Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Joes in my Life: Joe #1

One of the Joes in my life is Joe, the Art of Coffee. Our local outpost is at 23rd & 9th Ave, though there are locations on Waverly, East 13th, Grand Central and the UWS.

After trying out various Starbucks in our search for a true local coffee spot, we were blessed when the 23rd Street Joe opened for business in about March 2008. It took about a year for the building scaffolding to go away, so we finally see the sun through the high windows.

I will admit, my favorite is the Breakfast Blend but there is another roast that is in rotation that I enjoy (I can't remember the name!). Mexican Chiapas, in rotation now, is good as well.

Coming here, I'm reminded that NYC is a small place and that you do see familiar faces at the neighborhood spots. We typically head over around 8 (with reading material or the iphone to read on) and watch the before work crowd come in. And New Yorkers are really good about leaving reading material for the next person, so I can usually get a NYTimes.

Joe has it's own running blog at: I will admit, that I haven't joined, but follow it.

A shot of the lights (not captured well) and the barista area:

They have the prettiest latte drinks. This is from their website:

And the outside (the messages on the board crack me up. But as someone pointed out to me, it's not necessarily 8 am somewhere, it could be AFTER 8 am):

Monday, July 27, 2009


I can happily report that I finished in one piece, in 3 hours and 41 seconds! I was shooting for a sub-3 hour time, and at first was really hard on myself. Then I remembered my thoughts during the swim ("just let me get to the finish line, the wetsuit is tight around my neck and I can't breath"). This is a shot of the swim exit on the day before the race.

I had my best swim, run and transition times. I just came up a little short on the bike, which had been my focus. But looking back, I didn't get a flat, and that would have been disastrous. I can't change a flat tire, and it would have taken me out completely. I can't continue on like this and will be learning starting next month.

A few key moments, takeaways and memories from the race:

1. The Para Athletes are simply AMAZING. While we all waited for the swim (it was delayed 20 minutes for thunderstorms), they interviewed athletes over a PA system. One girl says could really use a knee. And I take that for granted! Above the knee, above the elbow, you see it all, and they all are going by me!

2. Not applying sunscreen and combing hair post swim definitely saves time.

3. A crash 5 minutes into the race climbing a steep hill would have been bad. It was narrowly avoided and I have to thank the police officer for keeping me upright!

4. That feeling of jumping in the water and knowing you can't really get out until you reach the end is terrifying and exhilarating.

5. When can you bike over the Henry Hudson Bridge? In the morning, with a great view?

6. I brought my bike up Saturday and they were blasting Madonna's "Holiday" in the transition area. Can't help but get pumped up.

7. Fellow competitors are super nice. I asked a girl if she thought my tire needed more air that morning.

8. Everyone is body-marked with their age on their calf. I love passing the 28 year olds (because they also had a 10 min head start in the swim). Honestly, the older women are hard core. The 40 year olds pass me.

9. There is no feeling like going downhill at 33 mph.

10. Even when I don't make my goal, I'm still astonished I actually do this, and finish. I love the challenge. I kind of like the unpredictability and lack of control. For a run, I can just go out there and run. Here I have to deal with a river and people kicking, a bike and all that comes with it, other bikers...

I'm hoping to complete triathlon #4 next year at the 10th annual NYC Tri (that is if I can get a spot, it fills up in 20 minutes). And if possible, add another.

A few more pics:

Everything is well marked:

Where the bikes sleep overnight:

The swim exit:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tri-ing Not to Stress!

It's tomorrow! And yes, just like this picture, there are arms and legs and bodies everywhere in that swim. It's every woman for herself, and you just hope you don't kick someone in the head.

After all of the biking, running and swimming, I'll be pulling it all together tomorrow morning at 6:24 am when I get into the Hudson (this is when the 2nd wave of woman ages 30-34 kicks off). The elites get to jump off the platform, the rest of us climb into the water and hold a rope until we get the go ahead. And they start at 5:50 am. Early.

I realized that it's quite a bit of a logistical and organizational nightmare. There are about 3,600 athletes divided into 2 color groups (red or yellow), with all the numbers, stickers and tags color and number coded (everything gets marked - the helmet, the bike, the runner). There are 37 waves of about 100 swimmers each, each wave with it's own color coded swim cap. The picture below shows a wave walking to the platform in the Hudson (that's the George Washington Bridge in the background).

I went to my mandatory briefing yesterday and am sporting a really yellow cute wrist band at the moment. And later today I will ride my bike up to the transition area to drop it off. This is when I had my accident last year, so am hoping for better trip this year!

For everyone who asks about the Hudson River quality, here is what the official Tri site says:

Q: Is the Hudson Safe?
A: Yes, the Hudson is safe and clean. Water quality testing is done regularly. No vaccines, no shots, no panic attacks necessary. Calm down. The race has sports psychologists at the start for the faint of heart. The Hudson River is the fastest Olympic distance swim in the world. It is a tidal river so you swim with the current.

