Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hospoda NYC ... Restaurant Review

I have first seen the Bohemian National Hall (BNH) in NYC during my first trip to US back in 2005 when we flew in to race in the Team Racing World Championships held in Newport, Rhode Island (New York Yacht Club ... the America's Cup first organizer). Back in 2005 it was in ruins and the big renovation began. Since then the BNH became a beautiful cultural and business center of Bohemian (Czech & Slovak) community in NYC and US in general.

In spring 2011 we flew in for the traditional ball which also held opening of the new restaurant on the ground floor called Hospoda (meaning pub in the Czech slang). The restaurant belongs to Ambiente restaurants - Mr. Karpíšek is very successfull with all his restaurants in Prague, so it was interesting to see how he would do in the though competition of NYC restaurant scene. To give you complete info, the BNH is on Upper East Side - 73rd between 1st & 2nd.

Now after coming from Chicago we stopped by to have a nice friendly dinner with Mr. Joseph Balaz, the president of Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association. Mr. President as we call him is great character who has been present at the Bohemian National Hall since the beginning and helps it keep lively and with great atmosphere. So how is the new Hospoda in autumn 2014? The sub-title is Bohemian Beer Hall (obviously nice play with words paralel with Bohemian National Hall).


Great! As always there is delicious exceptionally well kept and treated Czech premium beer Pilsner Urquell, but there are several other ones and the new menu is simple, typical and affordable. It is themed around Czech specials that are not easy to find anywehere else: the main theme are sausages that are made in Hospoda's kitchen, there are different meat options and styles to be served or you can make your own. From other traditional main courses there is goulash (beef stew), schnitzel, cheese fired in breadcrumbs with french fries (oh those home made french fries!) and beef tartare with "topinky" (fried bread - very typical Czech way to eat tartare, it is also differently spiced from the French beef tartar).

You can also have a burger, cheeseburger or vegetarian mushroom burger ... gotta keep those Americans happy if they don't want to try something typically Czech. For starters there would be some pickles, beer cheese, smaller version of tartare and I don't remember what else :) For sides you can choose the fries, mashed potatoes or bread, some of the sausages come with typical sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). There are also daily specials, during our visit there was leek soup with lamb sausage and selection of sausages with cabbage and mashed potatoes.


What we had?

The staff was very friendly and spoke Czech :) They accomodated greatly our tasting desires, so we mixed and matched a little. We shared selection of sausages and also the cheeseburger, fries and cabbage as the sides. Home made mayo and / or sauce tartar for the fries - YUM!


As if it was not enough we had the small portion of beef tartar with "topinky" and just tiny degustation portion of goulash. Both amazingly delicious! As you know I am usually staying paleo or gluten free, but since it was my after-marathon week, I was taking it easier on myself (even though that means not feeling that well in the morning). I firstly tasted the beef tartar on its own without the fired bread. It was delicious, not made in meat processor, but scraped with a knife as it should be! Yet when I have put it on the fried bread and finishe with little salt on top, it was to die for! My mouth is watering as I am typing this now. Simply amazing! If you were to taste one thing and don't mind the raw meat, go for it!

When you visit NYC or if you are local and interested in trying something new (unless you are Czech), try Hospoda! Czech beer is the best in the world and they also newly installed to huge HD TV screens, so I am assuming it will be great to come with friends in order to watch some sports, ice-hockey world championship... 

PS: I wrote and posted this blog post on the board of Delta flight from NYC to San Francisco. How cool is that? Totally worth the crazy expensive 10 USD for 30 mins of connection :o Being little nerd, I had to try this :D Another blog post is ready for when I land, my connection time is almost up now :(

Sunday, October 12, 2014

When Life GIves You Lemons, Make Lemonade !


So you saw different race outfit in my last post, right? Well, as stated in the title of this post ... when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. My baggage is stuck somewhere and I don't know where. We hoped it could have arrived yesterday (Saturday) evening, but did not risk it. So at the race expo and then at Nike Town Chicago we re-purchased my race kit. Lesson learned - next time I am putting my kit in my carry on luggage :)

Few memories from the pre-race day, mainly in pictures:

The hotel room is pretty cool and I am glad I have been sleeping quite well for pre-race nights :)

Breakfast, some protein and lot of carbs.

My friends Betty and Andrew (whom I met on the bus to start of Boston marathon 2013 and we kept in touch ever since!!!) let me know about this cool event - shake out run with Deena Kastor and Bart Yasso. How  cool is that?

