Staten Island Half Marathon in Review

Two words describe my feelings about last Sunday’s 13.1 PR attempt – “epic failure.” Had the stars aligned themselves purposely for this reason, things could not have marshalled themselves together any better for the making of what was akin to the perfect storm. By the way, I feel totally entitled to wallow here for a few after which I am bound to refocus and jump right back in. In that vein, humor me if you will while I reminisce.

As luck would have it, I didn’t have to wait for Sunday to see that things wouldn’t go as planned. In fact, it took less than a minute on Friday night to twist my ankle. After railing at fate for a bit, practicality soon set in and I was forced to suck it up and move on. I spent the major part of that night and the next day employing the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and felt that it helped, for the most part, during the run. The problem was the inability to count on so many other factors. Continuing with my streak of luck was no sweat as Sunday morning greeted us with dark skies and the ominous threat of rain. My only comfort was that at least my ankle seemed to be cooperating then.

We were into about 4 miles, I think, when the rains came down, and man did it pour. For about 2 miles it fell quite hard and made running a soggy affair that had the effect of providing an initial welcome damper to runners over the heat. However, it didn’t stop there; the continued lighter rain, wetness and water all over the streets contributed to decreasing the overall pace of the race. But more importantly, the rain made my run more difficult since by this time we were on the loop and had to make our way back via at least three major inclines – amidst 95% humidity. By the time I was at mile 8, Teklu Deneke, Ethiopian native and West Side Club runner, had taken first place overall (1st Male), with Serkalem Abrha as 1st female. At that time, I was forced to reduce my pace and fall back on stopping at least three times at different water tables – manned by amazing volunteers in the pouring rain – something I’ve always been dead set against. The last few miles went by in a blur, made even harder when my ankle came to life with a dull throbbing.

I can only say sometimes the medal is worth it. The final mile or so was reminiscent of my last Staten Island run, only tougher hills, and in fact it was with an odd feeling of déjà vu that I crossed the finish line to the cheers and support of some phenomenal spectators who did not allow the dank weather to dampen their spirit and enthusiasm for the race.

As is often the case when I run with an injury, I’m left with a feeling of consternation that I can make it to the finish line, hobble or not, but then barely have the wherewithal to get to the first aid tent. I’m convinced it’s all in the mind even though my body disagrees. As it happened, I spent about an hour there recuperating with the help of NYRR’s awesome volunteer doctors. I remain immensely awed by the giving hearts of these incredible souls that come out race after race and give of their time and talent to the efficacious running of these races. Last Sunday in Staten Island, we couldn’t have done it with out them. #GoNYRRVolunteers

Photos courtesy gamefacephotos.com

[ http://www.gameface.photos/events ]

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Gearing Up for Race Day

 

It’s been four years since I last ran the Staten Island Half Marathon and I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s easy to recall something that has made an impact on you, easier still if it had a PR attached to it and even easier if it happened with an injury. That race will forever go down as my most heartening run with the most beautiful, yet tough memories of what it means to run with heart. While I won’t venture beyond that, since it’s all in the past and has already been rehashed, what I will say is that I hope the lessons I took away serves me well this time around.

In the past few years I’m focused a lot on “the Marathon” and paid little attention to running or training for a half-marathon. For sure it’s a different race, and in fact all races deserve their own respect and therefore their own strategy and plan, which I’ve tried to follow to this point. The problem is that running two important, yet different, races two weeks apart poses a bit of a challenge when training. Since I’m doing just that, I’m left with the quandary of which to prioritize. This is more or less easily determined as I’m running the Half with specific goals in mind that supersedes those of the Marathon. That is not to say that it’s less important but only that my goals for the Marathon are less demanding. Still, I always try to run a good race so performing well is very important and has made my past twelve weeks of training interesting with varied runs and cross training targeting development and performance for both races. Only this past weekend had me doing a simulation run that saw me come up just short of my goal time. I’m trusting the real race will provide the missing positive factors that will influence the result I’m looking for. As it is, I’ve run two marathons back-to-back before, they were of the same distance and my strategy then was to simply treat the first as a long run and the second as a race. As I recall, it didn’t quite turn out that way and in hindsight I see now that I should have raced the first and just enjoyed the second. Suffice to say, I walked away lesson learnt.

