Thursday, September 30, 2010

A 3.75 Mile Run in Central Park

Here's a nice 3.75 mile run in Central Park.

Start at the corner of 60th and 5th Avenue. Just west of the intersection is East Drive, a road which runs through the park. It's not the entrance way that is lined with pretty benches, the road is right next to this entrance.

Take East Drive north until you get to the light. At the light, veer right, staying on East Drive. You will probably see a bunch of runners and cyclers following this same route.

Stay on East Drive until you go past the MET. You should pass The Central Park Boathouse, go up on big, twisting hill, and the Obelisk.

As soon as you pass the MET, there will be a little path on the left side. Follow this path into the park, around the top and west side of the Great Lawn, until you get to the Delacorte Theater. Take the path that's north of the Delacorte Theater west towards the Hudson River. Make a left onto West Drive.

Now follow West Drive south past Tavern on the Green and the 72nd Street Transverse, around the bottom of the park and back to your starting point. That's almost four miles. If you want to an even four in, run from the traffic light to the park entrance and back one more time.

Songs on Repeat the Week of September 27

Music inspired by spinning class. Because it's raining and I'm sick of the treadmill, so I'm taking a spinning class instead of my run.

Only Girl (In The World) by Rihanna

Runnin' (Philippians Remix) by The Pharcyde

That's Not My Name (L.A. Riots Remix) by The Ting Tings

Tomorrow Can Wait by David Guetta & Chris Willis & El Tocadisco

We Walk by The Ting Tings

Teenage Dreams by Katy Perry

Karate (Fake Money Remix)by Kennedy

And for fun, here's a link to a free download of Karate. ENJOY!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For the Love of the Run

My birthday may be in the summer and Christmas is in the winter, but my favorite time of year is the fall.

As I a child, a new school year begun each September, and there were new colored pencils, Halloween costumes, jumping in piles of leaves, carving pumpkins and trips to the apple orchard. In high school, there were swim meets, homecoming dances and parades, and back to school shopping. Later in college, there was football Saturdays in Ann Arbor. And every year, there were cool breezes, colorful trees, sweatshirts and jackets, chicken noodle soup, apples, zucchini bread, and the return of favorite television shows. It only gets sweeter in the city, with fashion week, a welcome lull in tourism, the cooling of the subway stations, and marathon season.

Training for this marathon has brought a whole new perspective on New York, and it has made me love this city even more. There are so many things you see when you are up and about the city at 6 am or when you dare to venture away from the avenues where you live and eat and work and play.

Despite what you might believe, anyone really can run a marathon. I know you don’t believe that right now, so instead of convincing you that you can, I’m just going to bribe you, brag a little, and basically get all sentimental about all the great things that running for long distances can bring to your life.

Cupcakes, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, chocolate. Whatever food you turn to when you are celebrating or depressed, you can now eat without the worry of gaining weight. Yesterday, I had a giant cookie the size of my head. I literally had to use two hands to eat it. Do I feel guilty about it? Nope? Do I have to skip lunch to compensate for those calories? Nope. I already ran that cookie off this morning.

Sunsets and sunrises. Chances are that you will need to squeeze your runs in early in the morning before everyone is awake or at the end of day, and this means you will witness almost daily sunrises and sunsets. Trust me on this: you will never get sick of a sunrise.

Salt. You know how your doctors are always saying that you need to cut out the salt because it causes heart attacks and high blood pressure? Well, when you sweat profusely for four hours, you lose so much salt that you become in danger of either severe cramping or dehydration. Bring on the potato chips, french fries, and bacon!

Maybe it’s because I’m from the Great Lake State, but something about being by water just makes me happy. A lot of great running spots are along the shore, and there is something about the ability to see miles into the distance which helps to clear my head and focus on the future. Plus those cool breezes don’t hurt either.

Eating healthy. I know I already mentioned that you can eat whatever you want, but unless you have the stomach of a rat, you probably won’t be able to eat everything you want all the time. Not if you want to run after eating all that food. Even what I eat the night before a run matters significantly. And so I’ve learned to pick filling, tasty and healthy options before any run over 5 miles. It’s an amazing gift for me to finally understand that a cheeseburger can barely fuel me through a fiver, but whole wheat pasta and vegetables plus a salad with walnuts, blue cheese and apricots can carry me though seventeen.

