Weekend Links for October 13

Last Sunday, I went to the Audi Field, D.C. United’s brand new stadium, for the first time. I *loved* the new stadium and it was the perfect opportunity to debut my brand new TWO STARS Equipe de France jersey but, in hindsight, a very poor choice of recovery activity after running my very first 20 miles training run. 

And speaking of Equipe de France, look who’s on the cover of Time!! Mbappé is just the fourth footballer after Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mario Balotelli to grace the cover of Time magazine, though the article draws some harsh comparisons with his teammate Neymar who’s had quite a lackluster year. 

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Army 10 Miler, Marine Corps Marathon... The military is one of the major industry organizing races in Washington. And speaking of “The People’s Marathon,” Coach Tammy Whyte shares some useful tips with Washingtonian for people running it in a few weeks. People like me!! I just got my bib assignment… sh*t’s getting real y’all 😉

You need to have 20/20 vision to be an astronaut but a space camp in Alabama offers blind children a small taste of what it’s like to go out into the cosmos.

The United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. To mark the occasion, the New York Times asked young photographers to show us what 18-year-old girlhood look like around the world. 

Millennials are killing everything: politics as we know it (CNN) and this just in, cheese (Bloomberg). Well, Kraft Single and other over-processed American cheese at least. So I say kill away millennials. That crap deserves to die!

Just in time for Halloween, Drink Company’s latest Pop Up Bar has a true crime theme. I got a sneak peek on Thursday ahead of its October 11th opening. And by sneak, I mean I drank all the drinks! make sure you swing by before November 3rd. 

An estimated 11 million horses, donkeys and mules were requisitioned during World War I, as well as 100,000 dogs and 200,000 pigeons. Paris is going to build a national monument in the 6eme arrondissement to commemorate their service

That’s all for this week. I’m off to Leesburg, VA to celebrate one of my good friend’s wedding. Good thing I’m officially TAPERING and “only” have to run 14 miles on Saturday! 

Race Recap: A Marathon Like Weekend for the Navy-Air Force Half

When I signed up for the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon back in February, I had no idea that two things would happen: first that my friend Cecile would get engaged and then that my friend Bianca would get pregnant. I mean, I was hoping these two things would happen at some point, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking more about the timing. Cecile is getting married in October and had her bachelorette party Saturday night and Bianca is due also in October and her baby shower was planned for Sunday afternoon. And somewhere in the middle of this celebration filled weekend, I had to run 13.1 miles 😉 

Busy weekend means I got my bib pick-up out of the way as early as I could. The expo at Stadium Armory was pretty small and not very exciting, though I still managed to spend close to $100 there.

Cecile’s bachelorette party kicked off with a rosé happy hour in the party room of her building, followed by diner. Luckily diner was at Osteria Morini, an Italian restaurant at Navy Yard, so I was able to get a generous plate of pasta. I tried to keep my wine consumption down (easier said than done) and skipped out on the earlier side to try and get a decent night rest. Mission semi-successful as I still went to bed a little later and drunker than I had planned….

On race day I woke up at 5:30AM so I could eat a proper breakfast (Kodiak cake’s flapjack cup blueberry and maple as well as a small cup of coffee — I needed it!) One of my favourite thing about D.C. races is that I can typically walk to the start from my place. I basically never check out bags so I didn’t feel the need to head out until 6:25AM. I met up with Lien James, who is a bit of a Marine Corps marathon celebrity having ran it 16th time (she’s 67 and so inspiring… she’s ran 122 marathon already!) and a few other girls at the Willard and we walked to the start together with just enough time to snap a few pictures!

