I haven’t blogged in awhile so I talk a lot in this post. Feel free to skim!
Last weekend, my best friend and I went to New York City. Several people have asked me if I just so happened to be there the same weekend of the TCS New York City Marathon, and the answer is no. We intentionally planned the trip so that we could spectate the race. Because runners are crazy and enjoy that type of thing. 🙂
DC is only 4 hours from NYC, so we left early on Saturday morning and came back late Sunday night. It was a quick trip, but we packed so much into those 36 hours! This was also our first experience using Airbnb to book a place to stay. Combine Halloween weekend with the marathon and hotel choices suddenly look very slim…or look like $700. Neither of which I was willing to deal with. 😉
So how was the Airbnb? Pros: the price was beyond affordable, I was able to park my car for free where we stayed which was AMAZING, we had an entire one bedroom apartment to ourselves, and we were 3 blocks from the subway. Cons: the neighbors got into a very loud argument at 2:30 AM that resulted in the cops showing up. Those New York walls are paper thin, I tell ya! We weren’t in a bad part of town and they were just roommates arguing about who was supposed to be home and sleeping over blah blah blah…but still, at a hotel, I would’ve called the front desk immediately. Also…I’m a very easy going person, but it didn’t occur to me until I was about to go to sleep that I had to sleep in someone else’s bed. And then we made a makeshift bed with all the family room furniture because we couldn’t deal. Hahaha!
When we arrived on Saturday, we went straight to our place to park the car and then headed out for lunch and shopping. We couldn’t check in until 3 PM, so we had some time to adventure! Kristen and I planned for some things, but at other times we just wandered and did whatever we happened to stumble across. Which is why I don’t remember the name of the place we ate for lunch. 😉 But I had a huge buffalo chicken salad and I DO remember where we got dessert…because it was dessert. Duh.
We found Dylan’s Candy Bar which is three levels of straight sugar. I had created my own trail mix for our road trip that included these goodies:
But since we were at the candy store, I just HAD to get some sour gummies! I love regular gummy bears, Swedish fish, and watermelon Sour Patch. Of course I threw in chocolate covered all the things (think cookie dough, nuts, etc) for good measure.
We got on the Subway and realized it was going in the wrong direction…so we hopped off at the next stop and called an Uber to save the day. This would happen many more times throughout the weekend! We kept paying for the Subway more than once, too. There were several times we went into the station only to realize we were on the wrong side of the track. In DC, you can just take the escalator up and back down to the other side. In NYC, you have to go up the steps out to the street, cross the street, and go back down the other side. So since we were technically entering twice, we paid twice. Way too many times. I am not sure if there is some way to remedy this (I’m sure there is), but we never figured it out!
We had to get ready for our next adventure at SoulCycle SoHo. What better way to spend Halloween night than going to a Spin class that only played Taylor Swift songs?! Yes, you read that right. It was amazing. Our trek to SoulCycle included getting off the Subway at the wrong stop, considering calling an Uber, quickly getting back on the Subway, nervously checking the time every time the train stopped, and forgetting a sports bra. Oh, yes.
We made it to the studio with ten minutes to get ready for class, which was perfect! Until I realized I forgot a sports bra. Luckily, SoulCycle sells wonderful (expensive) merchandise, so I ran out to the desk to buy one. My normal size looked HUGE, so I sized down. And then I put it on and wanted to cry because it didn’t fit. So now people were filing into the studio and I was at the front desk begging the worker to exchange the sports bra he just cut the tag from. I am sure he loved me. 😉 I got on my bike just in time and found a cute little Halloween treat bag on the handlebars! It had those fake red lips that I suppose some wear for Halloween and apparently they were edible…I can’t confirm because I didn’t try them ha! There was also a voucher for a free class, so I either have to convince DC to accept the pass or I have to go back to SoHo to Spin!
We brought a change of clothes with us to class, so with dirty hair and pretty outfits, we shopped around SoHo and Times Square. We intended to walk to Times Square, but once we started walking the streets and going in all the shops, we realized we were walking the wrong way. Of course we were. 🙂 The streets are always insane in NYC, but they were especially jam packed on Halloween night because EVERYONE was in a taxi or an Uber. We attempted to take a taxi and ended up having him drop us off at the next Subway station because it was taking a hot forever and I did NOT want to pay for that!
We grabbed the world’s latest dinner at Heartland Chophouse and Brewery in Times Square and were super excited to see this on the wall. 🙂 Duquesne is a beer, but it’s also the name of the university where we graduated from college in Pittsburgh. The school is beautiful, but I’m not a huge fan of the beer. Ha!
For as many times as I’ve been to Times Square, I’ve never gone into the huge Toys ‘R Us! Kristen was shocked and made me go in. I had NO idea there was a huge ferris wheel in there!
