Running A 10K Race for The First Time… How to Prep with Only Five Days to Go

imageI signed up for my first 10k race today- St. Patrick’s Day Race put on by the Taconic Road Runners Club.  It will take place in the FDR Park in Yorktown Heights this Sunday, March 13th. I have not trained. In fact, I regressed and ran very little in the past two months. I hope this race will kick me into gear and start running again.

So I have got five days to race day. I believe that means my preparation should only include TWO things

Picking the right music and gear 

Knowing where the parking and registration tables are

Working on the first item – Music. This is what I listen to repeatedly, Borgeous’ Wildfire, when I do short runs. It has the crescendos that get me ramp up and the slow down to catch my breath. It kind of follows the Baroque pattern. Motivating enough, right?

I will probably need more than one song to finish the 6.2 miles. Would love recommendations from my readers. What do you say?

Brew Works in Fremont, Michigan – Population 4,000. Do You Know Where That Is?

Happy Leap Day! An extra day in the year… What to do?

My business trip takes me further into the heart of Michigan. I found myself at Fremont, Michigan, where the main road is only dense for a few blocks and there are only two options for lodging. Fremont is quite a shock for a girl who grew up in NYC but that’s where the beauty of Fremont comes in. I felt like I was in a foreign country although I was only a 2-hour direct flight away. People in Fremont are one of the best in the world- friendly, helpful and kind. I had dinner at Brew Works, a fairly new establishment next to a bowling alley. Brew Works restaurant serves pub food with 12 craft beers on tap.​​Fried Egg Burger – Egg cooked to order with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Topped with garlic cracked pepper aioli. Garden Salad – Romaine with broccoli, cauliflower, peas, onion, tomato, carrots and smoked mozz. Dressing of your choice.

The food was awesome. I loved the fatty, cholesterol filled fried egg and beef patty burger. The salad was good, too, and cut down on the total proportion of grease that I put into my body. In addition, I tasted two different cider beers and they were both worthy. Brew Works is a gem in Fremont, Michigan.

This experience took place at

Brew Works

5909 S Warner Ave
Fremont, MI
Phone:(231) 924-6855

Reds on the River, Rockford, Michigan – Do You Know Where Rockford Is?

A business trip landed me at Reds on the River, in Rockford, Michigan, on a Monday afternoon at 4pm looking for lunch. Do you know where Rockford is? It has a population under 6k. Reds is the favorite restaurant of the gentleman who heads my company’s Contact Center. This is also the place where the company’s President’s Award would take place. The President’s Award celebrates the top agents and supervisors in the Call Center. The restaurant is upscale, contemporary and serves modern American cuisine.Artisan Midwest Cheese Plate: Three unique styles with traditional accoutrements. We were so hungry when we arrived that everything tasted fantastic. The goat cheese on far left was excellent. The cheddar on right was pedestrian. I still couldn’t figure out the what the beige nuts at bottom are – almonds?
Roasted Moroccan Cauliflower: Spinach, Marcona Almonds, Cumin Yogurt, Harissa Butter, Golden Raisins. This has the making of a happy Moroccan dish with cumin and harissa. The misstep comes from the yogurt. There was too much of it on the plate and softened up the roasted cauliflowers.  Calamari Fritti: Romesco Sauce and Lemon. My colleagues loved this. I had a slightly different opinion – I think they should have gone light on the Romesco sauce.Caesar Salad: Romaine, Garlic Croutons, Parmesan Reggiano.8 oz. Filet Mignon with asparagus and mashed potatoes. Excellent! Other than the minor issue of not exactly firing to the right temp. This seems to be the downfall of many restaurants. However, Reds were serving over 27 of us and I imagined that makes the temp control even more challenging.

In summary, I think Reds on the River is on par with those in the NYC which makes it more amazing since it is in Rockford, an hour north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Do you know where Grand Rapids is? 🙂  Grand Rapids has a population under 200k.

Although it’s hard for a New Yorker to wrap her head around towns and cities with such low population, I thoroughly enjoyed spending some freezing February days in Michigan and dinner at Reds.

This experience took place at

Reds on the River

8 E Bridge St,
Rockford, MI 49341
Phone:(616) 863-8181

Wanderlust Azores- What Terceira is All About and Good Bye 2015!

This post marks the end of my incredible vacation at the Terceira island in the Azores Archipelago, Portugal. This is also my 300th post on this blog. I am a little sad to say good bye to the beautiful island but am very happy to say good bye to 2015. Today ends a very challenging year for me. I am looking forward to a new adventure in 2016.

