LONG RUN: LABOR DAY

Friday, August 29, 2014

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Running last night it hit me:  I’ve been home for almost two months (save a quick trip to Boston, meetings in DC and a weekend at the beach in North Carolina).  After traveling for the entire month of June, being stateside this has been both unexpected and welcome.

There is something magic about being seaside in the summer – maybe it’s simply the proximity to water.  Our favorite trail ends at the bay – the ideal place to recover.  After work we hop on our beach cruisers and bike to the bay – the perfect punctuation between the office and a summer evening.  On Friday nights we order takeout (or we did until our long runs got really long, now we have pasta) and head to the beach to eat and watch the sunset.

I’ve got 16 miles on tap tomorrow morning.  Afterwards, I fully intend on taking advantage of everything a seaside summer has to offer – there are plans to kayak, steam clams, make ice cream and relax at the beach.  Wishing you a long weekend full of the your favorite summertime things.

SIP: THE BEST ROSÉS FOR SUMMER

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Ryan walked into my office unannounced yesterday afternoon with flowers and a bottle of champagne in hand to deliver some really, really good news.  When I looked at the bottle, I was a bit surprised by his selection – Veuve Cliquot rosé, not the traditional yellow label.

I guess it is the summer of rosé – a trend that I am fully on board with.  Just in case you are looking for a bottle of wine for the long weekend, here are my three favorite [easy to find] rosés this summer:

 

Aimé Roquesante Rosé

This wine is my #1 pick.  It’s a light, acidic and refreshing Provençal rosé.  This wine is a GSM blend (Grenache, syrah, mourvèdre) and it is the prettiest color — a pale pinky orange.

Available at Whole Foods, $14 ]

 

Charles & Charles Rosé

This wine holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first rosé I ever found that I really enjoyed.  It received 90 points from Wine Spectator and is 100% Syrah.  The bottle has a screw top making it the perfect choice for a picnic or evening at the beach.  The tasting notes describe the wine with words like watermelon, grass and wet stones – what could possibly be more appropriate for summer?

Available at Total Wine, $13 ]

 

Veuve Cliquot Rosé

This is the most expensive pick, but if a celebration is in order I can’t imagine better summer bubbles.

Available at Total Wine, $59 ]

 

In case you’re interested, further reading on rosé from the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine.

 

Cheers!

FROM THE WEEKEND: HERMIT CRABS + TREE SWINGS

Monday, August 25, 2014

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We’ve enjoyed an uncharacteristically cool summer here on the east coast.  With a drop back week and a high of only 81 degrees, I slept in on Saturday morning and ran my eight miles late in the day.  Sunday was lazy and playful – the perfect way to usher out summer.  Ryan and I spent time at the bay catching hermit crabs and then had dinner at his parents’ house where I tested out their new tree swing [for the grandkids] while the fish was on the grill.  I was reminded on George Sheehan’s words:

 

“To play or not to play? That is the real question…You can have peace without the world, if you opt for death, or the world without peace if you decide for doing and having and achieving. Only in play can you have both. In play you realize simultaneously the supreme importance and the utter insignificance of what you are doing. You accept the paradox of pursuing what is at once essential and inconsequential…Play is where life lives, where the game is the game. At its borders, we slip into heresy, become serious, lose our sense of humor, fail to see the incongruities of everything we hold to be important. Right and wrong become problematical. Money, power, position become ends. The game becomes winning. And we lose the good life and the good things that play provides.”

 

Wishing you a week full of play.

 

[ PS:  If you haven’t read Running & Being, I highly recommend it. ]

LONG RUN: SHOWING UP

Friday, August 22, 2014

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I’ve found myself in a prickly situation recently – entrenched, but not in the position to untangle it.  In my more zen moments I can acknowledge that it is what it is and let it be.

I needed a bit of zen Tuesday night so I plopped down on my yoga mat – a place I haven’t found myself in quite sometime.  This isn’t a class with a soothsayer instructor (you know those yogis who whisper wisdom straight to your soul?), so I had tempered expectations.  My left hamstring has been tight since my long run on Saturday and I knew I could use a few deep breaths.

The instructor opened the class with this:  “You showed up for yourself tonight.

Sitting in lotus pose it hit me:  I’ve been waiting for a referee to show up and mediate this tricky situation – to apply the rules fairly and ultimately validate my position.  But, as my mother always said, “fair, my dear, is a term for the weather.”  And, good heavens, isn’t it exhausting seeking validation?  What a terribly useless pursuit.

