Category Archives: love & life

Anniversaries, vacations, and marathon training!

Oh wow! Definitely been a while since I updated this here website, so be prepared for a lot of stuff packed into a small amount of space. First up? Margot and I passed the 3 yr mark earlier this month and to celebrate we ended up doing an NYC food truck tour, which was simply the best idea ever. We hit up the Coolhaus truck Friday night after dinner with a friend, and on Sunday we hit the Wafels & Dinges truck, the Taco Truck, the Korilla BBQ truck, and Eddie’s Pizza truck! To be fair, they were all amazing with the exception of the the pizza truck, which I found to be a bit weak after tasting the tacos and the Korean BBQ. Don’t get me started on the Belgian waffles…

We also hit up an Italian place over in Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday night that I bought a Yelp deal for ages ago ($25 purchased $50 worth of food and drink) and then the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria afterward. In other words, there was a lot of eating that weekend, but I wasn’t complaining. 🙂 And somehow I managed to fit a 10 miler into that weekend as part of my marathon training!

With a great weekend behind me, I began the work week like any other; sans vacation plans. One random Expedia search later on Wednesday morning and I had booked a roundtrip flight from LGA (LaGuardia in NYC) to SEA (Seattle, WA) for an 8-day vacation in October. Price tag? $283 with taxes and fees included. The rental car I’m getting for the week costs almost as much as that! So, even though I was vaguely considering the possibility, I am now flying back west for the first time in nearly 3 years and driving to Helena, MT, to see everybody again. And to see mountains, trees, lakes, and those things we really don’t see here in New York.

And finally, marathon training. I had to jump right into marathon training a couple of days after the Queens Half-Marathon (hence why we didn’t really “race” that race), and after my second full week of training it’s so far so good. The first weekend after the half I completed a 10 mile long run without a hitch, and it was my first run from Manhattan into Astoria, which was fun. It’s a great route from Battery City Park in lower Manhattan, up the west side (and past the Freedom Tower construction so I can see how far they’ve gotten for the week), across midtown, and over the bridge into Queens. Also? The bikers on the Queensboro Bridge suck at yielding to runners and/or staying in their own damn bike lane. One guy I was yelling “bike lane” at while he barreled down the *walker/runner’s path* right at me. Oy. I may carry a stick next time I do the Bridge…

This week’s “roll back week” of 7 miles also went perfectly fine, and of course the weekly runs (which are at a 3, 5, and 3) for the past two weeks have been no sweat…well, with the heat they have been sweaty, but, well, you know what I mean. This is the week where the Wednesday run goes up, so it’ll be 3, 6, and 3 from now on. At the height of the training it’ll be a 5, 10, 5 line-up and I can’t really imagine that right now. 🙂 For this week I’m looking at 3, 6, 3, and a 12 at the end of it, so 24 miles total for this week.

I asked, She answered! (yup, it’s what you’re thinking…)

This is a post that I wrote shortly after I proposed to my amazingly beautiful, smart, sexy, inspiring, Mary Poppins bag-toting (long story), girlfriend on January 28, 2011. Since some time has (clearly) passed since then, I debated between should I just write something new? Just post this one? Maybe revise? I’ve opted to include the original in its entirety below with my thoughts several months after the fact below. So, enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mmhmmm!

It’s exactly what you were thinking when you clicked on that link/email update/whatever thing that brought you here! 🙂

Last week I learned that I had been removed from the waiting list for a table for two at one of the swankier restaurants in Boston; consequently, last weekend is when I asked that all important question…

And she answered! With a yes!!

A bit of back story for you: one of the things we decided early on if we made it to this point was that both of us would want input on any eventual ring that was purchased for either one of us. Thus, the natural thing to propose with (by either one of us) was, what else? A Ring Pop! At first, this was a joke, but it soon became something that was most likely expected once the moment arrived.

So here I am, in NYC learning one day before I leave for Boston that I’ve just managed to snag a table at the restaurant that I told myself I would propose at and desperately trying to find a Ring Pop anywhere in the city. Duane Reade didn’t have them, CVS didn’t have them (even though the CVS in Boston did…I remember seeing it one time!), Target didn’t have them, etc etc! Finally, I did what any Generation X/Y’er (my birth year is kind of ambiguous on that count) and typed the following into Google: “where can I find a Ring Pop in New York City?” Out comes a random candy shop in Chinatown…well okay, off I go! On my “snow day” last week, I took the train to Chinatown and navigated the treacherous ice, snow, and slush bogs to some random street about 200 miles from the train station. I walked in, was immediately assaulted with an overpowering smell of cheap chocolate, and commenced my search for the elusive blue Ring Pop. Five minutes later I was out the door with the aforementioned Ring Pop in hand and off to the gym to run off 5 miles of nervous energy that was starting to build…

