So I did my first adventure race…and it was awesome. I signed up for the Merrell Down ‘n’ Dirty Mud run 10K (9/30) on a whim, only two weeks before the race. It was a bit pricey, but my friend Haajar highly recommended it. I also needed an excuse to visit Pelham Bay Park out in the Bronx. Did you know it’s the biggest city park? Yeah, I just found out too–and the New Yorker in me was curious. So I got up at 4:40am to get on the train by 5:30, so I could get to the start line by 8:00am. Fun commute.
There were a ton of people–I think 6,000 runners total ran the 10K and the 5K combined. The good part about the 10K was that we were the first ones to go, at 8:15am, followed by two different waves of 5K runners at 9:30am then 10:30am. We got to go on the obstacles before they got TOO nasty (even the mud pit was cleaner–fewer dirty sneakers ahead of us). There were 17 different obstacles, including cargo nets, low walls and high walls (my least favorite), a soapy mountain with a rope climb (the hardest), a monkey climb, two mud pits, cargo net with an inflatable slide (my favorite), push-ups, running through tires, and even a 100m ocean dip (in chest-deep water)!
I pushed myself pretty hard the whole time–I was really strong on the run but weak on just about everything that required me boosting my own weight (the low walls). I still had a lot of fun though, and the volunteers were great. I ended up running 1:02:05 (with 17 obstacles), good enough for 10/150 women in the F25-29 division! I was super happy with that. My favorite part was crawling through the final mud pit and hearing the announcer yell my name–that was awesome. You get a cool dog tag at the finish! Needless to say, I looked like a bedraggled mess and I’m glad I wore clothes I didn’t care too much about.
After the race, I went to the sponsor tents while I waited for my friend Sharif, who was running the 5K. He very kindly offered me a ride back to civilization because I didn’t want to deal with the train again! First order of business was getting somewhat clean. The organizers trucked in swimming pool water on FOUR trucks so that runners could shower with clean water. They were rustic hose showers but they did the trick! There were also large changing tents–pretty essential. Afterward, I got a $15 haircut at the Paul Mitchell tent (the money went to Operation Gratitude, a military charity!) and I loved my new layered look. Merrell was also selling sweet gear and taking facebook photos. I bought a nice soft gray zip-up Merrell jacket.
There was also the post-race Burger Bash, where every runner got a burger (or a salad), chips, and a drink, included with the entry fee. That was a great idea, since the park had no vendors. You really do get your money’s worth! So for the $75 I paid, I got a Merrell tech tee, awesome race experience, a post-race burger meal, a Merrell buff/headscarf, a finisher dog tag, and a post-race shower. I met Sharif and his friends after his race and he agreed that it was a ton of fun. The weather was gorgeous too!
Sharif drove me into civilization (aka Astoria) where I could get my favorite post-race meal, ramen noodles, at HinoMaru. This little gem of a ramen place opened recently, and my friend Yuji introduced me to it. I highly recommend the HinoMaru specialty ramen with the fireball, yum!
It was a jam-packed weekend overall. Rewind back to Friday (the 10K was on Sunday)–my co-workers and I celebrated a very successful softball season with our company league! It was the first time I had ever played softball since elementary school, and I’m really glad that I gave it a shot. Our team finished undefeated (I think 12-0-2, with zero losses and 2 ties) and emerged as Division III Champions in the EDSO softball league, woohoo!!! I was one of the novice players on the team, but it didn’t matter–I improved a lot and my co-workers were encouraging. As a celebration, EDSO invited the award winners from all the divisions to a dinner at Mercantile Grill in the Financial District. They had one hour open bar and a dinner buffet, complete with crab cakes, pasta, wings, beef and chicken. Sweet!
I enjoyed the party and hanging out with my co-workers yet again in a non-work setting. When the awards were announced, our co-captain Jimmy made a brief speech, and we received two team trophies (one was for being in the league for 10 years), as well as individual personalized glass paperweight awards! That was a really nice surprise. Go team!
On Saturday, I managed to track down the Nutella Breakfast Tour Truck (my friends know that I’m an expert at tracking down free stuff) at 10am at a street fair. They were giving away samples, American Apparel “I ❤ Nutella” shirts, and I got to take my picture with a giant inflatable Nutella jar! Who doesn’t love Nutella? That was an awesome start to my day.
Next, I stopped by free Yoga in the Park at Pier 63, right near the Hudson River. It was a cool, cloudy morning but not too cold for outdoor yoga. There was live music and 250 people doing yoga next to the river. All the attendees got free yoga mats and goodie bags too. I love New York.
So that was my weekend. Fast forward to Monday night–I had tickets to Jay-Z’s concert during the inaugural week of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn! I was super-excited about this. As a native Brooklynite, having a $1 billion arena spring up in your neighborhood is a big deal. I also do like Jay-Z’s music, and I think it’s great that he went from the Marcy projects in Brooklyn to rap mogul to part owner of the (now) Brooklyn Nets.
The tickets were also pretty affordable, $29.50 before fees. Dina went to the concert with me and we had an awesome time. We ate at Bark Hot Dogs for dinner and had lattes at Hungry Ghost Cafe. We didn’t eat inside the arena, although there were a ton of options. The performance was electrifying, with amazing light effects and 18,000 screaming fans inside the venue. I felt really proud to be from Brooklyn.