2012 Vermont City Marathon Recap

So here it goes – my fifth marathon race recap. When I ran my first marathon in 2009, I never thought I’d have five marathons under my belt by 2012. I guess you could say I kind of got addicted. I suppose there are worse things you can be addicted to though.

So here it goes. The 2012 Vermont City Marathon Recap. Hubby and I drove up to Albany on Friday night and stayed with my parents. We woke up early on Saturday and ran our very last training run – an easy two miles at a very slow pace. Hubby (Bill) had been dealing with an injured Achilles for the past few weeks and still felt a slight twinge after our run. But we headed out to Burlington around noon.

We arrived around 3 p.m., hit up the expo for about an hour and then headed to our hotel. We decided to stay at the Hilton, which is literally 1/10 of mile from the start and finish of the race–making it super convenient. We checked in and lounged for about an hour and then headed to the pasta dinner.

We walked from our hotel to the pasta dinner at Champlain College – it was about a mile away. On the walk there (all uphill), Bill was dealing with some major leg pain. It was making us both nervous for the race the next day.

We carb loaded at the pasta dinner. It was pretty standard at pasta dinners go. I was surprised they only had one pasta option – spaghetti with either marinara sauce or meat sauce. We ate our pasta, salad, and bread and then finished up dinner with some desert. All in all, it was a decent event. After we finished, we started the walk back to the hotel and Bill flinched with pain in his leg most of the way. Not good.

When we got home, we started to prep our gear for the next day and Bill was doing everything he could think of to make his leg feel better. I lay down for a few minutes around 9:30 and fell asleep. I woke up at 10:00 p.m. and finished getting my stuff ready and then really went to bed. Surprisingly, I slept like a rock.

Race Day
My alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. and the prepping began. I fashioned some sort of oatmeal concoction for us using the hot water from the coffee machine. Then I also made some coffee and hydrated with NUUN. I looked outside our window and saw a gorgeous view, as well as part of the course right down below.

People were heading to the start area pretty early. Bill and I began finishing up our prep and Bill snapped this pre-race photo of me.

Ready to go! And we were off. We walked to the start, which was literally right around the corner and made our way into the corral. We decided to start near the 3:45 pace group. It was super crowded. We found some space and waited for the start. The wheel chair racers went off at 8:00 a.m. and we began at 8:03 a.m.

With such a crowded start, it took us a while to really find our pace. Bill and I stayed together in the beginning as we ran through the town and then up into some neighborhoods.

Mile 1 – 8:42
Mile 2 – 8:22
Mile 3 – 8:32
Mile 4 – 8:24

About mile four, we headed into an out and back stretch down a long road. There weren’t too many spectators along this section. It was nice to get to see some of the leaders and elite runners pass by as they made their way back to town after completing the out and back.

Around mile 6-7, we both took water at a station and Bill seemed to pick up his pace a bit. I tried to stay with him, but he was just moving a little bit too fast for me. I kept him in my sights, but I knew that our joint running time together was pretty much over. I maintained a decent pace just a little bit behind him.

Mile 5 – 8:30
Mile 6 – 8:20
Mile 7 – 8:14
Mile 8 – 8:21

As we came back into town around mile 8-9, we had some spectators again and it got me pumped up. The people cheering really did help give me motivation. As we headed down one of the main streets of Burlington, a local photographer snapped this shot of me.

(source)

I’m actually looking pretty happy right?! Well, mind you, it was only like mile 9 or 10 at this point. I continued along, maintaining a decent pace as we moved out of town and into a neighborhood. I took my first Gu around mile 11 and actually really needed it.

Mile 9 – 8:29
Mile 10 – 7:59
Mile 11 – 8:19
Mile 12 – 8:41

At about mile 13, we made a sharp turn onto a bike path. Around this time, there was also a lot of switching going on with the relay teams. I had been aware of the teams switching in the race before, but this was the biggest switch. The race had two kinds of relays 1) a two person relay where they each ran half, and 2) a 3-5 person relay with all different lengths for various legs.

So as we hit halfway, there were a lot of relays changing and it was actually kind of frustrating. Here we are (the marathon runners), getting into a groove of sorts with our pace, surrounded by people going our approximate speed, and then all of sudden a whole new group of people fly into the mix all nice and fresh and some of them absolutely take off. It kind of messes with your pace. Or, on the reverse, some of the new runners are going much slower and then you find yourself matching their pace. It was a confusing time. I tried to maintain some kind of consistent pace, but it was tough.

