25th Birthday in the Big Apple!

This years birthday was a bit of a milestone.. I turned 25! That means I am a quarter century old!! Craziness. This year to celebrate, Mark completely spoiled me and flew me out to New York City to spend the weekend with him (he was already out there for work). I have never been out to NY (except to Syracuse to visit my brother) and so I was completely stoked to finally be able to go.

We spent the first night in Jersey, where we had some sushi and then went to a wine bar…. and then went to the rocky mountain chocolate factory and I got a fatty carmel apple. All three places were right next to each other and we just couldn’t help ourselves. I think one of the best things about being in Jersey though was seeing all the guys actually walking around in track suits. We were right by a Gold’s Gym and also saw guys working out with their gold chains on. We have been watching “The Sopranos” lately and I just thought it was funny that people actually dressed like that.

Friday morning we we drove out to the city. As soon as we got to the Hilton, we unpacked and then headed out to Times Square. Our first drink stop was at the other Hilton bar down in Times Square and the bartender was quite memorable. He was an older guy (in his late 60s or 70s maybe?) and I think that he hated his job. I asked for one of the drinks that was listed on the drink menu as one of the bar’s specialty drinks… a strawberry mojito I think. First he pretended that he had no clue what I was talking about. Then he let out a really lout “sigh” as if this drink was going to be a huge pain in the ass to make. Then he had to take the drink menu so he could see all of the ingredients that were in the drink. Maybe one would think that he was just new and didn’t know all of the drinks yet, but Mark had been to this same bar only a year ago and was served by the same bartender. So we asked him how long he had been serving at the bar and he said 10 years. TEN YEARS and he still couldn’t remember how to make a drink. So then Mark ordered a martini and it was the same “sigh” all over again. Poor guy.. then I ordered another complicated drink just to be a pain in the ass.

After the two drinks at the Hilton, the drinking pretty much continued the rest of the night. We went to 4 more bars I think? We also ate something at pretty much every single bar too. We shared a flat bread pizza at one, shared a steak at another and then brought back some cheesecake. We had one last drink at the Hilton bar that we were staying at and then were absolutely trashed. But hey it was my birthday, isn’t that whats suppose to happen?

We woke up the next day feeling very hungover.. well duh. We had wanted to go run through Central Park, but that sounded horrific and so we went on a nice long walk through the park instead. Later that night we got dressed up for my birthday dinner. Mark had made reservations at a steakhouse called, “Benjamin’s.” At first drinking sounded aweful, but they had a really good wine list and so Mark ordered a Cab from Cade Winery in Napa and we split a bone in filet. So good. We finished up the evening with a walk back down towards Times Square again and ended up getting caught in the rain. Turned out to be quite the romantic day!

On Sunday we started off the day with a 6 mile run through Central Park. Definitely was not the fastest run ever. We both felt so sluggish. I could feel my newly formed fat rolls from all the crap I had been eating jiggling around. Ewww. Regardless we had a really fun time together and it felt good to do something active after taking the past 3 days off. After our run, we cleaned up and had lunch and drinks at a Cuban restaurant and then saw Jersey Boys. After we had just bought tickets for Jersey Boys, I had remembered that I had REALLY wanted to see The Book of Mormon, but Mark said we could come back another time to see it or we could try and find some tickets while its playing at the Pantages at home. Sounded like a deal to me plus Jersey Boys turned out to be phenomenal, so I was super glad I saw it. When the show was over, we walked around the city a bit more and grabbed a slice of pizza at Rays Pizza. Holy crap.. best pizza ever! Freshly baked pizza dough, real cheese, grease puddles in the middle of the pepperoni… DE-LISH! Then as we were doing some more walking we passed by a bakery with huge cupcakes in the window. Mark and I both looked at each other, but neither of us wanted to be the fat one suggesting to go in and get one. Instead, Mark suggested to go in and get a cup of coffee. Yeah right, just a cup of coffee… he ended up with a giant chocolate cupcake and I got a ginormous chocolate chip cookie. We pretty much had sugar overload after that and so headed back to the hotel. It was only like 8:30 though, so we had 2 more drinks down in the hotel bar. Then we were done. I swear.

