Celebrating 50 years with NYC Marathon 🎊🎊

@lorical Finish Line, Central Park

What a day! And what a comeback for the global running community! It was everything we had hoped for and more! And no I didn’t run but that didn’t stop me from celebrating every runner who did. It was wild fun, though painful for many I know, and a day that was perfect in every way. From the organizers to the volunteers, to the spectators and the perfect Fall day, and any and everything else in-between, it was a nyc marathon for the books. Many runners agree that the smaller field size made for a better run and in a lot of cases better pacing. We even had a couple of course records too I understand and that’s never a given here in New York so it must have been in the air that day. LOL. In the aftermath, and subsequent analysis, there were some that said they suffered the error of going out too fast with all the hype and excitement associated with missing out on last year’s marathon. Though not even that would dampen their spirits. New Yorkers and vistors alike turned up and out in grand style for their city and to cheer ever so loudly for runners from all over the globe.

@lorical

If you’ve ever attended a marathon or long distance race event then you know that spectators cheer for all runners. Yes we’re excited for the elite runners and those at the front, and for those in our circle, and those running for a great cause, and for those running their first marathon; but we’re also just really excited for all runners who are choosing running as their response to beat their personal goliaths. If you’re reading this then you’re probably a runner and maybe a marathoner. Yay you, my beautiful friend, you can do hard things! And this is the spirit of the marathon that is alive and well despite all that abounds. We are still out here running and winning each time we cross a finish line. And for those that make it possible, yay for you too! Our New York Strong supporters remain unmatched in their enthusiasm and encouragement to runners running through the five boroughs of New York City. I heard it from the running grapevine that Brooklyn took the prize for the loudest cheers. No surprise there, they bring it every single time.

Volunteers
@lorical w Jason the finisher
Finishers
@lorical w Justin the finisher
Helena the finisher
Finishers
@lorical w Anna the finisher

At the finish line, where I had the opportunity to welcome home all runners to Central Park, there was a jubilant comradeirie amongst volunteers. Doing our respective jobs there and then was not work but all in the spirit of fun as we cheered, hooted, took pictures, and congratulated runners as they came through exhausted; some tearing up and jubilant, others determined and excited, and still others looking like they could run again! I got all the feels that day and was so blessed to be a tiny part of something so momentous in our city. Happy 50th Anniversary TCS New York City marathon, you sure know how to throw a party. 🎉

@lorical

October Ran Away🍂🍃🍁

Whoosh and just like that it’s gone. Blame it on the wedding, which by the way was a blast, I hardly got time to say hi before the month became a not-too-distant memory. And that’s only because I won’t let it. It’s not everyday a first time planner of sorts throws a bit of a destination beach wedding and everything goes off without a hitch! I mean come on, that’s a month for the history books. Excuse the back patting, I’ve already given God all the credit so I figure it’s ok to tap myself some. Hahaha.

Really though, wow November! You’re upon us. But whatever does that mean for running? Well, not forgetting that we had big races in October with the boston and chicago marathons and london a little before that. Seems we’re off to a running start with everyone’s favorite marathon (I’m taking some liberty here) happening the first weekend of the month. Yeah baby, that’s right, the Big Apple will be doing their share of running with the nyc marathon, celebrating 50 years, on November 7. Whoo hoo! Happy anniversary nyc marathon! And, come rain or shine yours truly will be at the finish line welcoming runners with their “aw shucks..look what I did” cheeky grins.   As it pertains to race-day weather Sunday looks pretty good with a cool 55°. We should be so blessed with minimal to no winds for an awesome spectator turnout and many PRs.

I imagine after a year and a half of no races how anxious running folks must feel for various reasons. A group from my run club as well as a few other friends are running so I’m hyped about that and the opportunity to cheer them on and shout them down. Also, I’m volunteering at the finish..hoping I get to hand out medals but really I’m up for wherever help is needed. I’m just so chuffed – as the English say – to be part of this awesome experience and celebration. To see our to cot up streets flooded once more with runners of every description promises to be a treat like few others. It’s also an opportunity meet new people, have fun, and just get out and about and back to making our city a safe running haven again. I’m here for it friends!

