Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hoorah for Fortune Cookies

I have no idea what this little fortune cookies' actual fortune is inside. But I strongly believe that is something pretty damn fabulous. Danielle gave me this sweet little necklace last night (as well as a goodie bag of a whole bunch of other funny gifts as she packs her apartment up to move to Paris).

Maybe the fortune is that I'll win some incredible design award, or I'll finally make things work to move to NYC, or I'll get my braces off in two months rather than 5, or that I'll meet the love of my life, or that I'll win the NYC Marathon and the $130K prize.

Who knows... I'll keep you posted though. Thanks, Danielle!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nike NYC Half Marathon completed!

So yesterday I finished my FOURTH half-marathon (hell, if you count last years full marathon as two... then SIXTH!). That in and of itself shocks that hairy-heck out of me... I was never really "athletic" and still feel awkward describing myself as such. And less than two years ago, I had never run further than two miles! Added to the fact that I'm not a natural runner (I'm quite slow and I seem to "break" easily with a bevy of injuries) and I'm very grateful I finished this race at all.

Additionally, my sister Tessa and I woke up at 4:30 and left at 5am to get to the race starting line by 6:15am. When we left, it was thunderstorming and disgusting. Around the start of the race, the rain subsided but the humidity remained. According to the race's website, the average temperature was a decent 70° but the average humidity was 90%. I'm not shocked by that high level of humidity because it literally felt like I was running through soup (don't ask how I would know that).

There are only two things I dislike about the NYC half after running it now twice: 1. the 7.5mile beginning through Central Park is very narrow and with 15,000 runners, its either constant zig-zagging or just going slower than your usual pace. Last year I was in a higher corral and I really feel that that resulted in a better time. 2. Both years they said there would be multiple "misting stations" to help with the heat... again, I didn't even see one. Oh well...

Besides that, the race was great... the Central Park portion is just so beautiful that it shockingly goes so fast. The Times Square portion is also quite amazing. The West Side Highway, while slightly boring and unshaded, always has lots of fans and great bands. I had the lucky privilege of my friend Steve joining me to finish the last mile and a half and although I originally feared that I would be annoyed by any peptalk at that point, it really was a saving grace. I was slowing up a lot (see my chart below) because of a blister and just general exhaustion and if it weren't for his encouragement and enthusiasm, I know I would have slowed up even more and possibly even walked for a bit.

So I finished in 2:11:05 (10:00 even pace). In between my 2:10 or 2:15 goal which was great. A little over two minutes slower than last year's race but I assumed it would be even more than that so I'm happy. Tessa finished immediately after me and I was able to find her surprisingly easily! She was definitely hurting a bit because of some health problems she was having earlier in the week, but she looked great and was so psyched to finish.

Then the three of us, with Tessa's good friends Dani and Jenny all headed to a phenomenal (although sweaty for Tessa + me) brunch at Friend of a Farmer in Union Square. So yummy... and by the end of the meal, I was fading and ready for a hot shower and a long nap.

What a great weekend... makes me really want to live in NYC even more! Congratulations to Tessa and all the other runners!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Off to NYC

Well I've been frantic all week with an insane work schedule so now I am rushing off to NYC feeling a bit ill-prepared (both with the packing and mentally for the race). Let's hope the next few days I can rest and get excited for Sunday morning at 7am when I start the Nike NYC Half Marathon. Last year I did 2:08:59 which is pretty good for a slow runner like myself. This year (although I do have an eventual goal to break 2 hours), my goal is about 2:10 or even 2:15 I'd also be happy for... especially given the heat and chance of thunderstorms.

If you're interested, NYRR website has a link where you can get my updates emailed to you... I'm bib number 13996 and Tessa is 13997.

My sister Tessa is also a bit nervous but I'm sure it will be fine and a lot of fun for us both!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Fortunes and Gross Lunches

My fortune in my fortune cookie today says "YOU HAVE MADE A BRILLIANT CHOICE TODAY".

I'm going to wager a guess that this brilliance was NOT my choice of lunch options... I kinda feel like I'm going to be sick from that meal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Must See Movie!

