11/30/08

To Run or not to Run...

"My whole feeling in terms of racing is that you have to be very bold. You sometimes have to be aggressive and gamble." BILL RODGERS

To run or not to run? That was my whole entire day of asking myself that question. Was I to go out and run, or was I just to say inside since it was raining and cold. I ventured out today to go buy myself a new phone due to some awkwardness in my other phone. I know, times are tough, but I was going to go buy myself a blackberry anyways…

So I went out in mind thinking I was going to buy the pearl, but was searching for this $50 dollar coupon that I had since my enrollment plan of 2 years has passed and I could finally use it…but where was it? I had no clue, I searched and searched in my room for it, and could not find it. I gave up, so therefore I went with the Pearl.It was rainy and cold, I was set to go out and get the phone though, so I went…and got another phone instead since the guy at the counter said that my $50 dollar rebate was still good…so I went with the bigger and better thing. Of course, my plan is a little more expensive, although now I am tied up to the web 24/7 and maybe can blog my life a-way whenever I am not near my computer. Weird how things like this happen and revolve around your life, but I bought it for the more important things I guess…directions, searching things and other stuff…that’s just a plus.

Now, did I go run? I went out, returned and was wet. It was cold, and raining and soon the night sky would take over. I gave myself plenty of reasons not to go out for a run…so…was I just thinking so much about my run that I didn’t go out to do it? Was I just obsessed with running so much that I had to think about doing it and not obsess about it anymore.

I made up my decision; I didn’t go out to run. Weird huh? I’m becoming such a slacker lately, but that’s ok…winter is soon coming and that will deter me from running outside even more. I need to rest my legs and really take care of myself. I found that I need to do these things first and then train hard for this next marathon.

December, where we come!Tomorrow is another day….

11/29/08

Turkey Trot…

"To avoid starting out too fast, you have to "have eyes in your stomach," as we say in Norwegian: a good gut instinct of control." GRETE WAITZ

I awake at 7am in the morning only to hear my cell phone alarm go off. All I am saying in my mind is, “why do I do this?” Why do I put myself through such pain and agony of waking up on a Saturday, never the less on a weekend to run with some of the best people on earth”…I awake and pack up my things, because none of my family is home for the weekend, I am to go back to NYC after the race. One of my best high school friends father comes to pick me up, while I am taking my dog out…I rush my dog, marble, to finish up. I pick up my dog and race inside to say good bye to my parents…

My packed bags in hand, I say hello to some of my good high school friends, AD, TJL and AD’s father, BD. We travel about 15-20 minutes to the Bedford Village park center where we are to pick up our bibs and rush back into the car to put on our D-tags. We have a whole discussion on how wasteful these “convenient” D-tags are and really how not convenient they really are not and how wasteful to the environment these really are…but that is a different story.

Anyhow, we see one of my best friends friend, BJ, who I have grown up with since I was 5 and went to school with all of my schooling life…BJ and I had gotten to know each other through playing soccer when we were 5, we traveled together and our families are very good friends. In all, we were pretty much what I had called the Dynamic Duo of our track team. Now, I was not as good as BJ, and I probably was not at all one of the top 5 guys on my team even, but he was up there…We ended up going to the same college together as well, but we grew apart, but still remained great friends in the end…I think we will always be great friends…friendship is not necessarily the aspect where you have to see each other or even talk to each other from a day to day basis, it’s knowing a person deep down and knowing that when you do talk to that person, it seems like not a day goes by that has changed.


Anyways, we got onto the bus and were on our way to the school where they would house us all to get out of the cold. It was cold out, but not as cold as last year. It was frigid, but the sun was warming everything up and sooner or later we would be out running. KC joined us at the school, another high school friend of ours and as soon as we knew it, we were heading out the door. The race starts with an uphill climb. May I remind you it was a local 5K race and we just started this tradition up last year with my high school friends to just do. BJ is not running and he was going to go for a good 7 minute mile pace…22 was his goal. He was out in front, then BD, who had trained for a triathlon this year. I was to stay in the back with AD and TJ, who stated in the beginning that I could not run at a slower pace…for 5 minutes…and they are not even that slow….I lost them as soon as the clock started even and had to catch up to find them, but I was rather enjoying myself. It was like old times again, running with the gals and especially AD, when I ran with her during the summer time.

