Boston Marathon 2019

This past Monday, I conquered my fear, and ran the Boston Marathon. Ever since last year’s difficult weather and race conditions, I have been very afraid of the Boston Marathon. So on Monday, my goal was not a personal record, but just to have a redemption run. A run where I erased my negative experiences of the previous year, and tried my hardest. And that I did. No marathon is ever easy (or maybe for some it is?), but running 26.2 miles is difficult for me. No matter how many times I do it, it is always a challenge. And on the Boston Marathon course, it is even harder — the Northeast weather conditions are spotty, the start line is far away and requires a marathon of sitting and waiting BEFORE the marathon, and the course itself is extremely difficult with so many hills — TOUGH TOUGH hills. But I did it — I went out there, tried my best, had a fun (yes, I did), challenged myself (ohhhhh yes, that, too), and ran a good race.

 

Expo. One of my best college friends lives in Boston, and so she was a wonderful host and driver. She picked me up at the airport, drove me to the expo, cooked me the perfect dinner, and then drove me to the start line. Thanks, Gigs!

I was dropped off at the bus at 7:30 am, and it took an hour to get to the start. It had been pouring POURING rain all night long and the morning. Due to my experience last year, I knew that I needed to bring a lot of rain gear, and throw away shoes and socks — and I am so thankful I did. The field where the portapotties were located were A MUD BATH and my feet were sopping in mud like no other!!!! It was hard to walk because there was so much mud!!!!

This is me at the start line. A girl next to me asked if I could take a picture of her — and I said sure, and then asked her to do the same for me. I started talking to her, and turns out SHE IS FROM EUGENE MY HOMETOWN! And went to my high school!!! But she was 24 and me…..much older. But how small is this world? I love the running community…….

And I also love social media community! After my college friend realized that there was no way she could pick me up at the finish line, drive me to her house, and then have me get to the airport in time for my flight, someone I (barely) knew saw a picture of me that I posted from a year before at the finish line, contacted me and said she lived close to the finishh. So I replied — can I COME OVER AND TAKE A SHOWER? Small small world.

Not only was she so kind and let me take a shower at her place, but she also made me my favorite post-race food.. NACHOS!! They have always been my go to and this time around, they tasted oh so great.

And then my new friend called me an uber after my quick turn around of shower and gulping down nachos and off I went to the airport! 45 minutes at her house was such a kind gift and I can’t wait to repay a random act of kindness to someone else — it made all the difference and was one of the highlights of my Boston Marathon experience.

When I finally arrived back in NYC, I had a second round of nachos, a gallon of champagne and some kale salad. The best.

 

Overall, this marathon was a great experience. Hard and challenging, but rewarding. I ran a 3:22, which I am super proud of. The hills felt like mountains, the crowds were incredible, the weather was hot and humid and I finally have a good impression of the Boston Marathon. Thank you to my countless friends who supported, encouraged, motivated, and loved me through this whole process and race day. It was unbelievable to have friends contact me when I was running — I felt that energy and it helped me — so thank you thank you.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Spring Break 2019 Part 2

Last week, we finished off spring break with good quality fun in Central Oregon with my parents. Generally when we are in Central Oregon, we go to Sunriver, but this time, we went to Black Butte Ranch. Beyond beautiful with spectacular views, we had a great time skiing, walking, lounging, watching movies, building puzzles, and being together. Enjoy this oversharing of family photos!

 

Family — the one shot that we got (minus Ken, who went back to NYC)!

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Spring Break 2019 Part 1

Spring Breeeeeakkkkkkkk! After a long and grueling cold winter in New York City, nothing feels as good as warm weather, sunshine, and the beach. For the first week of our break, we went to Imanta in Punta de Mita, Mexico with my in-laws. It was rustic AND luxurious, eco friendly, secluded, beyond beautiful, and very relaxing. Take a look at the pictures, enjoy the sharing overload!

 

The kids are at a great age where they can play in the pool alone and not be supervised at all times…..The kids loved to go skinny dipping in the pool (good old Hippy Roots!)