I HAVE to see this movie... a. I looove documentaries. b. the trailer gave me chills. If only he knew the future sad fate of those two buildings.

PS. No worries, mom. I love extreme and wild challenges a lot... but NEVER this much.

MFA Concerts in the Courtyard: Forro in the Dark

So the Beth Orton Museum of Fine Arts concert a few weeks back got rained out so we were in the Remis Auditorium (so lecture hall-y). Concert was still really really great and the music was so gorgeous... but the setting definitely lacked.

But last night was a perfect night for an awesome performance and beautiful weather and great people. The music was great with Forro in the Dark... a very sassy Brazilian band with 5 cute boys and great energy. There was dancing everywhere... too much fun! I highly recommend visiting the MFA Concerts in the Courtyard. Its a really great event. Thanks for coordinating Silvia (and for the yummy wine and food!)

More Countdowns...

OK, the braces countdown is a very big one in my life right now... but let's change the most recent post so it is now about FUN countdowns!

10 days until the NYC Half Marathon (hope my foot starts cooperating and that a miracle happens and I can beat my 2 hour goal).

Exactly one month (31 days) until the Wild Dog Triathlon in Rhode Island. I'm even more excited about my very first triathlon because now my sister Tessa will be joining me!

108 days until the NYC Marathon. I simply cannot wait for this one!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Braces Countdown Calculation...

So, at my orthodontist, I can't really ask him how much longer I'll be in my braces without irritating him. Its obviously impossible to completely tell and I'm sure the question is asked so often that its got to drive him understandably bonkers. But when he stepped out of the room, I was able to ask his assistant.

She predicted 4 or 5 more visits. And every visit is 6 weeks apart.
So I calculate that I'll get my gangsta grill off... between December 31 and February 11.

Boo... I was hoping for earlier (like before Christmas) but I know it will be worth it in the end. Maybe she's just padding it so I won't be disappointed. The chompers do look pretty great though (oh, and my headaches and grinding is pretty much gone so I guess that's really the whole point, eh?)... they did a little evening out of the edges too.

In any case, almost next door from his office is my favorite place for an after-braces-tightening lunch: Steve's Greek Restaurant. Mmmm... Avgolomono soup and rice pudding!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Belated Birthday Love to My Favorite Little Sister

So my little sister Tessa turned 24 on Saturday (would have posted then but they didn't have wi-fi in the hot air balloon and she was getting drunk with mom and dad at the Country Concert that day anyhow... (yes, I'm serious)).

So just wanted to take a little minute to wish her a happy birthday and hope that her 24th will be her best year yet.

I have to confess, I was really pissed off at her when she was born. See, Sandy Hoying got to stand up in front of my Kindergarten class to announce the arrival of her new baby sister. But Tessa, the little brat, had to be born during the summer... so I never got the chance to stand in front of everyone and have my moment in the spotlight.

Over the next few years, I learned to take a back seat to her spotlight anyhow... see, she just HAPPENED to be the cutest damn kid ever. Seriously though... I think she is in the Guiness Book for that. Damn her again. But it was okay. I eventually got my revenge tormenting her by forcing her to eat cat food and star in my crappy homemade music videos to songs ranging from "Pretty Woman" to "I'm Too Sexy".

Then she grew up... and happened to become little miss popular. Seriously though, she has a knack for having deep friendships and meaningful bonds with everyone... no matter how old or young. She's just one of those people that everyone gravitates towards and adores the second they meet her. She also happens to be one of the funniest people I know so that doesn't hurt either.

Now that she's out of college and a bit more settled into her life, she still does such amazing things with it. She volunteers weekly with the Achilles Track Club (which has inspired me to get involved with them too), she has an amazing job at Nickelodeon that she's phenomenal at, she's living in one of the hardest cities to start out in (NYC), and despite her ups and downs with with her health, its never made her hesitate from training for and conquering marathons and triathlons. She never uses it as an excuse and it just drives her even more. If it wasn't for her running despite that it wasn't so easy at times, I would have never even thought I could do it too. I think of her so much when I go on my runs and now that we share this running habit, we've gotten so much closer because of it.