Bart introducing Deena before the run.

The group was pretty huge.

Running selfie with Bart!!! (I am glad I traveled in running gear!)

Meet my new friend Deena Kastor! She is so tiny!!!

Very exciting moment!!! My 30 seconds of fame :D

And  then we were off to expo to be there just after it opened at 9 am ... it was alredy pretty packed, but nothing to compare to when we were leaving ...

... with Slávek (from Run The World Czech running group) at the expo.

At the Nike booth ... Nike+ members got free scarf and iPhone case!

Got "few" samples at the Larabar stand and purchased all I needed ...

And this was the traditional sushi style pre-race lunch.

Now it's 5 am and I have already eaten my breakfast, the coffee from room service just arrived and I am off to get ready for CHICAGO MARATHON in just two and half hours!

Let's do some running today! :))

Friday, October 10, 2014

2 DAYS to CHICAGO !!!

2 DAYS to Chicago Marathon 2014!!! Enough said, I am on the go now, as I am not adjusting my biological clock to US time to take that to my advantage - I will have 2:30 PM at the time of start, so my body should be ready to push hard and enjoy the city :)

This would be me at the Nike exhibit at Designblok 2014 ... aka imagine me waving you good bye before flying out :)

I started carbloading yesterday (Thursday
 :D Mango-banana "pudding" at the delicious Sweet Secret of Raw.

This is perfect honey package!!! Wanted to buy small dose of honey, but this is so much better for travel :) 

And now excuse me, I am off to some ZZZ as I did not sleep that well, so I hope to use the 10 hour flight to get some rest :)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

7 Days To CHICAGO !!!


Warning! Marathon runner in taper mode :D Well I have written about this before, taper is tricky thing, training load is much lower and your mind is kinda' going crazy. Today is exactly one week to go to this year's A race: Chicago Marathon.


I am beyond excited and have two reasons to be:

1) I have been putting in harder trainings than ever, so I can't wait to put that in reality on a race day of Sunday October 12. And what better place than Chicago with such a huge Czech community! I am getting my tshirt printed with Czech flags and will be very proud wearing those through streets of Chicago. I have replayed the marathon course overview today on YouTube and guess will do so several more times before the race :)

2) I have been selected to American Development Program!!! This is HUGE! I am not really sure about how that happened, I think it is because I filled in some kind of "share your story" form back when I registered. When I came back to check if my start corral was correctly updated (I expected to start in corral A behind Elites and American Development Program based on my best performance in Prague). When I checked my corral, it said "American Dev", I checked the marathon's website to see what that meant. I really did not believe it :D So I went back and emailed the race organization to double check and hell yes, this is happening!

It is called American, but they select also some international runners with PB ambitions, fast race time ambition etc. I don't know how I charmed them, but honestly, I don't care that much. What is important is that I am in! There is about 50 elite ahtletes - check the 2014 elite field - and behind them it will be us. Don't know how many runners are in the program, but just the opportunity to be that close to the true elite athletes makes me go crazy :D Being in the program has additional benefits the main I see is private rest rooms in the pre-start area! It is also one of the first big races where my official time will be counted from the gun time - better sneak up very close to the start line. It gives me chance to run clear not having to run around people like in the Berlin Marathon last year.

As I have been getting ready for my autumn US trip this past week, I also got my start number assigned:

478

... very exciting in the field of 45+ thousand runners!

Anybody else out there running Chicago?

Anybody from / having connection to the Czech community in Chicago?

Any tips for Chicago marathon?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

More Fire (Book Review)

When I was on my vacation / training camp in Dolomites back in August, I stumbled upon a recommendation of supposedly "the best book about Kenyan running" in some article or blog post. Thanx to the modern technology, I got sample through the kindle store and I was hooked, few dollars later, I was reading like a maniac every day.

I don't really do book reviews often, but this book is really amazing. I liked the "Running With The Kenyans" and I can only recommend it, but that was more poetic and one person's experience kind of book. More Fire really opens the view on distance running in Kenya.

Author of the book is Toby Tanser, director of the Shoe4Africa charity organization. Notably, he has great knowledge of Kenyan runners and also the environment of distance running. The first part of the book covers the history of distance running in Kenya, then there is another section talking about training and its principles, third are profiles of the famous Kenyan runners also talking about their training regimens and the final section talks about how you can apply this on your own running.

