Category Archives: Boston

One Year Later…

Standard

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.  One year since lives were lost and others forever changed.  One year since the city of Boston changed in a multitude of ways.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today.  I’ve thought a lot about the experience I had, the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel and how that day affected me.  A huge part of me wanted to say nothing at all today but ultimately that doesn’t feel right.  I’m sure there will be a lot of different point of views on the day and I think it’s important to remember that everyone will react and feel in their own way.  In the end, there is no right or wrong feeling today.  There is hope and strength, and grief and sadness and even anger.  And whatever it is you may feel today, that’s how you feel and that’s ok.

I wasn’t physically harmed when the bombs went off but like so many others I was in the area and was affected in some way.  In the months that followed the bombing I suffered from nightmares about bombs and death and terror threats.  I’d wake up scared, with tears streaking my face.   To this day I still panic if there are a lot of sirens and can immediately feel the fear creeping in.  When you live in a city, there are a lot of sirens which means this happens more than I’d like it to.  Most of all, I’ve struggled to find my own peace with the events.  Reading the news, and seeing stories related to the marathon makes me sad and quite honestly is just too upsetting for me.  Personally, I was dreading this day.  For me, it brings up so much emotion and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it.

Perhaps what is most significant is how the events have impacted my relationship with running.  When I ran the B.A.A. Half in October a bunch of fire trucks zoomed by with sirens blaring as I was approaching the finish line.  Rather than enjoying the last quarter-mile I was panicking, and wondering what was going on.  It’s with that feeling that I’ve shied away from races.  I’m just not ready to toe the start line to a major marathon with 40,000 other people.  I’m sure I will again, but right now I need more time.  So many runners have found peace with the events through running.  Countless runners have run races to raise money for the victims of the bombings- they’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons and even across the country.  It’s amazing to see how much they’ve accomplished, and how much money they’ve raised.  But I’m not ready for that and as a result I feel a bit disconnected from the running community and I’m sure I’m not alone.  A year ago, I never thought I’d be saying that.  But it’s true.  For me, running solo with my thoughts is what I’ve needed.

Beyond my own feelings and emotions, I’ve noticed how much kindness the world has shown our city and those affected.  It makes me happy to see victims standing strong, running this race and experiencing genuine acts of kindness.  I followed a dream wedding created for one couple thanks to The Knot, countless fundraisers to help pay medical bills, friendships of a lifetime created as a result and so much more.  And while all the good does make me happy, another part of me feels sad.  Sad that we have to see such kindness come out of such a horrible act.

It’s my hope that Marathon Monday will be a day of healing for this city.  I hope that it’s our chance to take back the city, and return Marathon Monday to a day of community, hope, resiliency, strength and all the good a marathon stands for.  I hope it’s a day for us to heal and move forward.

For today, I’ll be thinking of those we’ve lost, those harmed and honoring the strength of the city that I proudly call home.  

#bostonstrong

Boston-Marathon-2013 2

 

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival!

Standard

A few months ago I was invited to attend the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival as a blogger.  When the invite came I was beyond excited!  If you’re local to the Boston area you know how many great reviews this event gets and how many people love it.  If you know me personally, you know that there are few things in life I love more than good food.  Michael and I are always trying new restaurants wherever we are love to find that hidden gem!  We excitedly accepted the invite and marked our calendars!  Thanks to Michael for playing photographer!

20130921_132547

Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival!

Yesterday we headed down to Newport for the festival.  We had tickets to the Grand Tasting at the Marble House Mansion and it was a gorgeous fall day.  Things were off to a good start…

Marble House Mansion

Marble House Mansion

As we entered the mansion they gave us our swag bags and glasses to use throughout the day.  Porsche was there with a few cars on display when you first walked in.  It was kind of fun to look around and live in fantasy land for a minute.  Once we made our way through the Porsche tent we entered the main tent, it was swarming with people, wine and food.  We quickly realized that most of the food was on the perimeter and the wine was in the middle.  Outside the main tent as you approached the water was a couple of craft beer companies including a bar featuring Stella Artois.

It was lunch time when we arrived so we promptly made our way to some of the delicious food and a glass of red wine.  We started with a salmon dish served over a cauliflower puree, a seafood risotto with shrimp and veggies and a duck pot pie of sorts.