I wrote recently about showing up – about the importance of presence and authenticity.  Last night I started thinking about how much easier it is to show up for a friend or an important cause than it is to show up for myself.  We sabotage ourselves with self-doubt, fear, judgment, comparison, the need for validation.  But, what if instead we showed up for ourselves like we (try to) show up for our friends:

  • Not to intervene, but to affirm.
  • Not to problem solve, but to be thoughtfully present.
  • Not in defense of, but on behalf of.
  • Not to judge, but to discern.
  • Not to untangle problems, but to generate space.
  • Not to point fingers, but to make peace.

The yoga instructor’s words stuck with me through the week.  When I didn’t feel like running on Wednesday night, they came to mind.  I went ahead and ran the miles, not because I had to or because I’d be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but because I really want to run a great marathon this fall.  And showing up for myself meant lacing up and getting out the door.

Showing up for myself means having the wisdom to know where my energy is well spent and where it is not.  It is having the discernment to know when to intervene and when to let go, and the courage to believe that my position needs no outside validation or justification.  Showing up for myself means that the commitment I have to myself to do the best I can where I can with what I have is enough.

What might it mean for you?

KAYAK CLAMMING ON THE EASTERN SHORE

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Growing up we would spend the summers in Rhode Island.  Some of my most vivid memories are of clamming with my dad – walking through tall reeds and wet muddy sand to get to a favorite clamming spot.  My dad would rake up the clams and then I would reach down in the murky churned up water, barely keeping my head above water, to retrieve them.  He always refused to pay for a permit to clam even though I’m pretty sure it would’ve only cost like $7.  Being under the age of 14 I wasn’t required to have a permit and, as such, I was the designated clam digger.  I’m not sure what age I was when these outings began, but I think I was pretty little.  We’d bring our haul home then experiment with clam chowder recipes – my favorite soup to this day.

On Father’s Day I wanted to recreate a version of that experience.  I searched around on the internet and found a company called Southeast Expeditions that leads kayak clamming tours on the Eastern Shore.  We woke up early, met our guide, hopped in our boats and paddled out to a sandbar.  We walked around the sandbar digging our toes in the muddy sand in search of bivalves.  Within a few minutes I found one, then another and another.  Our pile mounted and we left with nearly 50 pounds of clams!  These were big quahog clams, not the little cherrystone steamer clams.  We got home and tried our hand at fritters and then made chowder.

Lucky for my dad, there is no permit required for clamming in the state of Virginia and so he was happy to do all his own clam digging.  Poetic justice and a happy Father’s Day, indeed.

 

[ Our experience with Southeast Expeditions was fantastic.  Our guide was wonderful and even sent a handwritten post card the following week.  I really cannot say enough good things about the company (even though I wasn’t paid or perked to do so). ]

MONDAY: ANTI BAD VIBE SHIELD

Monday, August 18, 2014

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And just like that it’s Monday morning.  Summer weekends slip by so quickly, don’t they?  Quiet Friday nights preparing for long runs, early Saturday mornings logging miles, then recovering on Saturday afternoons.  A few lazy hours on Sunday and then, somehow, it’s time for the work week to begin again.  Today I made ice cream and then Ryan and I snuck out on our bikes for an early evening ride before a family dinner — we’re doing our best to squeeze every last ounce of sunlight out of these summer days.  Here’s to a work week full of good vibes…and summer fun.

[ photo taken by me at Deux Ex Machina in Bali summer 2012 ]

 

LANDED: GENEVA

Friday, August 15, 2014

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In a rather sudden turn of events, I found myself on a plane to Geneva on [a recent] Monday.

I’ve never been to Geneva, so I was thrilled at the opportunity, but also slightly terrified at the speaking engagement set before me.  This was my first interaction with the UN system and it was entirely fascinating – thousands of people meeting, speaking, writing, setting policy.

I woke up the morning of the speech feeling vaguely nauseas and very nervous.  I walked into the lobby of the hotel where the event would be held later that evening and I printed a few notes.  I sat down feeling overwhelmed and underqualified.  I knew I needed to recalibrate.

