8/31/07

Are you talkin’ to me?

Having recently been to the US Open, I have been observant seeing many of the tennis players talking to themselves while they play on court. Almost every point they simply go to their own corner, talk to themselves to hype themselves up for that rally point and it was almost methodical. Which brings about a question…do runners talk to themselves as well?

My answer: Yes, we do as runners talk to ourselves as well. As we psych ourselves up for the race we tend to talk to ourselves in a focused manner. When we are tired during the race, we tend to either speak to a higher power to relieve our pain and go forth, or we talk to ourselves for inner strength to finish the race. On hills, we say to ourselves that we can achieve this, we can make it up. “there is no crying in baseball!” Ok…maybe I went too far with this, although I do find it fascinating of what we do say to ourselves. Can we share?

What do I tell myself when the going gets tough and the tough gets going…Well what everyone say?

“You can get yourself through this”, “come on, let’s go”, “turn it up now…you got this”, “you gotta want this…” are some of the things that come to mind in my head right now.

Running any race is all mental toughness along side physical toughness. Mentally you have to stay in the game and remain focused. By talking to yourself, either inside your head or out loud so every runner around you can hear you and think your nuts, this allows your mental toughness to shine and remove any thoughts of giving up. Running in a marathon on the other hand is another story. Pain and mental toughness are what you need to overcome to finish strong. You need to talk to yourself in the last 2-4 miles of the race to overcome any adversities and by that point, your running on fumes, so mentally you have to remain tough.

So…What do you say to yourself?

8/30/07

Here’s to you ladies…

Have you gals read? The recent NYTimes article that includes Mary Wittenberg’s quote in saying that women often shortchange themselves. But only strengthens her statement in bringing about more women empowerment at the later stages in their lives and how the social aspects of banning women from running back in the day, has brought a greater cause to elder women running faster times.

It’s a very interesting article that asks the question if this is true or not. Although this article brings out the sociological aspects within women’s history in running, running facts of age groups and well probably just experience and perseverance, another running friend, MB, brought me to a different light. On our NYF weekly hill workout, MB (whom is a psychologist) also read the article and thought not only just about the sociological aspects to this article, but also questioned the whole part of the women’s anatomy.

She stated the facts of how the male’s sexual peak levels hit mainly at 16 or 21. Meanwhile a female’s sexual peak level is later within the women’s lifetime at 35-40 years of age. This may be relevant since a male’s testosterone levels are usually at it’s highest when they are at this sexual peak level and allows a male to run faster, go longer… Meanwhile, the studies that show how masters and sub-master females running in races accurately show how these ladies are performing better than the younger ladies out there in the same field.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Only that if you are a fast lady already, my gosh, you will only get better…and time will tell…

By GINA KOLATA
Published: August 30, 2007

ONE day, about two years ago, my son asked me a probing question. “Are you running just to run,” he asked, “or do you have some purpose in mind?” I’d been running for years but never thought to ask myself why. His question made me realize I wanted a goal. And it led me to pick one that now sounds kind of ludicrous, a five-kilometer race that was to be run in two weeks.

I started to train.

It was a revelation — I got much faster with that little bit of training. I ran the race, won my age group, came home with a trophy, and decided to race again.

Of course, there are lots of reasons to run, and not everyone cares about winning a race or winning his or her age group. There is nothing wrong with running for fun or to clear your head after a long day. But serious running is very different from the more casual running I used to do. And now that I’ve grown more committed, I am starting to notice something odd about women and running.

Men, as might be expected, get slower as they age. At a recent five-kilometer race in Pine Beach, N.J., which drew nearly 1,000 runners, the fastest man was 24 years old and the men’s times increased with each five-year age group.
But the women were different — their times were all over the place with older women beating younger women in almost every age category. The fastest woman was 37 years old; the fastest woman in the 45 to 49 age group beat the fastest woman in the 20 to 24 and the 40 to 44 age groups.

The same thing happened in another five-kilometer local race, the Eden Family Run, in Princeton, N.J.
There, the top female runner in the 50 to 54 age group beat the top females in the 20 to 24, 25 to 29, and 40 to 44 age groups.

And it’s not just a New Jersey effect. Others have noticed it elsewhere and when I did a random check of race results in California, I saw it there too. On Aug. 8, in a 10-kilometer race in Alameda, the 53-year-old woman who won in the 50 to 54 age group was faster than the woman who won in the 25 to 29 group. A 38-year-old woman beat every other woman in the race.

Results like those made me wonder, Are women really trying in these races and, if they are, why are older women beating younger women?

Mary Wittenberg, president of New York Road Runners, thinks part of the answer is that most female runners shortchange themselves. Look at them before races she said. Men warm up and do strides, short runs to prepare to take off at the starting line. A lot of women hang back, often because they are embarrassed to be out there with the men, acting like determined athletes, Ms. Wittenberg said.

“They are too inhibited to put their full passion out there,” she said. “They are almost afraid to be serious about a sport. They think that if they’re not the best, they shouldn’t care so much.”

Other women have no idea what they are capable of or how to get faster, said Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Wright, who holds running clinics for beginners and for those who want to compete, said women often get the impression that they should not put much effort into runs. That’s the message of some ads and magazine articles telling people to run easy, and that, Dr. Wright said, “can be negative information” for women who might like to compete. It is too tempting, she said, “to be lulled into thinking that’s enough.”

Ms. Wittenberg feels the same way. A run-easy message is fine if it helps get people started in the sport. But, she added, there is also a risk, “in that it sneers at hard work and pushing to limits.”

Dr. Wright said she knows from experience the difference between going easy and challenging training. A few years ago, Dr. Wright, 40, was living in New York and running in Central Park. “I was jogging around at 9 ½ to 10 minutes a mile,” she said, and she had been doing the same unhurried run for years.

One day, she says, she asked herself, “What am I capable of?” In a few months of training, she got much stronger and faster and ended up running a 10-kilometer race at a speed of 7:44 a mile.

“After 10 years of running at 9:30 I felt so amazing when I realized my time,” she said.

Ralph Vernacchia, who directs the Center for Performance Excellence at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., has worked with elite runners including Olympians. And with elite runners, there is no question about competitive drive.

But with average runners, he said, older women may be faster because, oddly enough, they are trying harder than younger women and discovering for the first time what they are capable of.
Most middle-aged women grew up when track and cross-country teams were for men only. Some of those women, who had no opportunity to race when they were young, are just learning to be athletes and are running faster than younger women who may not care as much.

He described the experience for women as “a kind of wakening, an epiphany.”
That is not to say that training is easy, he added. Being an athlete requires dedication and training, Dr. Vernacchia explained.

“It’s a mindset and once you know the method, it’s a real achievement. It takes emotional energy, spiritual energy and physical energy. There’s a difference between being involved and being committed. To be an athlete you must be committed.”

“Commitment is a state you find yourself in when the gun goes off,” Dr. Vernacchia said.
Then, if you are lucky, you beat all those younger women.

In Personal Best, Gina Kolata explores the latest thinking about exercise science and how to improve workouts. It will run every two weeks.

8/29/07

Stupidity…of injury…

As I gear up for marathon training, I ask myself the question whole talking to one of my teammates (JG) on one of my weekly runs, “Why do we do this?” Marathon training is one of the most ruthless sports out there. We as runners must go through a large amount of excruciating pain of training for 4-6 months, the constant pounding from foot to pavement and risk the ailments of injury. You don’t see overweight people getting injuries. What is it all for?

It’s the pure glory of doing it, the runners high of addiction, the just plain old stupidity of us runners, who never know when to say when.

