Celebrating One Year of CrossFit and 10+ Years of Running 🎊🎊🎊

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be an avid Cross fitter and runner, approaching my sixteenth marathon in a week’s time, and living in New York City for seven out of those 10 years, I’d probably have believed you on everything but surviving seven winters here in the Big Apple state. It’s a testament to my spirit of adventure, and, I might add, survival skills, that I have lived here this long despite vowing to the contrary when I was younger. It is that spirit of adventure, with which I credit my athletic proclivities and the propensity to push and redefine so-called limits.

One year ago, after much ado, and yeah I had a few misgivings with my running in full swing, I started CrossFit. I didn’t know then if I would be able to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to, what seemed back then, such an aggressive form of fitness training. I mean by all accounts it was tough and demanding. Did I have the time and ability to commit to that type of thing? I didn’t know. But dammit I hoped so, since the buzz was it could help my running. So yeah, I was a bit trepidatious, actually a helluva lot. After all, those guys lifting looked mad strong in all the pics I’d seen, and I’d seen a lot combing the internet and other media images. A year later, I can safely say that you should never let apprehension get the better of you.

These days, I like to say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to go back to a regular gym. I now know all gyms are definitely not created equal. But while CrossFit boxes might hold the edge in the exercise arena, which is possibly because of their badass reputation and commitment to High Intensity Training and Olympic Style Lifting/ Weight Training, I’m also aware that there are many competing fitness ideas popping up all over the place. CrossFit’s ability to maintain their edge will depend on their ability to diversify, develop, and reinvent their core concepts in the coming years. In the meantime, it’s been pretty interesting, challenging, and invigorating.

Those who know me know that I have never been one to back down at anything , even less so when it came to exercise. So that CrossFit was or rather is a challenge means only that you can be sure I’ll give it my best. Thus far I’ve enjoyed the competitive but encouraging spirit among gym members and the variety in the programs offered at my gym. The comraderie among athletes when we do class WODs (work-out of the day) and at in-house competitions have been truly inspiring as have been the coaches’ knowledge, experience, and willingness and ability to impart said knowledge. The CrossFit environment is one where one can thrive with the right attitude no matter their level. We can all agree that you don’t pay a lot of money for someone to kick your ass and have nothing to show for it. The gains are where it’s at people.

So yes, I’m feeling the gains some: I’m already so much stronger than I’ve ever been, my lifts are getting better all the time, though I do struggle in a couple of areas..my damn humanity..and I’m developing a host of existing skills while learning new ones and new ways to do old ones. Next Monday I’m running the Boston Marathon, yet again, and I’m hoping that, weather aside this time, I can possibly see some of those gains extend itself to stronger running, better endurance, a lot more confidence, and the absence of injuries. Yay! Go me!

Let’s go Running

The barren trees vs the green leaves, the chorus of Springtime vs the death knell of Winter. Who amongst us doesn’t appreciate the spark of hope – the added vigor to life that descends on us all. So long to the cold, chilly, freezing, and not-much-snow temps of Winter. Hello to Spring – rain, warmer sunshine, and cooler temps! With great anticipation and a huge sigh of relief, we welcome the season of new birth, as only runners can, with big smiles and longer miles. Bring on the races!

Adventure runs await as the promise of better weather arrives..no longer relegated to what we can get, we now get to choose where and what to run. While there are the staple marathons like Boston and London coming up in just about a month and six weeks respectively, they remain an option only for those who have pre-qualified or chosen the charity route and hopefully submitted to rigorous months of winter training. The lucky ones, I call them, those runners who are under no such obligation or aspiration, are free to jump into the many spring races happening around the country, though the shorter ones for sure for our newbie runners, to jumpstart their running goals, or for others, simply for the heck of good running weather and destination runs. How’s that for fun running!