On Sunday, which happens to be the same day of the Chicago Marathon – just throwing that in there – I will attempt to run in the shadow and wisdom of past races and hope to have an amazing time on my favorite half-marathon course in NYC. Although I’m told the course is slightly different from what I am used to – a bit more hilly – I can only hope it spurs me on to great things. Wish me luck as I carb-up this week and prepare to run my “race of the year.” The excitement just doesn’t get old around here! LOL.

A 20 Mile Kickoff to Autumn

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park

On Saturday, I took to Central Park with good intentions of enjoying a glorious Fall day while grinding out my long training run – the longest of the season so far. Ah… if only things would have worked out the way I had planned. As it turned out, I ran smack into the middle of a circus, or rather, the global citizen concert that was on that day, which I would have known about if I had bothered to pay attention the whole of last week. Oh well, I consoled myself, a runner’s gotta do what a runner’s gotta do. Right?

To each his own, but I’m akin to a dog with a bone when I’m on a mission, and there was no way I was leaving the park without accomplishing what I set out to do – all 20 miles of it. I soon figured that with the crowds, the police, and the barricades, I would be better off sticking to the bridal path which was the only place left to run that wasn’t teeming with people, for the most part anyway. Turned out nowhere was sacred and it was being used as a parking lot, which provided me and – surprise – other runners with minimal running space. Seemed I wasn’t the only one clueless or maybe the others just didn’t care, their pace certainly not indicating any kind of urgency or purpose really. In any event, what saved the day and ensured some pluses for me was the fact that though I had gotten a late start – at the height of noonday, which is only possible during Fall, though I was still testing it as we were only into the second day of it – there was a slight coolness and breeze that ensured it wasn’t a humid eighty degrees. So while it was still hot and I perspired profusely, I was running on the inside trail and not the roadway and was therefore able to benefit from the shade from overhead trees and less impact to my knees. At certain points it was even possible to tune out the people factor and enjoy the music, which was certainly loud enough. Another plus was that the water fountains were still on to which I religiously succumbed, albeit unwisely.

If you’ve ever run in Central Park on a Saturday then you know it’s better suited to early am short runs. In spite of this, I was able to tolerate the tourists with their bikes and entourages – most New Yorker’s have little patience with their slow and wandering gait – and take in the beautiful spectacle that is Fall with its colorful trees and dropping leaves. In the strangest way that Autumn is wont to do, it was able to calm me, give me focus, inspire my thanks and appreciation and encourage my finish.

While I’ve been running for many years, I’m still learning or being reminded of things I learnt a while aback, some of which were (1) Avoid running at midday unless it’s in the dead of Winter. (2) Laps are never a good idea for 20 miles. (3) One or two sips of water is always better p/mile than gulps. (4) It’s always better to stick with a tried and true method; such as, if gels work for you then leave the bars alone, and (5) Never go for long runs in the park on a weekend if you can help it.

I finished, rather wearied and drained and called it a day about 2 hours and 45 minutes later. In all honesty it felt like the longest 2:45 ever and I was happy to get home and get horizontal; there I remained until the next morning hoping never for a repeat performance.

Fall Favorites for Running

Autumn in all its gorgeousness and “otherness” is here! It came self- announced with a sudden coolness despite the sunshine and on the heels of two major hurricanes, which made landfall here in the US in the past two weeks leaving behind scenes of havoc and carnage in a merciless path of destruction. While we can’t forget those who lost their lives, livelyhoods and homes, the country remains resilient in these adverse times with people coming together in solidarity and support for those affected here and in the Caribbean. It’s not so easy to move on though, as in addition to rebuilding efforts the weather remains uncertain at best with the threat of still more storms looming out there in the Caribbean sea.

Yet, just a bit beneath all this lies the dawn of Fall: its colorful trees and dropping leaves, and cool sunshine and quieting breeze, a brisk smell that invites a deep breath, a spring in one’s step, a quick adjustment to goals and maybe even a search of the soul. Surely somewhere in there is a desire for more, for different, or better, or new. Such is the challenge that the change in season brings and what better way to respond than to gear up and head out on some running adventures with 7 seasonal favorites to inspire even the most timid of us.

Fall Favorites

New running shoes – nothing says I’m ready to run like a new pair of running shoes, if nothing else it will entice you to try ’em on and break ’em in. That’s a major first step.

Running gear – it’s time to bring out all the really gorgeous autumnal tones in fancy tights and tanks and best yet you can still try ’em in shorts too! Who knew that running could be just as sexy as it is healthy. So a bonus!

