera Murals Museum. Some so-so art, some good art. This guy (a Mexican guy who had been living in Virginia for 24 years) asked me to explain abstract art to him. I pointed out certain images and told him to not question things too much but to just try to enjoy things. But a little later, when I was in the room with Diego's massive mural, he was the one teaching me things. There are 75 characters with descriptions (and many others painted that aren't listed) so he gave me some background information on who they were. Very interesting discussions.

I headed back outside, and my friend from earlier was there. We walked over to Garibaldi Square, where the mariachi bands were setting up. I visited the Mescal and Tequila Museum (yay, free shots) and then walked around. I said goodbye to my friend and hopped on the Metro and again visited the vegetarian restaurant.

Tres: Mexico City

I got up and had a great 90 minute run in the nearby park. Wonderful.

I met a friend of a friend, David, who agreed to show me around Mexico City for the day. It was a great day.

First, we stopped by Museo de Bellas Artes - so beautiful. Next, the post office. This is the kind of building that would get anyone excited about mailing a letter! Then we headed over for the MUCA where they had a Musee de Orsay exchange so lots of great French paintings and artwork. Wonderful.

After, we headed to a really delicious lunch at a great restaurant - I had enchiladas with hibiscus - so good. And warm chocolate cake. I was full for hours!

Then, we headed over to the Zocalo, the main square. David told me it was the biggest square in Latin America. Also a little insane - hundreds or thousands of people, plus they had a (temporary) ice skating rink, snowmobile loop, sledding slide, and the usual vendors. Yikes!

 We went to El Palacio, gorgeous. I ended up taking lots of photos of the building. They also had great artwork inside.

Then, over to the Secretario building to enjoy the murals there. I love all the murals.

Went to Santo Domingo - such a pretty square, and a pretty church.

Back to Zocalo, to enjoy Catedral.

Then we went to a rooftop terrace and got tea and enjoyed the view...just chilled. The streets had been pure craziness - crowds of people and buses and vendors and the vendors running from cops - so it was nice to relax.

Back to the hostel for a quick shower and relax - and then David and I went to a hipster bar for drinks and tapas...mescal with hibiscus, yes please!

Exhausting yet awesome day!

Dia Dos: Mexico City

I got up early w the intention of running before heading out to Teotihuacan, but it was dark so I just headed over to the bus station and hopped on the hour-long ride to the amazing ruins. Lonely Planet had warned that this bus had been subject to armed robbery in the past so of course I was paranoid. It was fine.

Teotihuacan was AMAZING. I climb the third-tallest pyramid in the world. I got there early so it was super quiet (and also freezing....brrrrrr....) and it was really nice to get some interesting photos. The site is SO well preserved compared to a lot of other places so that was really great. Of course my favourites were the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon (Luna!).

After, I hopped on the subway and headed over to the Museo del Arte Moderno. Great stuff. They had a fantastic exhibit on women surrealists that was wonderful. The rest of the art was great.

I walked through the Bosque and bought popcorn from a vendor as I headed to the Anthropology Museum. Incredible. A lot of stuff was put together for me - they had some of the great relics from Monte Albon and Teotihuacan, and a lot of great explanation of the indigenous cultures of Mexico and also evolution and so many things. I was exhausted from walking around all day, climbing so many steps on the ruins, walking, not eating, getting up early. At the end of the museum, I was about ready to sleep.

I found a great vegetarian restaurant a few blocks from my hostel, Yug Vegetarian. Like all veg restaurants here, they have meat things but the food was just excellent. I ate salad and cilantro vegetarian lasagna and then headed back to my hostel for an early night...

Dia Uno: Mexico City

I arrived on New Year's Day after a crazy bus ride where the guy next to me wouldn't stop yammering away in Spanish and when he started making me feel uncomfortable with his personal questions ("Why are your fingernails so short?" "What a pretty name you have...so pretty..." "Do you have babies? Are you having any?") I had to be rude and start reading (which I wanted to do anyway). The bus station was a shitshow when I arrived. Because unauthorized taxis have been problematic (read: people got robbed) in the past, you can go to a counter and pay and then you get a slip and wait in line and the taxi driver gets the slip and gets reimbursed. So I waited for an hour in line.