With a smaller field size this year, and the smallest in years, of 30,000 runners, chances are it will be a smoother, more enjoyable experience  as it’ll be less crowded on the streets. We do expect and hope that New Yorkers and visiting folks will turn out the spectator crowd especially in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. In recent past years there has been nothing quite like the spectacular crowd support in those areas. The marathon starts in Staten Island and meanders over the Verazzano bridge into Brooklyn, then over the  bridge into Queens, onto the Queensboro bridge into Manhattan. Then it’s over the Willis Ave bridge into the Bronx, then into Harlem and back to Manhattan to end in Central Park. It’s quite the 5-borough tour of New York City and a real rolling treat to newbies and veteran runners alike. At the very least, it’s a do-it-at-least-once type of run and then as many times as you can get away with! LoL. A bucket list item if you will, if bucket lists are still a thing. I don’t know anymore, I feel like we’re living in a new reality with new expectations and new boundaries and what once was is no longer a sure thing, only it’s getting kinda old. Anyways, no morbid thoughts allowed especially on the eve of this momentous racing comeback for our city and indeed the world this year. Great expectation is more than a book around here; we’re believing for awesome weather and amazing running. Good running to all runners! See you at the finish line. Be there or be missed! 😉

Summer Break not running break

New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile

A last month decision really; I decided to run the Fifth Avenue Mile race. In NYC this is an annual, big, road race where all the famous elite runners (Olympians included) and us regular folks – even the kids are given their moment to shine – get a chance to run twenty blocks of Fifth Ave. It’s closed off from traffic and all local runners, fans, and tourists alike line up to watch a pretty fast show as runners zoom by in their respective heats. It’s one mile so the pros and wannabes, like me, pretty much go full throttle the entire way. Some do it for the comradery and others to feel accomplished. I’ve run this event two times in the past, the last time possibly 2014. This year was extra special though with it being cancelled the year prior like everything else. As a result, the comeback was a treat and my first race since the end of 2020. All during that time I’ve been running much of the time solo, and racing against myself, but I’ve also been fortunate to have the opportunity a few times to run with other runners. So how good it felt to stand about in the start area and commiserate with like-minded folks and celebrate being together and racing again. I have no words only thankfulness.

Fifth Avenue, NYC – it’s on!

So full disclosure, I did not train for this race. Even though I wanted to try for a fast time – even as fast as the last time – I have been pretty deep in wedding plans and traveling back and forth and running pretty arbitrarily. I guess I fell into the old mold of thinking ” well it’s only one mile” and thank God it was only one. The race was on Sunday 12th, two weekends ago, and I literally came back into town the day before. I was exhausted but set to run and at that point was good with just turning up and being a part of something beautiful in our city. My PR on this course is 6:15:00 in 2014 (I think) so I was hoping the stars would align and I would end up being just as fast, like, please God. I can safely say it’s to a runner’s advantage to know the course. Because I had run this course before, the old adage about riding a bike is true, I knew the terrain pretty well. I knew that starting out in a full sprint would not be a good strategy for me – I wasn’t in top form to start with – I needed to go out with just enough leverage on the decline because it subtly morphed into an incline that if taken too fast would leave one floored on the crest with nothing left to give in the final flat finish. So knowledge is power right? Right.

Not a PR but I’ll take it

When my heat was called, pretty early at 7:45 a.m I had been up for hours already with the pre race jitters. I didn’t get a bad case or anything, just more of an anxiousness about the logistics of getting there on time, using the bathroom, etc. I was ready to run and pretty much kept to my strategy. It was a beautiful day with perfect temps and everyone was so pumped and happy to be out. Got to see my friend cheering and photoshooting. Note that I was a fully able to take it all in as I was so not “in the zone” and therefore could have run so much harder and faster had u fully trained for this. Out there though, knowing my limits was important. I had every intention of finishing as close to my pr as possible and not getting injured in the process, sciatic nerve pain notwithstanding. I finished with an official time of 6:20:00; strava was off by a few. However, I was ok with that. I didn’t do more so I didn’t get more but I was super thrilled to see I wasn’t that far off the mark from some seven years ago! Though I know and appreciate from watching the pros that a race is won and lost in fractions of a second, five seconds for this regular runner sounds like an achievable goal to beat next time around. Only next time I promise to train for it.

