It wasn’t so long ago that I imagined 5 miles to be farther than I would ever run – it just didn’t seem like a distance that I would ever be able to run. My, how life changes…
On the snowy morning that was Sunday, the Lunar B*tches united and ran one of the most pleasant, even in gusty winds, early spring races in the area. The course weaves in and out of lovely residential neighborhoods on flat roads and starts and finishes at the school where I work.
I’m not a fan of morning running, but with the sun shining and a commitment to taking my time and enjoying the ride, it wasn’t a bad time at all. The snow added a sense of adventure to an already chill day. Dash done – next up: Dodge the Deer.
My very first vacation with my former husband was a trip to Washington State where we spent a week or so camping and hiking. It was a memorable trip for many reasons (the San Juan Islands – oh my goodness!) but by no means did the experience turn me into an outdoors women a la Anne LaBastille. I enjoyed the time, however, in my world hiking means taking a walk in the woods with a
flask camera, not aggressively conquering a mountain. Alas, he and I were different.
You might be surprised to learn that despite living in Albany for close to 30 years, nestled between the Catskills and Adirondacks, I’ve never really gone hiking since that long ago trip. Last month that finally changed as I hit the trail. Let me tell you about it…
I’m training for a trail race on Mother’s Day and decided to incorporate some activities beyond merely running. The course I’m taking on next month includes, from what I’ve read and heard, some serious elevation complete with rock scrambling. Getting out into the woods, particularly with someone adept at both hiking and running, seemed to be the ideal cross training opportunity. Next stop – the Catskills.
One of the things I most enjoy about running is the endorphin rush – I love the feeling of my spine tingling as my body releases a combination of energy and exertion. Amazing. When it came time to take a hike, I requested one which would challenge and push me a bit beyond a mere meandering. The hike up Blackhead, a loop of approximately 4.5 miles, was just what the doctor ordered and I loved it. Total elevation gain – approximately 2,000 with a significant part of that (~1,100 feet) coming in less than a mile. I said I wanted a challenge, right?
The weather on Easter Sunday was perfect early spring – mild, with hazy sun. The forest in springtime is a magical place with signs of life* to be discovered around every twist in the trail. The fresh air, with a hint of cedar was invigorating and our path included mossy green spots promising softness to the touch, as well as boulders and ice that demanded cautious attention. There was a quietly babbling brook to be crossed, an easy feat in a year with barely any snow melt, along with the remains of a stone dam from decades gone past. It really was an afternoon for the senses.
I think I’m hooked.
*Along with evidence of the demise of an unfortunate bird. Check out the photos…
Filed under Exercise, Hiking, Hiking, holidays, Local, Recommendations, road trips, running, Spring, sunday, Uncategorized, upstate New York
The first week of spring, arguably the finest season of the year in upstate New York, was the worst week Lark + Lily has ever experienced. When I say “crappy,” I’m being literal, by the way. I arrived at the restaurant Tuesday afternoon and encountered the plumbers who were working industriously to unclog one of our two toilets.* Despite their best efforts, we were unable to open for service until 7:30 which means we lost 2.5 hours of service. Not a great way to begin the week.
That lack of business seemed to set the tone for the week and our numbers were dramatically down each subsequent night from previous weeks. I’ve said before that I didn’t buy a restaurant to make a ton of money, but
obsessively looking at my diminishing online checking account was, said the wine bar owner, sobering.
In addition to the poor week at the restaurant, a fierce early spring cold made for a rough week at home. Quinn, who recently was treated for a mean case of strep throat, came down with a dreadful cough complete with a headache and body soreness. The poor guy was just down for the count. Naturally, he required a lot of coddling and cuddling and he generously returned the favor of my attention by sharing his germs with me. Thanks for the cold, Quinn.