Mile 13 – 8:12
Mile 14 -8:12

I think we came out of the bike path around mile 14.5 and then I knew what we ahead of me. The dreaded hill. This is the Battery Hill that our hotel is on. I was going to run right by the hotel - how tempting. It’s one long hill for almost half a mile (or at least that’s how long it felt). I dug in and got started.

Thankfully, the city also has these awesome drummers playing at this section and their beat totally carries you up the hill. I waved to them to thank them and kept on trudging up. It was tough.

Mile 15 – 8:28

Then, when you reach the top, you get to move on to run on a main road, with no shade that seems to go on forever. This might have been my least favorite part of this race. I kind of hated this road. As we neared mile 18, my pace slowed considerably.

Mile 16 – 8:53
Mile 17 – 8:43
Mile 18 – 8:37

Between mile 17-18, we went into a neighborhood, but then we came right back out to the road. Then we went into another neighborhood between 18-19. It was a lot of turning in and then back out.

In this second neighborhood, there were more spectators and random water stops. There was also a random lady mowing her lawn and spitting grass into the road. Why she chose that day/time to mow her lawn, I will never know. After her, we encountered a guy beating a homemade drum with hard rock music playing in the background, and then a few more houses down was a lady playing classical music – not the best “pump up” music. I was kind of happy to exit the weird neighborhood, but then found myself back on the main road that I hated so much. ARGH!

Mile 19 – 8:53
Mile 20 – 9:06
Mile 21 – 9:00

Luckily, we turned off the main road around mile 21-22 and back onto the bike path. The bike path meant fewer spectators, which was a negative, but no more main road and blaring sun, which was a positive. I took my second Gu around mile 21 -22. I had been feeling the fatigue since about mile 18, but it really started to hit.

Plus, then I started worrying about Bill and how his leg was doing. I hadn’t caught up to him, so I wanted to think of that as a good thing, but I also kept scanning the people walking or being helped on the sidelines, thinking that his injured leg could have taken him out.

From mile 22-24, it was just playing the willpower game with myself to put one foot in front of the other. I had passed the 3:45 pacer a while back and when I saw him pass me around this time I got a little sad. I didn’t really have a goal time, but 3:45 sounded nice.

The pacer passed me and then I had that chat with myself about less pressure to finish in a certain time. I reviewed the whole “if I can only run 10 minute miles for the next few miles, that’s okay, because I will still finish in under 4 hours.” You know those chats if you’ve run a marath0n – you make deals with yourself to get to the finish.

Mile 22- 8:57
Mile 23 – 9:16
Mile 24 – 9:14

And then miraculously, at mile 25, it was like something clicked. I knew I was going to make it to the end and finish in under 4 hours. So my speed began to pick up again. And then I heard someone yell, “way to go 2049 – way to finish strong.” And I knew that I WANTED to finish strong, so I pressed on.

Mile 25 – 9:04

And then finally we hit mile 26 and there were crowds of people everywhere. I started to pick up my pace even more and hurdle myself to the finish.

Mile 26 – 8:55
.33 – 2:31

Final time: 3:47:10

I finished and immediately chugged a chocolate milk they handed me. It was amazing. And then I got nervous about Bill and went to find him. I instinctively looked for the medical tent, but then I spotted a Team Chief shirt a few feet away. And there he was, just hanging out chatting with some guy from his hometown. He finished his very first marathon in 3 hours and 41 minutes! He was feeling sore, but his leg was fine! I was so relieved and happy for him.

We headed to the runner’s food area and grabbed some pizza, ice cream, yogurt, etc. and parked our aching bodies under a tree. After downing some much-needed food, we headed back to our hotel. We climbed a huge hill to get there and a hotel never looked so amazing to me.

Here we are post-race!

We did it!! It was a very fun race in gorgeous Vermont. Now on to the NYC Marathon in November!

Counting Down to the Vermont City Marathon

Ok – so I took a short blogging hiatus, but trust me – I was still running. The Vermont City Marathon is less than two days away and I am getting nervous excited. I have one measly little two-mile run left for training and then that’s it my friends – go time.  My current total mileage is resting at 518 miles. Here’s a quick snapshot of the past few weeks:

Yup - as you may have noticed, there was a total slacker week in there – it was called the week of my 30th birthday. Yikes! I felt I deserved to go a little crazy and depart from my plan a bit to live it up.  Hubby and I had a busy weekend attending the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and then another friend’s birthday party on Saturday night. It wiped me out. But we had soo much fun and we got to try on funny hats!