Check out these 10 popular, fun, and perhaps challenging, runs happening this Spring:

(1) April 7, Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run – Washington, D.C.
(2) April 6, Cooper River Bridge 10k Run – Mount Pleasant, SC
(3) April 7, Carlsbad 5000, the world’s fastest 5k, Carlsbad, CA
(4) April 28, Big Sur International Marathon/21 Miler/Marathon Relay/11 Miler/ 12K/5K- Monterey, CA
(5) April 13, Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon – Roanoke, VA
(6) May 5, Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon – Cincinnati, OH
(7) June 2, Steamboat Marathon /Half/10K -Steamboat Springs, CO
(8) May 26, Keybank Vermont City Marathon & Relay – Burlington, VT
(9) The Color Run, a free-spirited 5K, great for beginners – April to June, Nationwide
(10) April 20, Barkin’ Dog Duathlon – Run, Bike, Run, one of the largest Duathlons in the western US, Denver CO.

While going through the too many lists to count put forward by the likes of Runners World, Shape Magazine, and Daily Burn, I will admit to some bias and ended up choosing the ones I reviewed and either have done or would like to do. Total disclaimer in that this is based soley on my preference for destination, fun and challenging races. Run at your own risk! Lol. But really, at your own level, which keeps getting better all the time. Hope you totally enjoy my picks. And oh, be a love and let me know if you give any on the list a try. Happy Spring Running!
🏃

February: Superbowl, Valentine’s and Brr Weekend Runs

Stretching time post long run @home

The first week in February flew by in an arctic flash..as fast as it was cold. That Saturday, Superbowl weekend, along with a few runners from my Wednesday run group, I did my first February winter run in 18℉. Running along the water, across two bridges, up and down stairs, and dodging black ice was the order of the run as we ended up in Queens after making our way from Manhattan, though Brooklyn, then to Queens. As it often happens on these Saturday jaunts, aka long runs, only this time it was 12 miles, we ended up in a new dive as excited to eat and drink as we were to run, and were prepared to forget all about the chill with beers, Bloody Marys and surprisingly, sunshine. Too much fun meant we had to rely on Uber on the return, but who’s keeping tabs? Recovery took place on Superbowl Sunday to the tune of four hours of football, including a decent half-time show, amidst lots of food, drinks, and friendly chatter aka noise.

@Battle of the Fittest – Cross Fit Competition

The following weekend, I attended a Cross Fit local competition held at our gym, only not for the purpose of participating. I helped out with organizing and setting up throughout the event, which was a whole-day affair. As such, my Saturday long run was put off for Sunday instead. I opted to stay local and ran solo through my neighborhood; in the parks, and along its trails, which was good until I had to make up some mileage with a few laps around the local park. Suffice to say, doing laps are not a favorite of mine and neither was the weather. Chilled, but thankful for no winds, I wrapped it up at eighteen miles and called it a day.

@the gym for Valentine’s Day Mid-day workout

Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day, much more into Galentine’s this year, I did some speed work with my run group the Wednesday before and a short midday run to my gym workout on Thursday. Saturday, a friend and I, decided on a 20 miler through upper Manhattan. For most of the run we had sunshine, while it was still chilly and windy in some parts, especially by the water, We started off on the upper east side, along the east river, ran up to 119th street, in East Harlem, across the bridge and over and up all the way across to the West Side and up those crazy stairs at Morning Side Park. Exiting there, we ran down and across 116th Street and through Columbia University, then continued through the Morning Side neighborhood veering off to the Hudson River Greenway, where we ran along the water accompanied by sunshine and a strong wind at times. We made it all the way up and under the GW (George Washington) bridge, at 175th Street, and ran on to 185th and up and over a dastardly hill to emerge on Morning Side drive in the Hudson Heights area. From there, we ran across West 183rd street, I think we were in and around the Bronx area at this point, and we ran over to the Washington bridge, across and aound to US Highway 1 and then we were down hill for a bit, dangerously so at some points on an uneven path with loose rocks. We prevailed without injury all way to the Macombs Dam Bridge, in the vicinity of Yankee’s Stadium, ran across and then onto Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd all the way down to West 138th Street. This area in Harlem is reminiscent of the New York City marathon route and indeed at this point we were able to do a reversal of a bit of the official route across West 138th and over the Madsion Ave Bridge to end up back on the east side, still following the marathon route all the way to and over the Willis Avenue Bridge. We finally veered off to cross over at East 116th Street and back unto the East River running path. From there, it was pretty much a straight, and tiring, path to the 59th Street bridge. Once over that mountain, we were on York Ave on the UES (Upper East Side) and had just about three quarters of a mile left as we navigated our way back to the starting point and wrapped up our 20 miles in 2 hours and 43 minutes. Dang it! I was tired, cold, and dying of thirst; but I was sorta tickled that we had pulled it off minus two stops, one, to grab a bottle of water at a deli around mile 16, and before that, for 30 seconds around mile 11 after that dastardly hill, which played havoc with my back that I had forgotten to tape up.

