Sunday, September 20, 2015

Seconds and Minutes and Seasons

About a month ago, we went to the Cape for a long weekend. We watched the waves and tried to spot sharks at Nauset Beach, and then we ate shrimp or fish tacos or lobster rolls and drank wine.

Mornings were for the "breakfast" part of "bed and breakfast," and for coffee and stories. Dennis, the husband part of the husband-wife B & B owners, liked the phrase "a New York second." As in, a seal will kill a fish in a New York second. Or, a shark will get a seal in a New York second. Generally, the New York second came up in the context of the food chain. I always thought the phrase was a New York minute, like the Eagles song, but a New York second sounds even better. It sounds even faster.

Now I'm typing this on the Northeast Regional train as it pulls away from Penn Station and our not even thirty-six hour New York weekend seems just as fast. The days, and the weeks, and the months seem fast, the seasons too. I love every season, equally -- Christmas presents and wool socks in the winter, picnics (but also allergies) in the spring, the beach in the summer, and then apple picking and leaves and plaid and all cliched and all wonderful things New England in the fall. So I am a little sad but not too sad to see the summer go, because here comes another season that I love. The 23rd is the fall equinox. So today is the last Sunday of summer. So this weekend is the last weekend of summer. And so on.

Last Monday was the last Monday of summer. So we went to Hampton Beach. It was that deceptive kind of beautiful, sunny cold. We drove up with hoodies and hot coffee and put our rash guards on to get in the water. We body boarded, rolling to shore on the right wave at the right time and sometimes getting rolled underwater by the right wave at the wrong time, and talked about taking surf lessons next summer.

When we got out of the water for a break, all salty fresh and tired, I looked at my watch. It had only been twenty minutes. It had seemed like longer. But twenty minutes is still a whole lot of of New York seconds.

And there went the last seconds of this summer on the last Monday of this summer; and here go the minutes of this train ride back to Boston, this train ride to fall; and here goes the overlap of the seasons, the fade out of summer and the fade in of fall.

Friday, August 21, 2015

It's Okay (I Promise)

It's okay to realize your passport is expired. I'm talking massively expired, over a year expired, oops expired. So you print those forms and rush to the UPS Store to get your picture taken but they don't take passport photos anymore, so you run to CVS and get photos taken right by Aisle 5 (the seasonal aisle, the one with all the beach chairs and sunblock), and then you run back to the UPS Store to mail everything but, oh, they don't mail packages to post boxes, so you skip right on over to the post office at 5:25pm right before they close at 5:30, and you get that package sent priority with an "Adios!" and a "Sayonara!" and also a "Good riddance!" But it's totally okay, because, in three short weeks, that sweet new passport will be in your mailbox.

It's okay to get back from camping on the Harbor Islands Monday morning, after sunsets and tent sleeps.

And because you just went camping, there are sleeping bags and gear spread out all over your studio apartment floor, and because you live in a studio, the sleeping bags are unavoidably and directly in front of the window unit. And because it's so, so hot, you sit right in front of the window unit, on top of the bonfire-smoky sleeping bags, and take conference calls and write emails. It's okay, and it's kind of comfy too.

It's okay to wake up at 5:30am with the intention of leaving the house at 5:40 and being on the Summit Ave Hill at 6:30. It's also okay to realize immediately that your stadium-sore calves and your back - sore from camping and backpacking and about fifty too many burpees - aren't showing up to run hills today. No, they are not. So you re-set that alarm for 8am and you get an iced coffee and you go to restorative yoga and, yes, you go right ahead and take that iced coffee into slow yoga, and what a delicious, over-caffeinated oxymoron that is.

It's okay to act like a four year old and put yourself down for a nap, while your significant other/other half/better half teaches himself card tricks. And when you wake up from nap time, it's okay to declare that it's ice cream time and you get M&Ms on your ice cream because, remember, you're acting like a four year old today. But then you go to the corner store and buy broccoli for dinner, despite the protests of the aforementioned significant other/other half/better half, because, after all, you're almost thirty.

It's okay. I promise.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Best Things in Life Are Surprises

The best things in life are surprises.

Like realizing my car has a sun roof. I really didn't know. I don't know how I didn't know. But now I know. 

Like falling asleep on the way to the Berkshires, and waking up to jazz music and to ice coffee that is still ice cold. 

Like finding waterfalls, and stony ledges, and expansive vistas. And, at the peak of Mount Greylock, a historic lodge, built of stone and shingles, with views that say, "Sit here. Really."

And, back in the city, like looking up from my harborside glass of rose and seeing a slice of blue sky.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stolen Summer

We are stealing moments of summer. 