But now it’s time to get serious. There is marathon happening on Sunday. I will be running it. It will be my fifth marathon and it will be Hubby’s first. He had a leg injury issue earlier in the month, but now he’s pretty confident that he’s ready to do it. Also, he’s raised almost $1,500 for his charity efforts in honor of his father

That is very impressive. I tried to do a charity thing at the end of last year and struggled to raise even $500. He did awesome – his father would be so proud.

So the obsessive weather checking has begun and I have to stay that things are looking okay as of right now…dare I say almost perfect? According to weather.com (both friend and foe depending on the day you talk to me), the forecast for Burlington, VT on Sunday is mostly cloudy with a high of 73 and low of 55 degrees. It couldn’t sound much better to me. Knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a little prayer and all of that. If that forecast can just stay in a holding pattern for two days, we will be all good.

I’m also super excited that Hubby and I will be running as a “team” – meaning we will be wearing matching shirts.

Realistically, we may start together, but I have a feeling he will leave me in the dust. He’s much faster than me. But I love that we will be wearing our matching “Team Chief” shirts in honor of his father. A small team, but a passionate one. So if there’s anyone else out there reading this that’s running VCM – look out for Team Chief!!

Ok – that’s pretty much all for now. The next post will be the big one – the marathon recap. Wish us luck!! See you on the other side!

Last Long Run and Tapering

Well it happened – I ran my last long training run for the Vermont City Marathon this past weekend…and I lived to tell!

With a 22 mile run planned, I was more than happy that I would be running it in upstate NY rather than around Central Park again. My last 20-miler in CP was great, but I needed a break from the park.

So I headed upstate by train on Friday and was out the door by 8:15 a.m. on Saturday morning for my last long training run.

Since my last run went so well without my waterbelt, I wanted to try that approach again. I have really been hating that belt this training season, so I planned to carry a small bottle of water with me from my parent’s house and then stop at my friend’s house about halfway through to pick up another bottle.

My run began and it was the perfect temperature, overcast, and I felt pretty good. I planned a tough route with a bunch of major hills, but at this point I was feeling ready for it.

Here was my route:

I covered A LOT of ground. From Latham to Watervliet to Loudonville and back to Latham. I felt really great during the first 12 or so miles of this run. The second half of my run was MUCH slower, but I also had some major hills, so it’s kind of understandable. Here are my splits:

I included the elevation so you can see how huge some of the hills were. Mile 13 was the biggest and that hill is slightly insane. And me not taking my water belt worked out. I carried a small (8 oz.) water bottle filled with some NUUN water with me and drank it all by about mile 8. Then I stopped at my friend’s house around mile 12.5 to grab a second larger bottle. That got me through to about mile 20.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my last long run. I was hoping to keep all my miles slightly under a 9 minute pace, but with some of the hills I added, it just really wasn’t possible.

But I finished feeling pretty strong and my parents even commented that it didn’t look like I had just run 22 miles. They have seen me looking pretty awful after some runs, so that was a good sign.

The rest of the weekend was busy but also relaxed – I got to see some family and friends. I also did a short shake-out run on Sunday (4.5 miles) to bring my weekly mileage total to a record (for me) 50.34 miles! That is my new weekly distance record. I wasn’t so sure I was going to make it, but I got there. Pretty impressed with my 50-mile week!

And you know what that means… it’s time to TAPER!! The taper has commenced this week, and as usual, I have no desire to run at all. I need to remind myself that taper does not mean “stop running altogether.” The dreary weather really doesn’t help matters, but I’m just also feeling really lazy.

I skipped out on Monday’s run and then Tuesday night I managed 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I’m supposed to hit 34 miles this week and I’ll be lucky if I get to 25. Ugh – my motivation is apparently lost.

I know that some runners really hate tapering and have a hard time with it, but I feel like I go the opposite way. I want to take the taper to the extreme a just take a break. I’ll have to push myself not to become a totally lazy this week.

What about you – if you are a marathon – do you enjoy the taper, have a hard time with it, or take the taper too far ever?

Happy hump day all!

Run As One Race Recap: Awesome PR!

Week 14 of training went okay. I was supposed to run 34 miles this week and I managed 32.66. I ended up running more of my runs later in the week (Friday and Saturday) than I originally wanted. I like to give me legs a little bit of rest before I actually “race” a race on the weekend.

And that was my plan for today. I was going to push really hard in this race and see what happened. I always get a little more nervous when I know I’m actually racing a race and not just working it into my long run as a training run.