Marathons – some of us have done some mean training for the last 16-18 weeks and d-day is fast approaching. We have major marathons like New York, Chicago, and the Marine Corps among others headlining this Fall.

Fun races – Unlike its more serious counterpart, the marathon, there are many shorter and more fun runs this Fall for those of us chasing a PR, an experience, any other goal, or just for the heck of it. Popular ones include Grete’s Great Gallop – Central Park, NYC; Harpoon Octoberfest Road Race -Windsor, Vermont; Napa Wine Country Half Marathon and 10K; The Color Run – Hudson Valley, NY or at various other locations throughout the Fall.

Cooler scenic running – welcome to the season of anytime running. No longer relegated to early morning or late evenings, lace up just about anytime you’re able and head out for a gorgeous fall run in near always perfect temps. Add to that the profuse display of color and the earthy scents and sounds and you’re excused for thinking running heaven.

Outdoor variety – much like Spring but better, Fall is the perfect opportunity to add some hiking, camping and/or biking to the mix to complement and challenge your running.

Volunteer – not running? Choose to volunteer at a race instead and experience the power and satisfaction of giving back. Many of Fall’s major races have amazing opportunities to serve.

Fall is a beautiful season that holds all sorts of tasty and colourful promises for the holidays. For those of us who dread the cold months ahead, it is especially dear, as we endeavor to get as much running and outdoors in as we can, while we can. I’d even venture to say its gorgeous days makes for all-round easier running.

Run for Life: How Running Can Add to Your Years

Source: simple payday.co.uk

There’s been talk in recent years that running, contrary to the belief by some of being detrimental to one’s health over the long-term, may actually increase one’s life. Earlier this year there was an article in the New York Times titled, An Hour of Running May Add 7 Years to Your Life by Gretchen Reynolds. The article highlighted the results of a follow-up study done as a result of a slew of questions, which resulted from an earlier study done by the Cooper Institute in Dallas in which a group of distinguished exercise scientists scrutinized data from a large trove of medical and fitness tests thereby determining that as little as five minutes of running per day was associated with prolonged lifespans.

This follow-up study according to Reynolds is based on the review and analysis of past research about exercise and premature death and found that runners, when compared to nonrunners, and even other exercise enthusiasts , showed a tendency to live longer by up to three years in spite of their pace, consistency, the weight factor, or even their smoking or drinking habits.

Now I don’t know about you, but the mere idea that running, a controversial topic at best with people on either side of the aisle weighing in about its pros and cons, and far too many leaning to sustained running being bad for you overtime, could end up being a huge plus. This sets off all sorts of conversations in my head the least of which are the implications to my running constancy and intensity.

The Times highlighted the findings of the new study published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease by Dr. Duck-chul Lee, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and his colleagues who found that the results confirmed findings from the earlier study where cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone’s pace or mileage, dropped a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 percent. It went on to note that the researchers calculated that, hour for hour, running statistically returns more time to people’s lives than it consumes. Figuring two hours per week of training, since that was the average reported by runners in the Cooper Institute study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years. Hence the additional seven years life expectancy per hour of running.

Additionally, they noted that running appeared unique in its ability to increase a runner’s life expectancy by this much when compared with other aerobic sports, which also increases longevity only not half as much, but cautioned against believing this made one immortal since the increase in years was capped at three regardless of how much one ran.

Many of us may question if this is in fact so, and science says it is, how can we harness this advantage against mortality. While Dr Lee has no magic formula, he does reiterate what we’ve known for some time, that running reduces your risks for life-threatening diseases, increases your aerobic capacity – an excellent indicator of longer-term health – and predisposes you, the runner, to healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle, and those factors are in themselves uniquely positioned to derive the best result. Therefore, while running may not guarantee the longest and healthiest life, it does maximize my chances to add to my years. In this instance being an opportunist is a good thing.