Dessert for breakfast. Because after rough workouts, your bodies needs calories – and fast – to start repairing and rebuilding muscles, and the best way to refuel is with liquid meals. This morning, I had a strawberry, banana, and vanilla soymilk smoothie with some extra protein powder thrown in.

Discovery and exploration. You might have lived in the same town for twenty years, but when you start running for a marathon, you can’t just run the same three mile loop seven times to get a twenty-miler in. This year, I have run across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and George Washington bridges. I’ve been through Riverside Park, Battery Park, and Central Park . I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty, run through the South Street Seaport, past the Intrepid Ship, through Columbia University’s campus and pretty much everywhere else in between.

Muscles. I have known about my biceps, quads, calves and a few other muscles well before I started running, but now that I’ve started running I’ve become aware of a whole new set of muscles. Plus all the old muscles I already knew about have become stronger and more ripped than I ever thought possible. Thankfully, running is a lady’s sport and it doesn’t impart big, bulky muscles – just small, hard ones.

Music. Rock, reggae, rap, classical, electronic, indie, emo, alternative, classic rock, country, Motown – whatever it is that moves you to shake your hips, or clap your hands or bop your head, will move you to run, faster, harder and longer than you ever thought possible. And for this, I love my music a million times more. It has become my running buddy, coach and personal cheerleader. I look forward to my long runs, when I always download a few new songs for motivation. Fuel to my fire, if you will.

Sweet dreams. Running exhausts me. Not in the, I’m-so-tired-all-day-that-I-can’t-do-anything way, but in the way that I am asleep minutes after my head hits the pillows. The quality of sleep is deeper and more fulfilling too. When I wake up in the morning, I feel rested and ready for a full day. A good night of sleep is like a weekend getaway, but a month’s worth of good sleep? Like the serenity of a yogi.

Lose yourself. I started running to lose weight, and over twenty pounds were lost. I haven’t missed them since. No matter what your shape, running will make your body look better. It might be better muscle tone in a few troublesome spots, or it might be inches melting off your body. When I set out to lose weight by running, the goal of losing weight became secondary to completing my half marathon. I was no longer obsessing over every bite of food, or worrying about getting in a minimum number of fat burning sessions per week. Everything became about the run, and in turn, I finally was able to lose the weight.

There are many days when I can barely drag myself out of bed to do my morning run. When the only thing that keeps me going is that fact that I’ve already run three miles away from my apartment, and I have no other way to get back home except to run. More than once, I’ve had to stop on the side of the road and have a little cry because the day’s run is so frustrating that I doubt my ability to complete a marathon.

But then there are the days when running is effortless and exhilarating, when my stores of energy seem endless and my strength is downright inhuman. It’s the moments when I’ve run clear across the airport with a huge piece of luggage in my arms and I am startled to realize that I’m not even slightly out of breath. Quite simply, it’s the feeling that anything might be possible and that is the beauty of running a marathon. Because if a slow-poke like myself can do it, who can't?
- Show quoted text -

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm stimulating the economy, okay?

I love shopping. And not just shopping for pretty things to adorn my body with, but also for delicious things to fill up my body. As unbelievable as it sounds, I like perusing the grocery store isles reading labels and discovering new foods. “Organic, natural, imported!” Like a magpie, I’m drawn to brightly colored labels declaring exotic flavors and healthful origins. The best part of “isle-shopping” is that unlike a trip to Bloomingdales, if I find something I must have, I can afford it.

Along with my weekly trips to the grocery store, I also take a weekly trip to the running store. But a trip to a running store isn’t like shopping on Fifth Avenue. The sales people could care less about commissions, but they definitely care about their shoppers. They want to know which race I am running and how many I have already finished. More often than not, their shopping advice is an excuse to boast about Boston Marathon qualifying times (right after buying shoes, of course).

Just last week, I got a lecture from a little pudgy sales guy (who has run five marathons, he told me in a voice reserved for bossy seven year olds) about how I need to carry a fuel belt on my marathon. I told him that the Gatorade and water provided by the marathon was just fine. That man gave a look like I was crazy, and said “You’re not supposed to have anything new on race day.” I just rolled my eyes and told the man I would consider it.