It all tasted so delicious.  We also had smoked salmon with crème fraîche on a pancake, tasted cheese from all over Italy and sampled a high-end craft beer that tasted so smooth and delicious I’m not convinced it was beer.  Then we wandered outside to the Stella Artois bar where I tried their new Cidre and took in the gorgeous ocean views.  I was really excited to try the Cidre as I’d seen it advertised quite a bit and I’ve always liked ciders.  I’m happy to report, it was delicious and I’ll be buying some to enjoy this fall!

Smoked Salmon Pancakes

Smoked Salmon Pancakes

We wandered around for awhile trying different wines and tasting the different foods.  Bin 27 was there with a really interesting combination…their port wine and chocolate chip cookies.  I’m not one for port but I have to say this combination was absolutely delicious and all I could think of was cozying up on a cold winter night with a fire, warm chocolate chip cookies and port wine to dunk them in!

Port and Cookies

Bin 27 Port and Cookies!

In the middle of the tent they had a Jenn-Air kitchen featuring all of their top of the lines stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, espresso machines and more.  Michael and I spent some time wandering around and checking everything out.  I thoroughly enjoyed planning my fantasy kitchen!

Around mid-afternoon we took a break from the wine and food to watch Johnny Iuzzini take over the Jenn-Air Master Stage.  Johnny is the author of Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef and owner of Sugar Fueled Inc.  He talked about the different types of chocolate, the various ways to prepare them and how to combine them with savory ingredients.  In his demo he combined chocolate with black olives.  Crazy right?  Johnny had a great personality and was really fun and entertaining to watch.  Plus they gave us boxes of Guittard chocolate so we can make our own chocolate creations at home!

After the demo we were able to try the dessert and the subtle olive taste combined with the chocolate, was really nice and an interesting twist!

After watching Johnny we headed out to check out the other half of the tent.  We filled our glasses with champagne and made our way through the food.  Matunuck Oyster Bar was there shucking fresh oysters, we had mussels, and I tasted an amazing goat cheese ice cream that paired wonderfully with red wine.

Perhaps my most favorite food of the entire event was a Duck Duck Goose Dumpling.

Duck Duck Goose Dumpling

Now I’m not usually one for duck but it seemed to be the food of the day yesterday and I think I tried more duck than I have in my entire life.  This dumpling was unreal, right down to the sauce.  I swear I could have eaten 10 of them.

The other highlight of the day food wise was this twist on proscuitto melon salad.  The salad was tossed with a homemade honey melon dressing and then wrapped with proscuitto.  It tasted so good and was a fun way serve this salad.

Proscuitto Melon Salad

We continued making our way through more vendors and trying more wine and food and more duck!  Seriously, how pretty do these look?

Duck!

By late afternoon the temperature had warmed up and we’d had our fill of food and wine but we hadn’t tried tequila popsicles!  Michael and I shared one of these strawberry margarita popsicles under the warm sun and it was surprisingly good!

We had so much fun spending a gorgeous afternoon at the festival.  It was exciting to try new foods and wines in a beautiful setting and we even learned a few new things too!  As we made our way out of the festival we felt full and happy…the only thing that could have made the afternoon better was a nap!

Have you been to the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival?  Are you a foodie?  A wino?  Both?  Are you a fan of duck?

*I did receive free tickets to The Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival but was not compensated in any other way.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!*

Fusion Fest with Exhale Spa and Women’s Health Magazine!

Standard

Today I was lucky enough to attend Fusion Fest at Exhale Spa thanks to Women’s Health!  In honor of the 10 year anniversary of Core Fusion Exhale teamed up with Women’s Health to offer free classes around the country at Exhale Spa Locations and celebrate the class that literally transforms bodies.

Fusion Fest

The day was also special because it was an opportunity to meet one of the finalists in Women’s Health Next Fitness Star.  Aren’t sure what that is?  Here’s the details…

Women’s Health, the leading national and international women’s health and wellness magazine is searching for the next face in fitness for their “The Next Fitness Star” competition. The winner will be the star of a new DVD series, featured in the magazine as an expert source and more.

·         Women’s Health has enlisted an elite panel of judges to weigh in on the submissions including host of “Extra”  Maria Menounos, celebrity trainer and bestselling author of “The Five Factor Diet” Harley Pasternak and Editor-in-Chief Michele Promaulayko.

·         After receiving thousands of submissions, Women’s Health has chosen its top 5 finalists who will appear on the “flip” cover of the July/August issue of Women’s Health

·         Readers can get to know the finalists in their videos posted online and then vote on their favorite.