“Plain and simple, you have some kind of stupidity within you to go through this training.” We, as runners, develop a kind of stupidity that only others can see. If you talk to another runner and ask them truthfully what they would do. Play devils advocate….What is a runner to say? Do I answer truthfully or do I lie?

No matter what you do, it will never satisfy the other person. You must answer truthfully and be stubborn about it even though you want to help the other person out. No matter what, as much as you think that the person is for being so stubborn minded about what they may choose. You try to offer the best advice to them, although would you follow the same advise?

The stubborn mindedness answers, “hell no!”

You are better off answering to them the most honest answer for them to realize what they are doing. Stubbornness can cause injury, the relevant events that happen afterwards may cause to major injury or even lifetime impairment. But deep down, we know what is best for our own bodies. We will still be stubborn, until the more relevant things happen to us and maybe it’s too late. Who knows…?

Us runners, we do live in a sick, sick world called exercise. We think it’s a good thing for ourselves and for our bodies, but do we really know when to say when?

8/28/07

12 Steps for Runners Anonymous

FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO COULD NOT READ THE SMALL WRITING OF THE IMAGE BEFORE...FOR SOME REASON I COULDN'T GET A POP OUT FROM THE IMAGE...SORRY!

OH AND ALSO...ANY IMPUTS ON CHANGES WOULD BE HELPFUL. IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE ANY CHANGES IN ANY NOTATION...
1. WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER RUNNING THAT RUNNING WAS RUNNING US, RATHER THAN JUST AN AFTERNOON ACTIVITY

2. CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE AND HEAL US TO OUR NATURAL STATE.

3. MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER.

4. MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES THAT THERE IS OTHER THINGS OTHER THAN RUNNING

5. ADMITTED TO OURSELVES AND TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS.

6. WERE ENTIRELY READY TO APPRECIATE RUNNING FOR WHAT IT IS. A RUN, STROLL, JOG AND A RACE

7. HUMBLY ASK OURSELVES THAT TIME IS NOT THE ISSUE

8. ACCEPTED THE FACT TO ONE AND TO OTHERS THAT WE CAN SKIP A DAY OF RUNNING FOR OTHERS AND ONE DAY OR DAYS IS OK TO MISS.

9. MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHENEVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS

10. CONTINUE TO RUN, BUT CAUTIOUSLY, NEVER CROSSING THE DARK SIDE AND WHEN WE ARE WRONG PROMPTLY ADMITTED TO IT.

11. HAVING HAD A MENTAL AND PHYSICAL AWAKENING AS A RESULT OF THESE STEPS, WE TRIED TO CARRY THIS MEESAGE TO ALL REUNNERS, AND TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN A DAILY MANNER.

12. WE RUN FOR ONE REASON: FOR OURSELVES

8/27/07

Battle of the twitches: Slow vs. Fast

So what is the difference between a fast twitch and a slow twitch? Surprisingly, marathon runners have such thing as a slow twitch to their muscles. This enables them to run at a high sustained fast pace through a longer distance of time. A constant curve line shows that as the distance increases, their pace does not decrease over time; it remains constant and remains on an incline.

So what does this really mean? To us regular people, a slow twitch only defines us to being sub-human. This may never occur too many of us, but it can. A slow twitch enables a person to sustain a fast pace through a longer period of time. Regular people run and they get tired and slow down their pace. Our muscle fatigue and VO2 max kick in, and pace slowly decreases as mileage increases.

So what is a fast twitch? A fast twitch is what a sprinter (100-400 meter dash) would have. The reaction time of when the gun goes off and how a person reacts to the gun is how you can determine which twitch you are. The concept of a sports car is best described though this fast twitch concept, where if you are a porche, you can tell if the sports car compares to others by the 0-60 mph in the # of seconds that the gears can change in to reach that speed. Same goes for the reaction of the muscles within a sprinter. A fast twitched person can react to a gun quickly, go from 0-60 quickly and then sustain that speed for a short amount of time. This incorporates a different curve line where you will start out really fast and then you will sustain a constant curve line going down because of the high octane that is incorporated in the very beginning. That is why I feel that sprinters and marathon runners are both unique in their own ways.

Many believe that you can inherit this concept by the training you possess, though I feel as though you are born with the capabilities that you have in running and your capabilities in being athletic. You are born with what you have; you can improve in your running, although you know your limitations. Some people may reach their goal in running a sub-3 hour marathon or sub 2:30 marathon. Although, you know when you can accomplish something and go no further. There are many different limitations in running, you can train and train and train, and although there is a point where you can hit a wall.

Sorry JUD, I was mistaken...

In my recent post from the NYRR Team Championships, I quoted, "I saw a good running mate from the Reservoir Dogs (Jud), where usually I am ahead of him.?"

I have been mistaken, although I would like to start a friendly competition between Jud and I, I resort to only a friendly competition. Reservoir Dogs and NY Flyers should be friends since we both have a common team ethic style.

So I raise my hand to you Jud, in a truce. We have ran only in two races together and we are both 1-1...so next race wins. Just kidding.

I think I got intimidated when you showed up yesterday at BCG's good bye farewell event. I thought you were following me. haha...

So...a lesson learned from me: Always check your facts before you post something wrong. It can really bite you in the *ss.

And also, sorry for the mispelled name. I don't know how to spell!

8/26/07

Two bridges over…

What do to today…what to do. I laid in bed wondering what I would do with myself today. Thinking that I have been in a rut lately, I wanted to start to do something’s new with my life. I had felt as though my life needed to be turned upside down and that I need to start…just somewhere!

So I figured that I am taking this week rather slowly (listening to Runner26’s still) with a lighter load. My intuitions to listen to people have been rather good lately and I have been taking it easy. So I figured that since I had ran 15 miles yesterday, I would take it easy today in a lighter load. I knew that I had to end my running in Chinatown as well, since I do my run and do my chores at the same time and food shopping there for a Chinese boy is very economical, but meant that I had to bring along my backpack…but that’s a later subject I guess.

So I start running from my apartment to the end or rather beginning of 14th street toward the East. I started to plan out my run…run toward the Brooklyn bridge and run across, back and finish up in Chinatown. It was a good run, about 6-8 miles give or take a mile. That was the plan. As I ran, I finally felt pretty good about how I was running. I find that when I run, there is an aura around me. A bubble if you wish of my thoughts and my world just secludes itself from my body. I don’t think when I run, I don’t feel anything. It’s actually a great feeling.

Switch that. As I was running I was looking at the Manhattan bridge and crossing underneath it during my run. I switched my course of where I was taking myself…Over the Brooklyn bridge, run along side the Brooklyn waterfront and cross the Manhattan Bridge and stop at Chinatown.

So I’m running down and I see a person that I recognize. It’s actually NC, one of my running mates from the NYFLYERS. She had actually spotted me before I had spotted her. She had told me that she sometimes runs downtown and back up to her upper eastside apartment, but this was the first time I had actually seen her. We caught up for a while and then we went our separate ways. It’s always good to see someone just outside of Central Park…out for a stroll of a run.
I finally made it up to the Brooklyn bridge where there were film producers and something was going on. It was pretty packed from the entire tourist who goes to the other side and then back to Manhattan. Pretty funny, but I made it over to Brooklyn which was nice and quite. It is pretty different from Manhattan. So swiveled my way alongside the DUMBO area and saw the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory…which I still have not tried yet. Got back onto the Manhattan bridge (not at all crowded with people and slightly less mileage and less arch of a run.
Made it into Chinatown and ended my run.

