I turned 52 yesterday and Kin asked what I had planned for the upcoming year. All I could really detail — and quite frankly much of what I’m focused on right now — is the upcoming race season. My first race is Saturday — a 10K in Central Park. I picked up my bib on Monday — my first trek into the NYRR headquarters. I am nervous as hell, and I’m sure the nerves will just increase throughout the week.
Physically, I feel good, particularly since the last few days haven’t been as hot and humid. I feel strong. But thousands of people are signed up for this race, and I am not used to the “majors” — the security, the lines, etc. Plus I am not certain how I’ll do. Central Park is very hilly! And how I do in this race dictates where I’m placed in the waves/corrals for the subsequent races this season.
I ran more last week than I’d ever run before — over 36 miles. Tuesday’s run — on the treadmill as it was humid AF — was my longest run too, coming in at over 14 miles. Saturday’s run — the final “Summer Streets” of the summer — had me running down Park Avenue and across the Brooklyn Bridge. At a little over 9 miles, it was probably one of the most fun runs of my life. The other runs went well too, as did lifting and swimming (and biking to and from the gym). I’m not really pushing too hard on the lifting; I find it hard to train for a race and advance my weights. But I am getting back to the numbers I was at before we left Oakland. So that’s good.
I do want to figure out what my training will look like so that I have time to focus on weightlifting during the “off-season” of running. But this fall will be busy: the 10K this weekend, then a one-miler, then a 10-miler, then my half marathon. And then another 10K, a 5K, and a 15K. That takes me through December, when it’ll be time to start training again for the spring race season. So yeah. Overcommitted, as usual. I also have signed up for a triathlon, and I need to figure out how to get faster and more confident on a bike and in the pool.
All the training means all the eating. We had dinner with Martha and Madigan on Monday at 5 Napkin Burger, with dessert at Schmackery’s (which had just come off a surprise appearance in Only Murders in the Building). When I ran to Brooklyn, my destination was the Doughnut Plant, where I ordered a chocolate donut and a PB&J-filled one. The latter was surely the best jelly-filled donut I’ve ever eaten. Pastries were also on order for Sunday, and I ordered a “care pack” from Supermoon Bakehouse, one of the best bakeries in the city. Sadly, the delivery-guy knocked the box around a lot, it seemed, and while a lot of the decorations were smashed, they were still beautiful in my mouth and tummy. (I had a leftover croissant for breakfast this morning, starting the day out right.) Saturday was bagel day again, with delivery from Ess-a-Bagel. My birthday dinner was at Keen’s Steakhouse, which we decided was a 50th, 51st, and 52nd birthday dinner for me and a 50th and 51st for Kin as we hadn’t really celebrated any of these. It’s your classic NYC steakhouse, and I got a burger which was really great. I also ordered a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer, something I haven’t had for decades. It did not disappoint. Kin ordered their speciality: this massive mutton chop. We walked home, stopping at Magnolia Bakery for their famous banana pudding (for Kin). I got a slice of German chocolate cake. You could tell the workers were, like, “fuck tourists” (we stopped at the one next to Radio City Music Hall) because the service was just ridiculously bad, and when I opened my cake box, it looked like the kid had thrown a massive chunk into it. I mean, whatever. Still tasted okay. And finally, in food updates, here’s what I cooked this past week: Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken with Asparagus; gingerbread; blackened cod with cheesy grits; Caramelized Goat Cheese Apple Sandwiches with some chicken sausage on the side; corn fritters and pork dumplings (which we made a few weeks ago based on Hetty McKinnon’s dumpling dough recipe in To Asia With Love) — the former didn’t work out as well as the first time I made them.
Running on the treadmill has me watching much more TV than I have been, and while I don’t seem to be listening to books on tape as I run lately (I need the music to inspire me to train through the humidity), Kin and I still listen to audiobooks in the weekday evenings. I did listen to the latest episodes of the Burnt Toast and Barbell Medicine podcasts though (or part of them). Treadmill media: I finished the Morning Show (Season 2), started Physical (Season 1), started John Wick 4 (I think we're on the fourth movie, right?) — it’s so long that I don’t know that I’ll finish it on tomorrow’s run, even. I finished reading Democracy’s Data about the 1940 census and started KSR's New York 2140 after Martha recommended it. Kin and I are listening to Inside Voice, which is nice and light (and short) after our lengthy commitment to The Power Broker audiobook. We watched the latest episodes from the current seasons of Reservation Dogs and Only Murders in the Building, and finished off the first season of I’m a Virgo (Oakland, represent). The highlight was one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a while, Turn Every Page, about the relationship between Robert Caro and Robert Gottleib.
And finally, although the caller will remain nameless, I did have one of my regular “should I drop out of grad school” conversations last Monday. I’m here to support anyone who wants to talk about how terrible the institution of higher ed is and why grad school is simply not worth the time or money. Don't go. Drop out. I’m no life coach, kids, but that’s advice I’m more than happy to hand out.