I was in the second wave, of course, because I’m such a slow runner. I was looking forward to running this race because the course is basically the same as the National Women’s Half Marathon which I ran back in April: Hains Point then Rock Creek Parkway… it did have a MUCH better start line though (National Monument vs MLK memorial!). But it’s a pretty boring if standard course through some unexciting parts of the city, routes I’m pretty familiar with by now since I’ve been clocking some 12+ miles run for the last month and half. Like the Women’s Half, this race wasn’t well-attended by spectators and there’s nothing to distract you (sorry, East Potomac Golf Course). I’ve been training so much since June, religiously attending track sessions on Thursday and putting in the work on Sundays for my long runs. So you can imagine my disappointment when I crossed the finish line at 2:38, 14 minutes above my Brooklyn Half PR (recap here) and just 3 minutes faster than both the Women’s Half, a race I absolutely did not enjoy (recap here) and the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, a race where I walk most of the course because I was dying of heat. It’s also just 6 minutes faster than the Rock’n’Roll half in 2013, which was my first marathon ever and for which I had barely trained. I’m basically crushed to see that I’ve made no progress whatsoever, which isn’t how I want to feel 40 days before my first marathon. 

I couldn’t linger too much on these feelings, or at the finish line, because I had a baby shower to go to.  After a quick shower and a recovery snack, it was time to head out to Southwest to help set up the event (did I mention I was one of the host?) It was lovely toasting Baby B’s upcoming arrival into the world with so many of Bianca and Branden’s friends (and my first time attending a co-ed shower, which was interesting.) Her friend Frida did such a wonderful job with all the food and the cake. I was SO hungry! 

Needless to say, I was pretty wiped at the end of the day/weekend. I know I “only” ran 13.1 miles but it definitely felt like a marathon weekend. The worst part though is that creeping self-doubt I just can’t shake off right now. I can barely handle a half-marathon, how am I supposed to run twice as much? Maybe I should have focused on becoming a stronger/faster runner before biting more than I can chew. I know they say for your first marathon your goal should just be to finish, but I know that’s not going to be good enough for me. And if I’m not going to feel good about myself at the end of the race, should I really be running it at all? I have about 48 hours to decide if I transfer my Marine Corps Marathon bib or not, which is basically choosing between two different ways to fail: I can try and fail or I can fail by not trying. I lose either way. Whichever I decide, I’m off to Paris on Friday and I’m just really looking forward to the break. 

 

Weekend Links for September 15

I have a busy weekend, so let’s just dive into it. Here are some articles I enjoyed reading this over the last few days:

The biggest news of the week was of course that coveted third Michelin star for the Inn at Little Washington. I wrote about it {in French} for French Morning but you can also read about it, in English, in Food & Wine magazine.  And speaking of Michelin guide, dream job alert, you can apply to be an inspector here.

In other restaurant news, I have never actually eaten at a Waffle House before, but I learned A LOT about them and their role in natural disaster preparedness this week.  

This thread on abortion laws and unwanted pregnancies by Design Mom. Spot on.

As an African American woman of colour in the wine industry, my friend Julia Coney has been very outspoken about its need for representation that mirrors its customers. White men aren’t the only one who drink wine so why does it feel like they are the only one who make, sell and write about it? Anyhoo, this week Julia talked with Forbes Magazine about what the wine industry can learn from its black consumers and, as always, she makes some very good points. 

The average American woman is estimated to use over 16,000 tampons in her lifetime — and yet they remain surprisingly mystifying. The commercial tampon as we know it has been shaped and re-shaped by a myriad of invisible forces — like genuine concern for women’s wellness, certainly, but also sexism, panic, feminism, capitalism, and secrecy. This The Atlantic piece sheds some light on this important little piece of cotton. Warning: long read!

View story at Medium.com

Sometimes I feel like I’m almost to join the #BraSquad but then I always just feel too self conscious. Jen Spyra, a staff writer for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” wrote this funny piece about taking off her shirt and exercising in just her bra. You go girl! 

Meanwhile I’ll be keeping my shirt on when I run the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on Sunday. Wish me luck!

Weekend Links: 50 Days Until Marine Corps!

So Marine Corps Marathon is in exactly 50 days and I’m starting to freak out! Here are a few things that distracted me this week:

  • Ready, set, eat! We have to wait a few more days to find out which D.C. restaurants will be awarded prestigious Michelin stars but until then, the 2019 Bib Gourmand were just announced. Michelin’s ‘cheap eats’ list (a diner should be able to get two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $40 or less, excluding tax and tip) has doubled in size from 22 to 39.  With 2Amy’s and Boqueria being dropped from last year’s list, that 19 new restaurants added to the list. You can see the 2019 Bib Gourmand here and read the Washington Post’s analysis of what the increase reveals about the D.C. restaurant scene here.  Does Himitsu’s omission mean it’s definitely getting a star? We’ll find out on September 13! 