She's such an inspiration in all aspects to me... both in her strong friendships and giving nature to her determination in everything she sets her mind too.

I love you so much, Tessa... and, even though I've tormented you throughout the years, I really am so grateful that you are in my life and one of my two best friends.

As you would say when you were just a little kid: "Hugs, kisses, and pinches on the butt."

The New Skinny...

OK... so I ran a marathon last year, and i kinda figured that running 30+ miles a week for 6 months would make me skinnier naturally. But I actually never really ever leaned up a whole lot in 2008. Don't get me wrong... I'm not overweight and I'm grateful for what I have, but I've always thought I'd be happier if I was a bit more toned and svelt (who doesn't though?!).

So now this year... in addition to running, I've been better with what I eat (though I'm not going to lie, I do splurge more than I should), I've been better at doing core workouts regularly, and I've obviously been crosstraining with the August 17 sprint triathlon approaching (again, not as well as I should be doing, but I just joined a pool right behind my house so hopefully I can workout more consistently between that and adding morning workouts to my routine).

And although I've only actually lost about 4 or 5 pounds... I've been also taking measurements because I know that I'm adding muscle. In the last month and a half since I started taking those measurements, I've lost about 3 inches of booty (I'll always have a booty though) and about 4-5 inches of waist! I'm wearing pants today that I haven't worn in two years! I seriously cannot believe how fast I'm getting leaner. Its great incentive to keep up the good work (and try even harder!).


Monday, July 14, 2008

My iPhone Debacle

Okay... so no fancypants new iPhone for me just yet. Even though I specifically told the AT&T agent at the Boylston Street store two months ago when I got my crap replacement phone (for the other phone I had accidentally spilled an entire bottle of sparkling water on), that I would be purchasing the new iPhone. And I specifically even asked if I should just get their cheapest phone without renewing my contract so I could make use of any possible deals... he, of course, explained that if I renewed my contract right then I would get $50 off the cheapy phone whereas there will be no discount with contract on the iPhone anyhow.

Shame on him...
- iPhone with new contract = $199
- iPhone with an upgraded contract (basically a new contract for those who aren't eligible) = $399
- Melissa's due-date for being eligible for the $199 price = September 30, 2008.

I get great actual coverage with AT&T but, as usual, the actual customer service part = sucky. I find that after about 5 years with them, the Boylston Street store agents are particularly bad and unknowledgable.

Sorry for the griping blog... I really hate posting complaints but this incident just really got my goat (whatever that means... I've never fully understood that expression).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life List #51: Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

WOO HOO! What a great weekend in Stowe with my good friend Steve. We went for a nice (but hilly!) bike ride, I baked a quintessential New England blueberry pie, we had lunch and walked around the property at the Von Trapp Family lodge... and OF COURSE! we had an incredible 45-minute hot air balloon ride.

It was an amazing experience. There was a bit of a delay because of the direction of the wind (they were afraid we would go up to the mountains and not have anywhere to land!). But after patiently waiting and watching the other balloons set up, we finally left the ground! Our balloon was GORGEOUS as was the sunset and views. The experience was very scary though... we went up REALLY fast, the heat from the balloon was REALLY hot (especially on Steve's bald head!), the basket was particularly tiny and the railings were lower than I expected. Every once in a while I would peek out to look down, and I was so freaked that the basket would tip slightly. Definitely not for those with a fear of heights.

We went up to about 6,000 feet above sea level (starting at only 70) and traveled about 10 miles, landing in the backyard of a lovely couple. Once landed and packed back up into the chase vehicle, we celebrated a lovely tradition of sharing a bottle of champagne with the owner of the property we landed on.

I'm still in shock with how surreal it all seemed. Absolutely unforgettable and amazing but scary as hell! I'm so glad I did it!

Here are a few videos (two more on my youtube site) and there are TONS of photos here too!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Apple store lines

Went early this morning just to see the commotion (I am simply not standing in a three-hour line unless there's a wicked awesome roller coaster at the end of it). It was insane... probably 200+ people. If I had an iPhone I would have taken a photo to post here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Contender for Best Photo Ever

Oooo... I entirely heart this photo and convinced Fernando to let me post it. I strongly thing it competes with this one for best photo ever. Its of him at Gay Days at Disneyworld earlier this year. Too cute.