Falling asleep with the windows open to the smell of a bonfire and waking up in smoke scented sheets.

Cracking open lobster claws in Rockport.

Flying a kite on Stratton Mountain after hours of yoga and sunshine. 

Napping on a striped blanket laid out in the shade.

Eating slushy, citrus-y Italian ice on the deck of the ICA.

Grilling corn in the backyard, grabbing the cobs off the grill, and dipping them in queso fresco.

Convincing the dock guys to let me take out the last paddleboard of the day, catching a view, and spinning around in the middle of the Charles.

Getting home and going straight to the freezer for a homemade blueberry popsicle. 

These moments are stolen. But they add up to a summer.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I have an adorable habit of pretending it's not really that cold in Boston. I've lived here for 10 years and, up until this winter, I never got around to buying warm winter boots (I gave in only because Sorel boots are warm and cute). I routinely under dress for the weather and then I'm all surprised when I'm cold. I drink iced coffee when there is a better than average possibility of getting frostbite. I mean, iced coffee is just really, really delicious. And I make smoothies year round.

I have a love-love relationship with smoothies. I love smoothies. For breakfast, for a snack, for dessert, pre-workout, post-workout, whatever. I love smoothies. Banana, frozen blueberries, vanilla protein powder, almond butter, almond milk. Or, strawberries, frozen blueberries, peanut butter, almond milk. Or, frozen mango, Greek yogurt, almond butter, almond milk. I could go on. But you get it.

Pressed Boston opened today in Beacon Hill... Hooray! When I walk in, I am the most excited. And the staff is excited and all of the other customers are excited, so we are all excited together. So excited!

I order the Charge smoothie (raw cacao, almond butter, cold brewed coffee, almond milk). I really like it. It's a little crunchy - I think maybe from the homemade almond butter? - but really delicious. All of the Superfood smoothies are priced at $10 which, let's be real, is a little pricey. But let's be more real: a $8-10 price tag is now totally the norm for this kind of smoothie.

And like I said, it's really delicious and the shop is spectacularly trendy. It's an upper level Beacon Hill storefront with antiqued, paned windows but, inside, we're talking 2015, re-purposed materials, compostable straws, and bar stools with a Charles Street view. Hours are Monday-Friday 7am-8pm, meaning there's time to swing by between an AM run and work. Works for me!

Welcome, Pressed. Beacon Hill is excited you're here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Splits With Soul

I drop my warm sweatpants and top at the entrance to my corral, I stretch (kind of), my corral walks to the start line of the Philadelphia Marathon, and we go.

The first few miles are weird. The streets seem narrow and the race seems congested. I'm looking for 8:30's and I'm having a hard time hitting my goal pace. Around mile 5, the crowd starts to spread out and I do better with a little space to run and move. 

Right now, it's just about the splits. Hit your splits. Hit your splits. Hit your splits.

Just past Mile 6 is the first timing mat. I hit it hard. I have this thing about timing mats. Whenever I know people are tracking me and are getting text updates, I think of them when I cross timing mats. I see their faces. Hi Mom. Hi Dad.

At mile 10, I see a row of porta-potties. And no line. I scan for an empty one. I see green. Green means go. I hop in, put my iPhone shuffle and my gel between my teeth (this is weird, but really there was nowhere to put stuff down), and I get out. 

Mile 13 comes and, at 13.1, there's another timing mat. Hi Mom. Hi Dad. Time to bump up the pace a little bit. Negative splits, here we go. Running the second half faster is what I'm doing here. Hit your splits.

I fall into a really nice cadence at Miles 14-16. I am loving life. Just loving up all over it. Everything is great. Life is great. This marathon is great! While I'm a little punchy, I honestly didn't expect this groove. It's so good.

I read an article the other day about doing things on a "soul level." If I love something, I do it at 100%. But what about doing it on a soul level?

Soul level. Soul level. Soul level.

At Mile 18, I get a "battery low" warning from my iPod shuffle. What. I fully charged it. I have been running for only about two and a half hours. What. I make the decision to turn the iPod off for now, to save power for when I really need it. I am hoping it'll be cool, because I really, really like running with music and I always train with music. Now it's just me and my mind, heart, breath, and legs. Back to soul level, right?

I pass Mile 19 and a timing mat. Hi Mom. Hi Dad.

Manayunk is awesome. Just awesome. The crowd support is on point, I hear someone call out my name, the music is bumping. It's like a frat house. There's even beer (I'm not having any, though). I hit the turnaround and head back.