·         The overall winner will be selected based on a combination of reader/fan votes and celeb judge votes.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet with Stacie Clark.  Here’s a look at Stacie’s bio…

An athlete all of her life, fashion guru and mother of two, Stacie traded in her position as Fashion Director to follow her passion for athletics, fitness and health full-time with her husband, Chris. Stacie is a certified athletic trainer with over 15 years experience in fitness and athletic development from youth to adult. She focuses on individual and group training encompassing all the fundamentals of functional bodyweight training and athleticism: agility, balance, coordination, strength, speed, stamina, power and flexibility. Stacie’s love for sports and athletic background began in high school as a three-sport varsity athlete. She believes everyone is an athlete, and athletes must earn the right to be fit through real life experiences. Stacie has earned a solid reputation of knowing what it takes to work towards a goal and succeeding. It is about the journey. Also known for her stylish, fashion-forward approach, Stacie believes in and embodies performance, style and function in everything she does and wears. Stacie continues to train and compete in adventure races, cross-fit challenges, as well as 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathons, urbanathlons, and she doesn’t plan to stop there. To her, it’s a lifestyle, not a job. Her work is her play and her play is her work.

Stacie and I

I was signed up for the 12:15 Core Fusion Cardio class but was invited to come early to chat with Stacie.  It was great to chat with her.  It was awesome to talk about career changes, the business of health and wellness, our personal philosophies and the best workouts to combine running with! She was so down to earth and real.  I loved hearing how she has built her business bit by bit and does it all with her husband by her side.  Before I knew it time had flown by and it was time for my class.

Stacie and I Again

Stacie and I Again

I’ve never taken Core Fusion Cardio but based off of the barre classes I have taken I knew I was in for an incredible workout.  I was pleasantly surprised when the warm-up and workout included a ton of yoga inspired moves.  Within moments my heart rate was high thanks to mountain climbers and the sweat was pouring off my forehead.  The class moved from a flow to more intense moves with 3 lb. weights.  I loved the yoga poses with the curls, shoulder presses and so much more.  As the class wound down we got some final push ups and mountain climbers before a challenging ab sequence, and some much-needed stretches.  I left class sweaty and sore…it was a perfect workout if you ask me!

Swag Bag!

Swag Bag!

I’m a huge fan of the Exhale spas, it’s always my go-to when I’m looking for a great massage or a relaxing manicure and pedicure.  I always leave feeling relaxed and pampered.  Their yoga classes are fantastic so I expected nothing less today and they most certainly delivered. A great class, a super clean locker room and a very friendly staff.

It was a great afternoon at Exhale, a fantastic class and I really enjoyed meeting Stacie.  Don’t forget to check out The Next Fitness Star to vote for the finalists this June.  I personally will be voting for Stacie! A huge thank you to Women’s Health for the opportunity to come out today!

Did you attend Fusion Fest? Are you a fan of Exhale Spas and Women’s Health Magazines?

Hope for a New Normal

Standard

Last week was nothing short of a nightmare.  I kept hoping I’d wake up from my restless night’s sleep to see it was all just a bad dream.  It wasn’t.  In fact, the nightmare became worse on Friday when our entire city shut down.  Thankfully Michael was just about to leave to head to work downtown when they shut the city down so we both spent the day at home in the suburbs.  The ‘burbs felt pretty good on Friday.  I was able to shut off the tv and head out into the warm sunshine for some therapy…5 beautiful miles.  I was able to head to the grocery store and feel normal for a few minutes too.  But honestly, it felt like we were on lockdown too…it’s hard to ignore that scary feeling in your stomach.  Around 5:30 we headed out to meet a friend for a cocktail and Chinese food in another attempt to feel normal.  It felt good to be out, see other people around and eat dinner but our faces said it all.  We were sad, scared for our city and anxious.  By the time we had wrapped up our early bird dinner we were paying the bill when we heard the news.  We quickly left dinner and headed home and promptly glued ourselves to the tv again.

I thought the end would make me feel better, that I’d feel relieved and I’d finally get a good night’s sleep.  But, none of those things happened.  And even today I still feel sad and heart-broken.  I think our city has a lot of heart ache and grief to work through but also see tremendous pride and resiliency in our city.  I’ve seen our city come together in incredible ways this week and I know it won’t stop anytime soon.  That makes me feel good.