*fast forward 12 hours*

I was now on the bus to Boston. I took an early bus precisely because I wanted to make sure that no traffic hang ups caused me to be too late. I landed in Boston right on schedule and proceeded to call up the aforementioned swanky restaurant and request that they bring out some celebratory champagne when we arrive and before the menus are given to us. That’s actually all that I asked of them. This is important for later on in the story…

~~~~~~~~~

4/13/2011: Huh, so apparently I never finished the story. I guess now’s a good a time as ever to finish it, and then my thoughts afterward! SO, I get to Margot’s apartment in Boston a few hours before we need to start getting ready to go to No. 9 Park, and that means I only have an hour or so to get my plan of action in place and going. In the meantime, she has NO idea what’s happening and that’s good because that’s how I’ve planned it to be. I had originally told her that I was taking her out, so she should look “nice,” and while she and I were both throwing on a random combination of nice clothes trying to decide what to wear (she might have gone through a few more changes than I did, but I’ll admit that I didn’t leave the house with the first thing I’d put together…), I strategically placed the blue Ring Pop on the door lock where she would have to look before leaving the house. At that point, I stayed out in that general area of the apartment waiting for her to see it. And waited, and waited. In the meantime, she’s asking me my opinion on different outfits and combinations and secretly in the back of my head I’m thinking ah ah AH I don’t care can you come look at the door now please okay thanks. 😉

Looking back on it the funny thing now is that she spotted it right when I wasn’t actually trying to get her to see it. By this point, I’ve been pacing back and forth, and since we’re about ready to go I nonchalantly ask her where her keys are. Now, because I don’t live in this apartment, I did not remember that she hangs her keys on a nail by the door right next to where I’ve placed the Ring Pop. I think I spotted it about a half-second before she saw it and immediately the thought “ah! Whoops!!” crossed my mind right as she spotted it. At that point I witnessed the seeing it, recognizing it, figuring out what it meant, and then turning back to me reaction all at once. As for what I said to her? Well, that’s for us. But, I can tell you about the dinner, dancing, and drinks afterward!

No. 9 Park was everything I’d hoped for and more (as you can probably tell from my linked Yelp review). One thing I do remember saying that night was that while yes, it has been very difficult living apart and will continue to be difficult, I wanted to show her why we were doing it in the first place and what we were working toward: the ability to go out and do what we love to do, together, for the rest of our lives. The staff at No. 9 Park were exceptional; they brought out the champagne I’d requested before the menus (they even gave it to us on the house) and when our dessert plates came out, they’d written the word “congratulations!” on both in chocolate syrup.

Afterward I told her we weren’t finished yet, and made her jump back on the T (Boston’s transit system) with me in order to get back over to the Prudential Center so we could spend the rest of our evening at a place called the Top of the Hub (for New Yorkers, think Top of the Rock except with a lounge, live music, food, and drinks). We were seated at a table for two right next to a huge panoramic view of the city of Boston all lit up at night. There was a GIANT cookie platter of fresh baked, out-of-the-oven cookies, some well-mixed cocktails, a live jazz band, and dancing involved. The best part I can tell you about this is that one of the songs that was played that night (called “Deed I Do”) ended up coming on the next morning in the store that I purchased the ring (for now) in. Margot was the one who noticed the song playing and stopped the conversation we were having with the staff person over the price and warranty options for the ring and went “stop! Stop! *turns to me* That’s THE song!!” Confused, it took me a few moments to pick up on it, and she was right. It was! Needless to say that we walked out of that store with that very ring.

Reflection a few months later:

To be honest, not much has changed except we now know that she will be working here this summer so we’ll be able to live together in New York for 3 months before she goes back to Boston again! Conversation can now easily turn to things like “can we have little miniature ice cream cones as the party favors?” (two guesses who that one belongs to). 😉

About a month afterward we were able to meet up with our close friends at one of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city (this city, e.g. New York) for a really informal engagement party of sorts, which was a lot of fun. Neither one of us, between a 1L year, LSAT studying, summer legal internship searches, the federal hiring process, half-marathon training, summer storage and subletting in Boston searching, etc., have had a free moment to start formally planning and looking at a timeframe for things like an official engagement party (and, of course, the actual wedding date). A lot of it is up in the air, but I think we both agree that it would be better to have an extended engagement and make sure we both get what we want when it finally comes time to get married as opposed to rushing into it and losing out on a lot that we could have had. It’s one of the most important days of our lives…we deserve to have it how we want it, and we plan on taking the time to (like our engagement dinner turned out to be) make sure it is everything we want and more.