8/25/07

Uggly, muggly…

Saturday was suppose to be me leading the NY Flyer group run. Opps! I didn’t exactly miss it entirely, although I had shown up late and not early as I was suppose to. I had woken up later than I had wanted (okok…8:30am) and had to get to the park by 9am. Stupid me. I quickly got dressed, packed a few things and jetted out the door to meet my fellow flyers out on 72nd street. I had hoped to wake up early to run a loop before to miss the heat or even run a 3 miler up from my own home…but that didn’t prevail.

So I met up with the group right as they had “left” from the spot! Opps again! I was lucky that many of the other veteran flyers were there in full force, well at least some of the veteran flyers were there. Many of the other flyers had gone up to Croton (Hastings on the Hudson) and have done their 20 miler on softer trails. I had done this last weekend with GW and MB as a test run, so I felt as though I would offer SS a chance to get up there to lead some runners. Anyways…all I can say was that it was HOT.

Uggly, muggly…or stick and steamy is what you really felt like. More on the words of going into the shower of Central Park (as though you had swam the reservoir or played in the fountains, you left soaked with water all over you. It was that humid and bad…well it comes close to when I felt feeling as though I had peed in my pants.

The run was ok, rather sluggish morning because of the heat. We all wondered what had happened with the PERFECT running weather that we had had earlier in the week. It was about 60’s, dry and gorgeous running weather earlier in the week, perfect Fall weather in the air. But the return of summer was definitely upon us this weekend with the humidity and hot sticky weather.

As well all ended our runs, we all felt the wetness of our skins pouring with dripping water…ok…it was sweat…one can only think that Fall will be coming and the freezing thoughts of coldness before a marathon will quickly succumb to us wanting summer once again.


8/24/07

Slow things down…12 step program for Runners Anonymous...

Maybe I’m just going through this phase in which I always go through during my training for a marathon, but in some sense of the matter, I think I’m a little cautious and am going to go with door number 3, Bob.

What’s behind door number 3?

A…….. (ok, not a new car!)

All the advice that I can give to myself that I usually give to someone else. Before the final month before Chicago, a well needed little rest and a little ease of motion to gain a little strength is needed for my training. Feeling a little sluggish, this is a sense of needed rested legs.

The whole psychological aspect to things where everyone I know that have been training for the Chicago Marathon has hit a rift in their training and is either dropping out due to some kind of injury….It’s not good. I’m not in a good place right now, like what…44 days till Chicago. Ok. Ok. Plenty of time, no need to panic…

Although have you ever heard of the term, “less is more” or “under-training is better than over training?” Well, I’m starting to get the feeling that I may start under training than over train in my next few weeks. Well at least this week. I have taken your advice Runner 26, and have finally overcome a complex to be smarter, rather than stupider. I have "lessened my load" of running and have felt pretty good by doing it...taking many days off and a lighter load since the last time I had seen you.

So, from my last blog entry, I had confessed and have devised a Runners Anonymous group to follow a 12 step program to get yourself off of the running addiction. Please fellow runners, help me review and revise my 12 step program for those whom are going through a huge withdraw...either marathon depression or marathon trainning injury...With your help, we can make this a better program...
Not at all to make any fun of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, although I had read it for the very first time and I really couldn't believe how religious it was. Is there such thing as a division between alcohol and church? What happens if you are not religious? You really won't get too far in your 12 steps then...

8/23/07

Are we all addicts?

There was a running article in the recent Runners world website that stated that runners actually are addicts like smokers or illegal drug use. CRAZY you may say, although if you really think about it. We are addicted to a healthy living style. This addiction may not be healthy for us, this may cause the whole healthy lifestyle to being rather torturous leading to injury and pain. We need to know when to say when…but can’t.

Our addiction may be caused by the daily lifestyle that we all live in. We all have daily routines and off days in which occupies us for quite a while. We are never off for a week, never the less a month, and god forbid a year! Our extremities in the bubble that we live in revolve around our addiction to running. Some choose to take on other events, activities and even more work to keep us occupied when we are injured and have to be hooked onto something else to keep our mind off of things. But is it the same fix that we need when we get this “running high” that we all are hooked on?

This addiction is like caffeine in the morning, the extra jolt that drives us as a person. We are crazy like the Kramer’s out there with our hair shocked up like we were electrocuted. We need it. It’s in our BLOOD. Ok…we are addicted.

Joining a running club doesn’t help us much because all of our friends are runners and when you can’t run, it only brings us down even more. We need to separate from that…but do we? Runners are also people you know? We don’t occupy that much of our lives to running…and have a different personality and lifestyle after running…or do we? I mean sometimes long runs can occupy 3 hours or even more. We get up early to beat the heat, we wear reflective vests at night to not get run over by taxi drivers. Are we a cult or a gang as well?

Is there a Running’s Anonymous that we can seek help? Support groups in which we can go to. Other activities that we can join to get off of this addiction?

I think not. We need to live on the edge. Do what you want to do fellow readers, but I’m in it for the long run. The addiction has gotten me…my name is trakmaniak, and I’m an addict.

Well at least I have the first step down. On to recovery…

8/22/07

Why I don’t ICE…

OK, so my friend that I have started running with this year to get her, JK, ready for her marathon of 26.2, no really the marathon is called 26.2…Well she recently went to an acupuncturist to get her knee looked at and told me that the acupuncturist told her not to ice.

So, my theory is right! (Although really I’m just too lazy to do so and tell other people to ice and massage, which really is the right way to do things if you are “injured”) But, what icing does is that it restricts the blood flow and makes the swelling go down wherever your injury is.

As acupuncture goes, as a Chinese medicine and therapy, what the needle does is that it focuses on a certain area (pin points on certain nerves) and actually opens up and relaxes the nerves or muscles from these certain pin points that control another part of your body. Hence, icing is the opposite of acupuncture.

Ok…so I’m guessing that acupuncture is alright in certain times, but not all of us can afford that or are planned within our medical insurance to pursue this. I do agree with other people to ice and injury and yes, you heard it folks, I have been icing my injury now and have been pin pointing and massaging that area of where my Achilles has been hurting.

I have been lying off my runs, a tad. But still, I’m a runner, stubborn as can be, and have been placing some runs so I can get my long runs in to keep my training for a very busy fall season…

45 days till Chicago and that’s just the first of them. We’ll see if I am ready, although I feel so much better after that sluggish week.

8/20/07

The best advice may be you own…

As runners, we provide any knowledge to anyone who asks about a specific way of breathing to form to what you eat before a race to anything. We provide the best of our knowledge and any type of life learned lessons that are incorporated within that specific topic. Lessons can be learned from and can be avoided with the experience from others. Although, when we give advice to other people, we may not follow our own advice.

As runners, we may be stubborn in many different places. We may not take rest when rest is due. We may run through an injury to possibly make things worse. We may sometimes never learn from our mistakes even though we tend to change things. We sometimes may never want to or can not because we are so use to how things are and how we are so accustomed to our form.

We are runners. We sometimes think what we know best. In our minds, we may think something entirely different from what we would suggest to others with the same situation as our own. We may tell people with injuries to take it easy, although are we the ones who do that? We are a living hypocrite of who we are. I say we as I am, since I know that I tell people other things and I don’t even follow my own judgments or suggestions.

So next time you even give a spec of advice to anyone…listen to yourself. Hear the words that come out of your own mouth…and…

The best advice may be your own in the end.

8/19/07

The NYRR Team Championships…

So club championships were on Saturday, August 18, where I promised to not miss the race and scheduled my business trip beforehand. I had been in the airport all day the following day before and my flight was canceled after countless amounts of delays and finally after 10 long hours of being at the airport, our flight was canceled. Although that still left me with the dilemma of still being in Baltimore, with no avail, we drove back home and I got back to NYC at 4am in the morning, leaving a 4 hour window from 4am – 8am (race start)…meaning I only got 3 hours of sleep.