    • And speaking of food, I’m invited to a friend’s house for BBQ this weekend. Since she’s a vegetarian, I’m going to give this grilled tofu with chimichurri sauce a try! Miam miam!
    • There’s a new museum in town! Well. Sort of. After an expansion, the Glenstone Museum in Potomac Maryland is ready to re-open on October 4th bigger and better than before. But the site, which has been designed around visitor experience, doesn’t want to cater to the instagram crowd and doesn’t want too many visitors to come visit. And yet tickets went as fast as those for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit and it looks like I’ll have to wait until at least late November to visit. Womp womp.
    • Always fun to see some familiar faces in the local paper. Kimberly Wattrick, owner of Summit to Soul and Courtney Dredden Carter were featured in When Metro stopped running reliably, these people started running to work. ps: I did my second run-mute this week, though I had to cut it short and hop on the metro at Woodley Park. I need to leave the office a little earlier next time!

(Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

  • Just in time for my trip (in 14 days exactly, but who’s counting?) the New York Times spends 36 hours in Paris, and around the Seine more specifically. Making a few notes… Le Vent d’Armor for example sounds worthy of a visit. And it’s been years since I’ve hung out at the Parc André Citroën, though I used to go very often since a lot of my high school classmates lived in that part of town and it was a great spot to cool down on those hot summer days when we were stuck in the city.

Any new Paris spot you recommend I try while I’m there? I’ll be running La Grande Classique 10 miles race from the Eiffel Tower to Versailles Castle, definitely swing by L’Atelier des Lumieres and have meals planned already at Hugo & Co and La Veranda by Gordon Ramsay (when in Versailles!). What else should I do?? 

ps: I’ll be taking a side trip to Vienna as well, so taking recommendations for that city too!

Weekend Links: Labour Day Edition

It’s a long weekend here in the United States! Hurray. It’d been a long time since I posted some links so here are a few reads that caught my attention over the week:

First of all, I’m so bummed. Last Saturday’s Diner en Blanc definitely missed the mark (the hosts definitely dropped the ball by choosing Nats Park as the venue for the 2018 edition), but I still has some fun with a great group of people. My French Morning colleague Nastasia was there to report on the event (in French!) 

 

Paris is DREADFUL in August. Though this NPR article argues that can be a good thing (I would also argue that the absence of Parisians can be really nice… though all the good restaurants are closed for their annual holiday as well, so I prefer to go home in September.)  

Like many women runners, I’ve been thinking a lot about safety lately. Locally there’s been a couple of issues as two robberies were reported in 24 hours on the Metropolitan Branch Trail, a route I’ve definitely ran many times. Then, of course, there was the tragic death of Mollie Tibbetts which ignited a national conversation about the harassment and fears women runners face. From the New York Times to BBC News, there’s been a plethora of articles on the subject though the BBC one hit close to home for showcasing a runner at the tidal basin during Cherry Blossoms season as its main illustration, just two days after a woman was violently assaulted on her way to a workout class on Capitol Hill, at a gym that one of my friend attends. In a neighbourhood were I run every other Wednesday. 

On a lighter note, it’s still peak tomato season so step aside avocado toast. I’ll be making this recipe for as long as I can. Also, I really want the plates featured in the recipe 😉

Picture courtesy of Jake Cohen. Now can someone tell me where the plate is from?

Two of my friends are featured as some of the most fashionable people in DC right now! I obviously need to hang out with them more so that some of their good taste can rub off on me.

Is social media influencing book cover design? I’ve definitely seen more and more people I follow share pictures of books on Instagram lately. Last year I finally got a DC library card! Inspired by my friend Erin who has been documenting her attempt to read 100 books in 2018 on instagram (she’s well on her way!), I started sharing the books I was reading on social media as well. Since it’s summer and I tended to read on my roof or by the pool with a glass of rosé, I created the Read & Rosé account. Give it a follow, and if you’re reading and rosé-ing make sure you tag #readandrosé!