As with any week, there were good things, too. The guests we did have at Lark + Lily, including one who I had only previously “met” online (Hi, Bill!), were great and I believe they all left satisfied with their experience. I went to an awesome wine dinner, ran 20+ miles, including once with both of the lunar b*tches, and hiked a peak (more about that experience soon) in the Catskills. We had some beautiful weather with temperatures that invited bare legs and arms to meet the sun and I got in some quality time at the golf course in advance of the takeover on 4/1 by the golfers. Saturday’s family dinner, an early Easter meal, was an effortlessly delicious treat and provided me with the perfect starter for a killer split pea soup. There was even a brief dining room dance party with Quinn inspired by his favorite Ray Charles song, Mess Around.
I guess it wasn’t really that bad of a week after all, was it?
*Ladies – let’s make a deal, ok? You refrain from tossing personal items in the toilet and I’ll remain open during hours of service. Thanks!
Filed under Albany, Boys, Exercise, family, friends, musings, Normanskill, Observations, Restaurants, running, sick, Spring, stress, Uncategorized
Looking backwards I can’t remember exactly when my chest began to develop. If I consider when I began to get genuine attention from males, I could probably carbon date it to somewhere around the age of 13 or so. It was right around the time I ran into my mother in town and she told me it was time to wear a bra. Puberty is so damn awkward.
For years my breasts were my not-so-secret weapon. Unbuttoning an extra button gave me power. They were an accessory to be considered when I shopped for clothing and got dressed. Would they fit decently into a halter or a flimsy top? Wrangling them could be a challenge at times, particularly during the years when my weight was at its highest and I was sporting a bra size that exceeded my age with a cup that had moved into double letter territory.
The consolation, of course, was that my breasts had grown into something more than mere evidence of my femininity – they were now a source of sustenance for my children. I spent a combined nearly 4 years nursing my babies, truly one of the greatest feats of the human body, in my opinion. I still miss those days all these years later.
About 5 years ago I lost a substantial amount of weight. I can’t say exactly how much, because I wasn’t recording my weight and the number of pounds wasn’t really on my radar. I can say that my wardrobe took a huge hit as more and more of my clothing no longer fit. As I began to shop and rebuild my closet, I couldn’t help but notice that the shape of my body had changed dramatically. I now had entirely different options with regards to clothing since I was now sporting a significantly smaller rack. Sundresses worn without a bra became an option for the first time in decades. Pretty underthings were suddenly a possibility and running no longer felt like an exercise in containment with regards to my chest. There was a new freedom and I loved it. But…
Sometimes when I am layering up with Under Armour in advance of a run, I can’t help but notice that my chest looks downright flat. I know it is, in part, the compression from multiple layers of Lycra, but it still leaves me feeling almost as if I’ve returned to my pre-pubescent state. I’m okay with that. Bodacious was fun but not bouncing is even better.
Sunday morning I ran NYC. Our hotel was on East 43rd Street between Second and Third Avenues, a neighborhood with which I don’t have much familiarity. My plan was to head north on Second and then cut through the park on 65th to head over to the west side. From there, the plan was nonexistent – I was going to just wing it.
Second Avenue has some nice rolling hills and I was quite taken by the East 50s. I could live there for sure. I took 64th to Fifth Avenue and found myself facing the Central Park Zoo. What a beautiful building it is when approached from the east! One more block north and I was running west, towards Tavern on the Green. I ran up Central Park West with an eye on the Dakota swathed in scaffolding until I reached Strawberry Fields and headed back into the park.
I threaded my way through the park until I reached Columbus Circle, turning east on 59th making my way back to Fifth Avenue. I ran on the east side of the street to maximize my view of The Plaza. What a building! I started to realize that my run was becoming a “greatest hits” of NYC landmarks. Oh my God, this is such a wonderful way to see the world, this running thing.
It was somewhere around 8:30 and the streets were blessedly empty. I window shopped at 6 mph, taking in the fabulous displays and getting increasingly more excited about the new season’s fashions. Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Tiffany…I practically got a contact high from all that beauty.