On the sports bra shopping adventure, which took me to several different stores, I got loads of advice – none of it solicited, all of it helpful. One woman, an obvious marathon veteran, recommended Champion seamless sports bras when running anything over ten miles. Another woman, after looking my body up and down, suggested that I go for the “Ta Ta Tamer” from Lululemon. At least this time, the men didn’t have anything to say on this topic.

When I bought sneakers, the sales woman suggested that my next pair be ultra-light racers from Brooks. Then she proceeded to give me a shoe rotation schedule so I could practice in them and also not wear them out too quickly. The woman at the check-out counter told me to watch out for the hill around mile eight at the Philly Marathon and she recommended sports beans from Jelly Belly (so good, I recommend them too…as candy.)

Though I’ve always had some form of an exercise routine, the usual supplies lying around my house just don’t work for marathon running. Almost everything that I run with, head to toe, has been accumulated especially for running super long distances. The only exception to this rule: my iPod.

I’ve assembled a list of the things I have acquired over time. Some of it is necessary and some it depends on the individual. Training environment matters. Since I run in NYC public parks there are drinking fountains, bodegas, and hot-dog carts along much of my routes, so I need to worry less about carrying water and Gatorade with me. But since I’m running a marathon in late November in Philadelphia, I worry a lot about what I should wear for the weather conditions.

Here’s the list so far…I’m sure I’ll add to it by November.

1. Running shoes: I go to the running store and have the sales people watch me run on a treadmill. Then they recommend a pair of shoes based upon how I run. This is the only way to buy running shoes.
2. Running shorts, shirts, sweatshirts, and pants with little pockets to hold stuff. Because I need to carry keys and an iPod on every run, and on longer ones I need money, gels, and chapstick.
3. A massage ball to roll on my feet when they are tired and sore.
4. Energy gels, like GU. I’ve experimented with most of the products out there and the good old fashioned gels work the best for me. The rest just don’t seem to get digested and make me feel ill. But the sports beans are delicious and taste like candy.
5. A belt with a pocket for carrying around extra gels, money, keys, perhaps a camera. Whatever, I think I may need that can’t fit in the pockets.
6. A fuel belt, which is a little belt with two holsters holding eight ounce bottles of water and one larger pocket. I use this for long training runs on new routes where I’m unsure of the water locations.
7. Running socks to prevent blisters and provide mild arch support.
8. Sweat-proof mini sunblock stick to carry with me on long runs. It can double as chap-stick and a lubricant for if I start to feel a piece of clothing is chafing.
9. Vaseline (alright I already have some of this) to rub on sports where chafing might occur, like around sport bra straps.
10. Sport sun-glasses to protect my eyes and prevent headaches caused by squinting.

Running is one of the most inexpensive sports around. I’ve probably only spent a few hundred dollars on it over the course of 2 years, and that includes about 4-5 pairs of shoes. It requires almost no supplies except a good pair of shoes. For once, quality and price are not directly correlated. The good running shoes are usually under $100. My weekly trips to the running store are for stocking up on gels and protein bars. And the best part about running is that you can do it anywhere and everywhere.

So if joining the gym is too expensive or if getting to the gym is just “too out of the way”, try taking a jog. It’s the most convenient and economic exercise available, and as I can personally attest, it’s quite fun too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two More Months Until the Philadelphia Marathon

It's only two more months until the Philadelphia marathon is here. That's nine more weeks of running and only six more weeks of longs runs.

I'm so excited and also scared out of mind for the marathon.

Some more recipes to come and also articles about the running store, coffee and smoothies.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


In my quest to eat healthier and increase protein, I’ve been experimenting with more obscure grains. Things like spelt, wheat berries, quinoa and amaranth. They taste like a cross been a pasta and rice, with more texture than plain old pasta. The most attractive aspect of these grains (and sometimes they aren’t even actually grains but seeds) is their rich nutrient profile.

One cup of cooked quinoa contains approximately 227 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat. Best of all, it provides a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are needed by the body but must be obtained through food. It is difficult to find complete proteins outside of animal foods, which makes quinoa even more special.