Which brings me back…about AD, but I’ll bring that up in a different blog…

5:05…ok, now it’s time to burst ahead to try to get other people’s pictures. I spotted BD before and knew that he was not too far ahead of me. I shot off…but could not find him. That is weird? Where did he go? I tried to look back, nope didn’t see him at all, which was very strange…so I shot on ahead. I spotted what could have been AS, who KC said that she had spotted before the run registering. This was weird because AS was a High School friend who I have not seen since graduation maybe. He played soccer, but mostly was into baseball and such. Our grade was made up of such an array of people…maybe I’ll write about that in my next blog of reminiscing…back in the day.


So all I can see a guy with in blue shorts and a black under armor shirt. I run right next to him, saying Smalls? Hey…but it was not him. It was his brother, whom I had remembered when we were back in school when we were way younger. I talk to him, asking how he is doing and how his brother is. He tells me that his brother is ahead and that I should catch him. I shoot off only to take his picture as I go ahead.

The hill I remember is what makes this 5K so challenging. It’s only 3 miles, but the hill makes it seem like it is endless. It’s a very challenging 5K, as I remember when I was going up the long incline and steep last hill to climb, I still am awaiting BD, who I don’t see in sight. Maybe he was way ahead of me, maybe he just shot ahead? Weird, I strolled along and tested my speed to go down the hills as controlled as possible. I didn’t want to injure myself and just ran the road down. It twisted and turned back towards the school and there I could see BJ, who had wanted to run 7:10’s all the way through. I finally caught up to him near the end, taking his picture and finally taking it easy. Wheew, I spot the 3 mile marker and it says 21:44…I tell him to hurry up and he can make it to his goal of 22 minutes…but he simply brushes me off and says another time. This time is good enough. I shoot up ahead, then back again to finish up with BJ only to let him pass me…it was a good run.

As we finish up, I try to take off as much clothing as possible. It was so warm now as the sun was shining. As everyone finally finishes up, we see AS and chat with him for a while. It was amazing how things just come about. AS tells me that he is not into running marathons and he just finished up the Philadelphia marathon in 3:45, I told him that was an incredible time…
We stroll over to the concession stands and grab some bagels, hot chocolate and a banana…ahh! Good times, 2 years running, we’ll see each other next year.

11/23/08

Malfunctions…

"I tell my athletes, 'When you compete, concentrate on yourself. Don't focus on anger against a competitor.'" JOE DOUGLAS

Contemplating if I should go out today or stay inside underneath my blankets as I logged onto my computer to check out how people are doing during the Philadelphia marathon. BS, GW and ES were all running as well as high school peeps, CC (whom is also a flyer) and TF. Many were on pace to what they had wanted through the 20 mile marker, although the tough miles are ahead and if you are on pace, anything can happen from there.

So I was talking to LO, another flyer who had just finished her NYC marathon and she was checking as well for all the people on her list who was doing the Philly marathon. So, all this running talk got me to get up, change for the cold weather and get out. With major malfunctions of my polar running gear, my battery ran out from my distance pod and my heart monitor was off…but this was a minor malfunction and I was out of the door in a jiffy. It was cold in the morning and the wind was really blowing. I headed out onto the east side at a jogging pace. Wasn’t really running at a hard pace due to just coming back and taking it easy on my legs…it’s really going to be a long season for me and I won’t rush things. The Miami Marathon training will start in mid December and January…but we shall see how we take that marathon.

Went down the East side and ran down towards the Staten Island Ferry…Turned around and came right back…checked my computer when I came back and saw that everyone had finished from the Philly Marathon, and as I had said, everyone had a tough time in the last 10K for people who ran Philly. Congrats to everyone who had finished, you guys did an amazing job. It was a reasonable run, beautiful day, but a bit cold and windy…all together ran a reasonable distance run.