And finally, I love these two articles about D.C. United: “Two Stadiums, Two Blocks Apart Reveal a Changing City” and “Among D.C. United players, a new team-building drill: Spanish lessons.” They reminded me that I had yet to see a match at the new Audi Field… something I hope to remedy soon! Well, October isn’t that soon but it’s the best I can do.

 

Marathon Training: I went on my First “Run-Mute”

I’ve always had a fairly active social life but knew I would have to kiss it goodbye as I started training to run my first marathon. These days, I’m in bed by 10PM (at the very latest!) on Saturday nights so that I can lace up my tennis shoes at six the next morning. I turn down anything scheduled for Thursdays because that’s track night. Monday evenings are Pacers group run. Weekday mornings are for Cyclebar and Bodypump classes. With three weeks until the Navy-Air Force half marathon and two months until Marine Corps, I’m basically no fun at this point (unless you find running fun, then I’m a hoot!). So when my friend Bianca suggested we catch up over diner at the new Lupo Marino at the Wharf Tuesday night, I had to make a decision. I knew I couldn’t run Wednesday night since I had a going away party at the French Embassy (I also really wanted to take Haley’s 7AM class at Cyclebar that morning) so I *had* to squeeze in a run Tuesday at some point. Since I still struggle wit weekday morning runs, I decided I would try to run-mute (run+commute) home so I could do it all 😉

My office is around 6 miles away from where I live, a straight shot on the red line that takes me about 30 minutes per way. It’s actually a pretty good distance to run and fairly easy on Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenue so armed with my brand new Women’s Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest (which I absolutely love!) I decided to give this run-mute thing a try! My starting point: the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Friendship Heights:

Of course, in hindsight, I should probably not have picked 4:30PM on one of the hottest days of the year to set out on this mini adventure. The first two miles were pretty awful, as there was barely any shade at all going down Wisconsin towards the National Cathedral. 

Mile two of my runmute: the beautiful National Cathedral.

After the National Cathedral, I took a turn left on Massachusetts Avenue for a more shaded and quite pretty segment of the run. All the embassies provided a welcome visual distraction … and it was kinda fun seeing everyone else stuck in traffic. But still, yeah, it was hot. 

Made it to 5K! What up Churchill?

I continued sweating my way down embassy row until Dupont Circle. I was bummed the fountain was completely dry because I would have really loved to jump in 😉  

Almost at mile 5: would have loved to take a refreshing dip in the fountain!

The final stretch down Mass finally brought me home in 1 hour and 23 minutes for a pace of 8:32/km, definitely one of my slowest runs but it was SO hot.

Mile 6! I’s so sweaty and gross and I kinda want to die, but I made it 😉

Seriously the Dupont Circle temperature clock was showing 101 degrees!

Starbucks is selling PSL already… can we start having some fall temperatures please?

Occasionally, it’s definitely taking me longer to metro to work so I don’t think it was that bad and I definitely will do it again soon. Of course, a run-mute home takes a little less prep than a run-mute to work (and I do have a shower in my office building so I’m not ruling out giving it a try at some point). The 2 main things to prepare for are:

  • Your route: map it out in advance so you know exactly where to go and how many miles you’ll be able to cover. I typically count my runs in kilometer but the easiest route home was 6 miles or 9.7 kilometers down two large avenues with ample sidewalk space so I went with the miles.  I’m already plotting how I can take a slightly different route down Rock Creek Park next time! 
  • Your backpack: after wasting $ on cheap hydration packs from Amazon (they kept leaking after 2 or 3 uses!) I finally splurged on a $100 women specific pack from Nathan’s. I absolutely love it but the zippered rear compartments to organize additional items are on the small size so I had to be smart about packing very light that day. I brought my running clothes in a separate bag and abandoned my work clothes at the office to bring home the next day so I could run as lightly as possible. I didn’t bring a book to work or anything that day… I kept it to a minimum even stripping my wallet down to just what I needed for the day (and packing those in a small ziplock!)