I love quinoa. The texture is slightly creamy but also a little crunchy, and it has a taste somewhere between whole wheat pasta and an almond. I’ve been trying to find new ways to eat quinoa and Quinoa with Tahini Dressing is my latest development. It blends the flavors of falafels with the nutrition of quinoa. I had it for lunch yesterday and the whole time I was eating, I was wishing my lunch would never end.

I adapted this recipe from and basically just trimmed the fat in the dressing and replaced cilantro with parsley. I bought the parsley by mistake because I was tired and in a rush at the grocery store, but it really enhanced the Middle Eastern flavors rocking this dish so I’m happy with my choice. Feel free to try either herb, depending on your preferences. Also, if you go with the parsley, I think tomatoes and cucumbers would complement the dish very nicely.

Quinoa with Tahini Dressing

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 can garbanzo beans, or dried equivalent
½ cup parsley, chopped
¼ onion, chopped

Tahini Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
¼ cup tahini
Zest of ¼ lemon
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup hot water
Sea salt to taste

Fill pan with warm water and add quinoa to soak for about 8 minutes. Then rinse the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, sea salt and the 2 cups of water until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and water. Add the salt to taste.
Toss the cooked quinoa, beans, parsley, red onion, and half of the dressing. Add more dressing if you like and season with more salt to taste. Serve garnished with a bit of parsley.

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a small meal.

Here's a link to the original recipe: Lemon-scented quinoa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From a Different Point of View

After my seventeen miler on Sunday, I felt amazing. Tired certainly, but amazing as well.

Today, I feel awful. I am sore. My quads, hamstrings, calves, hips and even my back ache. I can barely walk in my high heels at the office. I'm exhausted too. Last night, I fell asleep at 8:30.

At first, I assumed that this was a sign that my diet is deficient in certain nutrients. I've been scouring the Internet all morning looking for tips and advice with little success.

Then as I was hobbling around the office in my heels, trying not to walk too awkwardly, an idea came to me: Maybe it was just a really good, hard workout?

For now, I'm sticking to the hard workout story because it makes me feel better. Maybe I should give myself a little credit.

But I'm covering all the bases anyway, and so I'm stocking up on Vitamin-C (in case it's the flu), eating lots of protein (in case it's a nutrient deficiency), cutting out all refined and fried foods and going to sleep by ten...because I've got an eighteen mile race coming up this weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Songs on Repeat the Week of September 5

I find new songs in all sorts of places. The radio, back ground music at a store or restaurant, television shows, and when I'm sick of my iPod, Pandora. These songs came to me courtesy of my Pandora station called "Chillin'" for the song by Wale featuring Lady Gaga.

Marching on by Timbaland featuring One Republic

Close Call by Rilo Kiley

Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head) by Ben Folds

Generation Lost by B.O.B. aka Bobby Ray

The Prayer by Kid Cudi

And finally, one more song not from Pandora. This song is great. Not epic, for sure, but what makes it so amazing is that it's made by a nine-year-old girl. Not just any girl either, but the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett. Here is Whip My Hair by Willow Smith.

Dear Mr. Bloomberg

Today I ran seventeen miles, my longest run ever. While I am very proud of myself for achieving this milestone, I’m more focused on my anger towards Mr. Bloomberg at the moment. You see, running seventeen miles through the city – or over 3 hours of running – gives me the time to really scrutinize the city. I really love New York, but as anyone who lives here will tell you: it is far from perfection. And like any true New Yorker, though I love this place, I’d rather not waste precious breath on praising her.

Now onto the complaining part. As a resident of this city who moved from a state several hundred miles away, I must file New York City taxes. I don’t have the luxury of pretending that I still live in my parent’s home in New Jersey, Connecticut or Long Island, and so every year, I “generously” give between 2.9-3.5% of my paycheck to the city. This is in addition to state and federal taxes. I am happy to pay this tax because I take full advantage of the city’s many resources: Central Park, free concerts and movies, museums, public transportation, Greenways, Riverside Park, Hudson River Park, and just last week, the Highline, to name a few.