Here comes the superhero runners

Some of my favorite moments and takeaways from this comeback race was the singing of the national anthem at the start of the event, the comradery in the start area, my trek down fifth ave, the finish line, seeing the children races, and the pros wrapping up the event. It was a fabulous day in our favorite city with our favorite people doing our favorite thing – running!

We did it NY!

Summer Running is Here

E66 Run Group @Central Park

Boom! And just like that everyone’s favorite city is back! Maybe I’m exaggerating, but maybe not! Whichever it is I’m just so darn happy and excited to see New York City alive with people and things and running and an almost sure display of fireworks come July 4th! I’m over here getting all the feels as I remember this time last year and the state of our city and our world. I don’t know about you but looking back that period sure felt surreal. Even now after having lived through it, it still feels like it was a really bad movie. But I won’t dwell, I’m too happy that we’ve progressed to a place of embracing life once more. In fact, I’m not even mad that there’s way too many people floating about Central Park and getting in my way LoL. I’ve developed a new tolerance for aimless walkers. Bless them, bless us all, we all have a right to just be.   

In other and running news, I’m hyped for the Olympic trials that are on – particularly for track and field and gymnastics. Hello to new faces and some surprise additions to Team USA! Additionally, the TCS NYC marathon is on for this November with a limited field size sure but yay to runners getting this especially special opportunity this year. We are grateful! And although I won’t be running, I’ll be cheering and supporting in my volunteer role at the finish and can’t wait to welcome some 30,000 of y’all to the finish line in Central Park! Also, the Boston, Chicago, and London marathons are also running this Fall. How awesome is that! Lots of running events are back on schedule in our city and I’ve opted to try my pace at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile Run in September. It’s been years since I’ve done this race (maybe I’m being too ambitious) and while I’m sure I can’t do a ridiculously fast time, I’m hopeful for close to or better than my 6:15 PR, which may have been in or around 2014. Soon I’ll have to start training to give me that push I need. But humid summer days are not a running ideal so we’ll have to see about either early mornings or late evenings.

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Adding to all the excitement of our world turning once more is the wedding bells ringing in my little corner. My daughter’s getting married in the Fall y’all! And wouldn’t you know I’m the planner in chief even as I’m finding out that I’m not particularly gifted in the wedding planning department. Me is what I get when trying to cut costs, and since the costs are all mine I’m sure you understand. My daughter has no complaints and rightly so; I’m planning a beach wedding with a surprise add on. She better not complain! Haha. The truth is, God’s willing, she only gets to do this one time and since I only have one daughter –  lucky her she gets it all. That said, wedding plans amidst running plans smack dab in the midst of all kinds of crazy weather and a summer that’s setting up to be all shades of hot and humid does kinda add some verve to the rather timid spectacle of life I’ve been holding on to since March of 2020. Don’t mind if I’m a little hyped being surrounded by all this opportunity even as I remind myself we’re not out of the woods yet. Yes, there is a cloud but thankfully, there’s also a rainbow. Hope springs eternal, says the poet Alexander Pope. I concur.