I'm going for a personal best time, am not going to mention it unless I hit it!

What I find incredibly amazing are the Para Triathletes. It's hard enough for me to swim with 2 arms and 2 legs. Anything less and I'm not sure I could do this. But they do, and I find it incredibly amazing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My NY*: The Local Book Store

Have you watched You've Got Mail and also loved the little local bookstore? Is it a dream to open a stationary store, bookstore, or bakery?

I will admit that I'm an customer. I will note books, add them to my cart, and wait until I qualify for the free shipping. But there is something about browsing a bookstore for ideas, for the opportunity to discover something new.

Despite my efficient and practical book procuring side, I am in love with 192 Books in Chelsea (10th Ave @ 21st St). It is a small general-interest bookstore that opened in 1993. I walked by 192 Books for nearly 1 1/2 years before ever stepping inside (it is on the way to my gym). One afternoon, we made a trip specifically to the bookstore...and it was delightful!

What I love most is that they have a well-chosen selection of non-fiction and fiction. I love to discover books before they become bestsellers (which is why I still haven't read The Kite Runner). I love books where I learn something. I love stores that give me ideas for my reading pile.

They have a good selection of Steve Coll (a favorite for current events). But I was also reminded of Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World by Samantha Power. I noticed that many of the books features on The Colbert Report are here as well.

And there are author events! In June I attended an event with Alice Hoffman featuring her new book, The Story Sisters. It was a small, intimate event with fans, avid readers and neighborhood folks.

For the local tourist, the shop is just around the corner from the 20th St entrance of the High Line. A great little place to wander to post urban garden/park!

** "My NY" is my new series on events, places and items of interest as I explore NY during my post-employment. Triathlons, baking and technology was a little limiting and doesn't allow me to capture some of my favorite things!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ode to my iPhone

I have a love affair with my iPhone. MB knows, he loves his just as much. Of all my physical items I have this is at the top. It's a life changer, and I know you think it's silly. But you will text more, check the internet more...I can "see" my voicemails. Ahh, it's all so wonderful.

I've tested my fair share of apps and am always looking for new useful, neat ones. And I do use them...

There was a night we just started out from our apartment with no particular dinner place in mind, just the sense that we needed to head south into Chelsea. Into the West Village, my tummy starts to rumble. We come upon Wallse. It looks good, there are people there, but is it any good? I've previously hit upon this one with Urban Spoon, but take a look at yelp (this is all on the iphone). Deciding to walk on, we give my little device a shake shake shake to get the wheels of Urban Spoon going and discover a little Italian trattoria a few streets down. Thanks Urban Spoon! It's delightful, with windows open to a quiet street in the West Village, and packed. But cash only. And being someone that has $2 in cash to her name, we were now in search of an ATM. Another win: BoA mobile banking with ATM locations! And Google maps to tell me which is closest!

Seriously, what would we have done before?

1. We never discovered this place (and honestly, I can't remember the name, it's on Washington, almost to W 10th).
2. We would have abandoned the find for lack of cash (I'm against sketchy ATM machines in bodegas).
3. Gone somewhere we've already been.

I have the 3G, but not the 3Gs and have been told by my tech savvy sources that the next version will be a new form factor (the size, thickness, etc will change). I'm ready. And if it would go to Verizon, too, I'd be even more ready.

I can't explain how great this device is. You will use aspects of it you never thought you needed? Did I ever need to email a pic instantly or post it to facebook? um, YES?!?!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Triathlon Clothes

I just finished 4 days of harder training on the triathlon front and have to admit, I'm a little tired right now! I'm trying to work on the nutrition part so am biking with my preferred G2 (Blueberry Pomegranate) and am testing out a few Gu flavors (one would think I would remember what ones I like).

Besides concern about overall training, I'm thinking about my race outfit. There is something mental about having the right shorts or the right shirt with support. I have my fair share of natural padding so like longer shirts and things that aren't too tight (why create more bulge?)

Last year, I found myself shopping for a new shirt the day before the triathlon. This was not a good idea, as I was frustrated with my choices, tired from walking and should have just relaxed the day before the race. Needless to say, I was late getting my bike to check in and wiped out on the way. This year I started a little earlier (a month). My lesson learned is that I should shop year round and get last season's styles on sale in the winter.

Team Estrogen has a great site. A great site in my opinion does not have an overwhelming number of items, but has a solid selection that has been tested out and comes recommended. I bought these De Soto shorts because they are low rise and don't have a really tight band at the bottom. These have been on the bike twice now and are working well. I don't think I'm going to wear these race day because they lack pockets, but have been good on the trainer.

I am still in search of a shirt that is quick dry when I come out of the water, has enough bra support, and is just a bit longer (for vanity reasons). I haven't found it yet, so stay tuned.


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