But Mr. Bloomberg, though I know the economy is still trying to recover, there are a few things that I think you could work on.

1. There are no drinking fountains on the Hudson River Park Greenway from 57th to 14th street. What gives? Last time I checked, human beings not camels are using the Greenways. Are drinking fountains too much to ask for?
2. The drinking fountains from 72nd to 57th don’t work. Why did you build them if you don’t supply them with water? Is this modern art that I just don't understand?
3. Please plant some bushes between the highway and the Greenway. I love the scent of exhaust fumes, but I can't stand the sound of squealing breaks and horns honking.
4. What’s up with all the rusty scraps of piers littering the coasts? I know NY isn't quite the shipping hub it used to be, but can't this metal be recycled into new subway cars. (The 6 could use an extra train, if you are looking for suggestions.)
5. I know that there is a path that runs on the west side of the city from the George Washington Bridge to Battery Park, but can you please add signs on how to access it from 110th Street and above? Hiding the running paths counter the anti-smoking, trans-fat and potential-salt bans.
6. Sometimes Central Park smells like fake Christmas air-freshener. I know this city smells, but do you honestly believe that you are fooling us?
7. At certain times, I have to share the Central Park Drives with tourists, other runners, cyclists, cars, and horse-drawn carriages. Maybe it’s time that tourist lanes were introduced to the park.
8. Smoking has been banned from all public places, except the parks. If the bars can go without their cigarettes, so can the picnics and softball games.

Yes, I know these are minor complaints and I might be whining just a little bit. I don’t often think of the city, outside of my life and how I need to survive here. But yesterday was not an ordinary Saturday. I decided to go get a few groceries and instead found myself reflecting on the vast history of this city and what I put myself at risk everyday living here.

There is a fire station one block from my apartment and every morning when I walk to work those guys roll up the door and watch all the morning commuters walk by. At least once a month, I have to stop and wait for a fire truck to leave to attend to an emergency or back-up that huge engine into the garage after...something. On one little brick wall, there is a small memorial of nine faces, commemorating the men of that station who died on September 11th. On my way to the grocery store, I came upon a woman and two small boys crying at that memorial which was now flooded with flowers.

Witnessing that private moment saddened me deeply, but it also reminded me that I’m living in this city that is so much bigger and powerful than I can fathom. Sometimes, I think it’s all about me. (See above complaints.) But of course, it’s never about me and or anyone. I live in a community, albeit a very large one, but I am one of many and as part of this “family” it’s my job to look out for everyone else and help them out when they need it.

So complaining about the running trails in the city or helping a little old lady use the credit card machine at the grocery story are just one of the few ways that I can contribute to the growth of this city. It’s the big efforts, certainly, but sometimes, it’s the small inconsequential contributions that make New York go round. It’s the reason that people still keep on moving here despite that fact that bad things happens here.

Because sometimes you can count on that stranger next to you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Asian Style Vegetable Lettuce Wraps

Back in college, my roommate and I took a roadtrip to the luxury mall Somerset. After our taxing shopping trip, we decided to grab dinner at one of the mall restaurants, P.F. Changs. Our waiter recommended that we try the chicken lettuce wraps. He assured us that it was very popular and so we agreed despite the then-foreign-combination of cold lettuce and chicken. One hour later, I was sold on the delicious combination of hot stir-fry wrapped in a crisp cool lettuce leaf. It was perfection defined.

This past week, my little sister came to New York and I decided to cook her dinner. What better thing to make for her, than those chicken lettuce wraps! I decided to make my meal vegetarian, but you can substitute chicken or pork or tofu crumbles with the same results. Also, I made it with a plum sauce for dipping, but this didn't go over too well. I think a better compliment would be some sort of vinegar or soy-sauce based sauce. I've include a few links to dipping sauces to check out. Also, you can just add plain soy sauce as well.

Asian Style Vegetable Lettuce Wraps

1 cup frozen stir-fry vegetables (mine had carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, mini corn, mushrooms, and water chestnuts)
1/2 cup chopped bambo
3/4 cup chopped raw cashews
1/4 cup water chestnuts
1 tsp ginger, diced
1/2 tsp of ginger
8 leaves of lettuce - you can use the traditional head lettuce, or any other large leaf type you like. I used bibb lettuce when I made it.

