Monthly Archives: October 2012

Surviving Sandy

So, there was this hurricane and its name was Sandy. She was a real bitch these last few days and well, she wreaked havoc all across the Northeast, putting much of the great city I love under water or into darkness.

Whoa

The damage that’s occurred has been devastating and lives were lost, homes were destroyed and many of my friends are without power right now. But the one thing that has been so uplifting in all of this? Our community.

People aren’t kidding when they say New Yorkers are tough. Many are heroes. I mean, when you have nurses evacuating newborn babies out of NYU Langone Medical Center in the middle of the night, in the middle of the hurricane, you have real heroes on your hands. Seriously, these people are rock stars, along with all of those who have been working tirelessly around the clock to help our city bounce back quickly and safely.

New Yorkers don’t mess around.

Photo from NYRR

I’m so proud to call myself a New Yorker.

I’ve heard that you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve lived here for 10 years. Maybe this is true. For those who believe it, I respect you. But I’m a real New Yorker. I grew up in Central New York, went to school in Oswego and have now lived in New York City for a year and half. I’ve been through countless blizzards, a handful of earthquakes and two hurricanes. Mother Nature likes to mess with us, that’s for sure, but I believe she hasn’t dealt us a losing hand quite yet. Yes, what happened this week has been devastating. But what’s happening as a result is amazing as well.

Another amazing thing? Social media. I’m not sure how people stayed up-to-date without it before. I’ve had the news on around the clock and have been tuning in to Mayor Bloomberg’s reports, but Twitter has been my saving grace. Getting tweets instantaneously from the mayor, MTA, airports and friends has been so resourceful. Not only in finding out what condition our city is in, but to quickly make sure my friends and family are safe, especially when power goes down. Luckily, everyone I know made it through safely without any major damage or losses.

We made it through safely as well. I, fortunately, didn’t experience the brunt of Sandy as I am back upstate. I went home for my best friend’s baby shower, and by the time my bus would have returned, subways were shut down.  I’d either be stuck in Port Authority, or gambling to find an expensive cab back to Queens. My mom asked me to stay, so I did. Thanks for asking, mom 🙂

Dustin and Libby were back in our apartment in Astoria and while the winds were unbelievably strong, there was no flooding and power stayed on the entire time. We were lucky, that’s for sure. And to everyone who sent messages or called, thank you. It’s so heart-warming to be reminded how loved we are.

In the meantime, I’ve seen people posting Facebook statuses about the storm being a joke and others incessantly asking about whether or not the New York City Marathon will still take place. To these people, I say one thing: “Really?”

Joking about the storm = not cool. If anything, count your lucky stars that you weren’t affected. So your town was placed in a state of emergency and nothing major happened? GOOD. Better safe than sorry. Everyone has the right to voice their own opinion, but I find it extremely offensive when jokes about a storm like this are made. Remember, people lost their lives. Homes were destroyed. Last time I checked, those weren’t joking matters.

As for the runners who are furious about not knowing the status of the marathon: calm down. I completely understand wanting to know your travel plans and whether or not you’ll lose money. I also can sympathize – if I found out I wasn’t going to be able to run a race that I had been planning for over the last year, I would be upset. But please, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, hosting the marathon would help the city financially, and if it does happen, it’s going to be one HELL of a celebration of this great city. But if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. There are bigger fish to fry and more important matters to pay attention to, like restoring homes.

And if you have time, money and a sympathetic heart, think about volunteering. Here’s a list of some great organizations lending a helping hand that would welcome your assistance with open arms.

In A Running Rut

Ever since my half-marathon in Nashville, I’ve been in a bit of a running rut. I was totally burnt out on the sport, and even though I pushed through plenty of other workouts (spinning and weights for the win!), I lost that urge to pound the pavement. I was perfectly content laying in bed for an extra half hour or so, nabbing some desperately needed shuteye and then heading to the gym or SoulCycle after work.

Some people might knock it, but I love evening workouts. I’m not a morning person, so I get the sleep I need and am productive at work, and if I force myself to change and head out once I’m home, I feel relaxed yet productive in my out-of-the-office time. If I don’t have a workout at night or plans to meet up with friends, then you’re likely to find me immediately plopped on the couch or bed, unwilling to move the rest of the night.

When I was at the expo in Nashville, I knew I would take a break from running, but I didn’t want to prolong it longer than usual. So I did the most logical thing I could think of: I signed up for another half-marathon. Samantha, you’re headed to Disney for the Wine and Dine in November!

In the meantime, I focused on work and logged a few other short running races, like the Chase Corporate Challenge and Fifth Avenue Mile. I did both of those races with co-workers and had so much fun! I love the level of accomplishment that I feel after completing a half-marathon, but short races are thrilling and perfect to do with friends. I like to think for a small amount of time that I’m a speed demon, so laying it all out there for one mile gives me that rush.