After a quick shower, I ubered down to the Wharf to meet Bianca and definitely felt I had earned my pizza (I had the Calabrese with anchovies… it could have had more anchovies. I love anchovies!)! And it was so nice to have a social evening without feeling guilty that I’d skipped a run. On the downside, I basically went to bed the second I got home and my place is still a mess from Diner en Blanc Saturday. But I was so tired 😉 

Save the Date: Diner en Blanc DC Returns August 25

I’m so excited to be pairing up again with my friend Jean for the 5th edition of Washington DC’s Diner en Blanc. This year, for its 5th anniversary, the event is going to be bigger and better than ever before, with more than 5,000 people gathering in a secret location somewhere in the city for a chic pique-nique under the  stars.

This will be my 5th year as a group leader and I can’t wait to help 300 revelers enjoy this experience. You can read some of my previous Diner en Blanc coverage here: 2016 by the Lincoln Memorial , 2015 in New York City and the Carnegie Library. But if you want to participate this year, here are a few dates you need to keep on your calendar:

  • July 31 @ 1PM – if you attended Diner en Blanc in D.C. last year a) how amazing was the location? b) you’ll be receiving a Phase 1 invite meaning you get first pick of meeting point and table leader. You’ll also be able to sponsor a friend for Phase 2. When you receive your invitation code, you should act on it pretty quickly (definitely before phase 2 opens!) as every single phase will sell out.
  • August 6 –  Diner en Blanc values people who have attended before and trust that their friends are equally as awesome as they are. That’s why previous participants are able to “sponsor” a friend to join the family every year. Those friends of Diner en Blanc members receive a Phase 2 invitation. Hopefully, they’ll still be able to register for the same departure point and table leader but some may have filled already. If that’s the case, definitely register for the same departure point if possible and plan on meeting up with your friends at the dinner or on the dance floor. Again, the spots available will fill up super quickly so you should sign up as soon as your receive the invitation code.
  • August 9Phase 3 allows those on the wait list to try and get a spot for the diner. Unfortunately, the demand is great and many will be disappointed and unable to register. To make the system go a little smoother, phase 3 registration is split alphabetically between morning and afternoon. 

And of course, the most important to remember is August 25, when the diner will take place. If you’ve never attended, I’m happy to answer any questions that you might have in the comments. I also wrote a few little guides to help first time participants in particular make sense of all the rules (let’s call them guidelines shall we?) and tackle the shopping list, which can seem overwhelming if you have to purchase everything (though table/chair/silverware rentals are an option again this year) you need to bring with you. 

Hope to see you dressed all in white on August 25!

 

Brooklyn Half Marathon: I Missed the Royal Wedding for This

You guys! I ran a race in New York City! Nope, I didn’t run the New York Marathon. (I weirdly have no desire to!). I didn’t run the New York Half Marathon. Though I did want to run that one, I just didn’t get in through the lottery. I did get into the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon so that’s what I ran and , well, it was a tough one!

The New York Road Runners‘ Brooklyn half owes it names to the title sponsor of the race, Popular Bank, but it bears it well! Indeed, it’s is one of the most popular half marathon in the United States, attracting some 27,000+ runners this year. I was looking forwards to running it as my first New York City race, especially since I had never been to Coney Island where the race ends. Also, I was going to run it with my friend Caitlin and that’s always fun. We’ve now ran 5 races “together”: the 2010, 2011 and 2018 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, the 2017 Disneyland Paris Half Marathon and now the  2018 Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon. I put together in quotation marks because she’s a lot faster than me and we don’t actually “run” together 😉 Still, it’s a shared experience. Kind of.

Since the race is on a Saturday, I bused up to Manhattan Friday afternoon, which meant I missed the expo. I snagged a $5 Megabus ticket that was too good to pass. My friends Calla and Nicole traveled in a little more style than me (ie. they took the train) earlier in the day and we met up for some carbs at Basta Pasta, a casual Japanese restaurant in Chelsea that serves classic Italian dishes, with a twist.  I love seafood pasta (spaghetti with clams are my go-to pre-race) so I had been lusting over the Linguine Al Ricci Di Mare (uni pasta!) for weeks! It doesn’t photograph well, but it didn’t disappoint. 