Boston-Marathon-2013 2

As we head into this new week and let time pass I know we will have our good days and our bad.  I personally am looking forward to a week of work, running in the early morning and teaching my yoga classes.  Friday I fly to DC for the Nike Women’s Marathon Half with my team and look forward to giving them the best Team In Training experience possible.  Sure, I’m anxious and nervous.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.  But running belongs to the runners and spectators, just like they showed us yesterday at the London Marathon.  Runners support each other, and lift each other up.  The community showed that in a big way last week and I know I’ll see it again at Nike.  I’m hoping to find comfort and peace with in that.  I hope that runners continue to support each other and stand strong together…I hope that is our new normal.

I hope that as we return to our routines, that as the days and months pass we will continue to stand strong as a running community, as a city and as people.  I hope the acts of kindness will continue on.  I hope that we continue to support each other and lift each other up.  I hope that we are there to help the victims.  I hope we are there to fill our streets of Boston with love.  I hope the runners continue to fill our streets for community runs and training runs.  I hope the spectators and runners will come out to make not only Boston 2014 the best yet, but every 5k, 10k and half until then just as good.  I hope the new normal is a world of kindness like I saw in the past week.

As we return to a new normal I hope you’ll have as much hope as I do…

#bostonstrong

Thoughts on Boston Marathon 2013

Standard

Yesterday my heart broke.  It broke in so many ways and in many little pieces and I’m not even really sure where to begin but I’m going to try.  I don’t know if my words are right or wrong, but this is what came today, these are my words and my thoughts on this horrible event that happened yesterday…

The day was picture perfect.  The sun was shining, the temperatures just warm enough but not too warm and a gorgeous day for a marathon.  My day started at Mile 10.  I was so excited because for the first time since I’ve lived in Boston I was going to see the elites run by.  I excitedly watched Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher zoom by me followed shortly by the insanely fast men.  I made friends with a man from Michigan whose wife Rachel was running, he was telling us about her and how after this they were going to start a very large family, “just a big soccer team size family” to be exact, after Boston and couldn’t be more excited.  We joked that it was an overshare but then commented how the running community is a family so it makes it kind of ok.  Rachel ran by and off he went.  As the morning wore on all 146 Team In Training participants ran by.  My voice started to get shaky from all my cheering and I received many sweaty hugs and high fives.  It was awesome to be seeing a team I was part of last year running by and many of my teammates out again getting redemption from last years high heat.  I felt so happy. 

I headed to Mile 15 and reunited with my boss and coworker and continued to cheer the TEAM on.  We couldn’t believe how many people were having amazing races.  There were PR’s and amazing first marathons happening left and right…we were beyond excited for our team.  After the last runner ran by all 3 of us headed to our cars.  We hopped on Route 9 and headed into Boston.  Our plan was to check in at our hotel suite with our other staff and a few would head to the finish line to watch the rest of the TEAM finish.

On my drive in I was reflecting on how happy marathons made me and was beginning to think about how I planned to run Boston in 2014. We headed into Boston with no troubles at all and then as we approached the Back Bay the traffic slowed.  Traffic stopped and grid lock began right under the Prudential Building over pass and directly in front of the Marriott hotel…one block from the finish line.  I started to notice there were too many people.  Too many people were crying and hugging and walking wwwaaayyyy to fast for just having ran a marathon.  And then the police and state police started emerging from everywhere.  More police than I have ever seen in Boston in my entire life.  Then I saw a line of about 5 to 6 cars…a 2001 baby blue Camry with a man yelling at cars to stop moving while putting on the bright yellow police jacket, an old minivan with 5 or 6 men suiting up in it and 3 more cars just like this behind it.  It was then I knew something was wrong.  Very wrong.