Hanging out with real speed demon Kara Goucher for a bit doesn’t hurt, either.

Oh, you’re wondering how I did in those races? Well, the Chase Corporate Challenge was back in June and I ran that 3.5-mile race in 32:24. That was actually the first time I went running after Nashville, so I was pretty pleased with those results. I ran the first mile with my co-worker John, and he did a great job of pacing me for a faster finish without burning me out. By the time we parted ways, I wanted to keep working hard. And since there were only 2.5 miles left, I knew I could push it!

I did more casual running over the summer, but never felt obligated to head out in the crazy heat and humidity. I felt slight twinges of longing when my Twitter feed started blowing up with all of the excitement of people logging their miles for the Marine Corps Marathon and New York City Marathon, but not enough to lace up my sneaks for more than 5 miles. I call it “running in moderation.”

The Fifth Avenue Mile was just as fun as last year – a big group of FITNESS staffers got together to race down the famous street, and although I didn’t run it as quickly as I did last year (7:39), I still had a blast. Bonus: I finished at the exact same time as my boss – we didn’t realize we were next to each other until they were announcing us together. Accidental collaboration for the win!

Official training for the Wine and Dine half was supposed to begin the first weekend of September, but that happened to be the exact week that I left for my cruise. So running wasn’t a major priority. But I still give myself props – while on the cruise, I squeezed out a 4-mile run, an 8-mile run, a lot of walking and tons of fitness-y activities. Oh, and since Dustin and I are both super impatient, we took the stairs every time we needed to move from deck to deck on the ship. We took the elevator a total of 3 times. Our room was on the second deck, the pool and food were on the 10th and 11th deck. You do the math.

Ever since, I’ve been logging two to three  runs a week – one short run during the week, a long run and recovery run on the weekend – and a spin class on Thursdays. Weight lifting is mixed in during the week, too. But my heart really hasn’t been in it. I’ve had sparks of intense motivation the last two weeks (running on the beach doesn’t hurt), but I’ll be headed into my fifth half-marathon with the least amount of training under my belt. I’m excited to race again and hope that will spark my running fire again, but am not going into this race with any expectations.

With 11 days left until race day, do you have any suggestions for how I should tackle this thing? I’m going to have a newly amped up playlist shortly (and will share), and plan to stop and see all of the fun Disney characters, but that’s all I’ve got. Should I be nervous about not being able to finish? Share your wisdom!

Why, Hello There

Wow, I’m such a good blogger – I leave you with some books to read, head off to the Bahamas on my first cruise vacation and don’t return for two months! I’ll just say I wanted to give you some space so you had time to read all of those great books I suggested, mmk? Yeah, that’s totally what happened.

Well, since Hurricane Sandy is raging and about to wreak havoc all over NYC, let’s look at some happy, beachy pictures from my vacation. We can all imagine that we’re there, instead of hunkered on the couch watching reruns of Gossip Girl, Boy Meets World and Friends (Don’t say it’s just me).

That was nice, right? Anyway, in the last two months I’ve done a lot of fun things and managed to cross a few items off of my bucket list! Dustin and I absolutely loved our cruise vacation. We went through Royal Caribbean’s line and were on their Majesty of the Seas ship. While it’s one of their older ships, it’s still quite nice. They had tons of entertainment throughout the day, great workout facilities and food available at any hour of the day.

If you’re looking to save some dough while on a cruise, definitely book a state room on the lower levels of the ship. You don’t get a view from your room, but it doesn’t matter – we were only there to sleep, so I really didn’t care about whether or not I could see the ocean from my bed. I was outside dipping my toes in the water instead! And if you’re one of those who needs complete darkness for a good night’s sleep, these rooms are perfect.

We hit three islands on our trip – Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West – and each one was beautiful with a lot of sporty activities. Dustin and I went to Atlantis in Nassau and walked a lot, exploring the aquariums and beach. We went jet skiing, swam in the crystal clear ocean and played with star fish in Coco Cay, and then we walked nearly the entire island of Key West so I could show Dustin all of the fun sights I relished the first time I visited that island – the Southernmost Point, Hemingway House, Sloppy Joe’s and, of course, the beach.

I swear we actually rode this in the water.

I dove straight into a container of conch fritters when we were in Key West, too. They may be fried, but man, my taste buds missed those delicious pieces of heaven.

The other bucket list item I crossed off my list – learning how to surf! I recently spent four days in North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and managed to ride the waves. OK, I only rode one, but I learned so much. Surfing is such a cool, interesting sport that really teaches you to respect the waves. Be sure to check out The Fit Stop soon for all the details!

This is a bit of a random post, I know, but at least you’re caught up on the big things that happened while I was away. I’ll be back tomorrow – there’s a race I’m supposed to tackle in 12 days and I’m ready to spill all of the details!