11/16/08

Not delivering to the race...

"No matter how old I get, the race remains one of life's most rewarding experiences." GEORGE SHEEHAN

After encountering a long line at TJ’s today, I made it there only about 10-15 minutes after it had opened mind you and the line was pretty much already in the middle of the store. I couldn’t believe it! Sunday’s were my days in which I usually buy my groceries and I had a plan to go up to the race to take pictures of the runners who were running it from my team…oh well!


That plan foiled. Mind you that I could have taken the subway up, but chose not to…because I needed to get my 3 mile up and 3 mile down run in. I could have made it, although I made the stupidest mistake of thinking that the 72nd street transverse was the 79th street transverse and skipped over a few blocks. Mind you that I was not in the best of shape to race up to the park and I tried my best to get up there as fast as I could…but didn’t make it there until about 21 minutes…

I snapped a few pictures of my teammates, saw JT and Lam and chatted with them for a bit and then strolled my way back down toward Time Square and then home. Along the way, I ran and called my parents, sister and friend. I ran and had my cell phone in my ear, trying to multitask and make the most of it. It was chilly, which was such a difference from yesterday.

11/15/08

Not to run in the rain…

"When I am running, I feel everything is in sync. Even my mechanical leg becomes a part of me." SARAH REINERTSEN

I need a change. A change in almost everything I do, but I fear a change. I need to focus and understand everything about me. I feel that I am lost in a bunch of things that I cannot even understand myself. What is wrong with me? What is the matter with what I am going through in my life that I cannot understand. I feel as though life is not too complicated, but yet why do I make it complicated? I feel that running is my escape, my way of dealing with things because during the time in which I do run, I feel that I am not thinking about things.

A bunch of things have happened over the past 3 weeks. When life hits you, life hits you hard and I feel that I have been faced with many difficult decisions that maybe I made difficult for myself, but feel that I need to go through them myself. I need to figure things out and in the end it is my own self that is paying the consequences.

I wake up this morning only to find that it is raining in the beginning of the day. 6:30 am my alarm starts off and hears the old tunes of some re-run that have been playing the week before. I let the radio go off for a while and snooze my way back to sleep, in which I need it after a long week. I wanted to go running this morning and wait for the storms to narrow down and make a good opening…At 10am, I find that I wake up and ready to run. The storm has subsided and I call up JM to see if she had already ran. She had not and I needed a new route to handle for this week, so I resided in going to Brooklyn. I ran over the Brooklyn Bridge and made my ways towards JM’s place. We strolled around Brooklyn making it over to Prospect Park as I mulled over my life and the pieces that still remained.

We made our ways around Prospect Park strolling around at a moderate pace. It was good that I ran with JM. I didn’t need to rush the fact that I was coming back from a long vacation of running and it was good that I took my time to slowly ease back into things. I needed that and I needed these runs to not think about my life too much. The sun was shining and it turned out to being a marvelous day.

After our run we turned to the farmers market, where I saw people buying fruit and other vegetables with food stamps and this was my first time seeing this happen. The economic crisis is really hitting me as I had been succumbed with my job as well and everything around me has finally caught up. We walked and strolled around Brooklyn for a while…then went into the new TJ’s in Brooklyn and I ran my way back home. In all, we didn’t get hit by the rain, we had a perfect weathered day and it was good to be with one of my best running buddies that I can turn to whenever I needed help.

Thanks JM…

Oh...I loved the Nike passage on the back of MetroSports:

"you pretend the snooze button didn't exist. you dragged your butt out of bed while other slept. while others ate their pancakes. you had a feast of protein, gucose and electrolytes. you double-knotted. you left the porch light on and locked the door behind you. you ran. 5K, 10K 26.2 miles. some days more, some days less. you reward a long run with a short run. and a short run with a long run. rain tried to slow you. sun tried to microwave you. snow made you feel like a warrior. you cramped. you bonked. you paid no mind to comfort. on weekends. on holidays. you made excuses to keep going. questioned yourself. played mind games. put your heart before your knees. listened to your breathing. sweat sunscreen into your eyes. worked on your farmer's tan. you hit the wall. you went through it. you decided to be a man about it. you decided to be a women about it. finsihed what you started. proved what you were made of. just kept putting mile after mile on your internal odometer. for 25 years, you ran and we ran with you. how much farther will we go?