I’ve carried this phrase with me since I was tapped to talk:  “presence and authenticity matter more than planning or perfection.”  I turned the words over in my head a few times and noticed the parallel in my feelings to a moment during a recent race.  I consciously replaced wishing I had prepared more with gratitude for the opportunity to speak about something I care deeply about.  The knots in my stomach started to release.  The fear was still real even as I approached the podium, but I took a deep breath and reminded myself of how grateful I was to be present, to have a voice.

A posture of gratitude allows us to summon the courage to show up.  It offers us a sense of perspective and the ability to acknowledge the fear and then move through it.  And, perhaps most importantly, gratitude allows the clarity to see through fear and understand that what is in front of us is a precious gift.

STRANDED IN HONG KONG

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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I fell asleep as soon as I boarded my flight in Manila and awoke three hours later in a perfectly groggy post-nap state. It took me about three minutes to realize that we were not in the air. I double-checked my watch then looked out the window to confirm we were still on the ground. Ends up the flush lever on one of the toilets was broken and they were replacing the entire toilet on the tarmac. Thus began the biggest fiasco in the history of my personal travels.

I arrived in Hong Kong well after all flights to the U.S. and Europe departed so I was stuck for 24 hours. I was extraordinarily irritated and could not believe there was no option that didn’t leave me stranded for an entire day. I received a hotel voucher and hopped the shuttle to the Novotel. This is where things [temporarily] started to look up. The hotel was gorgeous. A glass wall separated the shower from the rest of the room allowing for sweeping city views from the bathtub.

The hotel is connected to a mall which is connected to the terminal for Ngong Ping 360, a cable car system between Tung Chung Town Centre and Lantau Island.   Now realizing that I had been given a free 24 hour excursion in Hong Kong, I dropped my bags in the room, bought a ticket and hopped into a cable car. Dense fog obscured the mountain and sea views on the ascent, but I had a glass-bottom cable car to myself and the trip through the clouds was peaceful. The cool, humid air was welcome after being stuck in an airplane for nearly ten hours.

I disembarked and walked around Ngong Ping Village, then through the Po Lin Monastery. It was extraordinarily quiet, save for the occasionally moo of the resident cows. The fog lingered and I wandered about aimlessly for a couple of hours.

I took one of the last cable cars of the day back down and the fog cleared enough to see the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, the world’s largest tallest seated outdoor bronze Buddha.

I noticed a fellow passenger wearing a Garmin watch and then saw that she had on an Ironman t-shirt under her raincoat. When I asked her about the race she looked very surprised that I recognized the logo. We spent the next fifteen minutes trading race stories and discovered that we had both been at the Chicago Marathon last year. She gave me a few tips for running the New York City Marathon. She was from Mexico and was also traveling alone – backpacking through Asia at the end of a graduate school study abroad experience, an extended vacation before jumping into her next Ironman training cycle.

I wished her good luck at Ironman Cozumel then disembarked feeling restored and grateful to be stranded.   As I walked back to the hotel I thought about the endurance sports community and how unique it is to feel instantly connected through sport – what a gift to be able to recognize a kindred spirit even while traveling all alone in a cable car in Hong Kong.

PALMS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Monday, August 11, 2014

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palm-trees-over-blue-water-philippinesAnd because palms are so in right now, this is a gratuitous photographic dose of palm trees from the Philippines.

 

SNORKELING IN CEBU

Friday, August 8, 2014

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We get back in the car and our patron saint, driver and guide to peak life experiences, Rodi, inquires as to whether we would now like to go to the “white sands beaches.”  We nod, then fall asleep.  We wake up driving down teeny tiny gravel roads between houses and shops and food stalls.  We get asked to pay a toll to go down the beach road.  Then just two minutes down the road, a group of men stop our car and ask us to pay again.  By this point we’ve all had it.  We are all well-traveled and quite comfortable taking a hard stance on bribes or at least knowing when the request is utterly ridiculous, unenforceable and inconsequential.  We say no, tell them we are going to a local resort and drive on.  Eventually we land at the Dolphin Inn and situate ourselves at a table just next to the water.  I order a coconut and chili king prawns.  We sunbathe and eat and drink and nap.  We get snorkels and swim out into the water.  There are fish of every color.  I see a white puffer fish, blue velvet starfish, red pointy starfish, urchins, a sea horse, a five foot long sea snake, anemones, and a giant clam.  There is coral of every imaginable variety.  In keeping with the “utterly surreal experiences” theme of the day, we come to find out that this is one of the premier diving spots in the world.  We laugh and shake our heads – what ridiculously good luck.

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