Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Survive New York City without looking like a Tourist or spending money like a Reality TV Star

I had this great plan to do this fantastic blog all about New York City, but I lost my notes on the please bear with me.

The original thought was that I would have this initial blog post with links to my other posts on specific subjects. This may still happen, but I am nowhere near technologically savvy so it will be taking me some time....I'm sorry.

Nonetheless, without further ado, the following is my recommendation for ways to survive your next venture to the Big Apple

  1. Ride the Subway! I know it's scary, especially if you read my previous post on Subways...but it is worth the money you'll save on taxis and parking! Trust me. And it can be pretty and quaint!

  2. $2 breakfast. On any street corner, in any bodega, you will find the small coffee with cream and sugar paired with a bagel with schmear or donut for $2 (or thereabouts). DELICIOUS!!! And absolutely perfect for the subway ride. It comes in a paper bag ala Breakfast at Tiffany's. **NOTE** If it is important to you that you have a well-balanced breakfast, this is not for you.
  3. Site see on foot. Don't take those silly bus tours (unless you have severely limited time or you broke your leg the week before your trip), just walk. You'll save $$$ and burn serious calories. Plus, you never know what you'll see while walking around the city!
  4. Go to Macy's. It takes up an entire city block. It really is the Biggest Store in the World! You can walk around for HOURS. And their holiday decorations are fantabulous!
  5. Visit the memorials. There are hundreds in Manhattan alone, and they represent a very important part of our national history. Plus, they're free!

  6. MUSEUMS! I love museums. Almost all of them have a free day or have a 'donation' box instead of a per visitor fee. 'Nuff said, just go.
  7. Eat the street! Don't bother with all the frou frou restaurants (unless you're a total food snob, or you have tons of $$), you can get a lot of those famous chef's entrees in your local grocery store. China Town (I really hope that is the correct term for this neighborhood) is a great place to find cheap eats! I found 8 dumplings for $2. YUM! There are so many little hole-in-the-wall places to go to that have fantastic food for less than $5. I ate all 3 meals from bodegas or restaurants and spent less than $10 a day on food. Totally worth it and you feel like a New Yorker.

  8. Visit Rockefeller Plaza. It's way cool! They do have the store and the observation tower, but you don't need to do those. I stopped by and ate breakfast with the Today Show (while waiting for my train) more than once.

  9. Go to the Empire State Building. I didn't go up. $20 was out of my price range. But if you have a sweetie, definitely do it. I thought I'd save my ride up to the land of "An Affair to Remember" and "Sleepless in Seattle" until I had someone to go up with.
  10. Stay with friends. Ok, so I kinda cheated when I went to NYC. I didn't stay in a hotel, and I saved a ton of money. But I was there for a MONTH! It would have been ridiculous to pay for a hotel or even a hostel for that long, especially when I was still paying for my apartment in Michigan. Nonetheless, hostels are great to stay in and totally worth the money you'll save, but be sure to do your research on the quality of hostel. And the hotels in Manhattan are much cheaper (if booked in advance) than the ones outside of Manhattan. I know it doesn't sound right, but it's true!
I know the list isn't very long, but it's worth remembering when you travel! And if you go, say hi to the Lady for me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to start running...

I'm a runner. Surprise! ha.

I am. It's true. I have loathed running my entire life. Yes, LOATHED.

My mom 'encouraged' all of us kids to participate in sports all growing up. I played soccer until I graduated from high school, and yes, soccer does entail quite a bit of running, but if you play your cards right and get selected as sweeper or goal keeper, you don't run as much as everyone else.

In college, I rowed crew. So I basically sat on my butt for 2-3 hours a day pulling an oar. Doesn't sound very athletic does it? Try it sometime. Tell me how you feel after pulling as hard and as fast as you can for 2000 meters. Yeah.

Then after college, when I was nice and fat because I had ceased all forms of exercise and continued to consume my 4000 calorie a day diet, my mom challenged me to a 1/2 marathon.

Don't ask me why my mother does the things she does. I love her for exactly who she is because I wouldn't be the same without her. But, she comes up with the weirdest crap sometimes! There are so many wonderful stories to tell about my mom, but I'll save those for another time.

Anywho, she called me up one day and said, "Honey, I've signed us up to run the P. F. Chang's 1/2 Marathon in Arizona for the hospital."
"Oh cool! You and dad are doing a half marathon?" note the hope in my voice that 1. my father was actually going to do something athletic and 2. I was not going to be doing any running.
"Well, your father is going to go, but he won't run, you know how he is." yes, yes I do. "So I figured you and I could run together!"
"Oh. Fun! I hope I don't die. If I die in Arizona, please don't let Luke have my car"

She forced me into it, really she twisted my arm! But I love her, so I did it. And I finished the half marathon! AMAZING!

Then she made me do a full marathon. And then another. And another. And in total, I've done 6 full marathons and G-d knows how many half marathons. I can't get enough. UGH! What's wrong with me? My mom has run 10 marathons! SHE'S NUTS! I love her.

Recently, she conned my little sister into signing up for a marathon in Traverse City, Michigan, with the two of us. (If you've never been to TC, please go!)
Please ignore my sister's lazy eye....this truly was the best picture of the 3 of us after the race.

Yeah, yeah, enough about my family and how awesome of a runner I am (which I'm really not, but I digress). Back to the topic at hand: How to start running

This is a no-brainer for some people. For the rest of us mere mortals, it seems worse than climbing the Himalayas without a sherpa or a parka!

  • The honest truth is you just have to get off your butt. It seems like a terrible thought, right? But it's true.
  • I always tell people, in the clinic and in the real world, that if you get outside every day and go 2 steps further than you did the day before, you are improving! And day 1 may just entail opening the door, that's ok.
  • But you do it. Don't push yourself to the breaking point. But don't slack off either. You need to sweat. You need to get somewhat winded. There should be tightness in your muscles the next day. This is NORMAL. Don't freak out. It's a good thing :) You're getting stronger!
  • I started with half-walk half-running around my block (and it was a SHORT block, mind you). It was everything in me to keep going. Each day I increased the distance I ran and shortened the distance I walked.
  • Find an eating pattern that will work well with your running. I can't eat for at least 2 hours before I run and I pretty much have to devour most of what I can reach as soon as I finish. You might be different: you might have to change your pre-run snack to cheese if you get loose bowels while you run. Trial and error. Find what works, but do it before you run any races!
  • Each day you get off your butt and go outside. Every. Single. Day. You have to. And if you feel like crap, that's ok too, just get outside. You don't have to run a 7 minute mile each day or run 20 miles each day, but you do need to get out there. The more you stick to your guns at the beginning, the faster it will become a habit and you'll actually miss it when you don't go.
  • If you are training for a marathon or a half marathon, I recommend using Hal Higdon's training guide. It's flexible with your schedule and prepares you really well.
  • Finally: I had a really hard time not thinking about what other people thought of me, I still do. Am I wearing the right clothes? Do I run like an idiot? Am I really that slow? Keep at it. No matter what, you're doing something good for you! And that's what really matters!
Now, get out there and kick some asphalt!