Monday it was time to go back home. We spent our last morning with one more run through Central Park, had a quick bite to eat at one of the local delis and then were off to the airport. I could not have asked for a more amazing birthday. It was perfect.. and it didn’t even involve that much running! I know some people might have their opinions about  my relationship with Mark, but for the past three years we have had so much fun together no matter what we do. I am so grateful for the experiences such as this one that we have gotten to spend together and am also so excited for what is to come in the future. Thank you for making my Birthday so special, Mark. Love you 🙂

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Mt. Baldy!

So now that I got into the Brazil 135, I have 17 weeks to get myself in mountain running shape. The past 2 weeks my run training has consisted of didilly squat. I was burnt out and over trained and needed a break before things get serious again.

Since Brazil will have 30,000 feet of climbing, the goal is to start doing climbing, climbing, climbing and… MORE CLIMBING! Luckily by Sunday, I felt some of my energy and motivation was starting to come back and I was dying to go out into the mountains. Mark and I had planned on hiking Mt. Baldy. On Saturday we were all amped and saying ridiculous things like “hey lets get up real early and go hike.” The goal was to be out the door by 7am on Sunday. However, then 6am rolled around and the alarm went off. Mark tried to even woozle me out of the hike and asked if I wanted to go shopping instead. But no, I turned down shopping to go hike….. What kind of girl am I?!

So we didn’t end up getting our lazy butts out of the door until about 8:30, but at least we made it out. We actually started our hike exactly at 10am. The first 4 miles of the hike are kind of boring. Just fire road. Nothing spectacular. But then about half way up, you hit the ski lodge and from there its epic views all the way to the peak. It actually gets pretty sketchy for a while as the trail drops off on both sides of you. If you keep your eyes straight ahead its not so bad, but look to either side of you and your heart will start racing faster than it already is and you get a funky feeling in your stomach… at least thats how I felt. Then the last quarter to half mile is straight uphill, but then you’re at the top! 10,064 feet above sea level. Maybe no Everest, but not a bad hike for a Sunday afternoon!

We hung out at top for a tiny bit and ate some snacks and then headed back down a different way, which was a little shorter, but more single track and forest. Some parts were really steep and we both fell on our ass a couple times. Part way down some Asian lady stopped us to ask Mark where he was from. “Irvine.” “No, no, WHERE are you from?” “Slovenia.” Then she kept asking us how to say words in Slovenian. She kept talking and talking but Mark and I just went on with our hike. Mark tried to teach me some Slovenian, but I only remember “Thank you.” All you do is say “Nice driveway” with a European accent.

Even though the way back down was shorter mileage wise, I think it may have taken us longer than it took us to get up! We are not the best at technical stuff, but it was a good time. I was so happy to just get out and be in the mountains. I do really enjoy road running, but mountains and trail running is where my heart is.

So on a whole different topic… since I have been taking it easy with the running the past two months, I have been spending lots of time cooking (which Mark has been loving!). I am obsessed with Juli Bauer’s blog, http://www.paleomg.com. She has hands down the best recipes. She actually came down and spoke at a charity event that my gym hosted about a week ago and I was so stoked to actually meet her. After Baldy, I made Mark and I bison burgers with apple and bacon chutney. Pretty much the best fruit and meat combo ever. I have also been making things like Brazilian chicken curry, herb crusted salmon, lots of spaghetti squash (tonight I even made my own sauce!), and zucchini apple muffins. I am turning out to be quite the cook. And I say no to shopping to go hike all day in the mountains. And sometimes I clean too. I am quite the catch…

So this was pretty much the most interesting training event worth blogging about since Badwater. However, since Brazil training has now started, lots of epic stuff is going to go down. So stay tuned.