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Winter ain’t so bad…

January 30th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (12 Comments)

This past week was pretty good in terms of running, aided greatly by the not-so-awful weather we’ve been having this winter. Mother Nature, if we can make it to April 16th without anymore sub-20 degree days, I’d be your biggest fan.

I was reading through a few posts from last winter and remembered one of the mornings when it was 6 degrees (!!!) out and I thought it would be fitting to run exactly 6 miles. And then my hands almost froze off. Luckily, January hasn’t been bad and my fingers are crossed for a similar February. With my luck, it’ll snow all month…but here’s to hoping!

Here’s how the week panned out: 44 miles.

  • M: OFF
  • T: 8.5 in morning w/ Alex
  • W: 6.5 in afternoon, a bit stuffy/congested
  • R: Rainy workout night! 2 warmup, 1 cooldown. 5.14 workout in 34:10 (6:49, 6:44, 6:43, 6:43, 6:18), 1K at end in 3:45 (6:15 pace)
  • F: OFF
  • S: 14.5 long run w/ Alex & Alysia/Ambreleah. Warm, shorts run…felt really strong! ~ 7:25-7:30 pace average on CP bridle & Riverside
  • S: 5.5 easy + Total Body Conditioning Class

Thursday night’s workout was a pretty good one. It was only slightly drizzling on the warmup, but started raining pretty heavy into the workout and especially on our cool down. While I was a bit chilly at the end and cut my cool down short to only 1 mile (wimp), I typically love running in the rain and the workout went nicely.

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Followed by a short recovery & a 1K which I did in 3:45. The first four miles were kept pretty relaxed and I never felt like I was working too hard, which felt good. While it was prescribed at half-marathon pace, which is closer to 6:26, that just isn’t happening right now. We were able to bring the pace down the last mile because it’s largely downhill and we were reeling in some people who had gone ahead at the start.

Right after the workout, I showered & headed straight downtown to our dodgeball game where we won (!!!) and I proceeded to play flip cup until midnight, without eating dinner. Great decisions as usual.

My long run on Saturday was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while. While it was my longest run of the training cycle so far, the warm(er) air and great company really made the run fly by. Alex and I ran into Alysia & Ambreleah and did a few loops around the Bridle before heading over to Riverside Park to add on before heading back to Central Park. It felt like spring, I felt fit and I (kinda) wanted to run forever.

Winter isn’t so bad, right? Looking to hit 50 miles this week which shouldn’t be bad if I go down from 2 to 1 rest day.

Amidst all this running, I’ve also been working towards my budding career in professional taste testing (wouldn’t that be nice?). Twice within the last few weeks, I’ve been a judge/taste-tester in food competitions. Lucky me!

Tonight, I headed to the SELF Magazine offices to be a taste tester for their annual Healthy Food Awards. I signed up to do this last year as well, so my taste buds and stomach were happy to head back for the 2nd year.

We sampled and judged the following categories: plain yogurt, flavored yogurt (sadly not Greek yogurt, ha), frozen waffles, unsweetened cereal, sweetened cereal, ethnic frozen dinners, and creamy dessert pops. Random? Yes. Delicious. HECK YES! I’m so full right now. Just wait for the June issue to see the winners revealed!

And about 3 weeks ago, one of the companies we share our office space with hosted their 2nd annual BagelOff. And needed judges to rate bagels from 5 different NYC bagel shops. Obviously I jumped at the chance. As my coworker said, I’m a marathoner- I can handle the carbs.

Murray’s was the hands down winner, followed by Ess-A-Bagel, Absolute, Russ & Daughters and Zaro’s. Love me some bagels & cream cheese. If you’re curious, here’s the official scorecard we used. My favorite was judging on overall taste: “Are all the flavors in perfect harmony, aligning the planets and exposing to you all that’s right with the world?” 