Meanwhile, the run meets, groups, and clubs are slowly coming back on stream. Yippee! Not ours yet..at least not officially. However, I met up with some members of my run group for an unofficial run in our old stomping grounds of Central Park and we had such a blast revisiting the past you would think it was a high school reunion and not just slightly over a year since run group had ceased meeting. And truthfully, we’ve run together  three or four times since then, not all of us of course but most of the core members. But you couldn’t have guessed it. We were just so happy to see each other and to determine if we still had our running mojo. Happy to report that we did. We do. Things are looking up and I’m looking ahead – ahead to long runs, racing, the NYC marathon, ultimately cooler runs, and yes.. the wedding. But first, summer streets and the beach.⛱️

Global Virtual Marathon

Running View of The Hudson along Henry Hudson Drive

I took to the Jersey Hills, commonly known as The Palisades for a very uncommon or rather unconventional 26.2 miles two weeks ago. I guess this run was a make up of sorts for what was almost my yearly spring trek to Boston, which of course didn’t happen this year nor last year. In a surprising but welcome twist the Boston marathon is now happening in October this year, which falls in line with the strangest of seasons we’ve been in. These past fourteen months have been interesting to say the least and heartbreaking at best. For this reason we welcome the turn of the tide and anything that resembles a leg up from the dark hole we’ve been existing in. So I’m grateful for World Marathon Majors (WMM) and other running organizations that have worked tirelessly to get runners to keep the marathon spirit alive and allowed us a platform to come together and compete albeit in a friendly atmosphere even if the only competition is ourselves.

Along the running path – Henry Hudson Drive

I started off running at W 168th Street in upper Manhattan in pretty close proximity to the George Washington (GW) Bridge, which connects New York to New Jersey, and all too soon found myself suspended over the Hudson River running along the pedestrian path and against the traffic heading into New York. I opted for a late afternoon run in order to maximize the coolness of the day. With a tiny bag pack holding my fuel I felt pretty good heading in surrounded a plethora of trees, the cacophony of nature sounds, and dramatic views overlooking the Hudson, it was a runner’s heaven really. As with most weekends out there, there are lots of cyclists, a few walkers, and fewer still runners. I must have been 1 in 3, maybe. And all went well up to mile 10 when the last hill on the way in forced me to slow all the way down to a power walk. I figured I had to conserve energy for heading back or else I’d be walking for a long time. From then on I started running the flats and downhills and most of the uphills except for the steep climbs which I power walked without exception. Because this was a timed race with no stopping allowed, had I not decided on a power walk strategy from early on it may have been impossible to finish in the time I did.

By the time I got out of the woodsy area and was back on the bridge it was evening time and the city lights were coming on by the end of my run, which wrapped up at W 72nd and Broadway in Manhattan. Gotta say I was creamed by then and can’t remember a recent time I was so happy to see the finish line. I celebrated with a large coconut water – the best thing I had tasted all day. Marathon #20, marathon distance #21 is in the books. What’s certain is that I won’t be recommending this course and those hills for anyone who’s looking for a qualifier or who has a finish goal time of under 3:45:00.

An April for the Books and the Gym – not Overrated

Spring blooms on Park Ave

Yet another month has zipped by in what many are thinking of as the new normal. Legitimate as those thoughts might be, I’ve been spending a lot of time staying physically active in lieu of polarizing thoughts of when will things get back to “normal.” Maybe normal is overrated for what does it mean anyway. Perspective really is everything and I’ve been informing and forming my perspective so that I’ll remain healthy and in a sound mind. A sound mind is not overrated.

Arm curls in action

True to form, April has been everywhere on the weather map and that has led to some chaos in my running and gym workouts. I’ve been all over the place – from running in the mornings, sometimes just to gym and back at a tempo pace to more medium mid afternoons and early evening runs. Wherever, whenever, however it works out I’m in the game and staying active. So with running ( shorter runs) and being in the gym at least five days a week – my new “normal,” you’d be right to think there isn’t a lot of time left. Between work, working out, running, and these endless on-line events, I’m about ready to have a fit, and the first casualty will be my computer I’m almost sure of it. Because the truth is I’m exhausted with all this online activity. I’m over-ready to get into a real room, not a zoom room, with real people, and have real conversations, that effects tangible change and have tangible, spur-of-the- moment results. Face-to-face conversation/ communication is so not overrated.