As far as you will."

11/10/08

Kara Goucher

"I've learned that it's what you do with your miles, rather than how many you've run." ROD DEHAVEN



As awesome an accomplishment as it is to run in the New York City marathon, we have a philosophy about never participating in any activity that could make our nipples bleed. Instead, we'll just stick to the sidelines where we can nurse our Sunday morning hangovers with egg sandwiches and a fleeting glimpse of comely Queens native Kara Goucher as she jets by.The 30-year-old runner finished yesterday's marathon in 2 hours, 25 minutes, and 53 seconds, making her the fastest American woman to run the race and placing her third overall. It was the ravishing runner's first marathon, although she has previously competed in half-marathons and the Olympics. Check out our gallery of the fleet filly and fantasize about what it would be like to date a woman whose super-speed puts her only a few toxic mutations away from being a superhero.








BY ARTHUR STAPLE
November 3, 2008
Even if she hadn't contended for 18 miles, even if she hadn't run the fastest New York City marathon by an American woman yesterday, Kara Goucher would have had a lifetime of memories from her marathon debut."People were yelling, 'The Queens girl!' I just wanted to stop and give them all a hug," Goucher said after her third-place finish in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 53 seconds, the fastest time ever by an American woman making her marathon debut. "I can barely walk right now, but I loved it. It was awesome."Goucher, 30, who was born in Queens, grew up in Minnesota and now lives in Portland, Ore., vainly tried to keep pace behind women's winner Paula Radcliffe, but right around the 18-mile mark, cramps took a toll on her.Her emotions held up well, though. She and her two sisters moved from Queens to Waldwick, N.J., when Kara was 3. Her father, Mirko Grgas, was killed when his car was struck on the Harlem River Drive by a drunken driver's car, and the family moved to Minnesota.



All along the race route yesterday, Goucher felt the power of the spectators, who all seemed to know her story. "It's just such a good feeling to be supported by so many people who don't know me," she said, adding that her post-race "victory lap" was more of a celebratory stroll because she couldn't run anymore.Alberto Salazar, a three-time winner of the NYC Marathon, coached Goucher, who had never run more than 22 miles at once. She said Salazar left her a note in her backpack yesterday morning that said simply: "Have faith."She hung in with Radcliffe and second-place finisher Ludmila Petrova for as long as possible, hiding behind Radcliffe to shield Goucher from the strong winds until Radcliffe simply sped away.But Goucher still found her first marathon to be a success.





"The marathon just holds a lot of importance to me," she said, fighting back a few tears, as she did after the race.





"I was born here, because this is where my dad came to live when he came to the United States. This is where he lived. This is where he died. This is where my coach became who he is as an athlete.





"I was so excited to run here, and so sad it's over. Even as lousy as I feel."

11/8/08

Back to basics…

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." ROGER BANNISTER

I ran with my good flyer friend, GW as he was training hard for the Philadelphia Marathon. We did a 6 mile run around the park and it felt ok. My legs have been off for about a month and my breath was the one that really felt the exhaustion part. It’s going to feel that way until I get back into my regular routine. GW was really exhausted, as he should have been with is 22 milers the weekend before as he had ran the NYC marathon. He was going to take a few days off and taper early due to his legs feeling tired, I don’t blame him. Preparing the NY Flyers marathon program, coaching Team for Kids and doing NYC before the Philly marathon to BQ in? That’s a long time to train, as I do know from last year in doing 3 marathons in 6 weeks. It’s a long course to follow and I will never do that again.

I told him that he needed confidence and asked how he broke up the mileage of a marathon…which I’ll ask all of you marathoners, how do you break up or run the marathon?