Tomorrow is the Day...

The new iphone comes out tomorrow. Hopefully there will be enough that I will get mine too. I've officially waited almost 3 months since deciding that's what I wanted for my 30th birthday (April 24). I've never been this patient in my life... I am not, however, as patient as this man here who has parked his butt outside of the Boston Boylston Street since yesterday... and remains the ONLY one there in line. Hilarious.

Kitty Love...

Ok. Not my cat (for once, eh)... this wonderful story was brought to my attention by my coworker Tara. It is too fascinating. Basically these two guys bought a baby lion cub at Harrod's of London in the 70's. Raised it for a year and then had to release it to the wild (with help of course)... watch the amazing clip of what happens when they visit Africa after 4 years of his release. They were told nobody had seen "Christian" for nine months and that even if they did find him, he would not remember him.

Entirely fascinating and very touching.

Full story is here. (PS - you don't need the sound for this clip. Its just cheesy music.)

Speaking of Female Dramas... or Feline Dramas

Ok... I hate to be crazy cat woman but good old Midnight is seriously putting me through the ringer this month (and costing me a fortune).

This morning as I was giving her her medicine, she randomly started yowling. I found it odd because it meant her mouth was way open to give her her meds which she's much too smart for. So I gave her the drop of benadryl when I noticed red oozing out of her mouth. For the next ten or fifteen minutes, she just kept bleeding out of her mouth. I thought maybe she had bit her tongue again (although she's never oozed blood before). When I returned to feed her, I saw one of her big front teeth sitting on the floor. I know she's old and all and this stuff happens but with the blood it really freaked me out.

So I called the vet and they said losing one of these bigger fangs means she probably has an infection in her mouth. So I'm heading back to the vet on Monday. Luckily, she's at least doing better on the ear front. Poor kitty. I'm still shocked she's in such good spirits. I hope she remains that way when I make her get a part-time job to help cover these weekly vet bills! ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Cannot Believe Nobody Called Me

Thanks a lot, Regis Philbin. I know it was because you didn't want me to smoke your co-host Kelly and all, but, frankly, I really coulda used that $25,000.

A 150-Yard Dash... in Stiletto Heels?

Mark Remy

Women run in high heels every day—after cabs or buses, through airports, away from me. Today in Central Park, however, they'll be running for cash. That's right: It's the first ever High Heel-a-thon, a 150-yard dash in New York's Central Park wherein all the runners will wear high-heeled shoes.

Described by the organizers as "a spirited dash to raise money for the March of Dimes," today's race is brought to you by the good folks at TV's LIVE With Regis and Kelly. (Co-host Kelly Ripa will be among the competitors.)

Laugh if you like, but apparently this is serious stuff—the prize purse includes 25 grand for first place. And the race will be chip-timed. (Seriously.) We slipped into a fabulous pair of Marc Jacobs patent leathers and spoke with Michael Gelman, executive producer of LIVE, for more details...

(via Runners World Daily blog)

Ladies... what is with all the D-R-A-M-A!?

So a week ago... after almost 100 runs logged on my ipod, I decided to change the voice that tells me my mileage, pace, etc from a man's to woman's. I've been running with this little man in my earbuds for more than a year and just wanted to change things up and make a new friend.

However, ever since I changed this setting, my iPod has been totally fickle. Its set to display in miles but the voice tells me the kilometers instead. I set it for a 3-mile run and suddenly it wants me to do a 10-miler.

So last night... I changed it back to a male voice. And its working just fine again.

He simple tells me the stats I ask for and doesn't change my requested workout.