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The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Last weekend, we played tourists in our own city, and decided to visit “The Vessel” at Hudson Yards. After many years of construction and 200 million dollars, this new landmark and public structure opened up last week. Located outside Hudson Yards — a development of retail stores, office space, apartments — this structure is quite the site. It looks like a pineapple, or a honeycomb, and is the newest Instagram hotspot for all.

 

Pineapple. Shining and shimmering in its brand new splendor.

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Funny Text Message Exchange

So if you follow my husband, Ken, on instagram, you may have already seen this whole post. But if you are NOT on social media, or do NOT follow Ken, or do NOT look at stories, then take a look at the below. Quick synopsis is that last Thursday night, there was a text message exchange between Ken and our 9 year old son, Cruzzie, in which Ken thought it was me…pretty funny — take a look. And good job, Babers, on being able to recreate the situation in a way that makes sense and is funny (I wouldn’t be able to do either!)

 

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Palm Springs January 2019

In my last overly-personal-post, here is my round up of pictures on our second week of vacation in Palm Springs, California. Thank you in advance for looking at the photos and learning more about Palm Springs — and I promise you that next week, we will be back to NORMAL posts that are not overly personal or sappy……After Sunriver, we decided to spend a week with our best friends from Stanford (who live in San Francisco) somewhere warm(ish), so we picked Palm Springs. I actually spent time in Palm Springs growing up as my childhood best friend’s parents had a home there, so I had fond memories. Although NOT warm this year, we had a wonderful time exploring a new place for the family and quality time with our friends — they are friends that are family, where they  know you so well (that they can give you unsolicited feedback) and will always be close to us despite the fact we live on different coasts.

 

Palm Springs is really retro and is a serious throwback to older times. We had amazing meals, all arranged by our friends (who did the research and reservations — thank you!).

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Sunriver December 2018

So before we get *totally* back to regular posts, I want to show pictures of our first week over Winter Break in Sunriver, Oregon. For the loyal readers, you know that Sunriver is a place that I have gone to my whole life, and as a result is truly a special spot. Not only is it gorgeous, but I have loads of fun memories of skiing, relaxing, and family time with the whole Proskurowski Family. I love that I get to share this place with my kids now, and that they get to experience the beauty and perfection of Winter Wonderland in Oregon. Take a look at the pictures!

 

We were fortunate enough to overlap with my brother and his kids (unfortunately, my sister in law had to work) for a couple of days. The kids love each other deeply…cousin love is REAL.

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Domino Park – Tacocina

Yesterday, we went on a little adventure to Domino Park in Williamsburg (in Brooklyn). This new park opened in June and was created in the ruins of the Domino Sugar Factory. Designed by the same firm as The High Line (James Corner Field Operations), this water front six acre green space is a terrific new addition to the city. Although we froze our bottoms off, it was great fun to run around, breathe fresh air, and look at the views of our incredibly beautiful city. I can’t wait to come back on a sunny Spring Day (which will not happen for half a year….)

 

These cranes previously occupied the site remain, and have been painted in the park’s signature turquoise.

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Austin 2018

This week, I went to Austin, Texas with a friend from New York to visit two other dear friends that live there. We left on Monday post kids drop off and then returned back to NYC for pick up Wednesday. It was a quick trip but so good to get away and see friends I have not seen in a long time. We did nothing special or extraordinary other than spend quality time together with loads of nachos and tequila. I told them that all I really wanted to do was eat as many nachos as possible — and literally, that is what we did. We came home with both our bellies and hearts full. Worth the travel and logistical planning just to be with friends I don’t get to see enough of. Here are pictures of all the nachos I ate!

 

Margarita #1. We got off the plane and went straight to lunch….and margaritas.

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NYC Marathon 2018: Achilles Guide

This past Sunday, I ran as a guide for Achilles International, an organization for disabled athletes. Although it was my overall 12th marathon, it was my first marathon as a guide. It was an incredibly difficult, overwhelming, emotional, and beautiful experience. I was paired with a 25 year old blind runner, Eddy, who I had met with twice beforehand. Before our marathon together, Eddy showed me his spirit of positivity, gratefulness, and sincerity, so I knew that that would help carry me through our run together. And it did.