So having said that, I got up at 6:30am and had all my clothes lain out. I had only needed to pack my bag with flip-flops, another set of clothes for afterwards, wallet, cell phone and the mere essentials. I quickly grabbed 50 cents for two bananas at the fruit stand and my Gatorade from my fridge. I quickly left and was on my way to the subway, where I started to stretch and caught the 6 train up to 86 street (which I should have gone up more stops, but wasn’t thinking) I saw another flyer at the next street and felt right way the sluggishness that had followed me the following week before. I knew right then and there that it was going to be quite the race.

As I came into the park, I saw other team form and stretch together; the team unity was in the air. I finally ended up getting my number, realizing why it had been so low, because of the large masses to be excluded today, but it was out of the ordinary for me. (I usually get my number, pin it on the night before and that’s my usual ritual for races) It was quite chilly and it gave us a glimpse of the Fall weather to come.

As I told my story to quite some Flyers, the race was ready to start and I was ready to roll…or ready to run faster to go to bed. The pace was quite fast in the beginning of the race and I didn’t seem to quite get the good grasp of how fast I was going. The first 3 miles my times had been so quick, I finally slowed down due to cramps which I had felt after the first mile. Both stomach cramps and regular air/lung cramps on the sides really slowed me down. I saw a good running mate from the Reservoir Dogs (Jun), where usually I am ahead of him. We went back and forth and I had definitely felt sluggish by the last mile. I wasn’t running the same as I usually do and I had negative thoughts running through my head. I usually can fight them off, but it was just annoying to feel the way that I had felt.

I had tried to collect my thoughts and saw that I can catch up to another Reservoir Dog (Barry), whom I had tripped up and gotten into a mere competition argument, although now things are all good and we are friends and we run pretty close to the same pace in every race. So gearing up for the finish, I felt as though I had so much more than I can give, I had seen other teams out there cheering but didn’t see any of the NY Fly women out there until the end…about 400 meters left, there they were. I slowly heard many of them cheering and that’s when I felt the gears turning. Sprint speed geared up and I blasted through the rest of the field to finish.

One final turn and I would be done, home free and ready to go to bed. I saw that there were two guys still to beat at the end…both from the same team and both wearing bright florescent colors-Greater New York (GNY). As my legs were spinning, I could only go straight and saw that there was a small space in between to run by them, so I chose to squeeze in-between both of them. The guy on the left was closing in the gap and I was lucky that they were sweating and slipped by them both to finish ahead. Both of them had a huge anguish that I had slipped by them and I apologized telling them that I had no where else to go. Anguishes turned into handshakes and they cooled their anger and I apologized countless amounts of times. I stayed around at the end to congratulate the rest of my teammates as they came in to the finish.

I was just happy that this race was over and I could take pictures of the ladies running…enjoy the team comrade and enjoy the rest of the day.



8/18/07

What shoe are you?

In the latest New York Runner Magazine issued by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) the “Ask Marathon Doc” section the Sports Medicine Advice article brings up different shoes for different body types, amount of mileage and how you exactly “run” Which brings up the question, “what type of shoe are you?” Different people have different forms, different types of shoes and different gear. The way you run enhances from the different shoe you should buy. If you don’t exactly know really what kind of shoe type you are, well I’ll break down for you. Look at the bottom of your shoe…look for the worn down parts of your shoe, which should determine what kind of a runner you are. There are three types of shoes for runners: Motion-control, Stability, and Cushioned. Here is the breakdown:


  • Motion-Control:
    These shoes are best for runners with:

    Severe over pronators (runners with low-arched or inward-rolling feet)
    Runners who weigh 180 pounds or more
    High mileage runners (more then 30 miles per week)
    Frequent injured runners (those who have lost four weeks or more of training due to injury in the past year)

  • Stability:
    These shoes are best for runners with:

    Mild to moderate overpronators (runners whose shoes do not break down on the inner side)
    Runners who weigh less than 180 pounds
    Moderate mileage runners (15-30 miles per week)
    Runners who run with orthotics or arch supports
    Rarely injured runners (those who have lost less than four weeks of training due to injury in the past year)
  • Cushioned:
    These shoes are best for runners with:

    Underpronators (runners with high-arched or outward-rolling feet)
    Runners who weigh less than 140 pounds or who run very efficiently
    Beginners with low-mileage runners (less than 15 miles per week)
    Rarely injured runners

So, if I do remember my shoes correctly, I seem to have rolling feet that go outward. My back shoes skim the side of the road all the time without me even knowing it and I seem to “drag” my feet and run on the outward style, which will make me a Stability runner or a cushioned runner. I seem to hate cushioned shoes though, since I like to “feel” the road on my soles of my feet. Call me crazy! But I seem to like a shoe that has a lower portioned front portion foot pad and a low arched shoe that creates stability. So therefore, I am a stability shoe. What shoe are you?

My Flight back home from BWI...

Our flight was at 4:30pm...so as you had seen since kenny was with you all, we flew out later. So 4:30 turned into 5:20 of a delay and then 5:20 turned into 7:20pm (where Kenny who probably has ADD, had to go get his crab cakes, so he had left to go to a restaurant and brought back crab cakes for me) 7:20 turned into ""The flight from JFK has not even left New York yet, we will tell you when that flight will be leaving and keep you updated" then we finally got switched over to another flight which was leaving at like 7:40 which we got into the plane and all buckled in, plane cabin closed and we were all set. We were so happy to go home!! finally.So the plane went out, then STOPPED on the tar mat somewhere close to the runways...he then proceeded to shut off everything and told us that he had to get permission to go further. After a short quick nap which everyone took in the plane, it probably lasted for about 2 hours which makes it 9:30pm, the pilot proceeded to tell everyone that the flight had been canceled. So we finally get off of the plane at 10pm, proceeded to get our bags (it's like we just came back to BWI for the first time!!) un-cool. So on top of that, Chris lost his bag, we had to wait, we picked up a random guy that was headed back home to NYC and we had heard from the pilots that they had exceeded their number of hour to fly, so that is also why we could not leave as well that night. We called Amtrak to find out when the next train was going to be, it was a 10:30pm and it was 10:15. No way were we going to make it in 15 minutes, so our only choice now was to drive. We called IMI to find out what kind of alternatives we had, but they were not answering, so we just went on and reserved a car. By that point, we wanted to just get out of Baltimore...so we got into the car at 11pm and started our great adventure back home for 5 hours. Finally we got back to NY at 3am to drop off the rental car, each took a cab back home and arrived back home at 4am only to wake up 3 hours later for a running race in central park.

8/17/07

Nipples…

Ok…to say the least, is anyone surprised about my topic? Come on now, the topic did come up way before an incident had arrived and I have been conjuring up how to blog this specific topic in a more gentlemanly manor. That is, if I can write about well…nipples in a gentlemanly manor. To say the least though, when you first think of nipples you think of female boobs and all that! Well…I can only speak of a man’s point of view about running and nipples.

One, summer time, heat, sweat and humidity = less clothing to even no clothing. Yes folks, that means you have to take off your shirts for men at least. Females, please join us if you want to…but to say the least, I do enjoy being naked and do enjoy taking off my shirt, although I do have to warn you…I may have the smallest nipples that you have ever seen. Yes, people in college use to say that my nipples are smaller than dimes (which they may be) but I guess that makes me more self conscious about them, but I won’t pass an opportunity to take off my shirt though.

