It's taper week — so less than a week now until my big fall race: the Staten Island Half Marathon. I've been training for this, building my mileage, since we left Oakland, and I am ready to run. I would very much like to beat the time of my last half marathon, but as always I am full of self-doubt. I don't know the course (I hear there is a big hill at mile 8, which is pretty much the worst place in a race for that, and the last mile is uphill too. And it's windy as it's along the waterfront. So I have no idea how it'll all shake out.)

I picked up my race bib and t-shirt on Monday. I'm in the F group again, which means I'll be in Wave 1 — starting at 8am. (This is the same corral I was in for the Bronx Ten-Miler, and I do think that it's about where I should be pace-wise, although I plan to run this upcoming race much faster.) My runs this week were… okay. I didn't hit the prescribed paces in my speed work on Tuesday. My run on Wednesday was in some new shoes, and it felt pretty great, right up until the last mile when a hot-spot developed under my big toe. We had a terrible storm on Friday here, so I pushed my long run from Saturday to Sunday. I just did a short run on Saturday, and I did 11 miles on Sunday — my last long run. I was supposed to run a little longer and farther, but Saturday night's dinner — plans I'd made when I thought it'd be post-long run — didn't sit well with me, and I was desperate to get home.

It felt like a week that was just a little out-of-sorts. I stopped at the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle on my way back from the bib pickup at NYRR. Remind me never to shop there again — what a fucking tourist trap of a nightmare. The housecleaner came on Tuesday, so Poppy and I were wandering the streets all afternoon. (More to say on that below.) Kin purchased a record player for the apartment — something he's wanted for a long time. But the turntable was missing parts and the receiver didn't work. So it's all still sitting, unplayable, in a pile in the living room. I was supposed to get my flu shot and COVID booster, but CVS didn't have the latter, so I just got the one injection.

Other workouts: swimming went fine, but I didn't practice my flip turns because I was totally confused as to what my body should be doing. Biking was ok — I rode the bus to the gym on Friday as it was bucketing rain. I decided it'd be faster to bike home, which was true right up until I had to search for blocks for an open Citibike rack to return it. I was doing "singles" in lifting (although not at my one-rep-max), which went really well, considering how exhausted I am from the running. My deadlifts in particular are feeling really really strong, and I still have a couple of months to hit that "out-lift Adele" goal.

Reading and viewing: started and finished Starter Villain by John Scalzi; started Blood in the Machine by Brian Merchant; started and finished Running (Practices) by Lindsey Freeman; finished Reservation Dogs, truly one of my favorite TV shows ever, so quite sad that it's over; watched the latest Only Murders in the Building episode; started The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith, who I always feel really guilty about reading, but ugh, sometimes monsters make art we like, I guess.

Second Breakfast: I recorded the first podcast episode with Margarita, which should be posted next week (if I can figure out the editing software — a good task for "taper week"). I posted a vegetarian red-eye gravy recipe, an essay about teachers and coaches and algorithms, and the weekly food/fitness technology news.

Cooking: Honey mustard chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw; leftover cake truffles with the remnants of the applesauce pecan layer cake; curried cottage pie; braised white beans and kale and parmesan stew; bagel chips in the air fryer; banana nut breakfast bars using tahini instead of peanut butter; sloppy joes and tater tots.

Eating Out: On Tuesday, while Cecilia was cleaning the apartment, Poppy and I walked up to the Black Lab Cafe on the UWS — a dog-friendly cafe. I had a banana muffin; she had a pumpkin muffin. I had a delicious coffee. She was totally overwhelmed by all the terriers in there. It was an adventure. We were supposed to walk to Kin's job and grab tacos after work, but she crashed so hard on the sofa when we got home that Kin just got takeout from Empanada Mama for us instead. We were also return customers (again! again!) at Amy's Bread and Absolute Bagels. And the new spot this week was Chi Restaurant and Bar, perhaps the best Chinese foods I've ever had. Not only did they have crispy sesame beef — a childhood favorite — and perfect soup dumplings, but I got this dish called "crispy shrimp with salted egg yolk" that was just magnificent.

I told Kin, "I will be thinking about this dish for a long time." Unfortunately, I was thinking about the meal when I ran the next morning, and as I said at the outset, that was a little distressful.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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