 

 

Me and Eddy after the marathon (and after the shower) at his family’s apartment on Roosevelt Island. Yes, I took a tram after running a marathon, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

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11.11 Eau de Parfum

I am a cult follower of the fragrance 11 11 by Lake & Skye. Ever since it first came out, I have been buying it nonstop and wearing it every second of every day. I basically shower in it. People always comment on how I smell (to toot my own horn); for example last week, the Lottery ticket salesman said I smelled so nice, and then a young couple on the subway told me the same thing…(on a side note, it reminded me how nice it is to give compliments to strangers). The original 11 11 is an essential oil in a small tube with a roller ball. I carry it everywhere I go and apply it when I need a quick pick me up. That said, because it is an oil, the smell disappears quickly. So I was thrilled when I found out they released an eau de parfum in a larger size.

Pretty classic bottle, simple and bold fragrance.

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Seattle Fall Weekend 2018

The past two Falls, I have made a trip out to Seattle with my son to have special alone time with him and his cousins. My brother lives in Seattle with his wife, three kids, two dogs, and two cats. As a lover of the Pacific Northwest, I love this trip to go visit him and just spend quality family time together. We don’t do much while there but it is nice to be all together. Here are some pictures of the weekend.

 

My brother’s house. ISN’T IT SO CUTE? Even with the scary decorations (my brother’s kids wanted it to be the spookiest house in the neighborhood), it is so cute. And so Fall.

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Chicago Marathon 2018

Here we are again, another marathon. It was an especially important one as it was the first one that my whole family traveled to watch.  I also atrained really hard, hoping fora personal best. And it turns off that despite my lack of confidence and the bad weather going in to the race, I ended up with my fastest time ever, 3:19:47. I am still on cloud 9 (and also very sore) and just so happy and proud. Take a look at all the pictures from the whirlwind 34 hours in Chicago!

 

We left NYC on a 9 o’clock flight Saturday morning. I was so happy to have the whole family together as I tend to be a basket case before a marathon. Traveling alone with just my thoughts is never a good idea…..

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Oregon Coast 2018

Oregon has everything:  mountains, rivers, ocean, hills, valleys, lakes, etc. One minute you can be in the Willamette Valley, and the next, in the Cascade Mountains or on the Pacific Ocean. The kids and I just had an amazing weekend at our friends’ (Sara and Colin) family’s retro cabin on the Oregon Coast. Located 60 miles from Eugene, it was the perfect getaway full of outdoor adventure, fresh air, beautiful scenery, and good old fashion fun. Thank you so much, Sara!!!! Truly the best.

 

Oregon Coast is unlike any where else. It has dunes, sand, shrubs, rivers, lakes, etc…One of a kind.

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Overnight Train

When we were mapping out our summer travels, I knew that at one point, I wanted to take the kids on an overnight sleeper train adventure. Luckily, we had planned to go on our annual trip to Sonoma, so I knew that the magical train dream would be able to happen. It was perfect timing as my best friend from college, Bridget, had been visiting us in Eugene, and we were both aiming to get to California at the same time. So the five of us — me, Bridget, my two kids and her daughter — all went on the adventure together. And it was exactly that: an adventure. Not a mode of transportation to get us from Point A to Point B, or a luxurious beautiful hotel, but a memorable and fun experience. It was so much fun that I hope to make it an annual tradition — there was something about it that was nostalgic, peaceful, romantic, and comforting.

 

The five of us. And yes, Bridget and I are wearing matching outfits. Why would we NOT wear matching outfits?

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Marathon Training

I am currently in the process of training for two fall marathons (Chicago Marathon in October, and NY Marathon in November where I will be running as a guide for a disabled runner). Although the training is tiring, long, and challenging, it is also my favorite part of the whole marathon. In all of my previous marathons (10 overall), I have had different techniques / training / ideologies and approaches. Here is what I am doing THIS time around.