I left the house around 7:45 this morning and logged a few miles before the race. I was aiming for four miles before the race, but ended up only getting in 3.25. Then I headed into my corral because things were getting pretty busy.

Run As One – 4 Miles
It was a brisk morning – 48 degrees for the start of the race. I wasn’t sure what to wear, so I went with capris and a short sleeve shirt. It was the perfect combination. It seemed like a lot of people were in the race, although NYRR doesn’t have the number of finishing runners posted yet.

I listened to the starting announcements and was again surprised by what I already knew – lung cancer (which this race was run to raise money and awareness for) kills more people in the United States than any other type of cancer. And approximately 50% of the people who get lung cancer do NOT smoke. I actually know someone from college who was diagnosed with lung cancer and she is one of the healthiest people I know. She beat it, but catching it early is SO important. So I was very happy to support and run this race.

Source

So back to the race. I was in the green corral, so a little far back, and that worried me about trying to race this race hard. The start is always so crowded if you’re not right up front. But so be it. And the race began.

I managed to get moving pretty quickly right from the start and tried to stay toward the inside as much as possible. In my head, I was really hoping for a sub 7:30 overall pace. The first mile went by quickly even though we were going up Cat Hill. I ran it in 7:29. A little too close for comfort…

So then I really started to pick it up during mile 2. Things started to clear out a bit and I pushed my speed pretty much to the max. As I reached the second mile marker, I was shocked to see my time was 7:01!! Holy fast.

So that was kind of amazing, but then I got really scared that I pushed too far and was going to lose steam. For mile 3, I knew that the rolling hills were coming and my goal was just to try to maintain a pace under 7:30. I tried to tackle the hills hard, but as always, they were rough. As I passed mile 3, my split was 7:18.

The final mile is here – time to push. I pushed hard. I love this last mile of the course. It is almost entirely downhill and you can really watch your speed increase. My mile 4 beeped before I hit the finish and it showed my pace was 6:59. So the last few seconds, I just pushed super hard. Here are my splits:

My official NYRR time on the site is: 29:07!! Average pace was 7:17!!! Woohooo – that is SUCH a major personal record. My previous best was 30:35 with a 7:38 best average pace. I am pumped!!

And as I was walking through the finish area, an older gentleman next to me wearing a team singlet congratulated me on my hard finish. He said I “flew right by him” at the end. Who knows, maybe I even had more to give?! Although, all day today after that race, I’ve felt pretty pooped, so I’m not so sure.

It was a great race and I’m happy to finally crush that PR that has been lingering around for sooo long. Also, this is my last race before our marathon on May 27. I am feeling pretty ready!

Happy Sunday!

 

Celebrating 300 Posts!!

Wow – so I can’t believe that today is my 300th post on Eat, Read, Run. I also can’t believe that I started this blog way back in fall 2009. There have certainly been many times when I slacked on blogging or life just got a little too busy and blogging was sort of forgotten. But overall, I’ve kept it going.

Whether I’m posting twice a month or 25 times (how did I do that in the beginning?), I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping this little diary of my life and running. And I’ve loved looking back at past posts and remembering what was going on at that time in my life. For a girl who has a slight short-term memory problem, it’s extremely helpful.

And now, in honor of my 300th post, I’ll share with you XX things you might not have guessed about me…

