Vacation #2 – NYC

Since I’ve been back at work for two weeks now, I thought it was time to write about my second vacation to New York City.  I’m already dreaming again of what it was like to have so much time off!  I love my job but I’m totally spoiled by the summer.

In New York City, I had the time of my life. (If you didn’t sing that last phrase in your head, we obviously aren’t friends) Once again, I noticed how much easier the whole trip was because I was fit and active.  I can only imagine what the trip would have been like if I had gone two years ago.  And once again I would have missed so many things.


Walking – So it’s true what they say about NYC, it’s a walking city.  The subway and buses are easy to figure out but you still have to know how to get to the stations.  And, since I’m fit when it was only a mile or so, we’d just walk it.  Rarely, and usually late at night, we would take a taxi.  I tried not to add it up when we were there because I didn’t want to discourage myself from walking more.  I knew I was talking a TON because my legs hurt everyday.  I worked out only twice while there, see below, but I was sore the whole time.  Also, I knew I wasn’t gaining weight even though I tried nearly all the food. Walking gives you a totally different perspective of the city.  I would have missed a lot by driving.

Here’s my day’s walking totals:

Day 1: Airport, Staten Island Ferry, Dinner, Lots of walking around, 12 miles

Day 2: Morning walk, Brooklyn Bridge, Financial District, Battery Park, Ground Zero, Coney Island, 14 miles

Day 3: Time Square, Garment District, Central Park, Broadway, Boxing, 14 miles

Day 4: Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Wall Street, Fire Museum, Airport, 10 miles

Grand Total: 50+ miles!


Food – I wanted to eat anything I wanted in NYC.  Because I was walking so much, I was able to partake in all the New York traditions: pizza, hot dog cart, cheesecake and bagels!  Everything was wonderful.  It was so nice to not worry too much about what I was eating!  As long as I kept up my water intake, I knew my weight would be fine.  I was so happy to see I’d actually lost weight on vacation when I got back!



Workouts – My friend and I had already discussed what workouts we wanted to do before we left, we ended up doing about half of them.  Our legs were so sore from walking that we knew we didn’t need much more activity.  I had two killer workouts while I was there.

After reading The Long Run by Matt Long, I had set a personal goal of running the 6 mile loop in Central Park.  To quickly summarize: Matt Long is a NY firefighter who survives 9/11 only to be hit by a city bus during the transit strike.  Matt was an Ironman and marathon runner before his accident and he would dream of running in Central Park.  He eventually recovered enough to run marathons and even an Ironman again.  I was so inspired by his story and his book that I couldn’t wait to run his favorite path in Central Park.  I ran it with him in mind and crushed it! It was a very emotional and spiritual moment for me.


Jameson, my boxing trainer, is from Brooklyn.  So when I was planning a trip to NYC he set up a training session with his original trainer at New Bed Stuy Boxing.  In one short and sweaty lesson, Naye fixed elements of my stance and my punches.  It was a great workout and it was fun to see where my trainer began his own journey.  I was proud to show his teacher what he had taught me.



Sleep  – When you only get so many hours in NYC, I didn’t want to waste it sleeping.  I wanted to sleep as little as possible so we had more hours to do things.  Because I’m used to pushing through when I’m exhausted in workouts, I was able to keep going.  I got to pack my hours with all the things I wanted to do and keep going. While I was tired most days, my natural energy from being active kept me going.  Needless to say I slept A LOT when I got home!


All though the trip I kept wondering how it would have been different if it was three years ago. I would not have been able to see half of what I wanted.  The trip would have been more expensive because I would have had to rent a car and pay to park everywhere.  I wouldn’t have figured out how easy it is to take the subway or buses.  I wouldn’t have been able to eat all the NY treasures without guilt. (although I probably would have anyway…..) I definitely wouldn’t have run Central Park.  I would have missed out on most of my favorite moments of the trip.

One of my favorite moments was seeing the ocean in Coney Island.  We went to Coney Island on a spur of the moment decision.  We saw that they subway line went all the way there, so we just decided to go.  When we got down to the beach, neither of us had our swimming suits on.  But how often do you get the chance to swim and play in the ocean? I actually played in the ocean in my bra and underwear.  This is something that NEVER would have happened before and was probably my favorite moment.  I would have missed so much without even knowing it.  I would have been uncomfortable and nervous the entire time.  But because I knew I could go anywhere I wanted and be able to walk back, because I was confident in my appearance, because I could just relax, I was able to have the time of my dreams!



What I Want You To See

I’ve had a lot of experiences in the past few weeks that I will be posting and writing about.  But this week, I stumbled across a photo on Instagram that I just had to share.  It stopped me in my tracks and it has haunted me for days.


IMG_4470Photographer: Meg Gaiger (Happyimages), via Instagram

This photo gives me mixed emotions everytime: sad and horrified but I also understand the girl in this picture.

All through my childhood I felt like this girl. No matter how active I was or what I ate, I always felt bigger and fatter than my peers.  Even when I look back at photos of my young self and see that I was pretty normal, it isn’t how I felt. I don’t remember idolizing models or movie stars in my Tiger Beat but I remember looking at others.  I always wanted to be as thin as my sister.  I wanted to wear a bikini like my friends at the local beach.  I wanted to be a starter on the basketball team instead of second or third string.

BUT I did not know how to do it in a healthy way and didn’t know I could ask for help.  I remember having body issues as young as 4th grade, maybe sooner.  Things only got worse through middle and high school.

In 6th grade, I got bullied by one girl in particular.  She would make me feel fat and ugly all the time.  She and her friends would laugh at me from across the hallway or in the back of the room.  I never understood why she choose me or why she bullied me.  I’ll never know, but it effected how I started to see myself.  I started to notice more and more how I was different.  I was taller and a little heavier. By the end of middle school and going in to high school, I did not have a healthy self image.  I was constantly judging myself against others.  When I was in high school, I realized I could change how I looked.   Throughout the four years of high school I experimented with anorexia, bulimia, water pills, diet pills and weight loss bars or shakes.  No one seemed to notice that I was struggling.  I never stuck to one method for long enough for it to be that noticeable. My friends didn’t even know.

My senior year of high school was the hardest.  My family experienced quite a lot of stress that year and it was easy to hide in the back ground.  I lost over 30 pounds by starving myself.  I would eat one or two diet bars a day and diet soda.  When you’re at school all day, have an after school job, and then musical rehearsal until 9 pm, it’s easy to hide your eating habits.  I could drive myself everywhere and my parents were always at an appointment or work.  It wasn’t their fault, no one really knew.  I don’t remember why I stopped. My focus shifted to moving to college I suppose.  While I feel like this was one of the hardest times in my life, my confusion about health and eating continued until just recently.

When I look at the photo above, I am that girl.  But what I truly worry about it is young girls seeing me now.  I don’t want ANYONE to ever look at me and feel bad about themselves.  Every day I get the “Skinny Bitch Face” from someone.  I always want to stop them and explain my story and who I am.  I wish I could wear a shirt that says “Healthy NOT Skinny”.  This was my goal all along.  I want young girls to see me and think “I want to be healthy like her!” I want them to see me running down the street and want to be able to do what I can do. I NEVER want a young girl to see me and feel bad about themselves or make the kinds of choices that I did when I was young.

But how to spread this message……..