Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New York City Getaway= Weekend off from training and nutrition.


2 Months. 

This past weekend, Jacks and I went to New York City to get away, visit some friends and relax before the big push we are about to make in our training over the weeks coming up.

I knew that my diet and training would take a backseat this weekend... and I was completely OK with this! And boy... did it take a back seat...

We left on Friday around noon and took the NJ Transit up, in order to save on costs and make it a bit easier. Wow, was that easier... and cheaper! It was only $30 for the two of us to get up there, which was instead of $75 if we were to leave from Philly! Awesome.

We arrived around 3 pm... starving and anxious to get the weekend on its way. We hopped in a cab and went to our hotel. We stayed on the Lower East Side at The Hotel on Rivington. Our goal was to not stay in a "chain hotel" but instead a different and cozy boutique hotel. Well, we got that for sure... this hotel was very different.

The Entrance of hotel...!!!!
The bell men and everyone working at hotel wore all black, clubs in the back and sides of the hotel and what seemed to be a great restaurant, always crowded. The room was very unique. Nice and roomy with awesome views!

Jackson would say that the best part of the room was the toilet seat. It was a slow- closing seat... (I may have made that term up).. but you couldn't slam it down! Very cool.

The Magical Toilet.

I would say the best part would be the view out on the balcony:

Happy Sunset, Mom!
Once we got settled, we were starving and getting a bit cranky. (Cranky Ali or Jacks = time to eat)... We wanted a good burger and milkshake to start off the weekend and (I hate to admit) like dorks researched the whole train ride up great places around our area to go. We "Yelp-ed" the closest, highest rated places and came across Mark Burger in Lower East Village, labeled as "Best Sliders in NYC". . We didn't realize how close it was to our hotel, but were pleasantly surprised by it being 3 blocks away, clearly in walking distance from our hotel. Crankiness was about to be over faster than we thought!

It was underground, very cool (but tight) bar. The sliders were quite large and you could get an "original" with cheese and onion... or add bacon to it. THEN, you could get fries, cheese fries, chili fries or chili plain. THEN, there were milkshakes... black and white (which Jackson got), Espresso milkshake (which I got), then a Guinness Milkshake and plain chocolate, plain vanilla. The list of goodness just kept going. 

The menu was straight forward, smelled delicious, cooked in grease and totally worth it. We ordered two classics, two milkshakes and fries. Definitely starting the "NYC Getaway" off right!


There were three ketchup options to spice up the burger, which were all awesome: BBQ, Chipotle Ketchup (the best) and Jalapeno Ketchup. They also acted as good dips for the fries! :)

After being full with "food babies", we walked around a little bit to see some of the neighborhood where our hotel was. A cute neighborhood and very 'artsy' (for lack of a better word). 

Walking around for 6-10 blocks after our burgers was the extent of both of our workouts for the day.... It was great. 

After resting for a bit, showering and getting ready, we got a knock on the door. To our surprise... it was complimentary BROWNIES! The hotel must have known we were splurging all weekend. We had a glass of wine and enjoyed them before dinner.

 We then walked a short 5 blocks or so to an Italian Restaurant called IL BAGATTO. Cute place, full of character. We found it through some recommendations my cousin, David had received. He said he had never been but heard it was amazing, so we gave it a whirl! 

The inside was a little tight, but not terrible, with really cool exposed brick walls, lights and interesting decor around the entire place. 

We were starving so we ordered appetizers right away. We ordered an anti pasta and the grilled calamari (which was a special). Both were very good, but the anti pasta was very different and not what we were expecting. Made of chickpeas and some keesh thing, along with some rices and veggies... it had more of a middle- eastern flare. With that said, the grilled calamari was delicious and definitely worth a try. 

Picture taken from their website... I forgot to take pictures of this meal!
But this is exactly what it looked like!
For entrees, I had a pasta special with seafood (had to take advantage of my not following Paleo for the weekend in full), and Jackson got homemade rigatoni with beef and sausage (he said it was wonderful). We shared the cheesecake for desert, which was again, different, as it included a lot of lime. Very good, but if I had known it was lime, I would have ordered something a little bit more.... rich?