Solo Deadlifts

The best part about 2021 so far has been getting back in the gym! That, my friends, is not overrated either. The classes, comradery, competition, stories, even the sweating and complaining, it’s all good, healthy, and fun stuff. I’m having the time of my life after a year hiatus brought on by Covid. I kid you not that working out and exercise have literally saved lives this past year – obviously that’s true for always – but particularly in the past year because it provided a mental release/ outlet from all the stress and general fallout from the pandemic that has been associated with health, economic, social, and physical changes to our cities, country, and world. Effects that we’re still dealing with both individually and collectively. The gym is my safe haven. So what if it’s a bit different with less people and with having to make sure to reserve a spot and wear a mask and sanitize hands as well as wipe down all the material used. These are mere extras, not inconveniences – aside from the mask-wearing, as they’re actual healthy practices that should remain permanently in my opinion. Sorry, not sorry, that this virus has brought out the germophobe in me. I’m sure you understand though, this is all of us to some degree now – and well cleanliness cannot be overrated either. I cannot, in good conscience, say that I’m not looking forward to a world with no virus but with all the health and safety measures hammered in place. Don’t worry, it’s for our good.

Chest flys on the bosu ball

With everything this past year, and like a lot of people, I’ve had to switch gyms and landed at a location that’s not-quite-the-box but so good nonetheless. And while this means I haven’t been lifting as much as I did when I was at the other place, I have the opportunity to dabble in other things that crossfit has set the premise for while still getting to practice my lifts, which I do twice a week now. All other times it’s a mix of EMOMs and AMRAPs (crossfit terminology and styled workouts involving consecutive one minutes of work). The focus of these workouts is conditioning for either upper or lower body depending on the day. If I’m being honest, it’s been a nice change and a lot of focus on core and balance..core work was a daily practice of mine last year for around 20 minutes, six days per week so I’m happy to be continuing in that vien. Some other interesting things going on at this new facility are battle ropes, trx suspension training, sled push/pull, sand bags and a lot of Tabatha incorporated into the workouts. Oh and we still use the rowers! Rowers overrated? Never.

Meet me @ the barbells

April and gym takeaways? Stay thankful. Stay running. And stay strong. At the new gym, there’s a little something for everyone (as in every part of me) LoL: some home (crossfit) comforts and a fresh influx of challenges to overcome, and, I still get to practice my lifts – only now I go solo. Can’t honestly say that I don’t miss the good ole days of full classes, heavy lifting, in-house competitions, and lots of targeted training. It’ll be a while before that dust settles but I’m here for it. If nothing else, 2020-21 has taught me to appreciate the here and now. So I’ll just go right on appreciating my way into getting stronger everyday. Here’s to May flowers and many hours – of running and gym power.

On the run

March Running Madness: 32 Impromptu Miles

Mile 26- Along Battery City Park Esplanade, New York, N.Y.

Hey friends! I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks as there’s been so much happening just in the first three months of the year already. Seems I may have overextended myself with other activities including running thus leading to a lack of time for writing. I should know better since with me there’s always the temptation to do more. In any event, March came and the cold weather hung around dragging out to the very end. In fact, we’ve had the oddest weather; from perfect days, to bitter cold, windy, and rainy downpours. Like what in the world! We’ve only not seen snow this month – minus a few early threats. It’s still early in my view though, with April showers on the way, and snow in April is not unheard of.

Be that as it may, I made a determined effort this month to get back to regular gym workouts and to continue running, cycling has been on hold pending improved weather conditions. While my running hasn’t been excessive, I have managed to run at least five days per week this month, albeit shorter distances. What happened was, a few of us from my  pre-covid run group decided on a March intention – to run the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, which of course went virtual this year. We agreed to run solo, in the interest of those running for time, and then follow up with a fun run a week later. Mission accomplished! A couple weekends ago, I ran an out and back in Queens, as my NYC Half, with a couple breath-catching stops along the way and opted to pass on running for time owing to the stops I had made. Nonetheless, I did manage to feel pretty good about my efforts and felt pretty confident I could do a longer run. So much so, that that I went ahead and signed up straight away for the global virtual marathon organized by World Marathon Majors ( WMM) on
May 1. That fun run though, well that turned into something else.

