Today was a pretty huge - and incredible - day. After two days of 3 hours of sleep due to stress about the living situation, me and the girlfriend finally reached a resolution.
To summarise, I was completely against the idea of moving outside Manhattan on Sunday. On Monday, I met my girlfriend to view some Long Island City apartments. I didn’t hold any hope, until I got there - suddenly I was in a quiet, clean, safe neighbourhood, with incredible views of Manhattan and an amazing riverside park. 
We walked up to the apartment, and, well, despite being a studio, was completely new, brand new spacious bathroom, spacious kitchen and sizable main living area and, crucially, a balcony with an incredible view.
We left the viewing and I was in awe at both the view, the area and the amenities, but decided it would be key to discover whether Long Island City really was ‘up and coming’ or if that was just marketing crap. Ten minutes later and we were amazed at the number of cool restaurants, bars and comedy clubs that surrounded the building.
We decided that this was it, and went straight back up to the brand new building’s leasing department. Upon arriving at the leasing office, we were told that the apartment had been taken 4 minutes prior to us arriving. 
I was legitimately furious. I’m a very calm man but was absolutely spitting with anger. Despite the fact that we did exactly what we should have done and checked out the neighbourhood, I was torn up that our diligence had been detrimental. I couldn’t believe it.
I haven’t felt as robbed in as long as I can remember. I had the same experience twice more the next morning when trying to apply for slightly more expensive apartments a few floors above. It was clear that this 2014 new build was selling ridiculously fast - helped by the No Fee deal that was being offered by brokers finding tenants for the new apartments.
After a morning of soul-searching I decided that what I had seen wouldn’t be matched elsewhere in New York for the same price. The only studio apartment with a balcony left was another five floors up and about 5 sq feet larger - as a result it was $150 on top of the first apartment we viewed.
While I didn’t get ‘a steal’, and ended up paying a bit more than planned, I have an apartment on the edge of Long Island City, overlooking Manhattan, with a balcony, a free gym, lounge area and, most importantly, a location that feels safe and exciting, which is a 5 minute subway journey from Grand Central.
Above all, though, I am moving in with the most amazing human being I have ever met. I really mean that. I’ve thought that since the very moment I met her and think it today.
I have tried to avoid sounding sentimental or maudlin on this blog, but a week or so after our year anniversary, I’ll be moving in with basically one of the best people ever. I’m so unbelievably excited - I could live in a fucking shoebox with her and I’d consider myself lucky, but as it happens, it is an expensive shoebox with a balcony. Oh New York.
I’ve had a few beers, so don’t judge me. I’m just really excited right now. The next task….moving…

Today was a pretty huge - and incredible - day. After two days of 3 hours of sleep due to stress about the living situation, me and the girlfriend finally reached a resolution.

To summarise, I was completely against the idea of moving outside Manhattan on Sunday. On Monday, I met my girlfriend to view some Long Island City apartments. I didn’t hold any hope, until I got there - suddenly I was in a quiet, clean, safe neighbourhood, with incredible views of Manhattan and an amazing riverside park. 

We walked up to the apartment, and, well, despite being a studio, was completely new, brand new spacious bathroom, spacious kitchen and sizable main living area and, crucially, a balcony with an incredible view.

We left the viewing and I was in awe at both the view, the area and the amenities, but decided it would be key to discover whether Long Island City really was ‘up and coming’ or if that was just marketing crap. Ten minutes later and we were amazed at the number of cool restaurants, bars and comedy clubs that surrounded the building.

We decided that this was it, and went straight back up to the brand new building’s leasing department. Upon arriving at the leasing office, we were told that the apartment had been taken 4 minutes prior to us arriving. 

I was legitimately furious. I’m a very calm man but was absolutely spitting with anger. Despite the fact that we did exactly what we should have done and checked out the neighbourhood, I was torn up that our diligence had been detrimental. I couldn’t believe it.

I haven’t felt as robbed in as long as I can remember. I had the same experience twice more the next morning when trying to apply for slightly more expensive apartments a few floors above. It was clear that this 2014 new build was selling ridiculously fast - helped by the No Fee deal that was being offered by brokers finding tenants for the new apartments.