All in all it was a great dinner. (just wish my company was better... ha ha ha). 


We woke up and right off the bat went for a run across the Williamsburg Bridge. The Bridge itself was maybe half a mile from our hotel. Very convenient.

Entrance to Bridge
We had some wine the night before and didn't get home from dinner until late, so we weren't really enjoying the good quarter mile up- hill in the very beginning of the bridge at 8 am. I was trying to occupy my mind by taking a million pictures, while running, instead of concentrating on how painful the uphill grade was on my stomach and tired legs.

Running up! 

... and up!
Middle of Bridge!

View from middle of bridge! Amazing!

Taken from on the bridge, entering Brooklyn

Exiting Bridge!

So, we finally got to Brooklyn and hadn't been happier. That mile/ mile and a half honestly felt like it was about 2 miles. You would think, two people training for a half ironman, who have both done Olympic distances, a mile and a half bridge would be no big deal, even with the alcohol and unhealthy foods from the night before... I thought the same thing. Oops.
He looks thrilled... I don't know what is more exciting to him:
that he has more running to do
 that I keep embarrassing him with the amount of pictures I have been taking.

So, continuing on our little journey, we found a cute little bagel shop about half mile up the road once we go off the bridge. A little bit sketchy, but hey, it was food and a warm place to sit down and grab water.

Jackson got a bacon egg and cheese on a bagel and I got a whole wheat bagel, SCOOPED (the middle of the bagel taken out so its just the outside of the bagel. (My only attempt during the whole weekend to be somewhat healthy). When I asked if they could do this, the guy said, ("I do it for you"... then winked at me. Gross.) .... I got this with eggs and cheese. The run over the bridge was totally worth it.

Once we were done, I had to go to the bathroom very badly (I tend to have this problem often) so we wandered around and found a bathroom. Then, we headed back across the bridge.

The way back was a lot worse... a HUGE uphill grade, steeper than the way there.


Our stomachs were not too happy with us going up that hill, but once we got to the middle, I got some more great pictures and the worst was over!

Finally, we were on our way down and back on the other side!
back down!

Overall, it was an amazing run. 

Once we got back and showered and hydrated a bit, we were off to our activities for the day: walking, walking and more walking. 

No but really... thats all we did. 

Ok, ok, we did see some cool things.

The 9-11 Memorial

This was absolutely incredible. If you haven't been, go. The memorial itself was so well done, the security was intense (almost equal to that of an airport), and the experience was so somber, yet surreal it was very neat. 

I find it inappropriate (for lack of a better word), and it would be very hard, to try and explain it all, as I will not do it justice and there were so many cool areas... so I will just do a little photo bit right here so you see some of what I saw:

Rainbow in the corner... :)

The next stop, after digesting all of what we had just seen, was lunch. 

We decided to add to our rap sheet of healthy foods and get pizza and the Famous Original Rays!

I did not hesitate to really dig in. Pizza is possibly my favorite go- to food. I knew that the slices that were larger than me and very cheesy... therefore 1 would probably be plenty. So, naturally, I ordered two slices. 

... and I don't regret it at all. I ate every last bite. Taking advantage of this treat was a must. Even if I did feel a tiny bit sick afterwards. I knew it was all going to end when I got home on Monday...

The day continued with a walk all the way up 5th ave (a 3 hour walk up 5th ave!).... anddddd I must bring attention to the fact, that although I dragged Jacks into almost every designer store and into Bloomingdales and Barneys... i did not buy ONE thing! wahoooo!!!!! Go me!

Yes, I was very proud of myself!

Along the way, we stopped at Rockefeller Center:

 And St. Patricks Cathedral (which was stunning):

And then ended the long, tiring stroll at Central Park:

We didn't know who to ask to take a picture of us. 90% of people didn't speak English and the other 10% were preoccupied with other things. So, Jackson's long arms were sufficient enough.

We tried to stop at Serendipity for a famous frozen hot chocolate, but the wait was too long. I didn't make Jackson wait with me, because I knew that we didn't need the extra sugar and I made myself believe that the wait was a sign we shouldn't continue our bad eating until dinner.