2017 Running Goals Check

Whether you want to think about it or not, it’s that time. Time to start thinking about what you’ve accomplished so far, and here’s hoping – a lot – and what’s left to get done. Of course if you’ve been assiduously working on checking off items on “the list” then you should be in the happy camp now, otherwise, not so much. Either way, I want to assure you that your goals matter and so do you. For those who haven’t gotten to where they had hoped to be at this point, fear not, for even if you got 20 percent done it is 20 percent more than where you were when you started, plus you’re in good company.😉

Another day gives us another opportunity to take a step up on the ladder to accomplishment. Sure we’ve had good and bad days — mostly bad days some may say — and so what, goals are not cast in stone. The idea behind them is to motivate and guide you to a healthier you and a better way of life. You’ll get there eventually, one good day and one bad day at a time. You’re the only one who gets to decide how fast or slow you do this. So let’s quit complaining and feeling bad and get down to what can be done with the time left starting with a check in or off. 📃✔

In checking off, I’d have to say I’m off on a few things. Again, I’ve failed to stick with recording my daily mileage, and fell off the wagon for the last couple months, but I’m determined to resume logging from today, September 1. In addition, I did not get the time I was hoping for in Boston this year but I’ll be back next year to try again. More so, I haven’t started my running volunteer gig as yet and hope to start this month proving to you that better late than never us really a thing. On the other hand, I’m on the road to crossfit, my destination is in sight marathon, charity run coming up, and I’m working toward the PR  qualifying goal. I’ve also started reading  “running” and I’m now on “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, which I find very entertaining. The only unrealistic goal left on my list now, given the time frame I’m working with, is swimming and just for the heck of it, I’m leaving it on there. After all, I could suddenly become super human and get it done. More likely not, but I’m winging it because I kinda like that there remains some tiny part of me that still wants to get it done, the overachiever, unrealistic-dreamer-part of me, frankly, I’m rather crazy about her.😜

 

 

 

Giving Back: The Marine Corps Marathon 2017

Source: military.id.me

On Sunday October 22, 2017 I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia to support our veteran service members of the armed services. I’ve chosen this cause, and by extension the Semper Fi fund, to raise awareness and contribute to because for far too long so many of us, while well-meaning, offer little, save lip service, to those who put their lives on the line daily to protect the freedom we enjoy. This has never been more true than today. We live in an uncertain and volatile world and where in the past many may have viewed signing up to be a marine, soldier or joining the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard or Reserve as just a job, and even then I would have begged to differ, today it represents so much more. In fact, I would argue that if anyone goes in with that notion, they are all too soon disabused of the idea when duty calls.

Never before have we, as an American society, been privy to the chaotic and stormy domestic and global political climate as now. Our armed services, true to form with the respect and honor they deserve stand ready and able to defend our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We honor and applaud that every memorial day,  4th of July, veterans day, and flag day to a lesser degree. So much have been said in honor of their fight and of the many who have lost their lives and those who have returned injured and in many ways unable to fend for themselves and/or be a regular contributing member of society anymore.

The Semper Fi fund 501(c)(3) nonprofit and its program America Fund, gives us an opportunity to pay – pun intended -more than lip service and to literally put our money where our thanks are. The fund utilizes charitable donations to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for wounded, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

The basic ideal that drives the fund’s efforts is simple: as much as these American heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. Injuries are often severe, and the road to recovery or rehabilitation can be long and costly. We have the remarkable opportunity to improve their circumstances by as much as 50%.

Please consider making a contribution, no matter how small; Individually we cannot achieve as much as what we can do when we come together. My goal of $1500 is a small part of the bigger picture of making sure all our injured veterans & their families in need are cared for.

Click on this link:

https://runsignup.com/Race/14046/Donate/EAgGYJk8jpKxHz5X

Thank you so much. Our injured veterans and their families and I appreciate your support!

Food and Running: A Healthy Affair

Source: mes-idees-recettes.com

I must admit I’m a bit of a foodie. I love to eat, by this I mean full meals that involve the entire 6 food groups and not snacks and desserts. Grains, peas, veggies, starches, meat, some of you may not agree, but I term this “real” food to the extent that I sometimes have it for breakfast though rarely for supper. Now I’m a small person and while I totally support the idea that people like me, more often than not, have huge appetites, there are others that develop unhealthy relationships with food and stay well on the other side of healthy appetites to barely eating at all. The key, I think, is finding the right balance, and running can help.

Exercise is known for its aphrodisiac-like effects on one’s appetite and running is no exception. As a runner, I have a healthy appetite and I’m very thankful that I can eat freely as a result of maintaining a healthy lifestyle which is key to having a healthy relationship with food. My reasoning is based on the fact that exercise can be enjoyable but it can at times be costly and hard work. Because I invest time, effort, and money in exercising and running, it is necessary to maintain a healthy diet so as to maximize the results of my investment. This investment practice is sound and logical for not only business but life in general and thereby running. It follows that my love for food is centered around foods that will benefit my goals and give me the outcome I desire. Bring on the whole grains then — even the carbs we love to hate — which are a necessary diet staple for runners.