Ok, secondly we turn to running and nipples and that only means: BLOODY CHAFFED NIPPLES! Luckily, this only occurred to me just once, although I wasn’t affected that badly. I mean seriously, chaffing nipples! It really hurts and affects you badly when you are hopping in to the shower that running day that you go out. That and it really looks badly when you have blood running down your shirt from these nipple burns.

Luckily there is a way to get rid of the chaffing. Body glide, circle band aids, and other regiments are used to solve this problem from occurring after it has happened to you once before. What may also cause this is a brand new jersey not washed…This happened during the first LTR about a week ago when we received new singlets to lead the run.

So…save your nipples and gladly show then off to one and all.

8/15/07

Feeling like a slug…

Well, took a different approach to running at 5:30 am in the morning and knew that I had to run at least 6 miles for a total weeks run to be about 20 miles…I think. I have felt so sluggish since I have been in Maryland. I felt as though it was the early morning, the humidity, or the load of work that I have been doing during the day. The hard work that they have been putting us through for this masonry camp is so different from the things that I have been use to. When was the last time that you have been on your feet for 10 hours of the day?

So maybe it was the gradual running of rolling hills around the site area, or maybe it was just way to early to run. Running at 5:30am (it was rather 5:45 am to 6:30am) was pretty early though, when you are use to running at 6 pm or 7pm in the afternoon in NYC. So, getting use to the whole environment and rhythm of what you are use to is definitely different when you are out of your element and groove. The scary thing through is that I’m eating a ton and I’m drinking like a fish, which doesn’t do much for me at all anyhow either. But, we shall see this weekend when I run my 5 miler in the park.

8/14/07

Why you run…

I run for one reason alone. I run for my own and I run for fun. If you ask me if I have ever ran for other organizations or run for a cause. Of course, I have run for a cause. That was the main reason I had gotten into marathon running in general.

For those who do not know me that well, I ran my very first marathon with my sister for a cause. The cause lies deeply in my heart, my soul and my persona. I have dealt with many things in my life, although I keep this dear to my heart always and if you ever been observant about the purple band that lays across my right wrist, then you will know. Every year, I run a marathon for my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. Although she is in her late stages of the disease, I chose this fundraising for myself and for her to really remember her for whom the women that she was. I always had a great relationship with my grandmother and I will always remember my first marathon experience.

Although this year is different, I am fundraising for both the Chicago and NYC marathon (fundraising webpage will be up soon) but I would like all the New Yorkers to donate to the NYC marathon and hopefully I can get a picture with you all at different places and different times. For the Chicago Marathon, I just hope to get the $262 dollars and I'm almost there with the help of my friends whom have donated money to me.


Here is an essay in which I had written to congress to express my feelings on…

I quickly glance at my at my watch and the Alzheimer’s purple band that reads, “a reason to hope” next to it, I see that I’ve been running for exactly 2 hours 15 minutes and 43 seconds, a pace of about 7 minutes and 20 second per mile. I have 6.2 more miles to go, I feel confident in finishing my first marathon! As I round the corner, tons of cheering people are clapping, but I’m starting to experience pain in my knees and hamstrings. I remind myself that this pain is only temporary, but my pride, my cause and my goal are forever. An adoring crowd member cheers my name, and I am reminded that my name is on the shirt I am wearing. A shirt that caries all the names of the different people that have donated will finish with me. And most importantly a shirt that bears my Grandmother name who must struggle with the Alzheimer’s disease everyday of her life since she was diagnosed. This was my reason and inspiration to hope.

In a century of flat screens and IPOD’s, where do we have time to think about anything, let alone, anyone but ourselves? I’ve grown up in a generation of ‘take’, where ‘self’ and ‘mine’, overshadows ‘family’ and ‘ours’. As a 25-year old, I have the opportunity to influence the younger generation as well as those older than me. I have experienced first hand the meaning of family and togetherness.

In 2004, my grandmother was diagnosed with the Alzheimer's disease. She will be 83 this year and is close to the late stages of the disease. My family is fortunate that she still has her long term memory and recognizes all of us by name, but her short term memory fails her and she must struggle with basic needs such as bathing and consistently asking the same questions. My family has had to adjust to both helping her with her needs as well as witnessing the slow deterioration of the brain and its many functions on the human body. While currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, the spread of awareness and funding for research is one of the main benefactors that can help save her and millions more from this hereditary disease.

I recently volunteered for last year’s New York City Marathon and the main slogan was “one race, 37,000 stories.” I compare that slogan to Alzheimer’s where 4 million people are running a race that never ends. A disease where 100,000 people are affected each year and the cries and sorrows of their loved ones linger in the air. Each and every one of us has a story; each of us has gone through both the physical and mental hardships and of course, the memories that are never meant to be forgotten.

I recently joined the New York City Alzheimer’s Association chapter this past April and volunteered for their annual spring gala event. This gave me the opportunity to volunteer and help me be acquainted with the many members of the club, but this alone wasn’t enough. I wanted to raise awareness everywhere, so I joined my sister who at the time had already ran 2 marathons and raised money for Alzheimer’s research. We ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina. Our fundraising efforts were not as expected, but we raised $2500 and promoted awareness to our friends and family and were quite alarmed with the responses we received from others with similar stories of their loved ones affected with Alzheimer’s or similar diseases. Our future goal is to run 50 marathons in each of the 50 states, where we can see the great beauty of this nation and allow us, as a family, to share many memories of each race.

Every marathoner has their first marathon story. If they've run a lot, they might forget the details of other races, but the first marathon lives in their mind. They will always remember what got them running in the first place and use the marathon to keep you inspired and to become an inspiration to others. I could never imagine losing what I have around me, my loved ones, my memories and my first marathon.

8/13/07

5 miles at 5:30am...

ok...waking up at 5:30am in the morning to run...5 miles. Yup! it's sort of ridiculous when you have to go from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm...straight on your feet. That's what happens when you go to trade school...absolutely tiring. I ran and passed by the US. Census Bureau...at least I get a day off tomorrow, and get to sleep in.

8/12/07

Running in Maryland...

Well, not exactly vacation, but I'm at Masonry Camp in Bowie, Maryland (science drive, Bowie, Maryland) which restricts me from my running needs. A set schedule actually restricts me from running longer distances and location really resticts me because I don't know my surrounding areas as much so I can't locate a great running route for a good six miler. The camp councilors actually told us many restrictions around the area. On the east side of the facility there is marsh land, copperhead/black snakes - not a good recommendation to run over there. On the south side, a very steep cliff that just falls out. On the north side, a governmental restricted building that they are not responsible for you if you wander in there, and on the west side, a nice walking pond and road side that goes into the abliss of anywhere. But now looking at google earth, I may just try out another run tomorrow just to increase a little more milage. I did a 4 miler today at the butt ass crack of dawn. Our breakfast starts from 6:30am in the morning and the day starts at 7:30am - 10pm. So, the only time to actually run is at 5:30am wake up call...mind you, this is WAAY early for me. But you have to do what you have to do and tomorrow is another day to wake up early to try out another run.

It wasn't that bad of a 4 mile run, took it real slow and really felt rather sluggish. After doing the 20 mile run, I really should have taken the day off, but still couldn't resist to run in a new environment to check out the surrounding areas. I just would rather run a good 6 miles each day, just to keep my milage up for this weeks NYRR Club Championships. Many of the faster runners on my team will not be there, so it really means that I have to step up and take the challenge.