And this weekend was full of good eats as well. From a cute make-your-own Buffalo Chicken pizza and wine date night (did you know you can use pans as pizza dishes? Well, you can.)…

….to a Saturday night spent eating delicious Italian pizza, ‘Munchies’ ice cream and drinking beers on a patio (OUTSIDE!! in January!!) in Brooklyn, it was a fun-filled foodie weekend with friends!

Highlight of your weekend? How’s the weather been for you so far? Ever been a food judge..? It’s pretty awesome.

Welcome to Sub-Elite, #287

November 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (16 Comments)

About a month ago, I applied for the ‘local competitive’ corral for the marathon. This is open to marathoners with a time of 3:16 or faster, and since I did it last year, I figured I’d do it again. I was assigned bib #504 and all was good. Then I found out there was another section, the sub-elite, for marathoners with a time of 3:05 or faster. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this sooner? I emailed the NYRR a few weeks ago and they let me know that unfortunately, the section was closed. No disappointment- local competitive was still a great option.

Yesterday at work, I got a call from NYRR, informing me that a few spots in sub-elite had opened up due to last-minute cancellations. Did I want to be switched? Ummmm, YES please!

Within a few hours, my registration card was updated to Bib #287.

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Needless to say, I’m so excited! Sub-elite athletes get a dedicated bus that leaves midtown at 6:30 a.m. and goes straight to the staging area with a special bag check, portapotties (most important!), refreshments, massages, and a clear starting position in the orange corral. Since I started on the lower level in green last year, I am probably most excited to start on the upper deck so I can actually see all the fanfare. And get to feel like a pro for a morning ;) I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this experience.

This afternoon I took a break from working at home (seriously, I love working from home! so much productivity without the commute) and ran the 3.5 miles from my apartment down to the expo. Nice way to multitask and get in my run for the day.

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I spent about 45 minutes or so walking around the expo, checking out the free samples and stocking up on some gear.

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A short sleeve gray shirt, a soft longsleeve blue half-zip (showing the back with the marathon type), and a red Brooks longsleeve: ‘Run Happy’. I love that one!

The expo really made me feel like the marathon is here. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around the reality that I’m racing 26.2 miles on Sunday, and needed the energy of thousands of others to get me in the mood. I don’t know when it’ll actually hit me, but I’m getting closer. Promise.

I worked a bit more when I got home, and then decided to make a nice, healthy dinner. Another perk of working from home: being able to cook from my own fridge, whenever I want, instead of depending on whatever I brought to the office that day and waiting to eat a ‘real’ dinner until I get home at 8! And the best perk: working in my sweaty running clothes in bed and showering 5 hours later. Mmmhmm.

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Baked salmon with TJ’s Island Soyaki sauce, over a bed of quinoa, edamame and cucumbers, also mixed with soyaki sauce.

I’m trying to increase my carbohydrate intake this week, to amp up my stores and fuel for the race. I don’t do the typical pasta binge the night before, as my stomach isn’t used to that and I’d probably get sick. And, it’s a bit too late to ‘stock up’ the night before. Instead, I’ve been focusing on having more healthy carbs all this week like bananas, oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, more pretzels and crackers for snacks, and bases of grains like quinoa when eating healthy proteins.

Since I’ve been running less this week, my appetite hasn’t been quite as ravenous. That means I’ve had to make a more conscious effort to eat every few hours, since I know my body needs the fuel. I don’t weigh myself too often, or get too preoccupied with it, but today I noticed I’ve lost about 3 pounds from about 2 weeks ago. For me right now, this is not a good thing! I need to hang on to all the muscle, power and water I can get to get me through the race. I will probably focus on getting back to a lower weight post-race. (Yes, I tend to gain around 5 or so pounds marathon training. I like to think it’s muscle, but it’s more likely a result of my monster appetite).

I’ll be back again tomorrow or Saturday with a pre-race post. Until then, send good marathon thoughts my way and tell me where you’re cheering!

What’s your favorite part of race expos? What’s your carbo-loading strategy? If you’re cheering WHERE WILL YOU BE?!?! I want to know where to look for everyone.