My phone rang and it was my coworker…miraculously she was 2 cars in front of me.  The call went something like this “OMG WhitneytherewasanexpolosionatthefinishOMGIdontknowwhattodothisissoscaryanexplosion!”  I told her to breathe deep and keep driving…she needed to pull into the first parking garage she could, I was 2 cars behind her and was right there.  I think her panic kept me calm.  Then my cousin Annbritt texted me, “Are you ok? There was an explosion at the finish…”  I immediately texted her back to tell her I was ok and told her to call my parents and Michael.  For the next hour she was pretty much the only person I could text.  Calls wouldn’t go through, and texts were failing and my phone was beeping every second with a new text or call with someone looking for me.  The sirens and ambulances trying to get by was unreal.  I just sat in the car shaking and going with the traffic.  We tried to pull into the Marriott parking garage but were told it was full so we just kept driving.  As we sat at the intersection of Huntington Ave and Dartmouth Street our boss came running down the street and jumped in my co-worker’s car.  She had been right near us the whole time and was able to ditch her car.  My co-worker and I were yelling out our windows to each other trying to stick together and park our cars.  I made it through the intersection but she was stopped.  As I stopped on Stuart Street trying to determine if I could park in 100 Clarendon more ambulances than I could count blew by me with their sirens flashing.  I sat paralyzed in the car, shaking.  A man taking photos tapped on my window and told me to pull into the garage and told me it was ok.  I pulled into the garage and parked on the first level…I was hoping my colleague saw where I went.  Two minutes later she pulls in and takes the spot next to me.

The three of us headed to our hotel where we made it safely.  We spent the next 4 hours establishing a plan and finding our participants. Thankfully everyone and their families were safe and accounted for.  We heard incredible stories of kindness as we sat in the hotel suite waiting for news.  Fossil was handing out clothing so runners could stay warm, spectators were giving people clothes off their backs, cell phones, food and even a place to stay safe.  We heard of professors at BU opening their offices to runners and letting them make long distance phone calls.  I heard countless stories of kindness and love.

Once I got to the hotel I was able to text my family and friends so people knew I was safe but it was only people with iPhones who I was able to talk to.  I wasn’t able to talk to Michael for almost 3 hours and only some of my texts were going through.  It was so scary and horrifying.  We had no idea what was happening and if and when we could leave the city.  The mixed news reports were terrifying and the entire time I was hoping for the best.  Around 8pm we were able to leave the hotel.  As I walked to my car I couldn’t ignore the eerie quite that had taken over what should have been such a busy night.  The air smelled horrible and for the first time, Back Bay felt uncomfortable.  I was never so happy to make it home to the suburbs and be greeted by Michael.  I connected with my family and received many calls from caring friends.  My head was pounding, my stomach hurt and my heart was broken.

The Boston Marathon...You Will Go On.

The Boston Marathon…You Will Go On.

Today I woke up hoping it was all a bad dream and it would all go away. But it didn’t, this is real life.  I felt so empty today and just wanted to go back to bed.  I’m saddened for the families of loved ones and the many many people who are injured.  I’m sad for the runners who were stopped along the course.  I’m sad for the spectators and everyone involved.  And I’m shocked.  I never thought something like this would happen in my world.  I always thought I’d hear about it on the news and it would be in another city where I am not but now that seems so naive.  Yesterday it happened in the city I not only call home but blocks, literally blocks, from my old apartment. And on Marathon Monday.  It happened in my city and on a day I hold so close to my heart. I’m a runner and I’m proud of it.  I’m a Boston Marathoner and proud of that too. Running is who I am, its how I define myself and this feels all to personal and for that it breaks my heart.

If I’ve learned one thing over the many years I’ve been running, it’s that the running community is a family.  We lift each other up, share stories, encourage each other and give each other a shoulder to cry on.  We are connected by the miles we run.  I know that this will only make our family stronger, it will unite us.  And Boston, well I’ve always known the love for this city runs deep but now I’m truly seeing it.  We may be a city but it feels more like a small town.  I know we will carry on.

remember-boston 2

I can’t predict what will happen in the world of running or how marathons and our sport will change as a result of this and I’m not going to try to.  Time will tell.  I can tell you that running takes courage, and strength and running a marathon is more about the mental ability to cover 26.2 than it is anything else.  I know we are strong, and that the sadness will pass.  I know we will continue to be connected by the miles we run, the charities we run for, the BQ’s we all dream of and so much more.  Yesterday my love of running grew tremendously.  My dream of a BQ became even stronger.

Today I ran. I ran for the victims, for Boston, for runners everywhere and for everyone who wasn’t able to cross that finish line yesterday.  I will continue to run for those reasons and I hope you will too.  Our marathons may be marred by heat and hurricanes and horrific events but as runners we always have the pavement, our training runs and our community to hold us together.  Keep running and show the world the courage and strength we all have.

Thank you to all of you.  Yesterday you made me feel blessed and cared for.  There were so many texts and calls from my close family and friends, tweets from readers, comments and emails from so many of you who read faithfully but I’ve never actually met.  I felt blessed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern and love.  Thank you all for that…it is much appreciated and means more than you know…