  1. I will drink red wine all year round – I’m not ashamed. I like it just as much in July as I do in November.
  2. I don’t like dark chocolate. I will choose milk or white chocolate before I even glance at a piece of dark chocolate.
  3. I went through a one-year phase when I didn’t use an iPod when I ran. No music whatsoever. No clue how I did it.
  4. I knew I wanted to qualify and run the Boston Marathon about halfway through my very first marathon.
  5. I qualified for the Boston Marathon at my second marathon and it’s all kind of hazy. It was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and I relive that race a lot during my long runs.
  6. With the new Boston Marathon standards, I doubt I’ll ever qualify again (my qualification was during the 3:40 and under standards)…but part of me secretly wants to try. :-)
  7. I swore for years that I would never own an e-reader. My husband bought one for me for Christmas…and I LOVE it and still feel sort of guilty about that.
  8. I work at the ASPCA and it’s literally my dream job. I find myself getting nervous that it really is just a dream every day.
  9. I’m an only child and part of me wants to have like five children someday.
  10. I have an overweight cat. We have him on a diet, but he hasn’t lost much weight.
  11. I say elementary wrong. I emphasize the “a” in the word. I didn’t know this until college.
  12. I can paint a pretty mean french manicure. When I get the motivation to actually do it, people think it’s salon quality.
  13. I have really tiny feet and sometimes it’s hard to find shoes. Size 5 people. I order shoes online a lot.
  14. I’d like to write a novel someday. But it’s pretty intimidating. But after starting 50 Shades of Gray and seeing how terrible that writing is – maybe it IS possible.
  15. John Irving is one of my favorite authors. I’ve heard him speak in person twice. I know some people who hate him and I can’t understand why.
  16. It REALLY bothers me when people spell my name wrong (particularly with an “a” rather than an “e”) and ESPECIALLY when they are responding to an email where my name is in the signature.
  17. Up until about 5 years ago, I thought I didn’t like tomatoes or onions. How did I make dinner ever? And thank goodness I gave them another shot.
  18. Sometimes, I secretly want to live on a farm with a cow, chickens, a giant garden – the whole shebang. In reality, my mother grew up on such a farm and I think she transferred some of this desire to me.
  19. I could eat cheese during every meal of the day. Slightly obsessed.
  20. My husband says that sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up (well not fully wake up) out of a dead sleep, sit up and start petting and snuggling the cat. Then I just stop and go straight back to sleep.  

And 300 posts later, here I am! I’ve run four marathons, read a TON of books, and eaten very good food. And I’ve got the blog to remind of all of it. And now in honor of my 300th post, I think I’ll go run 6 miles. Okay – there is no choice about it. My training plan tells me I’ll go run 6 miles. :-)

For you other bloggers – do you enjoy looking back at old posts? How long have you had your blog? Do you think your blogging days will ever end?

And what’s the strangest or a unique thing about you that people probably would never guess?

20 Miles to Remember

I’ve had some ups and downs this training go-round. I had a run-in with strep throat that slowed me down and made me feel super tired, I had some moments where I lacked motivation and chose to go out drinking for St. Patrick’s day rather than run a long run (oops), and every now and then I’ve had some ITB pain.

However, today’s long 20 mile run made everything better. It gave me a renewed sense of trust in my training and my strength, and it was really, really needed. I know not every run can be a good run and I accept that I need to have some bad runs to appreciate the good ones. So I am going to appreciate the heck out of this run. It was pretty much perfect.

20 Mile Run
So the run was great, but it didn’t start off well-planned at all. I was originally supposed to head upstate this weekend and run 20 miles there, with a short 5k plugged in the middle. At the 11th hour, Hubby and I decided not to go, which meant we were both planning on doing our long 20 mile runs in Central Park.

That my friends is the first problem. Central Park and I have had a love/hate relationship for a while. I love CP when I have to do a short run (8 miles or under), and I love that a lot of the NYRR races are held there–so convenient to my homestead, and it’s always been a big part of my marathon training. But that’s where the hate part comes in–sometimes I get pretty bored with Central Park pretty quickly during training. I feel myself dreading running there because I always know what comes next and where the hardest parts are.

So you are probably asking why I don’t just suck it up and try running over to West Side for a bit and then finish in Central Park? Fabulous idea–except for the fact that today I really needed to be close to water fountains because I decided to ditch my waterbelt.

What? You’re probably saying: “Girl, you’re crazy!” And Hubby looked at me the same way when I left the house. But I managed to pull off this long run without the belt…and it was pretty freaking awesome. Here goes:

Miles 1-7: Running to the park and one loop around. Easy breezy! Don’t follow my example here, but I didn’t take any water this first loop. The air was cool, I was moving fast and feeling great. I held off on water but formulated my plans.

Miles 7-13: Now I was heading into my second loop, which meant enjoying Harlem Hill another go ’round. Surprisingly, I still felt pretty strong and was cruising and pretending to be speedy. As I reached the top of Harlem Hill, I decided it was time for water. I missed the first water fountain after HH, but beelined it to the second one. I had to wait for two people to finish up, then I gulped down some heavenly water and headed back out.

Apparently the water tasted so good when it hit my lips that my body screamed for more. So I pulled over again after finishing the three rolling hills on the West side and gulped some more. I was on my way and still feeling okay.

I decided to actually buy a bottle of water and carry it around mile 12. I was on the East side, running past the stinky horse area and I was drawn to the vendor ahead. Two bucks later, and after possibly cutting in front of some tourist who couldn’t make up her mind, I had my delicious overpriced water in my hand and was back on the road. As I finished up my second loop, I sucked down a chocolate Gu and prepared myself for the last loop.

