Yoga Flow(chart): What should you wear to yoga class?

Given the recent lululemon controversy, a lot of yogis are confused about what they should wear to class.  You may be surprised to learn that I’m an expert on yoga fashion, particularly see-through pants.

So I put together a flow chart to help guide you in picking the right attire for your next class:

A flow chart by Rob Pollak answering the question, what should you wear to yoga class.  Are your pants see through?  Are you a woman?  Wear whatever you want, but for the love of god, wear boxer briefs.  Try Lululemon, but double bag it.  Try lululemon or naked yoga.  Don't wear white.  It's see through.

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A Friendly Guide to the NYC Half Marathon

Even though I won’t be running the NYC Half Marathon this year, I’m a three-time finisher, so It’s my obligation to share my race secrets with the special few that NYRR has allowed into this year’s race.  They include a) A collection of the worlds best professional runners, b) Thousands of international runners, and c) Ten New Yorkers who were selected through a Hunger Games style lottery.

Good luck to you.  Here are some last minute pointers:

Carb loading rules.

Sure, trained professionals like my run coach friends, Meghan and Jessica at Hot Bird Running, may scold you when you eat 20,000 calories of spaghetti and meatballs mere hours before a race.  But who are you going to listen to?  A couple of certified run coaches who dedicated their lives to making you healthier and happier or the guy who draws funny stick figure pictures?

Exactly.  Go nuts, kids!

A stick figure eating spaghetti to carbo load for a half marathon cartoon by rob pollakThe Starting Line.

It’s chaos.  Seriously.  If you are planning to meet people at your starting corral, you may want to rethink that plan.  Every year, the set up has been different.  With last year being the worst because each stable area had its own set of bathrooms.  In theory this sounds amazing, but in practice, it meant that people waited in line for an hour while people already in the corral could cut the line.

This is also where I do my pre-race nerve-vomiting.

Cartoon by Rob Pollak about the bathroom line at the NYC half marathon

The course.  If you run Central Park often, you know what you’re in for.  If you’re an out of towner running the race for the first time, here’s a quick breakdown of the course.

Course Map:

A course map cartoon for the NYC Half Marathon - Cartoon by Rob Pollak

Miles 1-6 are in Central Park.  They changed the course slightly from when I ran it.  From the looks of the new map, the start will be slightly down hill until about the Mile 1 marker.  Then you will embark on “cat hill,” the first of many grueling tortures you will endure.  This hill is particularly awful because it’s a huge hill, then you get to the top, the road briefly flattens and then starts climbing again.  You will vomit.  It’s also about where your nipples will start to bleed.  Welcome to NYC!

Mile 2 will be awesome.  Look to your left for a sort of view of the Central Park reservoir.  If you ever get the chance to run around the reservoir, take it.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to berate parents pushing strollers and people on bikes, neither of which are allowed on the path.  Actually, I’m not sure if strollers are allowed or not.  If they are, apologies to that nice family that I called the C word for pushing a double wide stroller when I was sweating past them.  Yeah, that’s right.  I called them communists.

Mile 3 will be the worst part of the race, at least since Mile 2 and until you get to mile 4-13.  Mile 3 will be a combination of a big sweeping downhill around the northeast corner of the park.  That will flatten out and you will climb straight up a mountain in the back northwest corner.  You may notice that many people start to walk at this point.  Don’t be one of those people.  Listen to the volunteer standing there telling you to “stay inside the cones” and encouraging you that you’re almost to the top of the hill.

Pro Tip:  All of the lampposts in the park are labeled with the street number.  If you look at the bottom of the post, there will be a number that starts with two digits, like 90-01.  That means you’re at 90th street.  I have no idea what the 01 means.  Let’s just agree it means you’re number 1 to me.  Every twenty blocks is approximately 1 mile.  If you really start to struggle, count left foot strikes between posts.  Usually there are 10-20 strikes between posts.  I struggle a lot.

The light posts have information about streets on them in central park running cartoon by rob pollak

Mile 4 is the rolling hills of the west side of the park.  It’s terrible.  Every time you get a little break with a down hill, you head right back up a little uphill.  Look for my sister around mile 4.  She is nice.

During mile 5 and 6, you’ll be thinking, “get me the hell out of the park.”  Try not to start running faster.  You may get out of the park faster, but then you’re going to hate yourself by mile 9.

Mile 6-7:  The best part of the race!  You finally will hit the mean streets of Manhattan.  The road opens up and you can spread out and get away from that sweaty beast (me) who has been breathing down your neck for the last hour.  Lots of people will line the streets.  You’ll see huge buildings.  Your GPS watch will freak out and lose its signal and suddenly you’ll think that you’re running a 4:11 pace.  Enjoy the ride here because things are about to get pretty bad.