So... it was time to get on the train. We hopped on the train, but after 20 minutes they announced there was a detour and we would have to get off and board another. Long story short, it would have been faster and easier to cab- it to the hotel rather than figuring out the trains. It was 5:30 pm at this point and we were exhausted from walking all day and all we wanted to do was get back to the hotel.

It took us 30 minutes of walking in the direction of the hotel before we could find an available cab. There had been at least 60 cabs passing us, none of which were available.

 Cranky was an understatement for what we were at this point. Sore feet, tired eyes, dehydrated and hungry... we both agreed that we were more tired after walking around New York City from 10 am until 5 pm than we were after a triathlon!!!!!!!!

We took a nap and then got ready for our next dinner: GREEK!

We took a short cab ride to Murray Hill and went to Ethos for dinner at 9pm (pushed back our reservation in order to get a nap in)

Ethos was a very relaxed, casual and not expensive Greek restaurant with delicious food. We received this recommendation from a friend of Jackson's father and also some of my girlfriends who live in NYC. It was a great choice!

We started out with hummus and stuffed calamari (and a bottle of wine of course). Both amazing. Then, I got this amazing chicken and orzo dish and Jacks got the lamb. Both of these dishes were incredible.

Love Greek food!

They also provided us with a free desert, which was awesome too!

At this point, we were so exhausted that when we got back, we couldn't even pretend to try and keep our eyes open.

The next day we woke up early, packed up, left our bags with the concierge and headed to The Empire State Building!!!!

Thanks to Jackson for thinking ahead, we had express passes, so NO LINES! Totally worth it!!!

He also got us passes to the 102nd Floor Observatory, which is 1250 feet high!!!!! It was really cool and I took about 200 pictures, but just to show a few:

After the Empire State Building, we had plans to meet some friends for brunch so we just wanted something light so we grabbed a bagel and cream cheese at a nearby cafe.

Then, headed to Meatpacking District to shop and have a late brunch/ early lunch!

We went to a bunch of stores including my favorite boutique "Scoop"... and I MUST bring attention to the fact that AGAIN... me... with a semi- shopping problem... did not buy ONE THING! Yay for me!...
Jackson on the other hand encountered a steal at Scoop, where he got some awesome casual shoes, a sweater... equalling in $350 for only $55!!!!!!!! He was all smiles.

We then met our friends Robert and Jenny. Robert is an old family friend who just got engaged not too long ago to Jenny :) They live in NYC and we met them for Brunch at Dos Caminos! (We love our Mexican!... Thanks to Alex, my brother, he got me hooked).

We enjoyed a bloody mary and Margarita, chips and dip, their famous Guacamole and I got Enchiladas to top off the weekend of bad dieting!

My goodness was I full and ready to go home. We made a few more stops into a couple more shops (where I still didn't buy anything!!!)

We also went and walked up on The High Line, but it was ridiculously windy and cold, so we didn't spend too much time up there.

Soon, we got in a cab and went back to the hotel to go home.

We got back around 6 pm, exhausted and ready to lay down and watch a movie with takeout. Our last pig- out meal before Monday hits... and the 2 month mark. All in all, successful trip. Good weather, delicious food, (a bit too much of it), a nice run, good "bonding time" away from the busy home life for Jackson and I... and a break from the headaches of training.

Monday, I was tired, exhausted and not looking forward to what is coming up. Already, the workouts are harder, my body is more sore and I am more tired than ever. This is when Paleo kicks in, my mental state gets more intense to push myself through these next two months.

Compliments of Jackson

The boys have kicked it into high gear too, I can tell. Jackson is watching what he eats again and asked me to go on a morning run with him... while Alex is doing the same with his diet and joined me today for my strength training appointment. I think they both know (although they may not admit it) I get intense with all the training, so if they stick with me, they will be just fine!!!

More to come tomorrow with what my training looks like this week!!!!

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Never Give Up-


Perseverance is the hard work you do... after you get tired of doing the hard work you have already done.
- Newt Gingrich


Thursday @ 6:15 pm
Friday @ 5:30 pm