I told him that I break up the marathon accordingly to running a half marathon. Run 13.1 miles first, make it half way, then after you have done that, in your mind you are half way there. Make it to mile 16, there you start counting down and work your way into single digits. 9 miles to go, 5 miles to go…then it gets easier, where you say to yourself that you have done a 5 mile race before, you have done a 4 mile race before and you have done a 5 K race….

Then the finish line comes at you and your done...

Stretching: The Truth
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
Published: October 31, 2008
WHEN DUANE KNUDSON, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, Chico, looks around campus at athletes warming up before practice, he sees one dangerous mistake after another. “They’re stretching, touching their toes. . . . ” He sighs. “It’s discouraging.”
STRAIGHT-LEG MARCH (for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)Kick one leg straight out in front of you, with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the sequence for at least six or seven repetitions.

SCORPION (for the lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles) Lie on your stomach, with your arms outstretched and your feet flexed so that only your toes are touching the ground. Kick your right foot toward your left arm, then kick your left foot toward your right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise, begin slowly, and repeat up to 12 times.

HANDWALKS (for the shoulders, core muscles and hamstrings) Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. ‘‘Walk’’ your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again. Repeat five or six times.

If you’re like most of us, you were taught the importance of warm-up exercises back in grade school, and you’ve likely continued with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes’ warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.

“There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” says Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout.

THE RIGHT WARM-UP should do two things: loosen muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body. When you’re at rest, there’s less blood flow to muscles and tendons, and they stiffen. “You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before beginning exercise,” Knudson says.

A well-designed warm-up starts by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more effectively. They also withstand loads better. One significant if gruesome study found that the leg-muscle tissue of laboratory rabbits could be stretched farther before ripping if it had been electronically stimulated — that is, warmed up.

To raise the body’s temperature, a warm-up must begin with aerobic activity, usually light jogging. Most coaches and athletes have known this for years. That’s why tennis players run around the court four or five times before a match and marathoners stride in front of the starting line. But many athletes do this portion of their warm-up too intensely or too early. A 2002 study of collegiate volleyball players found that those who’d warmed up and then sat on the bench for 30 minutes had lower backs that were stiffer than they had been before the warm-up. And a number of recent studies have demonstrated that an overly vigorous aerobic warm-up simply makes you tired. Most experts advise starting your warm-up jog at about 40 percent of your maximum heart rate (a very easy pace) and progressing to about 60 percent. The aerobic warm-up should take only 5 to 10 minutes, with a 5-minute recovery. (Sprinters require longer warm-ups, because the loads exerted on their muscles are so extreme.) Then it’s time for the most important and unorthodox part of a proper warm-up regimen, the Spider-Man and its counterparts.

“Towards the end of my playing career, in about 2000, I started seeing some of the other guys out on the court doing these strange things before a match and thinking, What in the world is that?” says Mark Merklein, 36, once a highly ranked tennis player and now a national coach for the United States Tennis Association. The players were lunging, kicking and occasionally skittering, spider-like, along the sidelines. They were early adopters of a new approach to stretching.

While static stretching is still almost universally practiced among amateur athletes — watch your child’s soccer team next weekend — it doesn’t improve the muscles’ ability to perform with more power, physiologists now agree. “You may feel as if you’re able to stretch farther after holding a stretch for 30 seconds,” McHugh says, “so you think you’ve increased that muscle’s readiness.” But typically you’ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch. The muscle is actually weaker.

Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. Muscles in motion don’t experience that insidious inhibitory response. They instead get what McHugh calls “an excitatory message” to perform.

Dynamic stretching is at its most effective when it’s relatively sports specific. “You need range-of-motion exercises that activate all of the joints and connective tissue that will be needed for the task ahead,” says Terrence Mahon, a coach with Team Running USA, home to the Olympic marathoners Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor. For runners, an ideal warm-up might include squats, lunges and “form drills” like kicking your buttocks with your heels. Athletes who need to move rapidly in different directions, like soccer, tennis or basketball players, should do dynamic stretches that involve many parts of the body. “Spider-Man” is a particularly good drill: drop onto all fours and crawl the width of the court, as if you were climbing a wall. (For other dynamic stretches, see the sidebar below.)