This trip has been amazing and here is what I think captures the soul of Terceira:
imageWhaling and fishing tradition in a picturesque villageimageLushly green rolling hillsimageMobile milking of the cowsimageAll the delicious milk products: milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt.imageFriendly animals on the roadway (cows, goats, cats, dogs), anytime of the dayimageBreathtaking coastlines and rock formationimageBoats and bays – all water, all the timeimageBiscoitos’ swimming basin, complete with crystal clear aquamarine water and yellow ocean foamsimageBiscoitos’ dramatic landscape and north Atlantic waves punishing the basalt rocksimageVast and colorful sky that bewitches the mindimageSunsets that touch the soul and make me cry. Pictures are terribly inadequate to properly convey the beauty of this island.

Good bye, Azores. Good bye, 2015.

Cheers to more spectacular journeys in 2016.

Love and peace to all my new and loyal readers. ❤❤❤ Happy New Year!

Wanderlust Azores- Dramatic Waves of Biscoitos, My Favorite Place on the Terceira Island

Believe it or not, these are the natural swimming pools for the Azoreans. This is what they called the Ponta dos Biscoitos in the town of Biscoitos, located on the northern coast of Terceira Island. These are enclosures formed by mostly basalt rocks and some man-made structure. It is here I was the closest to the dramatic waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. This is my favorite place on Terceira.imageA big wave about to hit the rocksimageLook at that!imageThe water fallsimageSigh…Aah…

Unspoiled by the tourists, the natural beauty of Biscoitos is unparalleled. These waves and the sounds they make will stay with me for a long time. This is why I travel. This is wanderlust.

This experience took place at

Northern coast of the Terceira Island of the Azores Archipelago

Wanderlust Azores- Algar do Carvão Volcano Cave and the Quality of Life

When I landed in Terceira, Miguel stood by the Azore Gateway’s little podium greeting the passengers. He told me that the full day tour is the best option since it included the volcano cave, Algar do Carvão, and this volcano lava vent is the highlight of the island. The icing on top is that the cave is only open on Wednesdays. As a dumb American who is not used to the Azorean ways, I asked why the volcano cave is only open one day a week. He said that he does not know but it’s probably because the cave is run by a non-profit organization, OS MONTANHEIROS, implying that there is no reason to open more than one day a week since they don’t want money!

Now, that’s a concept. Control the number of tourists to your natural beauty and have a balance in your work life because profitability is not your goal. Hmm. I believe Bhutan has the same policy.imageTunnel that leads to the volcano cave.imageThe decent down to the lagoon. The stairs went zigzagging down.imageFurther decent. When I finally reached it, the lagoon was black and blue iridescent but infinitely deep. It also felt icy cold and wet in the air. With the dark surrounding and the iridescent water, the experience was surreal.image The opening to the top as seen from the bottom. The opening is 148ft up vertically. However, this picture was not taken from the bottom. The darkness inside the cave made it close to impossible for my Samsung S5 to capture the beauty and the essence of the cave. This is one that must be experienced in person. imageStalactites

It felt weird standing back at the tunnel entrance heading back outside. I know light is at the end of the tunnel. Do I want to walk through it?

This experience took place at

Algar do Carvão – Monumento Natural Regional
Porto Judeu, 9700-000 Angra do Heroísmo
Phone:295 212 992

Wanderlust Azores- Brunch at Athanasio Pastelaria and the Inevitable Change

Who would have thought that it could be so difficult to eat in Terceira on a Sunday afternoon? But it was. Very few stores were open in the UNESCO city of Angra do Heroismo. Luckily this pastry shop, Athanasio Pastelaria, was.
imageApple turnover and almond pastryimageHot chocolate with ham and cheese quicheimageEspresso with cod and chicken puff pastry
imageWhen we were in the shop, many fellow tourists were also in the shop, talking about how few stores were open. I can see how tourism will definitely change this town, with how aggressive the travel agencies are marketing these trips with incredible deals (6 nights, hotel/round trip airfare/airport transport included for $699). I upgraded my package with a better hotel, a rental car and various day trips. Still, a trip to this pristine island for a little more than $1k per person? Amazing.

I would not be surprised if years later, there are plenty of shops open on a Sunday. My brunch was pleasant and delicious. The young woman in the shop spoke English and was friendly. The best part is that it was open on a Sunday afternoon. Happy happy me.

This experience took place at

Athanasio Pastelaria

Rua Sé 132
9700-191 Angra do Heroísmo
Phone: 295 213 702