Mile 7-9.  At mile 7, you’ll turn right onto 42nd street.  The Big Apple, baby!  Riding high from seventh avenue, you are literally on top of the world at this moment.  You may think to yourself, “I can do anything!  This is so easy!  I’m a machine.”  Enjoy that feeling because as you turn right onto 42nd, you’re about to get blasted with a gale force wind coming off the Hudson River.

And as you amble over towards the West Side Highway, notice that they haven’t cut off traffic coming in the opposite direction.  So you’ll be inches away from angry New Yorkers smogging their cars in your face.  They will stare at you and berate you for making their drive take twice as long.  I know because before I ever ran the race, I once missed a tee time in NJ because I got redirected by those stupid runners.

Once you’re all the way west, they make you head back uptown for one block, which feels like you have to backtrack.  Also, the people disappear for this stretch of the race and it starts to become hard.  The Highway is exactly as it sounds:  Flat, boring, and trafficy.  Prepare for long stretches that are exactly the same.  Bring your ipod so you can suffer through this stretch with the musical stylings of Justin Bieber.  That’s how I managed.

Literally nothing changes for miles 8-12.  Except if I wake up in time, I’ll be on Murray street around Mile 11.5/12.  That’s where I live.  If you see me, say hi.

After Mile 12, the race goes underground into the Battery Park Underpass.  It’s dark and it echoes.  Someone will yell something stupid when you’re under there.  Don’t be that guy.

When you come out of the tunnel, you’re basically done.  Except you’re at the furthest point from everything else in New York.  So figure out a way to get home.  Last year, I ended up having to walk about 2.5 miles back to my apartment because I was a bad planner.  Don’t be a bad planner.

I guess, congratulations.  You’re a half marathoner.

Celebrate by eating enough calories of ice cream and bagels to negate any positive benefits of months of training.

The Final Word on Mayonnaise.

I fucking loathe you, mayonnaise. Just look at you. You repulse me. The way you can’t decide if you want to be yellow-y white or white-y yellow. That schloop noise you make when you’re suctioned out of your ugly container and the Thwlap of your fatness against a plastic bowl.

The way you congeal white, doughy wonder bread to muted pink bologna. Nothing that does that should exist in the world. Oh, and your egg salad. How dare you? Where do you get the nerve to call yourself a “salad?” Salad is clean, refreshing, crisp, beautiful, and healthy. But you mayonnaise, you’re just slippery, fat, unclean, and appalling. Just look at yourself. Seriously, take one second off from fattening the world and look in the mirror. Now imagine your most beautiful form. What did you come up with? Something like this?

is grossI mean, ew. I couldn’t come up with a less appetizing looking food if the only ingredients I had were ketchup and diarrhea. And that picture is the internet trying to make you and your egg salad look the best. Congratulations, that’s the best you’ll ever look. I may not be beautiful, but at least I can go to the gym and work on it. Yet, I can’t stop staring at your enormous gobs of yoke and white mushed together with clumps of mayonnaise.

I don’t even have to smell the egg-y cold fatness emanating from the plastic “jar” of Hellman’s to feel the vomit gurgle up through the lower regions of my esophagus. There it hangs, waiting for my brain to remind it that I’m just looking at a picture so that the vomit retreats. But it remains wary, waiting to eject should the egg salad attack my digestive system.

But it’s not the egg salad that bothers me the most. I know that egg salad is mayonnaise. I’ve learned that “aioli” is just a trick word you use to make yourself seem more exotic. I’ve discovered that spinach artichoke dip should really be called “choke on a tub of mayonnaise dip.”

It’s the way you infiltrate other seemingly normal foods that infuriates me the most. Take honey mustard for instance. What a nice name for a food. What a beautiful combination of sweet and spicy, of brown and yellowish brown, of condiment and dessert. Honey-mustard is almost un-fuck-up-able. Well, did you know that many delis add mayonnaise to this sweet concoction? I bet you didn’t because you’re a disgusting mayonnaise whore. But I did. Because I am a mayonnaise sleuth who can feel that slimy oil/eggyoke concoction sliding down my throat and settling into a lump on the pit of my stomach, where it sits, constantly reminding me that the world is out to get me.