Even golfers, notoriously nonchalant about warming up (a recent survey of 304 recreational golfers found that two-thirds seldom or never bother), would benefit from exerting themselves a bit before teeing off. In one 2004 study, golfers who did dynamic warm- up exercises and practice swings increased their clubhead speed and were projected to have dropped their handicaps by seven strokes over seven weeks.

Controversy remains about the extent to which dynamic warm-ups prevent injury. But studies have been increasingly clear that static stretching alone before exercise does little or nothing to help. The largest study has been done on military recruits; results showed that an almost equal number of subjects developed lower-limb injuries (shin splints, stress fractures, etc.), regardless of whether they had performed static stretches before training sessions. A major study published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control, on the other hand, found that knee injuries were cut nearly in half among female collegiate soccer players who followed a warm-up program that included both dynamic warm-up exercises and static stretching. (For a sample routine, visit www.aclprevent.com/pepprogram.htm.) And in golf, new research by Andrea Fradkin, an assistant professor of exercise science at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, suggests that those who warm up are nine times less likely to be injured.

“It was eye-opening,” says Fradkin, formerly a feckless golfer herself. “I used to not really warm up. I do now.”
You’re Getting Warmer: The Best Dynamic Stretches
These exercises- as taught by the United States Tennis Association’s player-development program – are good for many athletes, even golfers. Do them immediately after your aerobic warm-up and as soon as possible before your workout.
STRAIGHT-LEG MARCH
(for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)
Kick one leg straight out in front of you, with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the sequence for at least six or seven repetitions.
SCORPION
(for the lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles)
Lie on your stomach, with your arms outstretched and your feet flexed so that only your toes are touching the ground. Kick your right foot toward your left arm, then kick your leftfoot toward your right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise, begin slowly, and repeat up to 12 times.
HANDWALKS
(for the shoulders, core muscles, and hamstrings)
Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. “Walk” with your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again. Repeat five or six times.

11/6/08

Is not running actually bad for you?

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." ROBERT FROST

Is it strange the fact that taking a break from running may even damper on some moods? Maybe the fact that I have been so death row lately constitutes in the way of how I am feeling. Running gives me a sense of release. A release from everything that surrounds me, may I have a bad day, I run harder and faster to release all of that from the day is gone. Running is the only time in which I feel calm and at ease. I have not run in a month and I have changed. I have been moody, emotional and bitter. I don’t know how to control these mood swings of mine, where I don’t have a sense of release. A notion of feeling absolutely nothing and having a feel of freedom of no wills of any care…the road is endless and the exhilaration is forever.

I am not holding anything aside, not holding anything on my shoulders. Running to me is a feel of just air, a feel those miles is a sense of heaven where you are on a cloud only thinking about your breath, you stride, the wind blowing into your ear and runners passing you by. It is a release from the outside word that we live in. A city called New York City, where things roll fast and if you are not n the mix, the moment has passed you by.
We are in difficult times; the economy stinks on all levels. The job that you have, you have to make the best of it because you are lucky to even have a job in this recession of a market. Life is what it is right now and you have to make the most of it and best of it. I find myself searching for an answer in if I should find a second job at a shoe/athletic apparel store like Jack Rabbits or just enjoy the Fridays that was given to us…OFF. My office and this lousy job/housing market gave the employers a 20% pay cut where we are only working 4 days a week…and Fridays from November to April…I call them No School Days. (in which I wrote on my calendar for all of my job meetings.) I will need to find some way to keep afloat and that only means I need to cut my luxuries…of marathons. I am still doing Miami, since I have already paid for my ticket; housing is free due to knowing certain Flyers who are going and staying with NC. Boston? Yes, I think that will be secured as well, where I can not miss the best marathon or hype again. Boston and New York…if I missed both of these that would be sad…but Fridays during this time will be kept busy where I will be able to change my schedule around and actually run during the weekday…on a Friday. Maybe even do a long run on Fridays and have my weekend to enjoy or putz around. But will I be happy? I don’t think so…I rather work than not, I’m strange like that. I need work to occupy me and keep me consumed in all of my craziness that runs through my head.
I admit it. I am crazy. I am weird, I am strange in every aspect. I consume things differently than other people and go through different instances because I am different.

