Monday, September 3, 2012

Catching up, starting with the city that never sleeps

Greetings from the Outer Banks of North Carolina!  After a harried few weeks, I'm out here on a much-needed vacation and I finally have some time to catch up on my life!

My schedule has been a complete disaster.  Getting up at 5:45 AM in the mornings to run or do yoga... getting into the office by 8 or 8:15 AM and working at breakneck speed until 7 or 7:30 PM... coming home and desperately trying to get something that resembles edible nutrition onto the table for dinner... booting the computer back up and working until 10:30 or 11:00 PM...  going to bed in a state of mental disarray over what hasn't gotten done yet... then starting all over again the next morning.

Now that I'm on vacation, where to begin with everything that has been building up in the back of my mind?

Let's start with last weekend!  I attended the NAAAP National Convention, which was held in New York this year.

First off, can I just say once again how much I enjoy any opportunities to visit New York?  I love feeling the city's energy and vibrant diversity and could spend years exploring the various neighborhoods.  This visit afforded me the opportunity to go to K-Town, shop at the flagship Macy's at Herald Square, have brunch in the East Village with my friend Bon-Jay, check out Serendipity with my friend Rose, and have a very lively discussion with my LaGuardia cab driver about Tim Tebow, the Giants, and the Yankees (including insider sources for Yankees tickets!)

I even caved in over the weekend and did something sacreligious, by my standards.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Rose and I went out and got some New York-style pizza.

The site of my pizza indiscretion. 

I ate the evidence.

On a side note, I can definitely see why some people like New York-style pizza.  The super-thin, crispy, cracker-like crust is definitely tasty.  But, I still prefer Chicago-style deep dish.

Anyways, I digress.

I've been involved with NAAAP for a really long time, and this was my tenth year attending the convention.  I really love these conventions because they are like a family reunion or a homecoming for me.  This year was no exception.  The convention was packed with inspiring speakers, events, sightseeing, and friends - and the time went by in a flash. 

I just served my second year as the Program Director for the NAAAP 100 Awards Program, and the awards ceremony takes place at each year's convention.  Here is a picture of me, along with my friend Shane, presenting the award to one of this year's five recipients, Senator Vivienne Poy:

Senator Poy is the second Asian-Canadian to receive the NAAAP 100 Award.

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend's festivities:

Late dinner with friends.  From left to right - Jeremy, Grace, Rose, me, and Ben.
Don't we all look hard-core since we're all wearing black, white, or grey?

Me working the NAAAP  booth at the Career Fair, with my friends Hector and Brad
(and another woman whose name I didn't catch) in the background. 

My friends Wendy and Brenda, and me.

Speaking of my friend Brenda, this woman is a powerhouse and an inspiration.  She's currently training for her third Ironman 70.3 this month, and she's completed three marathons with her fourth scheduled this November.  She's also a mentor for Team in Training in Atlanta.

I hadn't seen Brenda in several years so when we saw each other, of course we started talking shop about marathoning and endurance training.  Ten minutes later, Brenda and I made plans to go running together in Central Park on Sunday morning! 

Central Park's outer loop, which is about 6 miles

I had never gone running in Central Park, so I was super excited to do so while getting some time to really catch up with Brenda. 

The Central Park loop was fun - great people watching and very serene.  Albeit, the route was much hillier than this Midwesterner is used to or was expecting!  There was one massive hill in particular that would seemingly never end, and the path went around a corner so you couldn't see the end of the hill.  Wow.  Just wow.

There were lots of people on their bikes along the path, as well.  I didn't realize until Brenda pointed it out to me that the bikers were supposed to stop at all of the intersections within the park.  There were even Central Park police parked at the intersections to enforce the stops.  I was joking with Brenda that it was a good thing that I wasn't on a bike.  Otherwise, I would have breezed through each of the intersections and jauntily waved hello to the officers while doing it.

All in all, I had a great time running with Brenda, and I was happy to cross Central Park off of my list of running destinations, too.  Here's a picture of the two of us right after finishing our run:

Doesn't Brenda look like she could be my coach?

OK!  Coming soon to my blog near you, some catch-up and future entries on:
(As you can tell, my vacation has started off with watching way too much TV, along with the advertisements that come along with it.  This won't be a regular occurrence, to say the least.)

Happy Labor Day to all!!!


  1. NAAAP sounds like a blast! Very cool that you are involved in an organization like this. And I bet it's even more fun since you've been attending for a while. I love the picture of you with the senator. You look gorgeous!

    I'm majorly jealous that you ran in NYC. It's one of my "must run" locations, for sure.

    I hope you are enjoying your well-earned vacation. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts!*

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! Very much appreciate the kind words!!!

      I am majorly jealous of all of your explorations and runs in Germany!!! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures and travels across Europe, too!!!!!

  2. So happy you are on vacay! You deserve one, big time! Do you think work will calm down after awhile?

    That big hill would be Harlem Hill! So happy you got to run in Central Park and visit the city! I prefer NY style pizza. Do you know the story behind "Ray's"? Hee hee.

    Shoe audition! LOVE IT! I can't wait to catch up with you this week. I plan to run the race with you so we can chat the whole time. Deal? I just want to come in under 2:30. Is that too slow? Hmm. Maybe. I can try to speed up!

    1. Thanks so much, Kim! Thank goodness for vacation, indeed. I do think that work will calm down after I get myself up the learning curve a bit more (I hope!)

      Ah, Harlem Hill. The bain of my Central Park existence, sigh.

      I can't wait to catch up with you, too! I didn't know there was a story behind Ray's, now I am curious! You'll have to share during the Chicago Half Marathon next weekend! It'll be awesome to run the race together and 2:30 sounds like a solid goal. I also believe that with you as my race partner-in-crime, I should be able to break that time pretty easily. That will be great for me so thanks in advance for pacing me! Woo hoo!!!!

      See you soon!!!!!!!

  3. Yay, vacations...So sorry I have not been by in such a long time...things have been busy around here..we have built a fence...a new well house and a gravel, still not running but back to working out at the gym and taking long speedy walks...thanks so much for coming by the blog in spite of my inconsistent blogging...your a true friend...blessings sweet girl

    1. Shannon!!! So good to hear from you, how have you been progressing with your healing? I am so glad that you are able to work out at the gym and take long speedy walks. Those endorphins must make such a difference, even if you aren't able to run just yet. No worries, you will be off and running soon enough, and when you do you will be stronger than ever!!! And thank you to you as always for your support and friendship, as well. Praying for you as always!!!

  4. Hello hello pretty lady! Happy to see you're back to blogging again :) I'm so jealous of your trip to NYC. It's one of the only major cities in the U.S that I haven't visited. Running in Central Park has been a dream of mine as well.

    I totally feel your work woes. Why oh why must we live in a society that works itself to the brink of madness?? It's truly inspirational to see you balance it all - work, running, socializing, traveling - and now you definitely deserve a vacation!!!

    1. Hello gorgeous lady, yourself!!! =D Welcome back from your vacation to Russia, it is good to have you back! And I know you completely understand the madness of balancing working, training, friends, family, and traveling - so I am so happy that you had such a great vacation, yourself! Thank you so much for the kind words, and I am dying to hear more about your Russian travels, too. Please do keep your pictures and details coming!!!