Exactly What I Needed

October 29th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (6 Comments)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the awesome responses to my last post. Change can be exciting, but change can also downright suck. Especially when bad changes make it a bit hard to appreciate the awesome things lying ahead next week– like starting the new job on Tuesday, and racing the marathon on Sunday. I am going to channel all of your strength and support to help keep chugging along.

Each day this week has been a bit better than the one before it, so that’s good. I’m able to fall asleep…just not stay asleep or get quality sleep once my mind starts wandering. An “off” button for my brain would be greatly appreciated. Why has nobody invented that yet? My legs feel great when running, but the runs don’t feel as easy as they should because it’s really hard to breathe deeply. My chest feels pretty tight, like my lungs are constricted? Like I’m out of shape. I know I’m not, I know it’s a result of the anxiety, stress and sadness, and I’m hoping that I’ll feel refreshed in a week from now. I’m also hoping I’ll stop being such a downer soon :)

Last night was one of the most special NYC moments I’ve experienced in quite some time. Last night Noelle, Terence and I met for dinner up at Penelope, a cute restaurant in Murray Hill better known for its brunch. We were seated at a table by the window and as we finished our meal I discovered a small drawer on my side of the table. Out came dozens of small letters written by people, up to three years ago.

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The notes were funny, inspiring, sad, crude, silly, stupid, hopeful and more.

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I loved the note above. This drawer was a little slice of magic. What a cute, hidden NYC ‘secret’! After catching up and feeling pretty down for the first half of dinner, I happened to notice the drawer and it changed everything. Terence, Noelle and I left our own notes behind that really helped capture the uplifting mood of the evening.

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Finding this drawer was everything I needed (last night). I felt let in on a little NYC secret. The notes restored a bit of hope. I am starting to believe the cliche is true: everything does happen for a reason. We were about to pick another restaurant, but switched to Penelope a few hours before. We were randomly seated at that table. We just happened to notice the drawer at the end of our meal. Our waiter said only a few people actually notice the drawer, surprisingly, and even fewer choose to read as many notes as we did. We were meant to be there last night. And whatever will be, will be.

———-

And today, it’s SNOWTOBER! It’s freezing, snowing, windy and thunderstorming in NYC. Kind of makes me want to stay under the covers all day, and is a frightening preview to winter! I am disappointed my mom was unable to drive into the city today to spend time together, as I was really looking forward to seeing her (and getting some Xanax…wish I was kidding), but the roads in NJ were just awful.

I bundled up to brave the elements for a run earlier this morning, just as the cold rain transitioned to snow the last few miles. The bridle path was soggy and windy, but the empty park was serene and allowed me to clear my head. The 6 miles clicked off around 7:25-7:30 pace, which hasn’t happened in a while. Again, felt easy on the legs but very tough aerobically. I am exhausted and just need a reset button!

Tonight, I’m going to bundle up and head crosstown to meet Kelly and Susan for 16 Handles. Because it’s never too cold for fro-yo, and sugar cures all.

I survived the first week of the taper! Sunday’s Half-Marathon marked 3 weeks to race day, and the beginning of the gradual decline in intensity and mileage.

After many, many hard weeks of training, I’m a bit relieved. The end is near. My goal is (finally) in reach. November 6th used to feel so far away- especially through all those humid, sweaty runs in July and August- and it was hard to visualize race day. September rolled around, the fall air began to hit, and upping my long runs helped draw the marathon a bit closer. And now, we’re suddenly nearing the end of October and it’s in sight. How did that happen? I’ve logged three 20-mile runs, pushed through weekly workouts at half-marathon and marathon pace, reached a new highest weekly mileage, and I feel ready. Well, most of the time.

The great part is… all the really hard work is behind me. But that’s also the scary part. I second guess myself. Did I do enough? Were my runs long enough? Was my pace fast enough? I’m out of time to put in the hard work. These few weeks of tapering will be about getting my legs fresh, staying healthy, resting up, and mentally preparing. While these things are all a very important part of race preparation, it’s difficult not to question how you could have done more during training. Stretched more, iced more, ran longer, ran faster, slept more, ate cleaner, took iron more, lifted more, worked on my core strength more.