The past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster and it has been tiring to find that I cannot give my 100%. I am tired and find that my work is consuming me, my life is non-existent and I need running. Running controls me and schedules out my life. I feel in order, feel that things work and feels right. Maybe once I get my running back, I can finally come to terms with a whole lot of things mentally and hope to do so soon. I feel like I am addicted to running and am an addict like everyone had said I was during the NYC marathon…Do I need help?

I need sleep…rest, massage and to feel nothing…

11/1/08

Marathon Sunday

"Fitness is like the blade of a knife; you want to sharpen it without ruining the blade." SALLY JENKINS, The Washington Post

Unedited:
Seasons begin to change and chills of cool air create a different feeling in Central Park. The park is packed with runners all gearing up for the New York City Marathon. The sight of Halloween costumes and candy gets any child giddy with anticipation of the last day in October. The same giddiness comes to a NYC marathon runner when advertisements are posted all around subway stations in the city. The NYC marathon is like the Superbowl of our sport. Those who have done the marathon can simply say that the NYC marathon is not like any other marathon you do elsewhere. It has this aura, this mystical ambiance of energy that erupts from the city all for the first Sunday in November...a runner’s heaven, Marathon Sunday.

Each marathon is different. If you have done a marathon in different states or countries or even the same marathon year after year, each one differs due to experience: weather, people, shape that you are in. These factors all play a huge roll in your performance.

May this be your first marathon or your last marathon, the “experience” you get the days leading up to the marathon never leaves you. The excitement or nervousness the night before (which I always seem to get no matter how many I do) is enchanting. The feeling never gets old, where you feel uneasy because the race is overwhelming. You are literally running 26.2 miles. For some runners, they will be on their feet for 3+ hours. But you have trained 3 or even 4 months for this moment. You have listened to other runners with their experiences of the New York City marathon and the hype. And all you want to do is just want to experience it for yourself. As you anticipate, you count down the weeks and week’s turns to days. Finally, the final week comes around and emotions are running though your head.

"did I train hard enough?, am I ready? What is the weather going to be like?, etc..."

Relax. Breathe, and take it all in. NYC suddenly turns alive to a runner as Marathon Sunday arrives. The final days before leaves you to wonder which day you should go to the marathon expo: Thursday, Friday, Saturday? Or all three days? (Helpful hint: Get a good nights rest 2 days before the marathon – on Friday.) Then the night before where you can't sleep a wink, just looking at the clock and finally zonking out...

Alarm wakes you up and you are out of bed. You see that all of your clothing attire is folded and in stages as you had left the night before. You wear more clothing since you will be at the start for quite a while (3 + hours in Staten Island, but first have to get their by bus or ferry.) You arrive and marathon village is hoping with runners like you that will be running in the NYC marathon.
Did you get chills? I just did.

Take it all in. Take everything in and remember what has gotten you there. The countless hours of training on the roads, the hot and humid weather of the summer, the sacrifice of sleep the night before and finally you are here. Three hours pass by pretty quickly, as you have fun just walking around and finally it is time. Time to put your clothes into the UPS bus, line up into your waved color starts, and RUN. The cannon goes off and the marathon is on it's way. Songs of New York, New York is playing and you find yourself passing the starting line to a journey of 26.2 miles and visiting all 5 boroughs and having a dream of a lifetime.

You will always remember this moment of the great cheers of the crowds in Brooklyn, the ruckus of thundering chants when you leave the 59th Street bridge and onto 1st Avenue. The many people that line up 5-10 deep to just be in the experience of it all...and finally when you reach Central Park the joys of happiness in finishing arrives.