Lo and behold, this past weekend, we took off for that “fun” run with a couple of runners deciding on a perimeter run around Manhattan – 32 miles – they having trained for this distance. The rest.of the group chose to hop on for certain segments, while myself and another runner opted to start off with the ultra runners and see how far we could get to. No surprise, I ended up running the full distance though no training made the latter part a tough run. Don’t do that please. The truth is I probably would not have been able to complete that distance had the organizers not planned it down to the tiniest detail to include a slow-to-medium steady pace to ensure completion in under 5 hours.

Mile 22 – Along the East River Esplanade

In fact the planning was so great, I would forgive you for thinking they had something to do with the weather, which was perfect for running. And since Manhattan is an island surrounded by water, the views were nothing short of stunning. We enjoyed a seamless transition from one stage of the run to the next and had a good support and tracking system that enabled us to pick up runners along the way and meet at preselected rendezvous/ fuel points. I was so impressed with the organization and support that it felt natural to finish with the group and I’m sure I was the only one putting pressure on myself to finish. I felt strong up until mile 25, but from then on my feet were definitely dragging. It was only out of sheer stubbornness, and the amazing support, from other runners, that I finished up the final seven miles. Dead is an apt description for how my feet felt when we got done but mann what a great feeling of accomplishment! I had only ever done one other ultra marathon before and that one was over five hours, so imagine my satisfaction to come in under five.

All’s well that ends well. I can’t promise that I’ll do that again without training, but as we know crazy things happen all to often and I’m way too open to impromptu runs of any nature. Thank God it turned out all right in the end.

Snow Running Is On

I used to say I would never, that I can’t, and that I won’t ever be caught alive..LOL..running in a foot of snow. Why would I do that? I’m not crazy. In fact, I don’t even like snow like that or the cold at all for that matter! In the future, remind me how not fun it is to eat one’s words, as I’m having to gorge out right now. Since February began, I’ve been running every which way and sideways in some really freezing conditions with snow and ice everywhere. I’m not even kidding y’all. I haven’t seen such icy conditions for such a prolonged period of time in a minute or, more precisely, in some years. Like what is going on around here? I’m dealing with it in the only way I know how, telling myself that somewhere out there in this big world somebody[s] need this cold and that the cycle of life is necessary for human survival. Maybe so, but gosh darn its blisteringly cold at times and causing all sorts of mayhem on the roads in the United States. In addition, the runner in me cannot be silenced so I’ve been layering up and braving the elements in total defiance of conventional wisdom. Now I’m officially part and parcel of those “crazy people who go running in the snow.”

Post the snow storm

I gotta give a lot of kudos to Strava in getting me out the door – being part of an online community of runners, especially in this Covid world – has motivated me (who prize myself on being self-motivated) to stay connected and to keep logging those miles. Every now and then, I’ll get on the app and see runners all over the world doing their thing; overcoming obstacles, meeting milestones, shifting barriers – no matter how small or big they are – and I’m like, I have no excuse. I have health, strength, and two legs. So what if it’s freezing? There are layers for that. And so without a reason there is now endless opportunities for running or jogging or walking and trudging through snow. Cycling, not so much. I’m not that crazy, yet.

However, there are a few things where I draw the line: early morning runs and evening runs. These days runs typically take place midmorning to early afternoon and sometimes I find myself coming back in the latter part of the afternoon. On those days it’s usually accompanied by blazing but cold sunshine, though not as cold as under grey and cloudy skies. Can I tell you, that those grey days feel like I’m encased in an icebox of sorts and the only relief comes from burrowing into myself. I usually go for a run – run to the gym, work out, then run home, and spend a bit of time warming up when I get there before I feel human-like again. The steady motion and movement keeps my synapses firing and I generally don’t have much time to process it until I’m in the shower by which time it’s thankfully done. Talk about thankful for a delayed reaction because by then I’m in full there-is-no-way-you-could-get-me-out-the-door mode.