I think this is totally natural. No matter your ability, there is always room to doubt yourself. No matter your training, there is always the question if you could have done more. It’s like that in all areas of life: did I study enough for that test? Did I prepare enough for my big client presentation? Did I spend enough time with my family? Did I do enough to show my friends I care?

I need to focus on looking back at all I’ve accomplished over the last 3 months, and trust in that. I feel confident that I’ve done the best I could in my training given the time and energy I was able to dedicate. I am thankful to have stayed healthy and injury-free this entire training cycle. I have woken up earlier than the sun, run faster and farther than comfort, and am ready. Sub-3:00 is no longer a lofty goal, it’s in reach. The preparation is done. It’s all up to feeling good, running smart, staying strong, and digging deep on race day.

Hopefully, crossing the finish line as happy (and satisfied) as last year! This time, a few minutes faster.

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This week, I hit 49.5 miles.

  • Sun: 13.1 miles- Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: 1:32:09
  • Mon: Off
  • Tues: Flew back from CA on redeye. 4 miles easy after landing before work.
  • Weds: 4.5 miles in CP
  • Thurs: 2 warmup, 5.16 tempo (6:44 average pace), 2.5 cooldown
  • Fri: 2 miles shakeout
  • Sat: 16.5 miles total, including last 10 miles of the marathon course (!)

Next week, I’ll probably hit around 35-38 miles, and then only around 22-25 miles the week before the marathon. Hooray!

To rest, I’ll be keeping it pretty low key these next two weekends. Last night, I went to the Meatball Shop with Dan for dinner. The wait was less than an hour, surprising for 7 p.m. on a Friday. Like last time I went, I decided to get the sliders again so I could choose multiple ball/sauce varieties. I chose the spicy pork with spicy meat sauce, veggie with parmesan cream sauce, and the special ball- chicken cordon bleu with mushroom sauce! With a side of carrot and chive risotto, steamed spinach and the market salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and persimmon. Yum!

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And of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Special apple cinnamon ice cream with special oatmeal cherry cookies. Amazing.

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No, these hairy arms are not mine.

This morning, I met a few of my CPTC teammates on 59th and 1st to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course. I ran about 4.5 miles through the park to meet, and 2 miles easy after we finished to run back to my apartment. Afterwards, I refueled with a giant mug of Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee, and steel cut oatmeal mixed with pumpkin and protein powder. Now that it’s finally feeling like fall, I’m in the mood for warm, flavorful food. MMM.

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I have to run a few errands this afternoon before fun evening plans. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

How do you stay confident during a taper? Tips to trust in your training? Any fun weekend plans?

The Final Push!

October 13th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

I’m almost done with my last week of heavy training until November 6th. Remember last week how I said I hit 70 miles and felt great while doing it? Well, the tables have turned this week. My goal was (is?) to hit 75 miles this week, but my legs are just not feeling it. To hit 75 miles on 6 days of running, without a workout, is harder than I thought. I keep reminding myself that taper time is just around the corner, and it’s okay if the volume is making my legs tired for now.

Honestly, I have struggled a lot with motivating myself to get in my runs this week. A combination of training and some exciting personal changes (which I’ll discuss on the blog…soon!) seem to have zapped my energy and focus. Yesterday was one of those mornings where I felt like stopping dead in my tracks after a few miles, walking home, and being okay with that. Instead, I mustered up 11 easy miles as a run-commute to work, though every step was a bit of a mental struggle. This morning I woke up around 6 a.m. before my alarm, and wanted nothing more than to skip my run and sleep forever. I procrastinated on Twitter and email, and finally stood on my doorstep for about 5 minutes before I could actually will myself to run. 9 dark and misty miles along the Hudson River actually flew by, and I questioned why I thought the run would be so miserable.