Tears of joy and happiness come to mind, with a little pain of just running 26.2 miles and completing a marathon. It’s a great accomplishment to finish, no matter what time you get. If it’s your first? You will never forget your first marathon moments and an invincible feeling of accomplishment, joy and feeling like you can accomplish anything in the world…
Tell us your experiences on Marathon Sunday and we’ll hopefully be able to post up these experiences in the next issue.

Edited:

The seasons have changed and the chill of cool air has created a different feeling in Central Park. The roads have been packed with runners all gearing up for the New York City Marathon. Tomorrow.

Just as the sight of Halloween costumes and candy makes any child giddy with anticipation for the last day in October, the same can be said for the runner who spots his or her first NYC Marathon ad of the season in a subway station or magazine. The NYC Marathon is like the Super Bowl of our sport. Those who have done it say that it is simply not like any other marathon, anywhere. It has this aura, ambiance, energy that erupts throughout the city, every first Sunday in November. This is Runners’ Heaven. This is Marathon Sunday.

Each marathon is different. Even if you run NYC year after year, your experiences will always differ due to the weather, your corral placement, the number of runners around you on the course, the miles you have logged in preparation of race day, the shape that you are in, and the confidence that you bring with you to the starting line. These factors will all play a role.

And whether this is your first or fifteenth NYC Marathon, the excitement leading up to the big day will never leave you. The nervousness the night before (which I always seem to have, no matter how many marathons I run) is overwhelming. It never goes away.

You have trained for this moment. You have listened to other runners share their experiences of the New York City Marathon, and potentially shared your own. You have surrendered to the hype. And you are ready to experience it, for the first time, or all over again. The anticipation, as you have counted down the months, weeks, and now days, has finally come to a head.

So now, with mere hours until the cannons will fire, the final emotions are coursing though your being.

Did I train enough?

Am I ready?

Can I really believe the weather forecast?

Relax. Breathe. And take it all in.

You’ve picked up your race packet, survived the expo with a little money left in your wallet (hopefully), and slept well last night so that tonight you can stare at the clock, pleading for even a wink of sleep, tossing and turning until the alarm “wakes” you up and the day is finally in motion.

Your clothing and shoes are folded, stacked, and ready to go. Race gear, check. Throwaways, check. Bagel, banana, gels, water, Gatorade, check. Hydrated, lubed, and just a little bit nauseous, you will arrive on Staten Island, Marathon Village stretching before you and surrounding you with thousands of other runners just like you. You will replay in your mind your race strategy as you visualize yourself completing the 26.2-mile journey that begins here, in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Take it all in. Take everything in and remember how you arrived here. The countless hours on the roads; the hot and humid weather you suffered as you trained throughout the summer; the side-stitches, cramps, and mysterious pangs that popped up—out of nowhere—at the most inopportune times; the poor choice in a gel or sports drink flavor you choked down in preparation for this day; and all the late nights and early mornings sacrificed all in the name of the Long Run. In so many ways, you have arrived.

Three hours will pass quickly as you try to conserve your energy—but you can’t sit still!—walking cautiously around to find your fellow teammates and friends. When it’s time to pack it all in, you will put your clothes on the UPS bus, line up with your wave, your color, and in your corral. And then?

The cannon will fire and you’ll be on your way. Frank Sinatra’s optimistic “New York, New York” will punctuate the elation you feel as you cross the starting line and fulfill what is, for many, the dream of a lifetime.

You will always remember this moment. Awaiting you are the great cheers of the crowds in Brooklyn and the thundering ruckus that overtakes you after you barrel through Queens and descend the 59th Street Bridge onto 1st Avenue. They will be there—lined up five, ten-deep—cheering just for you. You will be celebrated, you will persevere, and you will conquer the Bronx, returning finally to your haven that is Central Park. The joy you experience when you cross the finish line will be impossible to replicate.

Tears are possible. Pain is likely. And the pure, raw emotion that can only stem from an accomplishment of this magnitude is inevitable.

You will never forget this moment.

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So, how did it compare? Send us your marathon stories and we’ll publish a “best of” in next month’s newsletter.

Now, go take your ice bath and mark November 1, 2009 in your calendar. Only 52 more weeks to go.