This car reminds me of my childhood so if I ever waited in line to ride the ferris wheel, I would intentionally place myself in line so I could ride in this car. 🙂
It was getting late and we had a whirlwind day, so we started to walk to the Subway…and then I realized the roads weren’t as traffic-filled as they had been a few hours before. Taxi to the rescue. #diva
My favorite picture to look at on Halloween night. 😉
We were actually able to sleep in a bit because the marathon has a much later start than your typical 7 AM. The wheelchairs start at 8:30 AM, the professional women start at 9:20 AM, and the professional men start at 9:50 AM with other runners in the first wave. We wanted to see the very first runners but we planned to be at the top of Central Park around mile 23 and then head over to the finish, so we had to do a little time calculation of how long it would take those crazy fast people to get to those places. 🙂
In the meantime, we got to cross a major goal of mine off my bucket list: run through Central Park! When I visit NYC, I usually run on the treadmill at my hotel before I go out with my family for the day. I’ve never wanted to take the extra time to get to the park and run by myself…but this time, I was vacationing with someone who loves to run as much as me, so it was perfect!
We only covered about 4 miles, but we ran such a random path that we saw a lot of parts of the park that I have never seen before!
We were close enough to 5th Avenue to hear people cheering, so we dashed over to where runners enter Central Park and saw the first racer in the wheelchair division come past! They amaze me. Their arm strength is something else!
We had a general plan of where we wanted to run while we were in the park because we knew we wanted to get near the end of the marathon, but other than that, we were just taking random turns. Which is how we found gems like these…
Why yes, I did climb on these rocks mid-run.
Almost to our end point! And more rock climbing.
My favorite? The track around the reservoir. And the view is so pretty! Even though I had never been to this part of the park before, I got so excited when we arrived because I recognized it from so many NYC runner’s Instagram pages! Ha!
At 4 miles, we were on the correct side of the park to see the first finishers AND there was a spot in the race course where people were still allowed to cross the street because the masses hadn’t started coming through yet. We dashed out of the park and to the nearest Starbucks. We had junk (read: candy corn for me and chocolate chips for her) for breakfast so we weren’t really hungry…we just needed coffee. Guess what size coffee I ordered and what size didn’t have red cups yet?!
We found a spot along the fence 800m from the finish and had the best time watching everyone run past. We saw the first female and first male professional runners come through which was SO exciting and then we watched for other elites that we know the names of (And you are probably reading this thinking…wait, she knows the names of famous runners? Yes, I do…)! We watched for about two hours and had so much fun seeing people pass one another so close to the finish, cheering on those who just looked like they were in pain, and shouting out to those in shirts with some kind of logo on it. Think Penn State, November Project, Pitt…anyone we might “know”! Everyone appreciates a little encouragement, even if it’s from a stranger. 🙂 We even saw a guy in a Steel City Road Runners shirt, which is a Pittsburgh running club, so that was awesome! He was running with the 3:05 finishers so basically he is awesome and I will never be on his level. Ha!
Priorities: leave the race and find food and the Steelers game. The Irish Exit served us well. We ran there, because why walk when you can run? It was PACKED so we stood for the first half of the game and finally scouted two seats at half time. Every single person in there was a Steelers fan, so the atmosphere was amazing. My dad and my brothers usually go to the game, but this day, my mom was at the game with her sister and her cousin. I always hope I’ll see them on the big screen, but so far, no luck. 🙂 This game had a stupid, stupid 4th quarter, but it was so much fun!
Kristen and I got on the Subway to head back to the car around 4:30 PM. We were riding along…and then never stopping. Like just driving through every station. And now we were in the middle of the tracks, so even if the train stopped, there was no platform to step on to. LUCKY US, we were on an express train to 207th Street. Like, the very last stop on that line. We were DYING!!! We promised each other that no matter where it stopped (if it stopped at all before 207th), we would get off and run or Uber back to my car. It finally stopped at 125th Street and I have never gotten off a train faster! Hahaha
As seen on our run back to my car!
We left the city around 6 PM. When we were walking back to my car, we saw some runners in their 23rd mile right before they enter Central Park. It was CRAZY to see them because it was already getting dark outside, but at the same time, there were some runners who didn’t start until almost 11 AM! So it sort of made sense to see them then. I don’t know how I feel about the start time though…I think when I run a marathon, I want it to be over when it is still light outside! But I suppose when I finally work up the strength for a full marathon, I can’t really be picky about how or when I finish, as long as I do!
Because there were some roads that were still closed, leaving the city was a little challenging. I ignored Siri for awhile and then let her direct me. I usually take her directions with a grain of salt because she is usually wrong or making me go the long way, but with all the road closures when we were trying to leave the city, I gave in and started listening to her. The night before when our taxi couldn’t move, I mentioned how no one should ever be allowed to drive in Times Square EVER unless they are a bus, taxi, or Uber. And then good ol’ Siri said open mouth, insert foot, because driving through Times Square is exactly how we left the city. Shockingly, it was very easy! And then we got on the highway and Siri turned a four hour drive into a six hour drive. She’s a gem, I tell ya!
Central Park, you have my heart.