Uni Pasta at Basta Pasta

Caitlin scooped me up after dinner and we headed to bed early-ish since we had to get up at the crack of dawn and, you know, run 13 miles the next day.

If you live in the East Coast, you know the weather has been simply atrocious and unfortunately, it looked like conditions would be less than ideal on race day. Oh well, you run the race you’re given not the race you want and ours was going to be wet and cold. We got up at 5AM and ubered to the Brooklyn Museum. Because the race is so big, runners are divided in 30+ corrals split between two waves. Since she’s a faster runner, Caitlin was in Wave 1 and I, of course, was in Wave 2. That meant her expected start time was after 7AM and mine after 7:45AM. We got there a little after 6AM and since you have to go through metal detectors to get to the corrals we quickly said goodbyes as Caitlin headed to her earlier start. Meanwhile, I had quite a while to wait so I found myself underneath a scaffolding for protection from the rain, in a garbage bag questioning some of my life choices. I mean, I could have been warm at home, in my pjs, sipping hot tea and watching the Royal Wedding 😉

If you’ve read some of my previous race reports, you know that I have been extremely frustrated by my inability to improve my race time. I had ran the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in early March in 2:41 and the National Women’s Half Marathon in late April (recap here) in the exact same time. Worse, I had ran my very first half, the 2013 Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in DC, very under-trained, and had finished that in 2:43. At least, at the 2018 Rock’n’Roll half, I had fun and enjoyed the race so my initial plan for Brooklyn was to just try and have a fun race without worrying too much about my time, hoping I could still shave off a few minutes. Of course, mother nature had other plans for me and it was obvious given the weather that “having fun” wasn’t really going to be an option. So I decided I would try and run a good race instead. I wore the pace bracelet for 2:35 and thought I’d follow the 2:30 pace leader for as long as I could (that strategy had worked well for me at the 2018 Cherry Blossom 10 miler — recap here) hoping to finish somewhere between 2:30 and 2:35, which would be a solid PR for me and a result I could finally be proud of. Turns out, as a French citizen, that I couldn’t possibly run 21 kilometers behind this lady…  

So I was on my own in the rain with my Garmin to help me make sure I stayed at as close to 11:30 minutes per miles as I could. I didn’t cross the start line until a few minutes after 8AM. That meant Caitlin was probably halfway done by the time I started, which sucked. The rain was pouring pretty hard in the beginning but I still ditched my garbage bag right away and started running with everyone else. The first half of the race has you running around Prospect Park and  then through it. Given the early hour and the weather, it was not surprising that there weren’t a lot of people cheering along the way, mostly just people walking their dogs, but I appreciated every single person that was there in the rain. The park has a few inclines and declines but nothing too bad and there were ample water stations right from the beginning, which I really appreciated.  Prospect park was pretty boring though the rain did kinda stop for a little bit, which I appreciated very much. I was glad to be out of the park though, and into the second part of the run: racing down Ocean Parkway. It’s basically straight course down a 6-lane avenue. There’s a ton of space to run, but not a ton to look at for distraction. Again, there weren’t a ton of people cheering or spectating which meant I really only had the race to focus on. The rain started coming down strong again at that point, but despite being drenched I was actually trudging along as a decent pace between the 10-11 minute per mile range. My fastest mile was miles 3 at 10:05/mi, my slowest ones, miles 5 and 6 were 11:11/mi and 13.16/mi. Mile nine was also a bit of a struggle at 11:09/mi. Otherwise I ran in the 10s and I all I could think about while running down Ocean Drive was that I could realistically finish the race with a 20 minute PR.  That was a huge motivation to just keep going and not slow down! 

I missed the royal wedding to run in the rain… and PRed so it was all worth it!

In the end, I finished in 2:24. I missed the Royal Wedding for a 17-minute PR. Most importantly, I finally had a race result I could be proud of, especially given the less than ideal conditions. I had something to show for all the training and running I have been doing since the beginning of the year and that made it all worth it. 