After a morning of soul-searching I decided that what I had seen wouldn’t be matched elsewhere in New York for the same price. The only studio apartment with a balcony left was another five floors up and about 5 sq feet larger - as a result it was $150 on top of the first apartment we viewed.

While I didn’t get ‘a steal’, and ended up paying a bit more than planned, I have an apartment on the edge of Long Island City, overlooking Manhattan, with a balcony, a free gym, lounge area and, most importantly, a location that feels safe and exciting, which is a 5 minute subway journey from Grand Central.

Above all, though, I am moving in with the most amazing human being I have ever met. I really mean that. I’ve thought that since the very moment I met her and think it today.

I have tried to avoid sounding sentimental or maudlin on this blog, but a week or so after our year anniversary, I’ll be moving in with basically one of the best people ever. I’m so unbelievably excited - I could live in a fucking shoebox with her and I’d consider myself lucky, but as it happens, it is an expensive shoebox with a balcony. Oh New York.

I’ve had a few beers, so don’t judge me. I’m just really excited right now. The next task….moving…

"Chris, that’s a really weird pose you’re stood in there"
"Yeah I know, well I’ve been having ITB issues lately and this is one of the stretches that is supposed to help"
"Yea but why would you choose THAT photo as the one to accompany a post about your run?"
"Well, like I said, I’ve been having IT band issues. Also those are new shoes and tonight was my first run in them, and I didn’t feel my IT band for the first 4 miles - which is encouraging"
"Okay… but back to that pose"
"Look, the point of the pose was so I could post a photo that would illustrate the fact I have new shoes and also hint at the continuing IT band discomfort, without having to mention any of that stuff."
"And you thought THAT is what they would take from that photo.. "
"…"
"…rather than ‘look he thinks he’s a pretty ballerina’? “


(3 miles last night, 6 miles tonight, most miles in a month since The Crutches)

"Chris, that’s a really weird pose you’re stood in there"

"Yeah I know, well I’ve been having ITB issues lately and this is one of the stretches that is supposed to help"

"Yea but why would you choose THAT photo as the one to accompany a post about your run?"

"Well, like I said, I’ve been having IT band issues. Also those are new shoes and tonight was my first run in them, and I didn’t feel my IT band for the first 4 miles - which is encouraging"

"Okay… but back to that pose"

"Look, the point of the pose was so I could post a photo that would illustrate the fact I have new shoes and also hint at the continuing IT band discomfort, without having to mention any of that stuff."

"And you thought THAT is what they would take from that photo.. "

"…"

"…rather than ‘look he thinks he’s a pretty ballerina’? “

(3 miles last night, 6 miles tonight, most miles in a month since The Crutches)

The times they are a-changin’

After two weeks of 20+ mileage, this week’s mileage will be a LOT lower due to IT band pain, but primarily the all-consuming slog that is apartment hunting in NYC.

After nearly two years living together, my roommate is returning to England and I will be getting an apartment with my girlfriend. While this is all very exciting, the process of finding an apartment is abhorrent.

Take Saturday, for example. Prior to the Arsenal game, I rode 30 minutes from Columbus Circle to East Village in unbearable humidity, only to find that the open house was in fact a closed house. By which I mean: the arsehole forgot to make sure they were home to let people in. Subsequently I developed sweat-induced rage and basically got in a giant sulk.

Another example: busting out of work exactly at 5pm and racing across town to check out an apartment that rents for $2350, and has a living room that is literally too small to lie down in (the current owner didn’t even bother to try and fit any furniture in it), is currently occupied by a guy staying from AirBNB and when I took a look in the awful tiny bathroom, there was a huge, unflushed shit in the toilet.

Other frustrations include ‘no fees’ that actually have fees, apartments advertised as having ‘one month free’, but then actually have that month spread across 11 months, so the monthly advertised fee is actually lower than what you have to pay every month (look up net effective rent) and also bait-and-switch scams (non-existent apartments advertised so you call the broker and they say ‘that isn’t available but we DO have’ and then show you far worse apartments than the ones advertised). I’ve not been touched upon how expensive everything is.

All of this is combined with the fact both me and the other half have a crazy busy August with weddings, my 30th birthday and the fact I’ll be flying home at the end of the month - and we need to move out of our respective apartments and in to our new one by August 31st. I will actually be in the UK on that date we are supposed to move, so the girlfriend will have to do all the moving herself….hardly ideal.