The streets were ghosts. Everything was closed. I arrived in Roma, which I was told was the hot, really hip neighborhood to stay in - and nothing was opened. It was weird. This is the cool neighborhood? I was later told this is because it was New Year's Day. Well, in NYC, New Year's Day means you recover from your night of drinking the night before and you sleep in really in late and then head out to brunch and maybe you do something productive, like pick up some tissues at the drug store or some milk at the health food store.

I headed out for a run - what else to do? It got dark quickly and I began tripping, and I was hungry so I decided to pop into the one cafe I found open with decent prices. They told me they were closing in 10 minutes so I couldn't run further (and I promised Wayne I wouldn't run in the dark here...) so I placed a to go order.

I headed back to my hostel, ate in the common area and played with the hostel kitty.

The streets were quiet but I was aware that this city seemed pretty rad. I couldn't wait for it to open and explode!

01 January 2013


After another 6 hour van ride that could only described as “wild and windy” we arrived in Oaxaca. Tripping over potholes with our flipflops and navigating the crowded streets with our giant packs, we ultimately settled into our comfortable B&B, Tia Tere.

We immediately sought out some food (a TERRIBLE vegetarian restaurant that was awful save the best guacamole we ever ate), and wandered around, hitting up the various markets, searching out the perfect treasures. Hand-in-hand, talking, strolling. We were exhausted. Why? I had slept most of the van ride and our day hadn’t been that hard. We collapsed into our bed at 8pm, setting a new record for early-to-bed.

We woke up early the next day and I headed out for a short run. A shower, big breakfast at our B&B, and then we headed out to Monte Albon. On the way out there, we stopped by Mayordomo’s for amazing hot chocolate – the kind you get a big hunk of bread and you dip in. SOOOOOOOOOO good. I would like another cup now please.

The ruins were lovely but crowded. After wandering around, we headed back to the city and tried to navigate the 2nd class bus station (and “station” is a word I use very loosely). We ended up hopping in a crowded collectivo to the World’s Biggest Tree. It was big, very impressive. It dwarfed the church it was in front of. Estimates ranged from 1500 years old to 2000 years old. Wow. We hopped back in a collectivo and began our wander.

We found the ultimate market. I bought hibiscus leaves and horchata powder, Wayne tried a fried cricket (“It tastes like hot sauce.” Yes, like everything else in Mexico!). We strolled without a purpose, just looking, enjoying everything.

We found a Mescal Bar and one of the servers encouraged us in. Wayne got a beer, but I got a rather delicious glass of mescal – it’s in a shot glass but you drink it rather slowly, and drink it with chili salt and limes and oranges.

I was a little tipsy and ended up buying a bottle of Maracuya Mescal too. Oh yum. After, we found some food and ate at one of the nicer restaurants which was fun. After, we wandered the streets a bit more and then headed back to bed.

Following day was more running and breakfast, followed by another morning of searching for a collectivo and then to the ruins at Yagul. We had a 1.5 km walk up the road which was lovely. The ruins were impressive and large, and despite being both, were very empty – only 10-20 people were there the entire time we were there. It was pretty incredible.

After, we went back to the city for some more market wandering for the perfect souvenir for Wayne’s mom, and then sat in front of one of the churches, talking for a long time, resting. The church itself was beautiful, gold-leaf everything.

We rested in our room and then attempted to find dinner on New Year’s Eve – not an easy feat, especially since when we tried, it seemed most restaurants were on an expensive, not vegetarian-friendly set menu. We ultimately found a place, and enjoyed it – pina coladas and mescal margarita, with spinach cheese spaghetti, Oaxacan fried cheese with guacamole and pico de gallo, Mayordomo hot chocolate with bread, ice cream sundae…The square was full of vendors, full of people selling eggs filled with confetti, silly string, light-up toys, amongst the usual things: necklaces, stickers, shawls, shirts, bracelets, toys, etc. When sitting down to eat your dinner, you are constantly asked to buy things, to give people money.

At the stroke of midnight, the sky exploded with fireworks…a party indeed.

Our last night together, I slept poorly as I knew we’d be separated the next day…into two different countries for six more days. I clutched at Wayne as I slept and he held me tight. We got up early for a run during a dog followed us, and then breakfast, and packing.

I miss him already. And Oaxaca…how I miss your cheese, your cute colonial streets and churches. I miss you too.

Traveling with Wayne

Traveling with you can be so relaxing…I could get used to this!