8/11/07

Long Training Run (LTR) – NYC Marathon

So one of the coolest things that I have found out that the NY Flyers does as a club is to collaborate with the New York Road Runners in helping lead all of the pace groups for those who signed up for the Long Training Run (LTR) for the New York City Marathon or any marathon that is taking place in the Fall that people are training for. Although the event started very early in the morning (7am), we couldn’t ask for better weather. The morning was absolutely gorgeous, since the day before the temperature dropped and it rained. So with a light breeze in the air, the sun shining we couldn’t have asked for a better day to run 12, 16 or even 20 miles.

Waking up pretty late because I had been packing for my week business trip in Baltimore which made me go to bed pretty late and wake up pretty late. I knew that I had to leave the LTR after the run and jet over to JFK airport to catch my 2:30 pm. flight. I got to 102nd street transverse late and saw the NY Flyers check in with many of my Flyer friends (ST, JM and many others) picking out their singlet. Ooo! Bright orange singlet that said “Follow me to the finish!” What a nice touch in this collaboration between the NYRR and NY Flyers to enable us to have this gift. So I had to pretty much strip down right away and join the 7:30 pace per mile group since they were going to be on their way.

So manning the lead positions already were veteran Flyers whom I greatly respect as people, teammates and runners: JM and TB. These two guys really enshroud our men’s team and usually come in to bring us in points. Their physique, personalities and leadership I look up to and try to gain any kind of advantage in learning from these guys. So the 7 group leaves, we turn up behind them and then start off. The whole LTR consists of a 6 mile loop, then 5 mile loops and then a 4 mile loop. You are allowed to drop off at any time. I was on the fence and had to play it by ear on when I would leave, but ended up doing the full 20 since we were done by 9:30am. We had a pretty medium size group and was pretty captivated by the amount of women that were running with us. I greatly respect women and respect them running at the pace that I run (which in retrospect really they would be running anything to probably a half a minute per mile faster if they were guys… Example: If they ran a 3:10 marathon that would probably be equivalent to a 2:55 -2:50 pace for men.)

So trying to stay pace for the first lap at a quality pace setter, I learned the ropes for my first LTR as a pace setter. It was rather difficult not to go at your regular pace, where you are thinking more about staying on pace with each mile passing you by. We were rather going pretty fast for all of the loops, but tried to stay within the range that we were given. As each mile passed and as each loop finished, we started loosing people, started passing different groups (we also sped up while we had passed other groups, since TB has a tendency to speed up while passing people). But, overall we kept people on pace and allowed people to get the feeling of how they are suppose to run with that certain pace for their marathons.

As we passed different groups we encouraged other members in those groups that they are doing a good job. We also congratulated each of our own team members who were leading the group and there were many: ES, JT, LK, DG, JG to name a few…As our group rounded out our 6, then 5’s and finally our 4, we finished with a large group of people at the end who ended up doing 16 miles and were chilling getting bagels, GU, banana’s and Gatorade, there I had seen RB and ST chatting it up. It was a great day for comradely and that’s just what we needed heading into this coming weekend.

I had to quickly leave after my 20 miles, congratulating each individual that stayed within our group. I quickly left so I can go home to shower and change and go to the airport. I would have loved to stay and chat with all of my teammates…but couldn’t.

In all it was a great day and beautiful weather.

8/10/07

I think I wet my pants...

Ok...after last night's run, I definately felt like I had wet my pants...that's right, you know that warm feeling when you have water just dripping down your pants and you can feel it...yup! Sweat baby! That's right fokes...you ever pee in your pants? Come on now...can't you say that you have ever peed in your pants? Even that feeling when you were a kid? Hmm...may have put those bad memories behind, but hey...WHATEVER!

Well yesterday was muggy, humid and well, very disgusting. Running was an option, but not a choice. So, I ran with the NY Flyer hill workout with LO and GW, instead of doing the regular hill workout that we had been supposingly going to do, we decided to do fartlicks...yup! fartlicks!

After doing a whole loop of fartlicking for 6 miles...2 minutes on...2 minutes off...hitting like every single hill! Uh! it was bad. And then we decreased it to 1 minute on and 2 minutes off...

We made it finally with a huge workout!

To add on to it. I did the whole thing with my backpack on. I'm known for having a bag on my back...many people think that I'm use to the training with it and it adds weight...I think not fokes...I just have it as my back locker...where I hold all of my work clothes, so I don't have to go back to work and pick up my stuff...

The respect of defeat....

"Although, I WAS FOLLOWING THIS CHICK THAT WAS SOOOO FAST! She actually was ahead of me the whole entire race and I have great respect for her, since she was pacing me."


Much respect...much respect. I found out that I had finished about 6 seconds ahead of her, although she had beat me because I had started earlier than her. Yeah...I got beat by a Lady (chick)...and I'm damn proud of it.

8/9/07

Running the line…

During the NYC Half Marathon, you can see that many runners, “run the line,” as I like to put it. The line provides the shortest connection between the points, where when there is any type of turn within a race, the runner calculates the line of travel and makes the “imaginary line” for the shortest distance. This allows the runner to use the same amount of power and speed, but a shorter distance from point to point. Although many people find this cheating, the runner is actually running a smarter race. The same goes for hugging a curve or simply drafting. These are techniques in which the runner uses less energy for the same amount of outcome. Now the question is, If you were running a marathon or a half marathon, wouldn’t you want to run a little less if it was available to you?

8/7/07

The NYC Half Presented by Nike - Part II

So enough already…how about the race…

Well waking up early in the morning at 4:30 is quite the treat for my eyes and contact lenses. Nearly poking my eye out trying to get my contact into my eye at such an early time, well…all I can say is that I woke up real fast because of the pain. After getting my eyes in, I quickly put on all my clothes that I had laid out the night before and took my appropriate food: 3 banana’s and Gatorade from the fridge and left my apartment with my torn up drop off bag that had all of my “supplies” for after the race.

As I approached my doorstep, I could see a couple right outside my apartment complex. They were hooking up and I had to squeeze by them!!! They looked at me strange, thinking that I was the weird one, but in actuality aren’t they since it was 5am in the morning and they have not gone to bed yet? After approaching 14th Street, I usually run into some runners, but mostly drunk people that were coming home from the night before. I had quickly started to think, was I late? I see a runner quickly run toward the subway and I follow. I love the whole antics of how NYC is with races at such early hours. I love the whole genera of seeing only runners on the subway, where everyone gets off at 86th street and then floods toward the Mecca of Central Park, it’s as though we are a cult. The way we think, the way we act, it’s all pretty similar even though we are not running. (Example: If we were to be waiting for a stop light, we find the quickest way to get toward our destination, we zig-zag through stop lights crossing the street at any location.)

So the race already…

Ok so after putting my baggage at the baggage zone and meeting BS and JM on the streets, I quickly went into the park and saw other NY Flyers, NC and AH right at the 86th street Engineer’s gate entrance. After warming up for quite a bit on the trails, I went into the large masses of running pens or corrals based on your number bib number and pace time. Many of the people that had larger numbers were trying to get in, having excuses like my friends are all in there or I want to get up in front. I especially had been glad that the Road Runners had set up these corrals for this event because they had been trying to find a way to decrease congestion which happens at all the other races and have experimented with wave starts and so on.

I did not like the fact that we had to line up so early! 6:15 AM we had to be in our pens and the race had started at 7 AM. 45 minutes of stretching and waiting. Most people just sat and left an aisle for people to pass through, resting their legs for the 13.1 that they will endure. Although later on the NY Flyers had arrived, where GW, CM, NC, LO, PD, MD and JD had arrived.
We all bunched up together talking about our race numbers and how the NYRR came up with these corrals, stretched and kept each other company.