On the run

A few days ago, around 3 pm, I opted to go for an afternoon run after a snow storm two days prior. Because I decided on a route I hadn’t been in a bit, I was excited and careful to dress the part. I double-socked (if that’s a thing), thriple-layered my upper region, and double-layered underneath until I was sure I would be dragging with all the extra clothes. I also put on my trail running sneakers. Speed is not the goal I reminded myself, staying vertical and moving was. With all the sidewalk snow practice I’d had, you’d think I would be more adept at navigating myself through the ice and as much as 2 feet of snow in some areas. No sir. I was running – too fast sometimes – and skipping and sliding everywhere. Thankfully no falls. Though it was close at times, I managed to keep the momentum going and was wowed enough by the stark, whiteness and beauty of the winter wonderland I was in, that I all but forgot to feel cold until I had to stop to take photos. Obviously, it was a slower run but the path was pretty amazing; all scenic and rural-woodsy looking. I felt as if I was in some unknown landscape having an icy adventure, with very few humans out on the snowy trails.

Snow trail

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not necessarily looking to do that again anytime soon, it was almost 10 miles of snow after all. I think I’ll just stick to the sidewalks, back roads, and the park. I’ll keep dodging black ice, and slush, and puddles, and trudging through the areas in Queens that don’t get quite such a quick or clean sweep from the residents and snow ploughs as the city does. It sounds more dangerous than it is but it’s certainly much safer than being out in the snowy woods all alone. The greatest downside and my favorite is that the trails are so much more breathtaking and are littered with views to run for. I guess I’ll have to get back there eventually. For the sake of running views, I’ll do almost anything. 😜

Winter Brr Miles

Randall’s Island

It’s been 2021 for a minute already if you can believe it and I’m still trying to figure out my winter running plans. That’s right, it’s also Winter in these parts. And though we haven’t gotten much snow yet, it’s pretty chilly. Yours truly is not so motivated to go freeze on my own, because yes, we’re still living in a Covid world where social distancing is the new normal. Arrgh. Man was not made to live alone no matter what they tell you, we need active, life-giving relationships and steady interaction, which is necessary for thriving I’m told. So I wanna thrive! Survival happens to be overrated anyway. Enter 2021 and a new year of possibilities and hopefully more opportunities than the last.

Just us 3

Thriving in mind, I’ve decided to mix up my running with some small group runs at least once a month for the next few months while it’s cold. That, or I might just go into hibernation and we can’t have that. So Sunday gone, I headed out for a run to Randall’s Island in Manhattan. Darn it was cold! And I can promise you I would’t have left home if I didn’t have me some running company – the best kind. We decided we would try for 10 miles and add on more depending on how it felt. It didn’t. Feel good. 10 miles was enough to witness the gorgeous but chilling sunshine and the gusty views of the city once we got over the 102nd Street bridge via the East River running path. No surprise that there were other humans braving the temps. NYC is like that – people tend to the outdoors since apartment coop-up is not really a thing around here. Thankfully, we weren’t in the park so there were less of us. Still, it’s good to know you’re not the last crazy runner left. We started out at 65th and 3rd Ave and ran across the bridge on 61st to get to the East River running path and ran all the way up to 102nd Street and across the bridge to Randall’s Island. We then did an almost full loop with one bathroom stop before heading back over the bridge. Pretty simple and on the average day a very easy run.

102nd Street Bridge in the distance

It felt amazing to be out in the elements being a bit of a badass runner except it required mass effort to breathe in chilly air, talk, and face cover all at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for a face covering as it kept my face warm but I did have some gasping-for-air moments that was as a result of the cold air. We followed the same path back to our starting point and of course that went by much faster. Can’t say I wasn’t happy when it was over, though for an insane moment I contemplated running over the Queensboro bridge with another runners. Good sense prevailed however, and I ditched that idea as I felt it would be too windy going over the water at that height. We split separate ways and let’s just say I didn’t revert to normal body temperature until some 4 hours later.