The point here is, running has highs and lows. Training does not comes easy, and I don’t hit the pavement with a smile on my face every day. Some days I do, but many more days I don’t. But the days I don’t feel like running the most are the days I always seem to return back home, smiling that I did it. Putting in the work isn’t always fun, but the rewards of a new PR (fingers crossed!) on race day motivates me day in and day out to not listen to my body, and get out there and run!

Here’s how the week has shaped up so far. I am planning to take it easier on Friday and off on Saturday before running the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon on Sunday(!). This totals to 75 miles for the week, though I’m not sure how my legs will feel doubling again tonight so I might skip the run to rest.

  • Sunday: 20 miles with Alex in Central Park, Riverside, Battery Park, Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges
  • Monday: 9 miles in morning, 3.75 at night
  • Tuesday: 6.75 in morning, 5 at night
  • Wednesday: 11 miles run-commute to work
  • Thursday: 9 miles in morning, Planned 4 after work
  • Friday: Planned 5.5
  • Saturday: OFF

I might have forgotten to mention this on the blog, but yes, I am flying out to San Francisco this weekend to run the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon! (NOT the full!) My friend Jill from college is running it with her sister and friends, so I got looped in on their team and accepted into the lottery. My sister goes to college in San Francisco, so it was an easy trip with a free place to stay!

San Francisco is known for its hills, so my game plan is to use this race as a workout versus a race to PR. I’ll aim to run the first 10K  around marathon pace (~6:50) and then work on bringing that pace down for the second part of the race to practice feeling good while negative splitting.

I’ll also use this race to test out my (hopeful) marathon shoes! I’ve had a bit of a shoe dilemma…

Last year, I ran the marathon in an old pair of Nike Lunarsomethingorothers (honestly can’t remember if these are the LunarElites, LunarTrainers, LunarGlides, etc.), which I really liked. They had enough support while still being lightweight and fast.

However, after a few workouts and races, I wanted to find a fresh pair. Plus, the heel came up pretty high in the back and sometimes cut up my skin. Ouch. I bought a pair of Nike LunaRacer’s, because they seemed similar and I loved the color. Sucker for fun shoes.

After a few workouts, I felt okay in the shoes, but didn’t love them. The base felt a bit too spongey. I’ll keep wearing them for workouts, but wanted to find a new pair for the race. Since CPTC gets a 40% New Balance discount, I ordered the 1400s below and am crossing my fingers they work out! I’m hoping to wear them on my easy 4 miles to break them in a bit before the half. How fun are they?

New Balance 1400s, so bright! Hope these work!

Peak marathon training also means my appetite has increased tremendously, enough to feed a family of four at times it seems. To prepare, I made a big batch of quinoa on Sunday night and have been basing my lunches and dinners around it to ensure that I had a healthy source of whole grains and protein with every meal. Otherwise, it’s just way too tempting to eat peanut butter and 16 Handles for dinner every night. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but I want to make sure I’m fueling my body the best I can to carry me to the finish line. Convenience is my friend in the kitchen when logging tons of miles and spending long days at work. With a bit of prep work, these meals have come together in less than 10 minutes. Hooray!

Wednesday's dinner: Quionoa, spinach, tomatoes, baked mahi mahi pieces and TJ's peanut satay sauce (new discovery- so good). Made this same thing on Monday with a burger patty instead of mahi mahi.

Today's lunch: Quinoa with zucchini, tomatoes, feta, walnuts and TJ's garlic chicken sausage

How’s your running going this week? What do you look for in a good pair of running or racing shoes? Favorite easy (and filling!) meal?

Sometimes, like this weekend, I question my sanity. I’m pretty sure running has turned me into a crazy person.

All the endorphins have gone to my head, blocking any sense of rationality, making me think I enjoy things that sound absurd and a weird form of torture to most. Like signing up for the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge…yep, 2 marathons within 2 weeks of each other. Next April is going to be a blast.

Also like willingly paying $18 to run not one, not two, but three counter-clockwise loops of Central Park at 7 a.m. this morning.

It's 6 a.m. I'm ready to go.