Sure, I know what you’ll say, mayonnaise. You and your defenders will tell me that I should just chill out and deal with you. That I should wipe you off with a napkin, and my meal will be good as new. But we both know that doesn’t work. Because you’re more powerful than napkins or paper towels. Yes, I’ve used a Bounty quicker picker upper to remove poisonous poisons from the floor of my important. The kind that come with warnings that “one must wear gloves to avoid this poison burning through your skin and eviscerating your intestines.” But I wiped them right up with a little flick of the wrist. But you mayonnaise, you somehow turn paper towel into a translucent film of ick and wind up on my fingers where your remnants remain for days.

So fuck you mayonnaise. I hate your face.

Fuck you mayo - A cartoon by Rob Pollak

 

 

How do you know when to leave BigLaw?

It might be time to leave BigLaw if….

…although it’s 8 degrees outside, you stopped wearing a coat so you can pretend you’re heading down to the cafeteria when you’re actually going home for the night.

…you wear the same pants every day for a month, but it goes unnoticed because all your friends are sitting in their own offices with the doors closed.

…you’re the person on the elevator who says, “What is this, the local?”

How to know when to leave biglaw - a cartoon by Rob Pollak

…you’re jealous of people with two computer monitors because they can review documents and watch Hulu at the same time.

…rather than explain a mistake to a junior attorney, you redo the work yourself and never work with or speak to that attorney again.

…you have a speakerphone conversation with the person in the office next to you and can hear the echo of your own voice.

…the best part of your week is the free attorney lunch.  Yup, the one that gives you diarrhea.
When to quit big law - a cartoon by rob pollak
…you reprint a 100-page document because you added one comma to the first page.  Then you decide the comma’s unnecessary  so you call a legal assistant to change it for you.
…you invent an emergency project for yourself to avoid the summer associate event because you hate mingling with other humans.
…you finally realize that your bonus is arbitrarily determined by the financial performance of another law firm.
The economics of a law firm bonus - a cartoon by Rob Pollak

Please Don’t Kill Yourself When You Read This

Recently, a few people have found my blog by searching for “Can I kill myself?” At first, I assumed this was in reaction to reading my blog. But it wasn’t. Apparently I had some quite harsh things to say about Les Miserables and they may have lead some deeply hurt individuals to my blog.

First of all, let’s get a few disclaimers out of the way:

1) I know nothing about suicide prevention. If you are really suicidal, please please please immediately go and find someone to talk to. (Then when you’re better, please come back and click a lot of links on my page and laugh and comment about all my jokes)

2) Don’t see Les Mis. Seriously.

3) If stick figure drawings have anything to do with your suicidal thoughts, definitely do not scroll down or anywhere else on this site.

Great, now that we’ve gotten those out of the way, here are some things I’d like you to know:

1) It gets better

The original it gets better campaign may not be directed at you. But that doesn’t matter, it’s still a great message. Someone said it to me just the other day. And only because I was getting old. And it was even while I was feeling really good about myself. So it momentarily made me think that I had been complaining too much. Which I had. But mostly because that’s what I do.

A drawing by Rob Pollak

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Psychologists from a university that I’m about to make up confirmed that it gets better and summarized it in this chart:

A drawing by Rob Pollak Charting Happiness by Age

(Source: University of Ticonderoga Dept. of Psychology and Neuroses)

2) I care about you. A lot.

If you ever need someone to talk to, just let me know (and then sign up for my facebook page). I respond to every comment there, so I would do the same for you. Click “like” and I’ll drive you to school every day. What the hell do I care?

A drawing by Rob Pollak

Many other people care about you as well. It might not feel like it when you’re moping around the house. But trust me, they’re out there. Probably closer than you think:

A drawing by Rob Pollak
A drawing by Rob Pollak

3) You’re beautiful

I’m not going to insult you by drawing a stick figure of you looking beautiful. Not because I’m nice, but because I tried and, well, here, see for yourself:

A drawing by Rob Pollak

Full disclosure – I drew the picture after I wrote that last paragraph. That’s beauty right there. And if I can fall in love with a stick figure (I don’t even like blondes) then you can find someone too. So if that’s what your sad about, just know that this poor girl found love. You may have to try internet dating, but there’s not even a stigma attached to that anymore.

4) Les Mis isn’t really that bad.

I mean it’s bad, but not “I don’t want to be on the same earth as it” bad. Like, Anne Hathaway is pretty good, I guess. And Hugh Jackman is alright (at least until he puts on the fat suit). But you should probably go outside during the times when Borat’s on screen.

5) I have to go now

This list is not meant to be exhaustive It’s just that I have to go. I’ll be back. So if you get freaked out, text me or something. I really want you to stick around.

I love you. Seriously.