Finally the race was about to begin. Different from last year, each corral had it's set of bathroom port-o-potties and of course the lead runners had automatic next in line preference since we're all respectful for these runners. But I remember last year when runners were peeing on the hill (women and men) during the national anthem!!! Anyways, so the start finally happened and we started running. Although I, amongst some other people that I have also talked to had felt strange. We never got our warm up!!! Our legs had felt tight and not warmed up, although my few mile times do not reflect this at all. Surprisingly, I was pretty consistent looking at my times and again 5-6 and 10 miles all show that I had trouble: 5 – Beginning of the Harlem hill, 6 – Harlem hill, 10 is about entering Times Square…So it was pretty respectable times. Although, as always, I went out way too quickly, regained my poises at the end of the race, and felt strong. I was amazed though about the amount of people throughout the whole park. There were so many people along the sides and cheering along people…it was great and so early in the morning!

I was amazed though at the sight of a female runner though, she was running with a prosthetic leg and her number was amazing 978 or something like that. I was amazed. It just goes back to wondering if you would still keep running even though you lost your leg and was very inspired about the pace she was running at with the prosthetic leg. She was running so fast that I had a hard time keeping up with her pace, we went back and forth for the back west side of the park. The BEST part of the run, was actually at Harlem Hill (THE WATER GUYS)…there was a group of guys that were hardcore cheering and keeping the spirits up for all the runners that passed them and took water. They were very entertaining and were very well placed after the hill on the west side and before Harlem hill. It was especially great to hear their enthusiasm and such spirited water station.

As I exited the park heading down Times Square, I always had said that this race is not much different than me just running down Times Square on any given day, weaving in-between tourists and cars and seeing the night life on a regular run. Although there is something nostalgic about this run, where you see a crowd of people just awaiting for you to pass, the long view of Times Square and how empty the streets are. The BAND on top of the CitiSight tour bus and many other bands that had rocked it on 6th Avenue…it had a great feeling to it and an emotion that is indescribable.

As I headed toward the West Side highway on 42nd street, I guess I never really saw anything except for the end of the road. I was so focused and focused on how the paving was slanted. I was focused on the guy next to me running exactly stride for stride. I slowly crept away from him and caught up with another Flyer JD at the end of 42nd street onto the West Side Highway. All I could keep thinking was, THIS IS YOUR TURF. YOU RUN THIS EVERY MONDAY, YOU KNOW THIS LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND.

BUT WHY DID IT FEEL SO DIFFERENT! DUH! You just ran 10 miles and you still have 3.1 more to go, that is why…also you’re not running your race pace during your practice runs…Duh!

So I kept with it. Kept my stride and felt good. I didn’t feel like I was that winded and felt that I could turn it up or had enough to turn it up till the end. Although, I WAS FOLLOWING THIS CHICK THAT WAS SOOOO FAST! She actually was ahead of me the whole entire race and I have great respect for her, since she was pacing me. So we glided past the Jacob Javis Center, thinking coming October we’ll be getting our NYC marathon bibs and expo there. Slowly turned the corner of where Chelsea Piers are…and then I felt very comfortable…14th street and down was my turf. So I slowly to sped up my stride and my gears, increasing whatever I had in the last 2 miles, although I could not see the end. I kept thinking to myself, have they changed the finish line and did not tell us? The finish seemed like an eternity. 2 miles slowly turned to canal street, in turn changed to the turn at Battery Park, turned into the WTC and Winter Garden, 1 mile left…then 800 meters…I did not want to know I had 800 meters still left, I HAD NOTHING LEFT! 800 meters turned into the funny looking bridge done by SHoP, then in turn turned into 400 meters, then the crowds…I JUST WANTED TO FINISH!!!

400 meter sprint? HA! I challenged myself into turning roll from heels to arch to padded front feet to toes sprint….I had nothing left in the tank and finished sprinting till the end. In all, not caring much about time, just about performance and enduring a smart, well planned out race which came very close to a PR. I thanked the women (amazing running chick) that had paced me the whole entire race and congratulated her at the end.

Seeing the crowded group of NY Flyers at the end of the race was a great thing though. Passing by your friends and asking them “who wants to crown me the medal?” Jumping up and down with the rest of my energy down the isle like a pipeline or getting introduced like the guys in the NBA before the game. It was very energetic and I wish I had that the rest of that energy and adrenaline towards the end…but that’s ok. I did well.




Afterwards, talked with PD, who had finished way before I had, with a wet ice cold towel over my head, put it over my legs to cool them down (way overheated!) and mustered over to the end to get my bags and change of clothing.



Changing my clothes was actually a very hard task at hand. (which i don't understand how ladies do that...) but that's another day...in the end, finished talked to the other Flyers in which were comign to collect their items at the end of the race and strolled back to the finish area to chat and give out medals to the other finishers.


It was an amazing time...

8/5/07

The NYC Half Presented by Nike - Part 1

Waking up at 4:30 AM in the morning for a race…is no option for a runner who runs half marathons. This has been a habit for any half marathons that is done in New York City (NYC), for 5 of the 7 half marathons for general public (2 of which are located in Central Park and gives you the option to wake up at 5 AM – What a relief! And one of the half marathons/marathons is for women only called the MORE) this allows time to travel by subway to the destination at hand. The Half Marathons in NYC: The New York Road Runners Grand Prix (5 Boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island), NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike, and the Norwegian Festival Grete's Great Gallop.

So, going into this race I have yet to really enjoy a race…or not do a race just to race and not care much about time. I have grown and matured as a runner, I had learned from last year’s race, and structured my plans for this year to run a smarter, more efficient race. Last year, I just was caught up in the hype. It was the first NYC Nike Half and I went out way to fast thinking that I knew every turn, hill and straight away in Central Park. I had also wanted to break the 1:30 mark in which I had been so close on ever half marathon. Well, I went way too fast out of the park, where it was not the terrain of the park that kicked my butt, it was the hype! When I finally arrived out of the park, I was done.

This year, I prepared for the worst. I didn’t want the awful feeling of entering Times Square all exhausted and not taking in the moment. I wanted to enjoy this race as it is. I had to change my mental mentality of psyching myself out in a ways of changing my way of just running this run, to run. This is why I had ran 9 miles before, saying to myself that this was only going to be part of my training for the Chicago marathon and if I felt good during the race, and I could PR, that would be great!

Well…entering the race already disappointed in the Nike Corporation about not having Dri-Fit T-shirts, as they had last year, because I had paid like $70 for this event. Although, later on finding that the shirt that they had given to us was a new design of a “dri-fit” t-shirt that Nike had created and surpassingly the real deal. Who knows about that? I will never, because I never wear my shirts. But from my observations of those who had worn their shirts during the race, they didn’t look as though the sweat had wicked from the shirt and looked heavy…although it is grey and felt like cotton.

So enough already…how about the race…

8/4/07

Pressure…

There is a point and there is a time in which you can put pressure amongst yourself. You must remain relaxed and cool. Never psych yourself out and do the ordinary things that you would do on a normal day.

I’m talking the night before race day folks and not saying that I am at all experienced in this, but you have to take a race as a race. Never put pressure on yourself to do very well, it’s just a race and it’s just a time. You can always do better, and things could have ended up even worse. Learn from your experiences and move on to the next race with what you have learned. And don’t forget to leave all the baggage behind…

You may say that I am a hypocrite then, huh? I mean, I can honestly say that I have put pressure amongst myself to have a place holder for Boston qualifying. I placed a time requirement. I put pressure on myself to do well in every race and especially the Vermont City Marathon. But there is a difference. Putting pressure amongst yourself in training and putting pressure amongst yourself on your race day or night before is totally different.