18 miles of fun

Most days, you can’t even get me to do one full outer loop. I like variety, the soft bridle path, new scenery…and despise Harlem Hill. I can run 18 miles (for free) any day I want to, at whatever time I want to, on whatever course I want to. So why, despite an awful, awful experience at last year’s NYRR Marathon Tune-Up Training Run, did I still eagerly sign up again?

Sometimes I have a weird way of rationalizing how doing difficult, inconvenient things are actually a good thing for me. Like how I used to trek from the UWS to USQ (yep, 2 subways) just go to to Trader Joe’s. I like that about myself. Keeps me challenged. I could have slept in this weekend and ran an easy long run alone, but decided this race run would be a nice challenge for just one long run.

  • I had to get in 20 miles this weekend, regardless. Signing up reduced the chances I’d skip out or cut it short.
  • 3 loops is boring, yes, but great to build mental toughness for the marathon
  • My friend Alex was running it too. We both ran 3:04 in NYC last year and are both gunning to break 3:00 this year. I wouldn’t have to run it alone!
  • Central Park is hilly. Hills are good to build strength for training.
  • Water stations, Gus, and crowd support. Hooray!

See? Not so bad. Okay, maybe a little crazy. I ran 2 miles over to and around the park before the 18 started to ensure I hit 20 for the day. My first 20 of this training cycle.

It was a bit humid, especially earlier on, though it could have been worse. I was still a sweaty mess at the end! The first mile started out pretty slow with the crowds, but once we got into a groove it was great! The first two loops felt pretty effortless as we chatted the miles away. The third loop was a bit of a struggle mostly due to the fact we were lapping people and had to either weave through the thick crowds or keep to the outer edge of the road. Apparently not so great for tangents, as the total distance was 18.21. I am especially happy we were able to drop the pace on the last few miles, going sub-7.

Weird form of torture? Maybe. But I would not have hit those splits alone so I’m glad I did it. Doing hard, unpleasant things are often the best things. My confidence is boosted a bit from this solid effort, though I’m still very unsure how I’ll feel trying to hit sub-3:00 pace (6:50/mile) on race day. Bring it on!

—-

This weekend was also full of good eats and good friends! Despite the rain, I trekked over to the UES to MXCO to meet Susan, Shannon and Christine for dinner. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to margaritas.

Susan, Shannon, and Gatsby

Christine, Me and Gatsby

And, we ate cactus. Just had to try it since it was on the menu! It was surprisingly tasty, though the delicious sauce on the top helped.

Cactus

On Saturday, I watched the 5th Avenue Mile, a premiere event in road racing. I ran to NYRR to pick up my bib for the tune-up and met Terence and Erin to watch the elite and pro races. My friend and old Villanova teammate, Nicole, won the NYRR Local Elite Championship race in 4:38. Woohoo!

Thanks for the pic, NYRR

Later that evening, I got to see Susan and Shannon again, joined by Kelly and Shannon’s sister at the Meatball Shop! I had been dying to try the spot and eagerly suggested we check it out. Luckily, these ladies <3 balls just as much as I.

I couldn’t decide on just one type of meatball, so I opted for the sliders to sample a few varieties. I chose the classic beef with tomato sauce, veggie with mushroom sauce, and the special ball of the day: buffalo chicken with blue cheese sauce. The side of special carrots with walnut, mint and prunes. It was hard to pick a favorite!

However, it was not hard to pick dessert. Mint ice cream sandwiched in between gingersnap and brownie cookies.

Well worth the hour wait, and certainly served as fuel for this morning’s run. Can’t wait for more balls! (That’s what she said?)

What was the best part of your weekend? Favorite type of meatball? Ever do inconvenient or difficult things because you rationalize that they’re good ideas? Once I decided it was a great idea to purchase a large floor rug at Ikea and lug it on the ferry and subway all by myself, because I really wanted it and didn’t want to wait another few weeks until going to Ikea with a car. Thankfully today’s 18 miler turned out to be a much better idea, though perhaps equally as tiring.