Runners gain a lot of calories – a necessary evil some may say –  and nutrients from fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean meat. This is not to say that one can’t get them from the processed version in the form of energy bars, energy  drinks, sports drinks, and processed foods but it comes at a cost with so many unhealthy additives. “Real” food naturally carries a complex mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and other essential nutrients and work together with literally thousands of other compounds, such as color components in fruits and vegetables, special starches and fibers in whole grains, and unique fats in seeds, nuts, and dairy. And it’s the whole package that promotes good health and peak athletic performance (runner’s world). 

With so many diet fads and choices out there, there are a lot to choose from which can only be good. Because choices empower us, it means keeping it healthy and clean has never been easier. Healthy options include: foods that come from seeds and nuts which are high in protein, essential fats, and antioxidants; colorful fruits and veggies go beyond the carbs, mineral and vitamins that’s essential for running, they also provide many colorful benefits that vary from helping in the fight against  various illnesses and diseases like cancer and decreases your risk for running-related injuries; lots of milk and milk-related products have the benefits associated with calcium and when protein and strengthen your body to combat various ills such as high blood pressure etc.; plant-based foods and roots which boast a complex mix of starches and fibers act as agents that aid in weight control, decrease the risk of heart disease, and boost the immune system; milk and milk products are known for their great calcium deposits and strong bones and teeth. Additionally they’re another necessity for runners because they work to fortify & strengthen muscles and help with recovery in addition to reducing risks to ailments associated with your bowels and intestines; finally, fish, lean meat, and poultry are high in protein and are so much more effective if organically grown. Fish particularly has omega-3 fatty acids that are a necessity for runners’ diet.

No one will argue that eating healthy doesn’t require a studied effort and sometimes a bit of sacrifice initially but hey… the results are like oh man good. And after a while it requires no effort at all, because by then you will have totally fallen in love with eating right.

Fostering Healthy Habits for Running and Life

The current political and social climate being what it is has led to more and more individuals preoccupied with family life, health, and personal achievement to the point that there seems to be very little room left for much else. Add to that the complexities involved in varying lifestyle choices and these days the average person is just concerned with trying to balance their hectic agenda with minimum intrusions and affect to their standard routine. Many people like the “idea” of fit and healthy and will often do the minimal amount to maintain somewhat of a proper diet and exercise to warrant no ER visits without many realizing that fit and healthy is so much more than food and the odd exercise session. It is a conscious decision to live in harmony with nature while maximizing the gifts (physically, spiritually, and opportunities) we have been blessed with. Things can seem even more exhausting for a runner and fit fanatic like myself, for whom constant diet and exercise is par for the course as healthy living is a prevailing occupation.

The challenge to juggle a regular daily schedule topped off with training, which is often the case for a runner, means that some area of life almost always ends up being neglected. Over the years, I’ve learnt by trial and error that finding the right balance often means the ability to compromise and sacrifice the things we want for what we need. Of course I’m a work-in-progress and learning new things everyday, but in the event you’re open and constantly striving for healthy perfection, as I am, here are a few things I’ve learnt over my running years:

  • Goals are as necessary as breathing. They provide a basis or template to guide your actions and hold you accountable, ensuring that you’re not here, on this earth, just taking up space. List them, update them, revise them and accomplish them.
  • Recognize each day as an opportunity to gain headway in your pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. First things first. Wake up with intent, put your plans before God and allow Him the space during the day to help you carry them out.
  • Determine to love yourself and treat you with the love and care you deserve or no one else will. This means making a studied effort to eat foods that contribute to your physical health and overall well-being. Particularly, snack healthy.
  • Rest well. Getting between 6-8 hours sleep at night allows you to be rested and ready to face the day. A quick power nap during the day, for those who can’t quite make the necessary 6-8 hours, works wonders to help you finish the day strong.
  • Exercise daily. A quick run or slow jog or any other type or combination of exercise (at least 30 minutes) that strays from your routine and increases your heart rate, gets your adrenaline pumping and engages your core muscles encourages good health, engages you productively, helps you sleep better, and leaves you feeling positive and empowered.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, which has the power to draw you out of your comfort zone, shake up a boring routine, and cause you to engage and develop new skills and abilities. In fact, challenge yourself ever so often to explore your limits and boundaries in the areas of sport, exercise and adventure. This will add variety and fun to your running and/or journey and keeps life interesting.
  • Contribute to and/ or invest in what you are passionate about. Whatever form it takes, make it meaningful and beneficial to those less fortunate. There are few things more important that letting others know they matter and nothing more rewarding than being a blessing wherever you can.
  • Enjoy running or what you do. While it may be hard and challenging a lot of times, remember nothing worth having ever comes easy. Stay committed by constantly giving yourself pep talks; becoming a member of the community (eg., join a running club or group) who will provide encouragement, support and accountability; educate yourself on the sport; and sign up for some short races and fun runs. It’s like getting indoctrinated into a lifestyle and will change your life.
  • It is often said to surround yourself with yay sayers and it’s true. Giving yourself the best support network there is can help you to realize your true potential. This can take the form of people in your circle, activities, and things; for example, running gear, sneakers and running- related paraphernalia take up a huge junk of my closet space and can be seen throughout my apartment. It speaks for what I’m about and keeps me focused on what matters to me.
  • See failure, and it will come, as an opportunity to try again only with a better idea or a better plan. Don’t allow it to define who you are or what you do. Ask yourself what was the lesson learnt and go out there next time and crush it.
  • Finally, it is often said we are our worst critic; while it is necessary to hold yourself to a high standard, don’t be afraid to recognise and reward yourself when you’ve earned it. Yes there will be, try as you might not to, those berating sessions and self-recriminations but also be the one first one to clap yourself on the back, give yourself a high five, or a hug, and take the credit when it’s due. Reward yourself for your achievements and for a job well done. Be your number one fan (but don’t go crazy). Stay humble and real and above all else, like Shakespeare says, “to thine own self be true.”

In closing, I’d love to tell you that all this is easy and will just get itself done if you say it often enough but the truth, and most of us know this, is that nothing gets done without application, commitment and an overall can do attitude powered by gratitude for who you are, what you have ( ie., your abilities) and the opportunity you have to make a difference in your little corner of the map. An attitude of gratitude will go a long way in cultivating an environment of growth, success and personal excellence.

Saturday’s 12-Mile Training Run

Training runs are a necessary evil, evil because of the inflexibility associated with them. Well, you may say, isn’t it on the runner to decide if, when and where to run? And you’re right of course, it is, but is there really a choice at the point when it was already a forgone conclusion at the onset of training. See, the plan is in place so that a particular goal can be achieved, which necessitates the “evil” training run. This training run must then happen regardless of the weather, one’s feelings, and generally despite every circumstance save death and illness and even then if it’s not your own.

The New Jersey Skyline

In this vein, my training runs are in full swing and I have designated Saturdays as “evil Saturdays.” Of course I’m kidding, mostly anyway. I happen to enjoy running in nice weather and I love Saturdays so there’s not much evil there. However, when faced with unfriendly conditions things can become a bit dicey pretty quickly as was the case this past weekend.

View over the Hudson River

I got up this past Saturday morning to overcast skies and, what I felt was, perfect running conditions. Sadly, I couldn’t head right off to run as I had a volunteer gig early that morning. It took all of 10 minutes into volunteering to realize it wasn’t only overcast but windy and chilly as well. That didn’t stop droves of people from taking over the streets as usual and it didn’t stop me from running. Up till then I was undecided about where I would run, but as it happened I was on the lower west side and decided then and there that along the west side highway would make for a perfect run sans sunshine. I started off at W 30th street and soon realized that many runners had the same idea; thus, I wasn’t wanting for company only for the wind to chill. I ended up running up to Harlem and stopped beneath the George Washington Bridge around W 178th Street. A cool 10 miles or thereabout and took it about 2 miles back. One of the bad or good things about the “evil” training run is that despite the wind, and the fact that it tried its darndest to bring my pace to a crawl, which resulted in an 8:15/min/mile, I was heavily invested with sacrificing my time, effort, and sleep, therefore I was bound to prevail.

Side view of the George Washington Bridge

Nevertheless, I did better than prevail, I was able to run a negative split (a faster second half) and felt pretty good upon reaching the bridge and even stopped for a few pictures as the view over the water against the backdrop of New Jersey, the Palisades and the ominous skies was gorgeous.

I did it!

As it was, I finished in better spirits than when I started and so remain totally committed to my training runs. There is a bit of a cliché lesson here: things are definitely not always what they seem and if we but have the gumption to stick it out, we can come out better for it. And I’m not even talking my PR goal yet, we’ll get there.

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