 

Mid long run stretch. I think between miles 14-15. I sometimes takes breaks to drink / eat / breathe / rest.

 

Like most marathon runners, I am competitive and type A. Typically when I run a marathon, I care about my time and have a strong desire to get a personal record (PR).  There have also been marathons where I have not focused on time (NYC last Fall and Boston this Spring) and simply run. But for the most part, I go out there to prove to myself that I am doing my best and getting faster.

 

Training in Oregon is great with its beauty of all the trails and rivers.

 

So how do I prepare? It takes MONTHS to get ready to run a marathon. I tend to start 16-18 weeks ahead of the marathon to get ready in prime marathon shape. All of this to say, that to prepare for a marathon you RUN a lot. I know that this is stating the obvious, but I usually run between 45-60 miles a week, each week. But in every run, I vary the intensity, the distance, the course, and the overall effort.

 

I am lucky to have a good friend, Nancy, who is 60 and a marathon runner herself, who will often times get on her bike to pace me and keep me company in those long runs in the early morning. Makes the biggest difference!

 

So I run 6 days a week with one rest day. During these six days of running, I have some easy runs (at a slow pace), a long run (with varied speeds, some with progressively getting faster and faster and faster), speed runs on track, speed runs on pavement / trails / roads, and tempo runs. There are days when I feel like I have had the best run and days when it is a challenge and I want to throw up. All of these runs make me faster, stronger mentally, and up for the challenge of facing the day.

 

Eugene is filled with lots of runners (a ton of elite runners train out here) and the neighbors lare all runner-friendly. Makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, and helps me on those long runs!

 

Basically, I am stating the absolute obvious, but to prepare for a marathon, you simply RUN. RUN A LOT. But short story, you mix up those miles and change here and there, and then finally, wam bam 16 weeks go by,and it is marathon day! So, Fall marathons, I am getting ready for you and can’t wait — but also enjoying the current state of preparation.

 

I did a progressive run this past weekend – 4 miles at an easy pace, 4 at 8 min pace, 4 at 7:30 min pace, 4 at 7:00 pace, and last mile HARD. I was super nervous leading up to the run, but I gave it my all. And I did it. Super hard work that I am really proud of myself for doing.

 

If anyone has specific marathon questions, let me know. I love talking about running (kind of like some people talk nonstop about their jobs or kids, well, I can do that with running!). Hope you are off to a great week and enjoying August!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Summer 2018 Orcas Island

We just finished up a full week in Orcas Island (a part of the San Juan Islands) with my family. It was a super fun filled week of hiking, biking, swimming in lakes, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, roasting marshmallows, and breathing in the super fresh air. Orcas Island is an incredibly hilly island (made my runs extremely challenging….) but with ridiculous beautiful views and scenery. I can’t wait to return again and hope to make it an annual trip. Enjoy the pictures!

 

We rented a house in Rosario, one mile away from Moran State Park. This meant great access to hikes, trails, lakes, and views. At the top of Mount Constitution, there were breathtaking views of the other San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and all the lush greenery. HEAVEN, truly heaven.

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Summer 2018 Greece

In late June, we were fortunate to spend a week of vacation with my inlaws in Greece, my first trip there in 20+ years. As the kids and I had just come off a week of cultural visits (in Paris), we used our time in Greece to rest and relax. Despite the fact that Greece is full of a rich history, we were located in a remote part of the mainland of Greece and didn’t travel outside of the resort (except for one day where we were on a boat). We fell in love with Greece — the resort was absolutely DIVINE and I hope that we will be returning again soon. And of course, next time, we will have to check out more cultural sites as well as many of the islands.

 

Everything about the hotel was perfection. Absolutely perfect. This is where we ate breakfast every morning overlooking the ocean and mountains.

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Saturday Night Live Taping

This past weekend we had the experience of a lifetime, attending Saturday Night Live and hanging out backstage with cast member Mikey Day and his partner Paula, who is a friend of Ken’s from college. Paula and Mikey are incredibly friendly, interesting, funny, and grounded. So when they invited us to attend the dress rehearsal, hang out in the dressing room during the show, and then go to the after party (!!!!), we jumped at the opportunity… especially Ken, who is the show’s biggest groupie. We had SO MUCH FUN.