Calla and Nicole were supposed to meet us at the Boardwalk with dry clothes and umbrellas (and my phone charger) but given the weather they stayed in bed to watch the royal wedding. And I can’t blame them.  While I had to wait at the start, Caitlin had to wait at the end and she was frozen by the time I got there (a solid hour and half after her!) so once we found each other we didn’t stick around too long. It was a bummer because the party at the finish line looked like it would have been a ton of fun… had we not been tired, wet and cold. I guess I’ll have to go back to Coney Island under better circumstances. 

As much of Coney Island as I got to see… from the metro back to Manhattan

The next day, the sun finally came out. Hurrah! I had almost forgotten what it looked like 😉 We went back to Brooklyn for brunch at Chez Ma Tante, a French-Canadian neighbourhood bistro in Greenpoint. The pancakes were worth all the accolades they’ve been getting! Calla and Nicole brought the sign they had planned to use at the finish line along for brunch! How cute is the sign? Though I don’t think it would have survived in the rain 😉 

And of course, we took our medals on a little photo shoot to make up for the pictures we didn’t get to take the day before and I *finally* got to have my Coney Island beer at The Brooklyn Barge! No Nathan’s hot dog though… 

Coney Island Beer

Would I run this race again? I dunno…. there are SO many races. If it were a local race, I definitely would and I would make sure I can attend the expo as well since the New York Road Runners does a great job making sure it’s a special event, almost a pre-race party. And I’d love to see what kind of party at Coney Island we all missed out on because the weather was so awful. I guess I have a whole year to figure that out. 

Next up for me is the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon on June 2nd. It’s likely to be very hot and humid by then in Purcellville so it will be a very different race but I hope to prove to myself that my 2:24 finish at the Brooklyn half wasn’t just a fluke and finish in under 2:25. 

 

The 3rd Edition of Pow! Wow! D.C. Brings New Murals to NoMa Walls

It’s becoming a tradition of sorts… for the third year in a row, I took one of the official Pow! Wow! D.C. walking tours to see some of the new murals and hear from some of the artists still trying to finish their walls. Festival Director Kelly Towles was only on hand for a few minutes this time around but it was still great to hear about the festival from some of the people he works with and discover new pieces as well as revisit old favourites from the two previous editions.

As usual, Pow! Wow! D.C. was concentrated in NoMa, where 20 artists (9 locals and the rest from other parts of the country/world) spray painted their work on otherwise boring outdoor walls. 

Here are some of the new murals I loved:

Richt, from Bristol, England, worked on this mural at K St and North Capital St NE

Taj Tenfold spray painted a vibrant double portrait at the intersection of M St. & 3rd St. NE.

Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon (mural by BroCoLoCo on the MBT)

Martin Swift, finishing another portrait on the Metropolitan Branch Trail

Luis Alberto Pérez’s mural depicts his invitation to the Pow Wow DC and how grateful he was to paint his first mural in the United States.

Mari Inukai was one of the few women artist featured in Pow Wow DC 2018

Memphis artist Birdcap’s mural adorns the wall of the Hyatt Place Capitol Hill

Richmond based Christina Wing Chow took over the end of the Metropolitan Branch Trail

Golden Rabbit Silent Monkey finishing up some angry rabbits on the MBT

With all the new murals on the Metropolitan Branch Trail I cannot wait to start running that path more often!

Brooklyn Half Marathon Training Recap – One Week Out!

It’s perhaps not the best timing, but I needed a break from running. I’ve decided to approach the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon the way I approached the Rock’n’Roll Half. No goals. No expectations. I ‘s just gonna try and run a lot of miles and have fun along the way. Last week, running just didn’t seem to make me happy but a lot of other things did…

MONDAY

I’m normally pretty religious about attending Pacers’ Monday fun runs, but this time around I decided having a few cocktails at the Royal Wedding pop-up bar preview would be more fun. This particular pop-up is a lot smaller than previous ones (it only occupies one room, the former Mockingbird Hill space) but it packs in a lot! I also loved the cocktails. The G-d Save the Queen is basically a martini that comes with a crown and the throne, plush-corgis and cut-outs of the royals made for awesome photo opps.