In the train station

Since last Sunday, I’ve had a few runs in freezing temps but I’ve been careful to keep them brief, at the peak of the day, and to remain in motion for the duration of the run. The key to not hating running in the cold so much is to dress warmly. While you can’t really wear a lot of clothes and run comfortably, you can dress smartly with proper wicking and insulated gear to stave off the cold from penetrating your body. I usually wear triple layers on my top half, double layers for my bottom half and double up on socks, shoot for insulated gloves – weirdly enough I run with my hands in my jacket pockets, don’t ask –  and a balaclava or neck gaiter with a hat works in addition to a hoodie to keep my face protected. Even with all that most times you may still be cold, especially if it’s windy. At that point you may want to throw on a windbreaker on top of all that. The trick is to keep moving, keep it to the point, and run with the wind at your back if possible. For winter running, you really just want to get out there and back in as soon as possible. For me, the accomplishment is all in layering up and getting out the door, even if it’s just for a couple miles; distance is of minor consequence and speed even less so. My badassery, LOL, (my word) comes in knowing that I didn’t succumb to the temptations of warm duvet covers and quilts..Lord knows I wanted to..but I dug deep and found that fit chick that is often very willing to do all that’s crazy in the name of exercise.

All Peaches and Running for Christmas 🎄

@Savannah Rapids Running Trail

Took a few weeks to catch my breath and tie up some end-of-the-year loose ends. Lo and behold I ended up in Georgia, though in the weeks leading up I wouldn’t have know that would be the case. It’s not an absolute surprise of course, as I generally go home for the holidays only this year I really wasn’t sure if that family tradition would stand. It did. I’m here. And I’m glad that after much wrestling, I finally settled on what feels like the right choice. Dammed if you, dammed if you don’t really, so amidst the frantic worry of health and safety I’m in full compliance with all Covid protocols since traveling here last Monday. Fast forward to today, 2 days post Christmas already, when I took off on a run to the tune of beautiful sunshine and Fall in full bloom despite the official start of winter a few days ago.

 

Fall in Georgia brings to mind acorns, more acorns, spanish moss, lots of colors, the best running temps, and peaches of course – well it should, except I have yet to see any on my runs. Peach cobbler, on the other hand, runs aplenty in the georgian diet for those interested. No matter the lack of peaches, I’m in seventh heaven running in these parts especially on the trails and along the less traveled paths. It always takes me back to when I first came here some thirteen years ago. A bit of a star-gazer back then, still am, I was more wont to run and dream. I mean running makes everything better right. Every dream is more possible, goals seem more probable, thoughts become crystalized and even plans take flight with these steps. Running amidst the pine cones and spanish moss sure birthed a lot of possibilities that had a lot of potential. In fact, it’s where my first idea to run the New York City marathon germinated. Now, four of those and sixteen others later, I have to say running in these parts even today, sure does feel a bit magical still.

 

Running through my old neighborhood, and a few new ones, makes me appreciative of the differences in topography -gentle slopes makes for easy running – and boy do I appreciate sidewalks a whole lot more. I also enjoy the quiet and scenery a lot while running, it’s really a treat for the eyes, and so I’m able to fully appreciate the running experience here while being thankful for what I have in New York. I am tickled to run around my old stomping grounds and love stopping for photos of the most picturesque and memorable scenes I’m able to capture on my phone. I’m having so much fun visiting old running haunts and finding new ones and hope to add a few more miles to my 2020 mileage before I leave on Friday.

 

Additionally, I’ve visited the gym a few times already and while they’re not following strict Covid guidelines with masks etc it appears it’s an individual decision to go and then to take the necessary precautions, which I am, so that works for me. I’m happy to be running, and working out in the gym, and visiting my family, and seeing my friends safely. That I even have the opportunity for all this is an amazing blessing and I’m super thankful.

 

I think it’s important, given all the angst we have with how things have progressed over the past nine months, to finish off this year with purpose and passion and nothing quite does that for me like running does. In these final days of 2020, I will focus on the wonderful things I enjoy and the good things about my life and about our world. It is no secret that running and my faith in God continues to keep me. I pray it keeps you too.

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