So that is that. Most of my evenings are taken up by open houses and appointments to view apartments and my IT band is hurting like hell. So, exciting times, but very stressful, anxiety-inducing and barely leaving any time to do get my runs in.

I should start taking a camera on my runs again. Today I saw a burst water hydrant flooding the Joe DiMaggio Highway, Hudson Riverside Park, free kayaking on Hudson River, brand new art pieces in the park, gigantic pieces of driftwood and wooden cargo crates smashing against one of the piers… 

I also had to stop twice to try and stretch my IT band. Sadly it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. This could get annoying. 

Ah well, five miles AND I managed to locate the Arsenal tickets! Picking them up in the next twenty minutes or so. So it goes breakfast, apartment viewing, beer then New York Red Bulls v Arsenal. Howzat.

I should start taking a camera on my runs again. Today I saw a burst water hydrant flooding the Joe DiMaggio Highway, Hudson Riverside Park, free kayaking on Hudson River, brand new art pieces in the park, gigantic pieces of driftwood and wooden cargo crates smashing against one of the piers…

I also had to stop twice to try and stretch my IT band. Sadly it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. This could get annoying.

Ah well, five miles AND I managed to locate the Arsenal tickets! Picking them up in the next twenty minutes or so. So it goes breakfast, apartment viewing, beer then New York Red Bulls v Arsenal. Howzat.

A great evening that turned into a gigantic wild goose chase. 
First, some friends, my girlfriend and I had drinks on a boat at Pier 25, then headed to Hudson Eats for dinner, before strolling over to the enjoyably quirky ‘elitist wine bar for everybody; Terroir.
The problem came when I had to chase down an English guy who has four tickets for tomorrow’s New York Red Bulls vs Arsenal game. The tickets were given to him by my best friend who, being an Arsenal season ticket holder, was able to get hold of the tickets easily. Because, however, the guy is from England, he has an English phone and is therefore impossible to contact unless he has WiFi. 
With time getting on, and no word from my ticket contact, I ended up ditching the party and heading over to the Arsenal supporters bar he had said he may be at on the Lower East Side in the hope of finding him. It was needle-in-a-haystack stuff, and unfortunately, despite finding hundreds of Arsenal fans, I didn’t find him.
So a 30-40 minute journey across time that resulted in absolutely nothing. I then had to take another 30 minute journey back home, so I am exhausted. I would have been better off staying with the party.
I now have to hope the guy gets in touch tomorrow before the game, and we are able to meet at some point so I can actually pick the tickets up. This is unnecessary stress for a team I don’t even care about!

A great evening that turned into a gigantic wild goose chase. 

First, some friends, my girlfriend and I had drinks on a boat at Pier 25, then headed to Hudson Eats for dinner, before strolling over to the enjoyably quirky ‘elitist wine bar for everybody; Terroir.

The problem came when I had to chase down an English guy who has four tickets for tomorrow’s New York Red Bulls vs Arsenal game. The tickets were given to him by my best friend who, being an Arsenal season ticket holder, was able to get hold of the tickets easily. Because, however, the guy is from England, he has an English phone and is therefore impossible to contact unless he has WiFi. 

With time getting on, and no word from my ticket contact, I ended up ditching the party and heading over to the Arsenal supporters bar he had said he may be at on the Lower East Side in the hope of finding him. It was needle-in-a-haystack stuff, and unfortunately, despite finding hundreds of Arsenal fans, I didn’t find him.

So a 30-40 minute journey across time that resulted in absolutely nothing. I then had to take another 30 minute journey back home, so I am exhausted. I would have been better off staying with the party.

I now have to hope the guy gets in touch tomorrow before the game, and we are able to meet at some point so I can actually pick the tickets up. This is unnecessary stress for a team I don’t even care about!