The pop-up is open until May 20th so you definitely should go if you have a  chance! 

TUESDAY

Now that it’s finally warm(ish) outside, there are tons of opportunities to practice yoga, pilates and other group fitness classes for free. This particular Tuesday was Shack Track & Field (where runners make their ways from one of the Pacers store to the Shake Shack at Logan Circle) and that starts a little bit later than regular runs, at 7PM. So I decided to double up that evening and squeezed in one of the Golden Triangle BID’s TriFit yoga class, offered by Corepower Yoga. Yoga went much better than the run afterwards…

I opted for the 5 miles track this time and right out of the gate, I could hardly keep up with the group who was running closer to an 8 miles pace than the 10-11 I’m comfortable with. I know they always say all pace are welcome in running group, but if you’re on the slower side, you’re mainly welcomed to run by yourself which is what I ended up doing for two thirds of the course. Womp womp. But I least I got a grab a tasty glass of glass at Shake Shack afterwards.

WEDNESDAY

Cyclebar! I normally take Valerie’s evening class but Haley is teaching at 7AM now so I thought I’d take that instead and free up my evening. My friend Calla had just gotten back from Sweden so I had her over for quiche, wine and travel stories!

THURSDAY

The return of Body Pump! I never felt healthier and stronger than when I took body pump classes regularly last year.  I gave up my gym membership when I signed up for the unlimited monthly pass at Cyclebar NoMa, thinking I could do weight training on my own in my building’s fitness room. Of course, I haven’t 😉 I had gone the week before at Vida Navy Yard as a guest of my friend Cecile and realized how much I had missed it so I used some ClassPass credits to sign up for a session at Gold’s Gym on 19th street. It felt much better than it had the week before and I’m definitely going to try to sign up for a class here and there. I also bought a set of 7lbs dumbbells so I can do a few exercises on my own. In the evening, I toyed with the idea of *finally* doing track but opted for one of Tammy’s TW Training & Wellness fun run instead. It started and ended at Ivy & Coney in Shaw, pretty close to me so it was more convenient than going to Pacers’ and Banneker.

I know eventually I *have* to integrate track work into my weekly routine but I’m not sure Pacers will be the group for me to do it with. I might need to find a group more geared towards beginners like myself.

FRIDAY

My usual Friday evening class with Haley. 

SATURDAY

I know I should have done one last long run before Brooklyn, either Saturday or Sunday, but honestly, I didn’t want to. It felt so good to do other exercise besides running, like hiking Sugarloaf Mountain. We did the Blue Trail and bits of the White Trail and covered closed to 10K. I loved it. I didn’t loved Sugarloaf Winery afterwards. The space doesn’t have a ton of charm, the  staff was pretty rude and the wine barely drinkable (the Viogner was ok, so I ended up getting a bottle to share. We had earned a treat!)  But it was fun to relax and have some snacks after the hike. 

SUNDAY

I took Valerie’s 10AM class at Cyclebar NoMa and ROCKED it. Some days you’re more into it than others I guess and I made it into the top 3 on the leaderboard for all of the sprints, which never happens to me! I definitely needed that little boost of confidence after feeling so inadequate at Shack Track & Field Tuesday. In the afternoon, I took a leisurely walk around NoMa with my friend Ekaterina to check out the new murals from the 2018 edition of the Pow Wow DC street art festival. I wrapped up the weekend with cocktails at Cotton and Reed near Union Market.

One Last Hello at Cotton and Reed

All in all, I had a very active week, squeezing in a double workout on two occasions. But I know I should have ran more than 12.5K (my goal for the week was 30K). But it’s ok. I think I needed a bit of a break, it’s just unfortunate it had to happen the week before the Brooklyn half marathon… I’m hoping that after this small reset I can get back to enjoying my runs. And eventually too I’ll get better at finding that right balance of running/me time/social life/other workouts. I almost had it this week… minus the running 😉