And yes dear, we can have your miniature ice cream cones. However, you get to figure out to keep them from melting. 😉

Recap: Colon Cancer Challenge 15K

Apologies for the delay in posting this…I’ve been in full force studying for the LSAT in June (I’m coming to love the Logic Games actually), getting ready to go to Boston to visit the coolest person ever this weekend, and trying to fight off this damned head cold that is putting up a valiant fight against my Emergen-C, Sudafed, and my whining for it to go away.

Where was I again? Oh right, the Colon Cancer Challenge 15K. I woke up the day before and the day of the race with a slight sore throat (the beginning of what has turned into an epic head cold this week), and thanks to the “late” start at 11:15 am, which I really didn’t mind all that much, I was able to sleep in until 8:00 am, leisurely drink a cup of coffee and eat my ritual pre-race PowerBar, and jump on a train with Margot to Central Park. She decided to surprise me by coming down from Boston to see this race because it’s the biggest race I’ve been in so far, and it was a big deal because of the charity drive attached to it that I participated in. Thanks to the enormous generosity of friends and family, I was able to raise $367.30 for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation through the FirstGiving website. Even though the race is over, the charity page I set up on FirstGiving is still open and accepting donations through June 27, 2011!

For those who are uninitiated in road racing and/or unable to convert kilometers into miles, 15K is actually 9.3 miles. This is probably the closest one can get to a half-marathon (13.1 miles) without actually running a half-marathon. If you follow me here, then you already know that I’m planning on doing the Brooklyn Half-Marathon in a little less than two months, so this 15K was a great race to incorporate into my training plan for the Brooklyn Half. I completed the 15K in 1:18, which comes out to roughly 8:25 minutes per mile. The more mileage I add, the more I realize that my pace won’t really fluctuate all that much in the two Half-Marathons and maybe even the ING NYC Marathon this year (one would expect it to get slower as the miles increase, but that hasn’t been the case…in fact, it’s been the opposite). So all in all, a great experience!

I’ll end this recap with some good photos the race:

(pre-race) I’ll let Anthony’s caption for this say it all: “Ah the classic Shea face. It says “let’s go/gimme/I’m hungry/shut up/are we done yet/what??/It’s cold/It’s hot/I’m bored/I will DESTROY you”.”

(during race) Anthony and I getting started. Notice the winter running gear? Yeah, even though it’s the end of March and Spring has “officially” landed, it’s still FREEZING outside!! Boo!!

(during race) Yup, giant inflatable colon. Margot and Beth went over the Colon Cancer Challenge Expo thing and saw this.

(during the race) Literally 9.25 miles in at this point! My hand was up to high-five Margot near the finish line.

(post-race) Team stretch!

(post-race) FOOD!! Must have food now!!!

(post-race) ❤ She’s cute. 🙂

Back to Reality

After a nearly two week hiatus from work, the gym, life, NYC, etc., I am back in the city and heading back to work and life’s routines. Before I go any further, I’d like to issue a special shout out to the NYC Sanitation Department for doing such a lovely job cleaning up after the epic blizzard on December 26th, which resulted in garbage collection being non-existent until earlier today, Monday, January 3rd. From a friend’s text messages, it sounds like NYC is stankarific right now and I’m so excited to be back in it. On the bright side, the ridiculously slow response by NYC Sanitation apparently saved someone’s life over the weekend

Normally after a two week vacation in my world, I am itching to get back and into the swing of things again. I have this thing with going stir crazy relatively quickly, and I’m pretty much always ready to dive back in even though one or two weeks prior I couldn’t wait to get out of it all for a few days. I think everyone has a certain breaking point when it comes to going stir crazy after not doing anything “productive” for a while, but I’m perfectly willing to admit that my breaking point tends to hit incredibly quickly. I can’t help it though; I’ve always been this way. Not this time though. No, this time I was not all excited about the prospect of coming back to the city and to work, and it’s not because I don’t like the city or my work or working out at the gym. I actually love living in the city (even when the Sanitation Department conveniently forgets about the outer boroughs and that whole trash collection thing) and everything I do in it. No, the reason is this: after spending nearly two weeks with M, everything felt back to normal and it was like there was no long distance thing or law school thing doing everything they can to wedge themselves in between us. To be honest, within 12 hours together everything was back to normal and at that point we had two whole weeks together to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Perfect!

