On Wednesday I spent my morning exploring the Union Square Farmers’ Market. I hate to admit it, but I really never spent much time here while I lived in the city. Trips to Union Square were reserved for Trader Joe’s…and by the time I was finished there, I was too weighed down with groceries/wine to shop for anything else!
This farmers’ market is New York City’s largest – and I ended up spending a solid two hours walking around. Since I was just a visitor in town, I didn’t want to buy any fruits or vegetables because they’d go to waste. So the next best thing? Baked goods :). I ended up spending a lot of time speaking with a different bakers and learned that in order to be in this market, all the ingredients used in their products must be made with local ingredients. I’ve noticed that local is definitely valued more than organic at farmers’ markets. Each baker was more enthusiastic than the next in offering information and I felt bad walking away empty handed…sooo I ended up with three muffins and a cookie. Apparently I keep bakers in business :).
There were also a ton of meat stands. I’m not a big meat eater. If fact, I didn’t eat any meat for more than two years. And while I recently brought red meat back into my diet, I’ve had no desire to buy it and cook it myself…until now. I loved that I was able to speak with the farmer and learn about their practices. I’ll have to find out if any Philly markets sell meat!
I also found plenty of gorgeous Jersey tomatoes and apples from local orchards…and indulged in a 9:30am wine tasting. When in Rome, right?
Some more interesting finds included edible flowers, rhubarb jam (which I bought – they gave me a sample…I couldn’t say no), and farm fresh eggs. I need to find these in Philly! I recently read about the difference in taste between farm fresh and store-bought and I’m anxious to see for myself. Don’t worry, I’ll find them asap and report back. And how pretty are these edible flowers?? I would love to be able to serve them in a salad!
I’m heading South for the weekend, but I’ll be back next week with a new market visit. Have a great weekend!
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I’ve been in NY for the past two nights to take advantage of this short week between my spring and summer semesters. Philly is certainly growing on me – and I can’t wait to explore some more – but New York will always hold a special place in my heart. I visited the farmers’ market in Union Square (recap coming soon!), spent time with some of my favorite people and completed my last long run before the half next week in Central Park. This is so fitting for me because Central Park was where I first left the comfort of the treadmill and started to run outside. I left you hanging on My Road to Running – and I’ll expand on that soon – but I’ll just say that Central Park plays a big part in it.
As I entered the park today, I was feeling pretty good. Remember when you were a kid and your parents took you to the best playground in town? You know the one – it had the longest slide, the highest monkey bars and the biggest sandbox. Well, today, that’s what Central Park felt like to me.
I think it was meant to be that I only did 2 miles on Tuesday because my legs felt very ready to run. I mentioned before that my goal is to get under 2 hours (my PR right now is 2:00:32, which is a 9:13 min/mile)…and after today, I believe it’s possible. I finished 12 miles in 1:49:09 with an average pace of 9:05.
1 – 9:32
2 – 9:10
3 – 9:31 (hills!)
4 – 9:09
5 – 9:07
6 – 9:10
7 – 9:02
8 – 8:54
9 – 9:00
10 – 8:42
11 – 9:19 (hills!)
12 – 8:28
I was happy to see that I met my goal of running negative splits, which I always have a hard time doing. Negative splits basically means you finish the second half of the run faster than the first. This is a great goal to have so you don’t burn out too early and can cross the finish line strong. The two miles where my pace slowed included the “Harlem Hills” on the upper west corner of the park. If you’ve ever run here, you know these hills are HARD…I know they’re good for training, but I curse them the entire way up. I made up for those hills by doing a loop around the Reservior – the flattest 1.5 miles in the park ;).
Central Park, thank you for…
- your canopy of trees that keep me cool on even the hottest days
- your well placed water fountains
- your bathrooms (well, these could use some work…)
- your endless running routes
- your hills (I curse you, but I love what you do for my legs)
Question: Do you have a favorite running route or one that holds sentimental value?
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In about two hours, I’ll be up in Central Park running around the 6 mile loop twice to complete my last long run before the half next Saturday. While the last long run before a race probably won’t help much with endurance, I mentally need it to know I can get to the finish line. Central Park is super hilly, but my goal is to run negative splits and finish strong. Hopefully my Garmin will work in the park! NYC is notorious for bad reception because of the tall buildings.
For pre-run fuel, I’m currently munching on half of a huge bran muffin with peanut butter. I bought the muffin at the market yesterday along with some other goodies (expect a market recap soon!). I’m also bringing two Clif gel shots and a water bottle filled with half coconut water and half regular water.
You’ll probably notice over the next few months that coconut water is my drink of choice before, during and after long runs. Last year when I started training for my first half, I learned a few things through trial and error. For instance, I learned that running socks make a difference, Body Glide is my hero and those abstract things called electrolytes are real and necessary to function properly. I never liked the taste of Gatorade (plus, I question why HFCS needs to be in a sports drink) so I had to find another way to replenish electrolytes. Enter coconut water…100% pure coconut water. There are a ton of different brands – Vita-Coco, O.N.E., ZICO – which you can find next to the sports drinks in your local grocery store. As “nature’s sports drink” it boasts 5 essential electrolytes, 60mg sodium, 25mg magnesium and 670mg potassium (15x more than a banana)! These minerals work together to prevent fatigue, muscle cramping and dehydration.
Honestly though, it doesn’t matter much to me what a product claims if it doesn’t work. But I promise you – coconut water works. Whenever I drink it and go for a long run (8+ miles), I don’t get that sluggish “I-just-want-to-lay-on-my-couch-for-the-rest-of-the-day” feeling. I also find that I don’t get the ravenous hunger that longer runs can cause. Trust me, I still get hungry…but not in the same way. For any non-runners out there, I can also vouch for its ability to ease stomach sickness and cure hangovers after one too many glasses of wine ;).
Okay, enough about me and my love for coconut water! Have you ever tried it and felt the effects?
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