My legs feel like they just don't want to move. Hey legs, you have one job. Move.

At Mile 22, the earbuds go back in and the iPod goes back on. Miles 17 and 22 share the same cheer station; the mile markers are just on different sides of the road. I see super sassy, motivational posters from Lululemon and people wearing November Project grassroots gear. Oh hey, it's November Project - Philadelphia! My people! The words "November Project" spray-painted on a shirt may not mean something to you, but they mean something to me. Soul level.

I spend Miles 23 - 24 trying to maintain pace. I see 8:49 flash across my watch once or twice. Hit your splits. Hit your splits. Hit your splits.

Mile 25. I'm close. Only a mile. Let's go. Soul level. Soul deep. 8:20.

I get this weird feeling in my bicep. I don't know how to describe it exactly. It's a weird feeling - the best I can describe it is that it feels like electricity shooting through my veins, and not in a good way. Must be from pumping my arms for over three and a half hours. Shake it out, shake it off.

Mile 26. Sweet Jesus, we're almost there. The last .2 go by quick. 7:45.

Hit the finish line. Hit your splits. Last timing mat. Hi Mom. Hi Dad. I'm done. And when I'm just past the finish line, I see a face that looks a little familiar wearing a singlet that looks really familiar, a singlet from my alma mater. He ran on the same team that I did, the same year that I did. Soul deep.

Monday, August 25, 2014


There are big moments, small moments, experiences, peoples, places that make us stop. They get us out of real life and into something beautiful.

Like #MoreMovement last night.

We met up at Dewey Square at 5pm and there was that nervous, fun, jumpy adrenaline energy that happens when you don't really know what's about to happen. We ran a few miles, with some jumping jacks and burpees thrown in, following Brogan to our super secret spot for part two: yoga with Goldie.

We ran up and down side streets downtown and alleys in Chinatown and then deep into the South End. When we got to SoWa Vintage Market, the energy was up and the music was already jamming and we filled that old brick building with more energy and more noise and yoga mats and a whole bunch of sneakers.

I flowed with gravel on my mat (because, hey, it's an open market and there's gravel) and with my sunglasses on (because, hey, that strong summer light was streaming in). And something about the gravel and the light and the super cool DJ and the vinyasa was unreal. After a week of what I will call too much realness, #MoreMovement was unreal in the best possible way.

There are a lot of things that have done that for me. Running SeaWheeze. Colorado. Wyoming. Wanderlust. There are big, impactful, beautiful experiences that make me hit the re-set button in a powerful way.

But there have to be smaller experiences and moments in daily life too, and I am lucky to have them. There was last night. There was Saturday at Narragansett Town Beach. There is Boston. I don't have a backyard, but I do have every Boston sunrise and sunset. There will be tomorrow morning with the November Project.

And there will always be movement.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Marathon training is tough. Marathon training at altitude is, in a word, humbling.

Yesterday in Jackson Hole, I went out for my long run. There was something about 7200 feet that got to me. My legs moved slower, my heart beat quicker.

I ran two miles downhill around curves and switchbacks towards Jackson and I sent up thanks to the running gods when I hit four miles of straightaways. The straightaways were perfect. I tacked on an extra half mile, because the straight road felt that good.

But, running uphill, back the way I came, was next. Moving tired legs and pulling oxygen into tired lungs became harder. I was hot, so hot, and I kept swallowing reflexively because I was thirsty. As I went up, up, up, I moved slower, slow, slowest.  

I thought about walking the last half mile. But walking is even slower than running, so I kept running.  I made a bargain with myself: Just keep running.

That was it. That was the bargain. No reward, no pay-off. Just keep running.

Let’s be reaI: I was barely moving.

Later, I did the math. Jackson is at 6200 feet, and I started my run at 7200 feet.

Meaning: I descended 1000 feet and then ran back up 1000 feet. Holy sh*t.

I was humbled. I was completely humbled by the Tetons. I was humbled in more than one way. Guys, the Tetons are really beautiful. They are very tall and very majestic and, to state the obvious, we don’t have anything like them in Boston.

And isn’t it a good thing to be humbled once in a while? Humbled by our bodies, by the physical challenges we put ourselves through. Humbled by the potential in the opportunities that exist before us. Humbled and inspired by others; humbled and inspired by nature.

It is not so far a stretch from being humbled to being grateful.

So here it is: I am grateful for my body, for my legs, and for my lungs and I am grateful for those very hard, very hot miles yesterday. I am grateful for the spectacular beauty of Wyoming and for the simple fact that places like that still exist.

And I am grateful that I live at sea level.