Sauce ingredients:

1.5 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tbsp dry sherry (I substituited champagne vinegar)
3 tbsp water
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1.5 tsp sugar
3 tsp cornstarch

To begin, mix all sauce ingredients together and set to the side.

Heat up frozen stir fry vegetables in a non-stick pan until mostly unfrozen. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

If you can't find chopped cashew nuts, then buy whole nuts and chop them by placing in a plastic bag and pounding them with a pan until crushed. Add the cashews to a pan with 1/2 tsp seasame oil and toast the nuts. They should turn a little brown, and some of the smaller crumbs will turn an even darker color. Watch these and stir frequently. Once the nuts are done, turn off the heat on the stove but leave in the pan.

Take the now cool stir-fry vegetables and chop them up finely. Then turn the heat back on for the cashews, and add the vegetables, bamboo shoots, ginger, and water chestnuts. Stir-fry until all ingredients are warm.

Then add the sauce, and serve with fresh washed lettuce. Makes about six wraps.

For dipping sauces, try these recipes:

Ginger & Lime dipping sauce
Basic Spring Roll Dipping Sauce
Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Dipping Sauce

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Songs on Repeat the Week of August 30

Summer is ending and nostalgia for summers' past is in full effect. So it's only fitting that my iPod is playing a combination of last and the summer songs.

Animal (Yes Giantess Remix) by Neon Trees

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it) by Beyonce (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Remix)

Like a G6 by Far East Movement

Let Me Get That by Rihanna

Could it be you? (Punk Rock Chick) by Hwood

Chillin' (feat. Lady Gaga) by Wale

Friday, September 3, 2010

Is it hot in here or what?

Back in July, when the heat was almost unbearable, New York Magazine announced that the month was on track to be the hottest in the city ever. Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on how miserable you were), the month cooled down at the end and ended up second to 1999.

The summer of 1999 was sandwiched between sophomore and junior year and I spent most of it partially submerged in water. My days started with a workout at the pool, continued to lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at the local pool and then ended with more trips to the pool and the lake.

As a sixteen year old girl, an age fraught with self-consciousness and uncertainities, I was running around in nothing but less than a yard of spandex and maybe a rubber cap and goggles. At the time, I really didn’t think anything of it. The Speedo was the uniform of my life.

But fast forward to today, and I rarely venture out in a skirt that falls mid-thigh. Granted my job now requires a much more conservative look, but even when I’m out of the office, I still refrain from the too short, too revealing, and certainly the too tight.

And then July came to 2010 and an air conditioner didn’t come to my apartment. Not only did I have to deal with July, but I had to find a way to train for my marathon in a concrete sauna. At first, I just continued on with the tried and true methods, but every run felt like the pavement had melted into quick sand. At some point the heat started to eat away at my sanity and I decided that it was time to go shirtless. Running with nothing but a sports bra and a pair of shorts felt….naked. But finally, I was able to welcome the heat into my runs. That day I ran the fastest I had run in a month.

That run felt great and I never thought a second about it again, until I heard that this might be the hottest July in the City. In the moment, it was all about surviving the run, but when I heard that the last time it was this hot was eleven years ago, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison.

In some weird way, the heat had helped me come back to the innocent, unabashed, uninhibited, unafraid little girl I was so many years ago. At first, I just thought that it was the fact that I had lost some weight and was finally comfortable in my skin. But given all the Vogue and Elle magazines littering my apartment, I know that I will never be satisfied with my figure until I look like Heidi Klum. (I’d even take Heidi’s pregnant body.)

I left my shirt behind that day because after eleven years, I finally once again saw my body as a vessel of strength and power instead of a fleshy form to be admired. I could sit around and sweat through the heat, but with the marathon looming, I realized that I had to throw inhibition to the wind and just run.

Stock market bubbles burst, one hit wonders become gay and tabloid jokes, and little girls grow up. Yet for all the time we spend laughing at our mistakes of yesteryear, there is something to be admired about the time when we were unafraid of what others thought. If I can reclaim even just a moment of that, then I am finally mature enough to know to never let it go.