Training is just like homework as to a test is to racing. If you feel like you are ready you will be ready…or if you are well prepared (pressure on training) then, you will be ready (race morning). The reason I am saying this is because if you put too much pressure on yourself during the night before or race day, you have already psyched yourself out. You have a mental stimulant that is nervous, queasy and almost works against you in a negative. If you are relaxed, confident and nothing is bothering you, you have a stable mind and a clear focused one. You need to remain focused and confident that you will be able to reach your own goal.

So, put the pressure on yourself to do well on training runs, and you will do fine come race day.

8/3/07

It’s game time…

Having 2 months to train for the Chicago marathon, I should be ok to manage myself in getting a quality time that I should be happy with for this race. I have left 2 months for training, due to an injury that I have been nursing, which still hasn’t eased itself out yet. A quality two months to train for a prestigious event such as a marathon, where I don’t take marathon training lightly at all, I respect the distance and I respect the people that train for a marathon. People usually would have to take 3-4 months or even 5-6 months to train, depending on what you really want out of it. I have been training off and on within the past two months already.

With the start of August, game face is now on, training is taken now very seriously. I need to and want to. With the last marathon that I have done, the Key Bank Vermont City marathon, I had a key goal. Not a time goal, but a key goal, to get into the prestigious Boston Marathon.

With Chicago and the course sounding as fast as any marathon can be. I have heard many different reviews and most of them coming back were phenomenal. People say that it is a fast race, it is a fast course, and it is FLAT. I have yet to experience a flat course in all of my 4 marathons that I have done, although I am a sprint and hills specialist and should be wearing a green (Sprint) or polka dotted (Hills) jersey (for those Tour de France folk, you should get this). But come flatness, comes straight-aways, which isn’t really the race for me, or so I always presume. I have to take a look at the altitude chart and map to see how this course really is like.

The Chicago marathon is so huge this year because it’s the 30th annual that this event has taken place. All of RunChicago is planning on doing this event: mother's, brother’s father's and sister's…it’s a city wide family feud factor that is involved, which should make things very interesting.

So…Game on! It’s game time and that means putting on your game faces. It’s time to be a little more consistent, unlike my previous year’s tally (see graph).

Arches over Bridges…

So this weekend was the bridges and arches tour of Central Park. Led by the fearless leader of SS from the great club of the New York Flyers, I just couldn’t miss this opportunity up. Being an architect and all, I loved history and loved the fact that you get to learn while running. Two of my most favorite things in a combination with one another, throw in cute running chicks, fun and great times…all you can ask for on a Saturday morning run.

So what is the difference between a bridge and an arch? An arch takes precedence over a bridge. Depending on how the pedestrian traffic is mainly flowing, if there is pedestrian traffic under the arch, it is an arch. If there is no pedestrian traffic under, it is a bridge. If there is pedestrian traffic above and below, then an arch takes precedence and therefore it is an arch. So therefore, Arches over bridges, so it seems…

But the run was much more than that. The run took us into parts of Central Park where it was the most scenic, the paths that some of us never knew about and to different places within the park where we only passed by. We are runners on a mission all the time that we go by the pace markers that we know about. We take the path that is always traveled and the usual the road around the park (6) or the lower half (5) or reservoir runs to path runs.


We ran through some places that we only see on our runs and wonder how do you get to those different places. It was very interesting and at the same time very pretty to see the different arched shapes. Also don’t forget the cast iron bridges that occupy most of the crossings of the horse dirt path. We passed countless amount of statues of famous stories and famous people to monuments to clock towers on top of the Central Park Zoo that dings on the half hours and plays a tune. It was amazing. The history involved with the growth of the city and how central park came about…Gosh, I give SS credit for knowing all this information. I don’t think I could ever research that kind of information and tell it as a tour through Central Park to my running group.

So we started on the 72 street transverse, went west, south, east, back over west…down south again and rounded around north, back around the park and down south ending up at the famous fountain of Central Park. I had been in the back of the pack making sure that there were no stragglers and BS and I had been chosen to be Sheppard’s for that group run. But in all, it was more informative than anything else and it was a good run.

8/2/07

Give Blood…

Leukemia or Lymphoma, those are the two most deadly diseases that I can think of amongst cancer patients today. Yes, I do make fun of people whom do Team in Training (TNT) a little, but I do praise them for taking such a large step in the community of giving and doing any sort of athletic aspect to fund raise for money. I on the other hand raise money for the Alzheimer Association (Alz) due to my grandmother and future hereditary line of even me getting the disease. I like how TNT get’s people involved in something that they think they can not do and the people who accept the challenge (ie run a marathon) go through immense training to achieve their own goal and the goal to raise money for the organization. What I somewhat get annoyed about is the large groups when they train and how they horde up running space in Central Park (CP). But I guess I can share with these people and after all I have friends in TNT, it’s just a huge cult…a running cult. But a good cult and a good way to get people involved in achieving what they believe that they could not achieve and save lives at the same time.
So, yesterday I was scheduled to give blood with JK, although she came down with the sniffles and could not donate. We were scheduled to give platelets for a girl named Sydney Thweatt, in Texas with Leukemia or Lymphoma. Either way, we were helping her to fight off the disease after her immense hardships after chemotherapy. So I had left work early to get to the donation facility early so I can get out early. I filled out the paperwork that was involved and was later sat down to answer questions with a doctor/nurse and then proceeded to take my blood pressure, heart rate and answer more questions. She was shocked to find out that I had such a low heart rate, which was 57 at the time…where I can get it as low as 48 with my heart rate monitor for running. Then proceeded the harder part…the finger prick.

I hate the finger prick. It hurts so much, maybe because it’s at the nerve endings or just the immense pain of when you are giving blood as a child. I had always thought that the change from the finger prick to the ear prick was so much better, since I had been a blood donor for quite a while. I am an O+ blood type and since I can give to anyone, I feel it in my nature to help people out in any sort of way. So, she gave settled me down and gave me the finger prick, I was ready…but no pain! I was like…oh, well that was easy. Then she stated that it was a dud! WHAT? A DUD! How can you do that to a person, the anxiety of the finger prick itself was hard enough, and by that time she had already gotten another one and pricked me…OUCH!
Then she stated that this time it wasn’t a dud…well thanks, I can kind of feel that one.

So then she stated that the finger prick was to test if you have enough iron in your blood to give blood. There was a girl that came in before me that had to go home and could not donate because she had a low iron count. I think she was disappointed, but I could hear the nurse stating all the things she could have eaten to make her iron count higher. So my nurse said that I was ok to give blood or platelets today and she told me to go to the bathroom since the procedure was going to be at least 1 hour long.I went.

Came back and they sat me down on this bed like contraption. There a doctor asked me if I had ever given platelets before and I stated that it was my first time. He went through all the procedures, since this was far different than giving blood. There was a machine that would filter your platelets and plasma out, by centrifuge, and then separate this from your regular blood…and then after a while the blood that the machine centrifuges out fills up to a certain point and gives you back your blood…The whole process takes about an hour and a half and you do feel the pressure of blood coming back into you, the slow tingling feeling or sensation of your hand getting colder…you have to squeeze a ball or get hot water, a towel over your arm just to keep your body back at room temperature.It was crazy! Although I was lucky to have JK as enjoyment to talk to and have the Discovery channel on with Shark week to keep me busy.

After everything was done, the Doctor pulled out the needle after everything was all set, like literally just flicked the tube and pulled out the needle. And that was that…I was starving at the end since it was near dinner time and I was glad that everything was over. I would have given blood since the needle was still in me, but they said that it was not allowed and it was enough giving to give.

All for a good cause! No harm done to my body, but the feeling of helping out in any way, it was a great feeling.