I continued south with my eyes on the Empire State Building before turning east to make my way back to our hotel, now with my eyes fixed upon the Chrysler Building. In less than an hour, and just over 5 miles, I had feasted my eyes on some of the most stunning architecture in the world’s greatest city. What a wonderful way to start the day.
I’m a little ashamed for thinking, much less saying, this but … I really kind of detest the science fair. It isn’t because science isn’t really my thing, or that I’m opposed to exploring a topic of interest, it’s just that it turns into so much work without much reward. It’s hard to be excited about a process that comes with as many demands as a science experiment. Eh, maybe it’s just me.
Part of the science fair process involves observations which must be documented. In the spirit of research, I’ve got a few observations to share from my weekend. They’re in no particular order.
- I’m not a bad feminist because I like Bernie more than I like Hillary.
- The same is true when it comes the fact that I think it’s ok for a woman to want to look pretty when she leaves the house.
- A winter walk with a friend and the dogs at the golf course makes for a perfect afternoon.
- On a related note, lipstick has become my friend in a way it wasn’t until I was in my 40s.
- Wearing a hat can be a real act of bravery. I’m not talking about a baseball cap, I mean a more bold chapeaux – something in a vivid colored felt or a generously proportioned straw number.
- I don’t completely understand why folks get so uptight about getting older. I kind of think of adding years like putting another notch in my lipstick* case. It’s an accomplishment.
- Recently, Delaware Avenue has been interesting to walk on, but scary to drive on. People really need to slow the hell down and stop being so aggressive behind the wheel.
- In theory, I love brunch. What’s not to like about day drinking and someone other than me cooking and serving a meal? In reality, though, I just don’t have time for day drinking and a big meal midday. Maybe on vacation?
- I thought the ribs I made on Saturday were pretty banging until I ate ribs at Jay and Karen’s. Never mind.
- I’ve got an idea for this year’s science fair which just might be fun. I’d say more but don’t want anyone co-opting our experiment. Hint: it involves soda.
*what’s my obsession with lipstick?
Filed under aging, Albany, Boys, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Exercise, Local, moms, Observations, Random, Schools, Uncategorized, winter
2 of 3 Lunar b*tches
Traditional post-Last Run Manhattan
Former student friends
“Family or la mia famiglia”
Photo credit: Joe Putrock, Times Union
This is my last day of work until New Year’s Eve, a fact which I’m kind of excited about. When you factor in that I’ll be away with a couple of my best girlfriends exploring
bourbon a new city, I get almost a little giddy. Good times are ahead and I’m ready for them!
Last Saturday, for either the 5th or 6th consecutive year, I ran Albany’s Last Run. This event is absolutely my favorite run of the year – the course is terrific with a wonderful downhill finish and I just think Albany shines in a particularly bright fashion on this night. This year’s weather was perfect, it finally felt like winter for the night yet there was no precipitation or slippery stuff on the ground.
I have to admit that I nailed it, in terms of prep, parking my car near the restaurant in the early afternoon before they closed the streets, and leaving a change of clothes so I could shower at the Morgan State House, where friends were staying for the night. I ran to the course from the DelSo, arriving at the starting line warmed up and ready for the 5K and, without even really trying, finished with a decent enough time in a sometimes crowded race.
One of the best things about this time of the year, what really makes it wonderful, are the visits from friends who no longer live in the area. I absolutely love the way Lark + Lily has become almost an extension of my home as familiar faces stop in for a drink, a hug and even a bite to eat. It’s an unexpected and very welcome perk of this new life of mine.
At my real home, the cookies are nearly all baked, the stockings are hung and the ham is in the refrigerator waiting for its star turn on my dining room table on Christmas Eve. The next two days will be a balance between traditions (bagels and smoked salmon for breakfast, the holiday linens and Elvis) and winging it in a year with bizarrely warm temperatures and my resolve to simply enjoy the time with the guys I love.
My heart will be glowing.