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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.


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.


Bust the Rut

So it’s pretty obvious that I fell off the blogging wagon last week.

Actually, let me correct that. I didn’t fall off the blogging wagon. I jumped off.

But don’t worry, I knew I’d get back on! I just needed a breather. Things were getting extremely overwhelming in Samantha-land (yes, it exists), and I really just needed to take a step back from a lot of things and re-evaluate what was really important to me.

What did I come up with? A few things, actually.

My job. I love my job so, so much. I love going into the office every day and performing the day-to-day tasks that are required for FITNESS to be successful. I work with great people, I research fascinating subject matter that truly matters to me, and I get to connect with millions of people. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Running. This is another thing I took a break from. If you’ve checked out my DailyMile profile recently, you can see that I skidded into quite a workout halt. I could feel myself getting burnt out a few weeks before the race, but told myself to power through and finish strong. I’m so glad I did. Then I gave myself a week off, telling myself I’d jump right back into it. I should have known better — it’s always ten times harder to get back into it when I take a break.

But I knew exactly what would get me back in the groove — the New York City Marathon. Obviously, basically everyone knows it happened yesterday. It was phenomenal. Beautiful. Unbelievably inspirational. I’ve read so many race recaps today it’s not even funny. Dustin went with me to watch at mile 24 and it was so fun cheering for everyone.

Three of my co-workers, Betty, John and Jenna, dominated and a ton of blogging friends conquered the 26.2 epicness that is NYCM. It was the perfect kick in the butt to get me back into my sneakers this morning and ready to pound the pavement. Three other co-workers have already made a pact with me to run the marathon next year. Let the countdown begin!

I want to be like Mike Spidey.

Blogging. This little space on the Internet has come to mean so much to me. Yes, I took a week off, but I have been itching to be back for days. So why didn’t you blog when you wanted to, Samantha? Because I told myself at the beginning of the week I would take a full week off to really evaluate what was important to me. Could I live without blogging? Was it unnecessary pressure I was adding to myself? Would shutting down my page be in everyone’s best interests?

Turns out the answer to all of those questions is a big fat NO. Although I wasn’t actively blogging myself, I was reading nonstop, dreaming up future posts, taking pictures, and thinking about what I would do once I got back to blogging. I realized that this really has become a huge passion of mine and I’m not willing to give it up. Nor do I have to. I just need to play around with my schedule and really nail down something that works for me. I know I’ve been saying that for a few months now, and I don’t know if you’ve even noticed, but I’ve toyed with different schedules and am slowly figuring out what works for me. I’m really hoping to find a long-term solution sometime soon.

But ya know what was the best part of the week-long blogging hiatus? Realizing how many of you actually read and care about my blog. That means so much to me. I had so many Facebook messages, comments, tweets and e-mails flood in throughout the week, wondering if I was alright and when I was going to be back. People telling me they missed me and were (im)patiently awaiting my return. Compliments from people I know and people I haven’t met IRL (in real life) yet. It truly means the world to me. I know I don’t have a ginormous following, but every single person reading this blog means something to me. It truly blows my mind that people take a few minutes out of their day to read my words simply because they want to. Thank you.

Food. More specifically, healthy food. I’ve come to realize that living with a boy is hard when it comes to food. They eat more, which makes you want to eat more, and they don’t always eat super-healthy because well, their metabolism can handle it. At least Dustin’s can. Dustin doesn’t work out nearly as much as I do, yet he still rocks a six-pack and can run faster than me (I hate him a little bit for that). So after San Francisco, I gave in to his cravings and basically ate whatever he decided to whip up. Half of it was healthy, half of it not so much.

Fortunately, we sat down this weekend and re-evaluated our goals to get back on the healthy living bandwagon. Because in the end, when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. Sure, it satisfies all of my cravings in the moment, but it only lasts for about 2.5 seconds before the next one hits. That’s a quick recipe for disaster. I’d much rather have a recipe like Monica’s tortilla soup, which I happened to feast on tonight.

That is one hearty, filling soup. Low-sodium chicken broth, shredded chicken breast, salsa (next time we’re just going to cut up a ton of tomatoes, I think), black beans, corn, a few tortilla chips and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Unbelievably easy and incredibly delicious. Win.

Overall, I think the break was a much-needed step back to really think about my life and where I want it to go. I have a lot of things on my plate, yes, but they’re all things that I love 100 percent. I’m officially back on the wagon, I’ve busted through the rut and am ready to soar with flying colors (enough cliches for ya there?). Thanks for sticking around, I promise it’ll be well worth it 🙂



pssst! Fun goodies coming your way tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Should I Get A Running Coach?

Back in June, I stared at my computer screen, took a deep breath and quickly clicked before it really registered what I was doing. Yep, I gave away my money to put myself through the pain and joy of running my first marathon.

Ever since that fateful day, April 28, 2012 has danced a little jig in the back of my mind (are you picturing that in your head? I am). Every time a workout gets tough, I tell myself to suck it up because it’s going to be a lot more difficult down the road. Every time I feel a twinge in my knee, I launch into panic-mode because I cannot get injured before the marathon. After all, who wants to spend all that money and get all hyped up, only to not be able to run because of a reckless injury? Not. Me.

I don't want this to happen again.

Along with these thoughts comes the concept of a running coach. Someone to give me scheduled workouts, push me when I need it, and tell me when to rein it in. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just too damn difficult to listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes you just need a real, live person telling you to chill out and get a little extra sleep because it will, in fact, help you on race day.

With the New York City Marathon coming up in just a few short days, and everyone talking about the famous race, my own marathon hasn’t been far from my mind. My training officially begins the day after Christmas (greeeeeat) and for the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating getting a running coach. Theodora recommended hers and if any of you read Ali’s blog, then you know Jon Cane is phenomenal.


Today I stumbled upon this gem from the good ole’ New York Times, detailing the pros and cons of a running coach, from the perspective of the  author. I think it does a great job of showing both perspectives and it’s really made me start thinking more about getting one. Although I wish I could, I can’t justify shelling out the money to pay for Coach Cane’s expertise because well, I just don’t have that kind of extra money floating around. But I can possibly afford Theodora’s coach, or a few others that I’m considering.

When I really think about whether or not I should get one, I lean toward yes because I’m terrified of injuring myself. I’ve already gone through ACL and meniscus surgery once and that simply isn’t fun. I don’t want to do it again. And I’ve had this lingering hip pain for the last few weeks that makes me nervous. So if I had a coach, I’d like to think he or she would be able to give me advice about whether or not I’m being a wimp, and how to proceed. I also think I’d like a coach because well, I’m type-A and I really like having a schedule. If I have one that an expert made for me (eliminating the possibility of self-doubt in the development of say, my own plan), then I’m much more likely to stick with it because there’s no way I could report to that person without completing all that is required of me.

"I have this uncontrollable need to please people!"


But on the other hand, there are a ton of resources available online and in books now. Are those good enough? What if I use Hal Higdon’s Novice training plan — is that personal enough? Will it get me to the finish line injury-free and in the best shape I can be to run my first 26.2? These are only a few of the questions bouncing around up there.

So now I’m asking you – read the NYT article, then jump back to the comments section and let me know what you think. Please weigh in! Would you get a running coach? Why or why not? Have you gotten a coach? Do you think it was a wise decision? Worth the money? What should I look for in a coach (other than expertise/education)? 

And if you’re in NYC and have used a coach that you like, please tell me who and where I can find their info!