 

We had tickets for the dress rehearsal which required us to be there at 6:30. There was a lot of security to go through before it actually started at 8 pm.  The dress rehearsal lasted 2 hours and has more skits than the live taping.  They are militant about not allowing pictures. 🙁

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Boston Marathon 2018

On Monday, I proved to myself that not only was “Boston Strong” but that “I was strong.” In the middle of freezing rain, super windy conditions, and low temperatures (mid 30s), I ran and completed my first Boston Marathon. It was not at all pretty, fun, or wonderful. It was actually quite the opposite; horrible, gruesome, difficult, and treacherous. Boston is considered the most prestigious of all world marathons with everyone having to time qualify to run, and I was super excited to attempt the master of all races. Due to the weather conditions, I knew that it was going to be difficult to run my hardest. So instead of racing, I focused on perseverance and completion.

 

Expo picking up my number.

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Theo Chocolate Tour

Over Spring Break in Seattle, we had the privilege of visiting Theo Chocolate Factory and going on a tour (my beloved Gwyneth is the one who told me about it). It was fun, tasty, interesting, and a unique experience. Definitely worth going to — but probably best to do it AFTER lunch and not before. Cough, cough, we were the idiots who went with five kids at 10:30 am and ate ten chocolate bars before lunch.

 

Classic beautiful warehouse (an old brewery) in which the factory is housed.

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Taj Mahal 2018

As I mentioned on Monday, after our full two days in Rajasthan, we went on a pilgrimage to see the Taj Mahal. It was quite the trek — a full 5 hour drive from Rajasthan, and then 4 hours back to Delhi, but when in Rome…. How could we not see the Taj Mahal? Although it was an incredibly long day (on no sleep as the wedding was the night before), it was pure magic.

 

It was quite the racket to even get IN to the Taj Mahal. First of all, we had to be dropped off by our car 2 kilometers away and walk to the gates. We had not eaten a thing that day (we left before breakfast and street food was not happening for us), so the walk felt like miles and miles……but once we got through the ticket purchasing, the security, and all the lines, we saw this. MAGIC.

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Indian Wedding – Part 2 – The Details

Hello! I am back from a whirlwind 4 day trip to India. Currently, I don’t know the difference between up and down, India vs. USA, where I am, and what time zone I am in, but HEY, all worth it. It was a *once in a lifetime* trip and I am so glad that I went and experienced it all. I am sure I am going to have a serious whoop-a$$-kicking-week with work / kids / life / reality, but all worth it….YOLO (you only live once). Here are some pictures of my trip — sorry in advance for the number — I couldn’t help myself!

 

We arrived at 12 am Monday night — basically Tuesday morning. And had to wake up and drive 5 hours to the wedding site, which was located in Rajasthan. This is a picture of us on the roadside on our way to the wedding. We saw monkeys on the side of the freeway and couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity.

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Indian Wedding – Part 1

Hello from India!  Ken and I have had a whirlwind week, flying to India to celebrate the wedding of our friends.  For a number of reasons, (spotty wi-fi, severe jet lag, a packed schedule, #DelhiBelly), I won’t be able to post in detail until I get back to New York on Saturday (solo.. eeks… Ken is meeting with potential suppliers here and then flying on to Manila), but here are some quick pics of our wedding outfits in the meantime.. Enjoy!

 

There were a lot of parties. This was the first party on Day 1. Some people were in Indian outfits, others were in dresses. I decided to wear a top and skirt that looked both Indian and American — I love the color and the fit.

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Firenze 2018

I just returned from an incredible four day trip to Florence (Firenze), Italy with a big group of girlfriends. As you can imagine, there was never a dull moment with lots of food, wine, no sleep, and lots of activity. The trip was incredibly planned and I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to this beautiful city.

 

We stayed at the most beautiful place. This is the view from one of the apartment’s kitchens. DUOMO. Stunning.

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