What is with women and their unnecessary drama?! *sigh*

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

#51 on the ole' Life List

So... its not definite yet (have to see if I can get a reservation and the lady is out of the office today), but I may be knocking "#51: Ride a hot air balloon" off of my list! I am heading to Stowe, Vermont this weekend for the "Stoweflake Balloon Festival" and I am so ridiculously excited. I've always had a weird fascination with hot air balloons. I've never been in one and I've always wanted to ride one a la Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

I'll keep you posted! Should be a great weekend either way. They have a phenomenal 5.5 mile Recreation Path too that goes past another weird childhood obsession of mine... the von Trapp Family (Sound of Music) cottage where they moved to and are now all buried (well, mostly buried actually as a few are still around and kicking). Sounds like the perfect spot for my 11-mile run!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Running Personal Records

Since last week, I got a PR (personal record in running lingo) last week at the POW-MIA Run for Freedom (okay, let's be honest here... I got a PR there because it was the ONLY 5-mile race I've actually particpated in!). And in a few weeks, I'm trying for a PR of under 2 hours at the half-marathon in NYC (life list #13)... that's going to be tough though since I'm suffering from some major posterior (insides of my calves) shin splints and since I also did really damn well last year.

So here are my PRs for all 10 of my races so far... I'm a slow runner but I'm not a natural athlete and also didn't start running until two years ago so I'm doing okay in my book.

5K = 26:36 (8:34 pace) on 2/3/08... I've ran 4 5Ks total
5-mile = 46:44 (9:21 pace) on 6/29/08... only one race
10K = n/a... hmm how have I never ran a 10K?
7.5-mile = 1:15:00 (10:00 pace) on 6/24/07... only one race
Half-marathon = 2:08:59 (9:50 pace) on 8/5/07... I've ran 3 half-marathons
Marathon = 4:42:44 (10:47 pace) on 10/28/07... only one so far!

Montreal Temporarily Postponed

Bummer but no big deal. Silvia and my trip to Montreal is temporarily postponed... til August or September. Its probably better anyhow as the weekend we were planning to go was exactly a week before the half-marathon and between needing to run 12 miles and not needing to drink as much as I'm sure we probably would have.

But in the meantime, I'm heading over to her and Dominic's tonight for some 4th of July celebrating.

Hope you all have a great 4th as well! More posts to come this weekend (including some belated Japan posts of some of my favorite / weirdest memories!).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Polo in Newport

Well, it was Cape Cod versus Newport at the Polo Match on June 28 for Braden's birthday. I'm pretty sure if I remember correctly through all the cava, champagne, and prosecco that Newport won (sorry Kristen)... but we had such a great time that who the hell cares? This was a must re-do event! Can't wait til Braden turns 31!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hotel for Montreal Booked!

WOo hoo! Silvia and I are all set with our hotel for Montreal. Hotel Nelligan is uber-chic (and so appropriate for two gals about town like us). We leave on July 18th and come back on the 20th.

Any other shopping / food / bar recommendations, send 'em my way in the comments section! YAY!

Total Eclipse of the... What the!?!?

OK - weirdest video award. My personal favorite was the ballerina ninjas.

The Latest Trend

Seriously... it started with these two funny photos of me with my niece and nephew... and then I started hunting and realizing, crap, I need to shut my damn mouth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Poor Kitty

I know it's a weird request but please keep my poor 18-year-old kitty Midnight in your prayers. She's not doing too well (although she's a very good sport about).

In the last week:
- she's scratched her left ear open... twice
- she lost her voice over a week ago and it still hasn't come back
- she's developed some discharge from her ear and left eye (sorry that's kinda gross)
- she's lost a half a pound (which for a six pound cat is a huge amount)
- she's only blinking from her right eye (which she's done for a long time but apparently that's a big deal and I just didn't know it)
- and she's been looking up at me with the saddest big eyes. :(
They've ruled out a lot of things... except it still could possibly be a tumor.
Luckily she's still eating and using her litter box which are VERY good signs but I think the world could be ending before she stopped eating.

She's on meds and the vet is pretty concerned. So if the meds don't start helping by Thursday, I have to bring her in for an emergency appointment.

I have to say... I've known for a while that her time was approaching but I'm so worried that it may be soon and she may suffer. She's the most loyal and affectionate cat and, even though I'm much more of a dog person, I can't help but totally adore that little furball. I've had her for so long, she's like family.

I'm one worried mama.

(cute photo compliments of Jen (of Jen + TC in the previous blog)