The first part talking about history might be little bornin and encyclopedic for some, but I found it interesting to understand how relatively late distance running started to develop in Kenya and what where the first successfull attempts on the international field. Second part talks about the training patterns of Kenyan runners, which is quite understandable and you probably have read about them in many different aricles and/or blog posts. Reading through the runners' profiles is what opened my eyes and made me really understand those principles as you see the dedication repeat itself over and over again.

What was truly inspiring for me was the persistance of the Kenyan athletes. From my cozy and convenient central European point of view, I see young Kenyan runner coming to race and probably directly winning. Here I understood that it sometimes takes many seasons and years even for those gifted Kenyans to break through and even be able to compete abroad, outside of Kenya.

Reading about the great runners and the simple yet dedicated approach they have is great inspiration. I think that if we want to succeed as distance runners, we should make our lives simpler, dedicate time of course to gruelling training and take the resting as seriously as running. Resting and no distractions is something Kenyans are really excelling at. I can understand that this is super tough in today's hectic technological world, but we should all give it a thought.

Overall I can only recommend this book, really loved it - here is affiliate link to Amazon Kindle store if you are thinking about reading it and are OK with supporting me a little :) You pay the same, but Amazon gives me a little of that sum :))) 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Autumn Races & Running Gear

I have been little silent here on the blog, even though I have several drafted posts waiting for you. Life was really busy after coming back from the great training camp in Dolomites. And the last big training weeks kept me away from writing :) Today, I want to share my upcoming fall races with you and also how I have geared up for them :D

I have written it before, my "A" run this autumn and this year is the Chicago Marathon that is run on October 12 .. only 11 days to go!!! Crazy right? 11 days to go means that what I could have done was done and now it is time to taper. I am still doing lot of running, but not the crazy mileage of my peak weeks. Great news about Chicago: I have been assigned to the special starting corral of "American Development Program" (yes, it's mainly for Americans, but also some international runners are invited). That means that I will be starting with other runners in this program right after the elite runners! This puts lots of butterflies in my stomach! Will write more about my training and prep races in another post.

Second race that I will run while in the US is the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco!!! I expect this to be a lot of fun, I should meet up there with more bloggers and as you might have guessed from the name of the race - it's women only! I have also never been to the West coast of US, pretty exciting this trip :)

Now little photo story of gearing up for my US trip:

I have had these thights for quite some time, but I find they greatly match this beautiful turtleneck. It's pitty you cannot touch how cozy and smooth it is from inside. Perfect for the cold mornings! And fresh pair of Nike Pegasus 31 ... those have become my second staple for volume training together with LunarGlide 6.

New style of Nike Pro shorts ... I guess I will be visible enough :)

And how about this top? :)

This is probably my racing outfit for the two races in US ... although the tshirt is getting some print on.

Loving the combo, those shoes are not for running though :D

Black & white

And little flexing action :D

Those are the streetwear shoes :D I think I will pair them with black skinny jeans and the shiny turtleneck and call it daily wear sporty outfit :D

What are your races planned for this autumn?

Any tips for Chicago???

What is on your running gear wish list? :o)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday (We Run Prague 2014) & Exciting Step Ahead

Photos from the We Run Prague 2014 have flooded Czech social media today :) So here I am with my little bit. I only got two and wouldn't share the second one as I have very strange everything on that photo, I just find it very funny how the guys looks at me :D :D :D What do you think he was thinking? I love the expression and it's funny that the photographer caught that moment :)



Funny, right?

I am also glad that the organizing agency finally corrected the results. I was stated in the result as a man even though I really stated my gender correctly in the registration process :) Friends started to comment on that right after the results were online and it took them several days to correct it. Even though I mentioned in the email that there were about 10 men listed as women ahead of me (in Czech language you can really easily tell by the name), they did not correct it at once. I emailed them back again and finally now the results were corrected, so I placed 462nd overall and 22nd female. I love number 2 (even though I prefer to win), so I take 22nd as a lucky number for the rest of my season :)))


From my Instagram

Last but not least, way more exciting: I ran a 1 km test yesterday with The Coach. I do the 1 km intervals at the same spot, it has a full stop turnaround at 500 m, but as I do it on the same place, we can measure the progress. The goal was 3:50 as I am tapering for the half marathon on Sunday and am well rested. My previous best was 3:57 but in full training. And I smashed it with 3:47!!! I wanted sub 3:45, but apparently, I need to learn to suffer more :)

Any tips on how to be able to suffer more for better gains / results? :)

What do you think the guy was thinking?