Not that the time spent together wasn’t perfect. To be fair, I couldn’t think of a better way for it to have been spent. We had the holidays together, new coffee drinks on a new espresso machine, dinner at our favorite Indian and German restaurants in the city, a couple of pints at a cool pub right next to where I live in Brooklyn, exploration of some of Boston’s history including the Black Heritage Trail, spending New Year’s Eve with good friends, etc etc. Last night (my last night before we separated again for another semester of law school), we had the very glamorous night of baking about 12,000 cookies (ginger snaps and chocolate chip!) and watching the last two Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back because I’d already re-watched the first one for the first time in years a couple weeks ago. While this may not have been as exciting for some, it was just the right way to end both of our vacations (since it really was a vacation for both of us after first semester law school finals). My complaint about all of this is very simple: it went by too fast. Way too fast. Now I’m heading back to my life in NYC and she’s back to her life in Boston. The biweekly bus trips up to Boston will resume (though we did discover this morning that President’s Day weekend is in two weeks so the very first time I come up this semester will be an extended weekend!) as we try to hold onto what we had over these past two weeks: spending life together as best we can and enjoying every minute of it. 🙂 It’s back to reality for both of us for another semester, and as you can probably imagine, we were both pretty equally excited about it… 😉

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

As I sit up in M’s apartment up in Boston, starting the last day of 2010 with some espresso from the brand new espresso machine I gave her and some Lady Gaga on the iTunes (yep, I said it…I love her), I figured now would be a good time to re-appear from my notable absence here and to write the obligatory New Year’s Eve post. So here goes…

Goodbye 2010! You brought me many things:

  • A new, more fulfilling job that pays more. Win in all directions.
  • A long distance relationship, which has made me a Boston to New York bus line connoisseur. Boo in all directions.
  • A long distance relationship still going strong in all directions despite the distance and the stress of a 1L year. Mega-win in all directions. 🙂
  • Exposure to living in a new borough (Brooklyn), which I actually like but I recognize that I’m meant to live in Manhattan.
  • Also exposure to a lengthy and absolutely thorough hiring process that I am still involved in. This experience has developed a newfound appreciation of all those who have successfully gone through said process before me.
  • Successful completion of the 9+1 race requirement for NYRR in order to get guaranteed entry into the 2011 ING NYC Marathon.
  • The first full year of dedicated running/training, which has done wonders for how I feel physically and emotionally.
  • Along the same lines, this dedication had a lot to do with the fully clean bill of health I received in December after going through a full (and I mean FULL) medical exam. I’m only 26, but to know that everything’s working like it should is always a good thing to know.
  • For those of you who knew me in high school, remember that time I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia? I’ve been thinking that was a misdiagnosis for quite some time and I learned in that full medical exam that my glucose levels are, wait for it, perfectly normal. I may be needing M’s soon to be lawyering skills in the future… 😉

What’s in store for 2011?

  • An LSAT in June. Why? Because my first one has expired. Boo in all directions.
  • More of that lengthy and thorough hiring process, which will undoubtedly be linked to an even greater respect for all those who came before me.
  • A half marathon or two.
  • The 2011 ING NYC marathon.
  • …and much more I’m sure.

For MGO Today

She’s taking her (I believe) Civil Procedure final exam today, and since I know she’ll see this before she goes in, I have the following statement to make:

I know you feel like this right now after studying for days, weeks, oh who am I kidding? For months, am I right?

And maybe even like this:

But all you need to remember is to throw in some of this action:

And maybe even a little bit of this action in your answers on the exam:

And you’ll be just fine. 🙂 Good luck! Not that you’ll need it!

Steps to making one’s girlfriend happy

(note: applies specifically to the #1 Harry Potter fan type of girlfriend…)

1. Buy advanced tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I.

2. Travel up to city where said girlfriend is buried under her law school books, outlines, “research packets,” etc.

3. Dig said girlfriend out from under these items (shovel may or may not be necessary depending on seriousness of the avalanche).

4. Purchase the following items: butterscotch syrup and cream soda.

5. Distract said girlfriend with orange chicken and rice and ban her from the kitchen.

6. Mix 1/2 cup of butterscotch syrup with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place in microwave for 1:30 (less or more depending on your microwave…just do it until it’s bubbling or hot).

7. Mix in 16 oz. of cream soda.

8. Present your newly created “butter beer” (found recipe online) to said girlfriend. Enjoy reaction.

9. Entertain yourself the next day until the movie screening.

10. Attend movie screening.

Note: you may need to repeat the butter beer step as many times as necessary. Or until you run out of butterscotch or cream soda.