Miles 13-20: Third and final loop. Here we go. Things got tough for a little bit. Harlem Hill on the third try REALLY kicked my a$$ pretty good. But I pulled through. I finished my bottle of water as I reached the top and then made the wisest decision of my run: to not throw it out, but refill it instead. BOOM. How DID I get so smart? I refilled at the next water fountain on the West side and shuffled along. Actually – I really wasn’t moving that slow. I was kind of impressed with my pace throughout the whole run.

I made my way around the lower loop and headed back up the East side. I chucked my water bottle around mile 19, cleared out of Central Park and headed home for my last mile.

So here are my mile breakdowns:

I crept into the 9′s a few times, but most were when I was buying water, stopping for water, or refilling my bottle at a water fountain. And here’s how three lovely loops in CP looks on the map:

You’d think it was only one easy loop if I didn’t tell you!

And lastly, a few of my random thought during this run:

  1. I am pretty sure I saw Tim Tebow running the CP loop…carrying a football under his arm. Or it could have been a Tebow look alike that was trying hard to convince people he was Tebow. If the latter is the case, the imposter did a good job – or I was just moving too fast and a person walking wouldn’t have been so easily fooled.
  2. How the heck were people wearing winter sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts in 70 degrees? I did not get it. But I saw so many people who were waay over-dressed.
  3. I found my running pace twin. She doesn’t know we’re twins, but we ran about mile 11-18 pretty near each other. She kept stopping for water too or stretching or whatever she was doing, and I would pass her, and then she would pass me, etc. Normally, I might find this annoying. But this chick wasn’t all up in my space or anything and it took me a while to even notice it. But she was cool. We were running friends…even if she didn’t realize it. See ya around soon new friend – a.k.a. girl with the gray shorts and pink t-shirt.
  4. Throw your stuff in the trash, not on the ground. So I understand in a race if you’re taking a Gu, you might just fling the wrapper on the ground. You’re in a freaking race and you gotta move it – understood. But when you’re running during your free time in CP, have the common courtesy to hold it until you pass a trash can or something. Geesh people. Earth Day – ever heard of it?

So those were my random thoughts during today’s almost 3-hour run. And here’s what a happy runner looks like after finishing a fabulous 20-mile run:

And now it’s time to foam roll, roll with the marathon stick, shower, and EAT!

Happy weekend!

Mid-Week and Mid-Mileage

Welcome to Wednesday (deep sigh). Hope you are breezing through your week. My week has been busy and moving along pretty quickly. I’ve been enjoying reading some of the Boston Marathon recaps that bloggers have been posting already. Good for them – it just might have taken more than a month to finally post my recap. Oops.

It’s good old Wednesday and that means we’re halfway to the weekend and MAYBE for some, halfway through your training week. Now, if I had actually gotten up this morning to run, I could say that was me. But nope. Tired and slept right through my alarm. So after-work run, here I come. At least it’s not 90 degrees outside today. I still don’t know how the Boston Marathoners did it. Seriously, majorly impressed with any and all finishers.  

So far this week, which is lucky number week 13 of training, I logged an 8-mile run on Monday and 5 miles on Tuesday morning. Yup – you read that right. MORNING. I don’t know how it happened, but it was a beautiful thing. I mean, I really do LOVE running in the morning. It’s not too hot, it’s beautiful, the running areas are pretty clear, and I feel great afterwards. Come one – what’s not to love? Right - not being to drag myself out of bed.  It’s just so darn hard!

Yesterday I managed because I had happy hour plans after work. A few of my old colleagues and I tried a German Biergarten called Loreley on Rivington Street. Being that it was 80 degrees out yesterday and sunny, we obviously wanted some outdoor seating. This place did not disappoint. They have a decent sized back patio space with picnic tables. If you don’t mind possibly sharing your table with a random person or two, then you should be just fine.

(Source)

We had a few beers, snacked on some pretzels, ate a cheese plate (not very good), and a basket of pork meatballs with fries. It started to get a little crowded and loud as it got later, but nothing intolerable. Overall, I would definitely go back to this place. It’s pretty unnoticeable – you would never think to stop in just based on the exterior, but I recommend it!

In other news, I am currently reading “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” after reading a recommendation and I’m really liking it so far. I will definitely try to post a review on this one. Then next on the list is “Fifty Shades of Grey” for book club and I’ve heard a lot of mixed things. Should be interesting.

What are you reading right now? Any great recommendations? I think I am next on the book club list to select a book. Ohh the pressure – help!