I ran 5 miles tonight. Slow and steady because my shins and left IT band were sore. I then stretched like crap.
But I’m not going to focus on that, instead I’m going to focus on the latest photos that have been released from my football/soccer league.
Our team is called Landon Donovan’s Summer Vacation, which was relevant during the World Cup, while Mr Donovan was kicking cans trying to find something to do other than lament the fact he was dropped from the US Men’s National Team, but now feels a little old. Ah well, we chuckled at the time. Sorry, Big L.
Anyway, I’ve had some seasons in which I fared quite well in the first game photos, but this was not one of them. In fact, I only actually appeared in one shot, which features me being tackled or, more likely than not, fouled.
I mean, it’s impossible to tell whether he has made contact with the ball or not, but he certainly isn’t going to, and he is also pretty much up my arse, tackling from behind.
I’m going to hazard a guess and say that I came out of this one better, simply because I’m a defender and I don’t get tackled - I tackle other people! 
In fact, looking at it again, maybe I have just stepped in front of him. MAYBE THAT’S ACTUALLY AN AMAZING TACKLE FROM ME?! MAYBE. 
Maybe?

I ran 5 miles tonight. Slow and steady because my shins and left IT band were sore. I then stretched like crap.

But I’m not going to focus on that, instead I’m going to focus on the latest photos that have been released from my football/soccer league.

Our team is called Landon Donovan’s Summer Vacation, which was relevant during the World Cup, while Mr Donovan was kicking cans trying to find something to do other than lament the fact he was dropped from the US Men’s National Team, but now feels a little old. Ah well, we chuckled at the time. Sorry, Big L.

Anyway, I’ve had some seasons in which I fared quite well in the first game photos, but this was not one of them. In fact, I only actually appeared in one shot, which features me being tackled or, more likely than not, fouled.

I mean, it’s impossible to tell whether he has made contact with the ball or not, but he certainly isn’t going to, and he is also pretty much up my arse, tackling from behind.

I’m going to hazard a guess and say that I came out of this one better, simply because I’m a defender and I don’t get tackled - I tackle other people! 

In fact, looking at it again, maybe I have just stepped in front of him. MAYBE THAT’S ACTUALLY AN AMAZING TACKLE FROM ME?! MAYBE. 

Maybe?

Tonight I ran as an Achilles guide for the first time. 

First off, I should explain Achilles, using their own words.

Achilles International’s mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.

Ever since I started running Central Park, back in October 2012, I have been inspired by the athletes with varying disabilities that I saw accompanied by their luminous yellow Achilles t-shirts running around the park. 

I always said to myself that I should volunteer to help out as a guide for one of the Achilles athletes, but for various reasons, I never got around to it. For whatever reason, yesterday I decided to sign up as a volunteer.

Achilles athletes vary greatly in terms of their disability and their pace - so the session begins with each athlete’s desired distance and pace being announced. Guides will then pair themselves up with the athlete they feel is best suited to their own pace. 

I paired myself up with an athlete that, for the sake of this blog, I’ll refer to as C. As it was my first session, I had to run with another (experienced) Guide, who I’ll call M, which I was relieved about.

While I don’t know the specifics of her disability, C is very heavily visually impaired and tonight planned to run 5 miles at a 09:00 pace. That worked perfectly for me: good distance, good pace.

With two Guides, I ran in front or behind depending on the traffic (slower/oncoming runners in front, cyclists from behind if we needed to move to the cycle lane to overtake), while M ran alongside C, holding a cord between the two of them. At the same time M would warn C of any potential obstacles ahead and uneven road underfoot.

We were talking throughout the run, which put me at ease, but Central Park is hard to run at the best of times, so it was key to stay alert and not be shy in telling people to move over.

After about 2 miles, M indicated to C that he would be passing the cord to me - which terrified me. It was important to keep the loose, but not allow too much slack - and keep providing commentary of the surroundings and the course.

Again, the constant conversation really put me at ease - and other than a couple of slips - it was a success… well, she said I did well, anyway! M took over for the final mile and we ended up completing the 5 miles in 44:30, which was a 9:04 pace.

To summarise, I really felt privileged to run with such an awesome runner (she even chose to run Harlem Hills, rather than take the cut-off to avoid it). Everyone I met was great and I’m thoroughly looking forward to doing it again!

CP5: 44:30
Run Home 2: 19:00

Now , however, my shins are aching pretty badly, my IT band felt a little sore, I really need to stretch and I am really looking forward to my Ghost 6 arriving!