Thursday, August 17, 2006

The New Training Food: Dominican Food

There’s nothing like darkness in the woods to make you have a PR training run.

I had an 8-miler scheduled today but was loathe to do it all in the gym. So I hustled off to the parkway to do the 3-mile loop outside before having to retreat to gym for final five. Things were good till the last hill. It’s shrouded in trees, so dark I could barely see the path. The squealing and shrieking of the nighttime creatures, bugs and bats – one brushed up alongside me. eww! – made me charge up the hill with an intensity usually reserved for only the shortest of races.

I’ve found the secret to the best pre-training food for long runs: Dominican food. No really, I had Dominican for lunch and during the run I felt so strong. Like I could run forever.

I’m doing a story on the growing number of Dominicans in the area, so I had plans to speak to the Dominican owner of a Dominican restaurant. I invited along a colleague.

This colleague reviews a restaurant a week and since he’s never had Dominican food, asked the girls working the counter to give us a little taste of, well, pretty much everything.

Goat? Sure. Chicken stew? Yep. Bananas? Please. Mashed bananas? Sounds good. Fried plantains? Umm-hmm. Rice, yellow or white? Yellow, thanks. Beans? A staple.

“Oh, and one of those,” he says, pointing to an empanada looking thing that is filled with beef, we’re told.

We chat. The first two plates come out. They are really big. I mean, big enough that those two dishes could be our lunch.

The waitress returns with the second round. Hmm, our table is getting a little crowded. A plate of two bananas (bananas verdes) and an unnecessarily large serving of mashed bananas is placed in front of us.

The third, and we think, final trip brings us the empanada-looking thing and a side of beans. “Your plantains are coming up,” she tells us.

When all is said and done, our entire table for two is covered with plates and sides. We barely have room for our serving plates.

When the time comes to pack up to go, our two large to-go boxes are completely full – and quite heavy.

But man what a good run. And for post-run nourishment, the goat and rice and bananas were most tasty.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The best of...fizzles out

It’s tough being a popular blogger. I mentioned that I get an email at least once a week asking me to update my blog. This week has been no exception. Like I don’t have a hundred things to do without answering fan mail. But I aim to please.

A few days ago I started going through my blog archives for the best of PartyRunner and was bored to tears. Man my blog is boring. Particularly boring were my Vegas posts. Did I have nothing to write about except missing workouts and eating too much? Can we say, broken record?

So in the end, I couldn’t see myself spending hours compiling a best of when in the end it’d be about skipped workouts, man problems and drinking too many beers. Cause that’s my life and it ain’t always pretty.

But while I’m writing, bloggers Brit and Scott arrive next week to Ocean City, N.J. I can hardly wait. We’re gonna run and maybe drink a little.

And that my friends, is what’s up.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday PartyRunner!

A year ago today I decided to run the Las Vegas Marathon. And a year ago today, I launched the partyrunner blogspot.

This was my first post:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

the little green dress
a slinky turqouise's the one i'll wear after i, si dios es servido, complete the dec. 4 las vegas marathon. too little for standard cocktail parties or black tie but perfect for the town with the brilliant marketing campaign. it's a bit tight, a byproduct of too much cheese, too many beers, too little running as i recovered from injury from may marathon, my first. join me on my journey to vegas with an ambitious goal of qualifying for boston, and properly rocking the dress.the shots begin: 10 a.m. Dec. 4.

No, I didn't qualify for Boston. But I broke 4...barely. And no, there were no shots as I can't drink after a race since I'm usually nauseous. And the green dress hangs in my closet, unused because that stubborn belly fat refuses to lie down and give it up already.

But it's been a wild year. I'm going to take a walk down memory lane, highlighting posts and moments especially meaningful to me.

Like a tribute. Only I'm doing it for myself which is rather embarassing. It's like when Bette Midler says in "Beaches." -- "Ok enough about me, what do you think about me?"

Look for the best of PartyRunner. Coming soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My couples.

I’m now part of a couple. Actually, couples. Oh it’s not exactly a couple since there’s three of us and two are married and I’m not one of them but it’s nearly the same.

I’ve spent several nights recently with Kim and hubbie and Martina and hubbie. Kim’s hub has treated us to gourmet spreads and unique mixed beverages that include things like fresh squeezed orange. Martina’s hubbie has offered to cook dinner after our recent workouts. So I told Martina’s husband last night as we ate steak, yams and mixed greens – who needs a relationship when I can just join others?

So Saturday morning I set out with Kim and hubbie for 25-mile “fun” bike ride, a River to River Heritage Ride to benefit the Heritage Corridor in the suburbs of Philly. The morning started out rocky, with them arriving late to meet me. Neither of us had printed out directions to the start, which was a small farmers market. Kim’s hubbie knew of one but we weren’t sure if it was the right one. Off we went.

The mile plus to get there was all downhill. Great. Only it was the wrong one, we were told when we arrived. We were sent (yup, you guessed it) the way we came, now all uphill. We finally found the start.

We debated briefly whether to do the race, since basically they just gave you a map and off you went on your own. We’re like, we’re about to pay over 100 bucks for a sheet of paper. But we went.

We filled out the application for the race, which includes a size category for a T-shirt. But when we went to pay we were told T-Shirts were only for pre-registered racers. This didn’t go over well with hubbie, who mutters “Fucking expensive bike ride.” I began laughing hysterically.

Off we went, me clutching my paper directions tightly fearing we’d be one of those “few who get lost.”

A half mile later we’re forced to turn right or left and neither street is listed on our directions. We stop, look around. Hubbie mutters this is going to be a long day.

We’ve missed the first turn. I can’t stop laughing.

Three hours later we’ve speedily completed the 25 miles, just in the nick of time for the included lunch. Kim irately declares there is neither DIET ice tea nor TURKEY sandwiches left. Hubbie says he’s never doing another race again.

I look at my couple with a mixture of frustration and exasperation. But more, I look at my couple with fondness and warmth. They are, after all, my couple.