Post run in Queens

All in all, not a bad showing for February so far and the weather has been good for running with no major snow storms – the cold, and areas of black ice, and frost are expected and have served to keep things interesting and to keep us alert and running. Boston is now about seven weeks away and we have one more weekend long run in February. The challenge is to always keep it interesting. Thus far, I am thankful!

Winter Running is on!

This is not the typical January for me. Granted, it’s the first one since my cross fit debut last March and may account for my somewhat adhoc running pattern this month. Then, there’s the cold weather, which truth be told hasn’t been too insane so far with little to no snow really except for that one freak storm in November last year. Knock on wood! They say. While getting in those runs have been a bit of a challenge, oddly enough I have no qualms as once again the Boston Marathon sits on the horizon with just over two and a half months left to go .

My mileage has seen a decline this month primarily because of the cold weather and associated scheduling conflicts, which has resulted in an average of 25 miles per week. Weekend long runs have been the most consistent. Fortunately, I had decided at the beginning of the year that I was not going to hold fast to any particular training plan as I have done in the past. My road to Boston in April is really simplified this year with focus placed on my long runs and on getting a couple speed workouts in during the week. Of course I don’t recommend this to anyone running Boston. For my part, I determined a more relaxed strategy this year based on my three previous years of preparation that resulted in less than favorable outcomes. So yes, there’s a bit of frustration in my deliberate non-planning, but I figure four times in a row affords me that leeway. In fact, I plan on not stressing with running this year at all and just enjoying it as much as I can.

With no hard and fast training plans, I’ve been able to relax my usual hectic schedule somewhat and enjoy cross training a bit more. I even had a workout challenge going on for a couple of weeks, streaks and all.

My long runs though, have seen me running solo, and with other runners, all over the city from Manhattan to Queens to Brooklyn, over our bridges; through our parks; alongside our waterways; via some trails; and around our neighborhoods. I’ve increased mileage incrementally and this past Saturday I ran 18.6 miles from Manhattan to Brooklyn in what started out as freezing temps but progressed to really great running weather by the time the sun came out. A few of us braved the cold and hammered out those miles and rewarded ourselves with a post run brunch. All things remaining equal, I’ll be heading out this coming Saturday for 20 miles. I can only hope the weather cooperates as we’re in full on winter running mode in these parts.

Running 2019: A Formula for Success

Source: Pinterest.com

Bang, went the door shutting unapologetically on 2019. For many it was too soon, while for others it was non too soon. Regardless, the new year is here, and for many it has arrived with expectations, pressures, hopes, and fears. More so for those who felt crippled last year by circumstances and fear. For those of us who tarry here, this year is an unerring reminder of perceived limits and weaknesses. This should not be. Each day, in and of itself, is an opportunity to begin, to redo, to try again, to take advantage of the moment – here and now – with the resources, the knowledge, and the abilities we have in hand.

Let’s forget last year for a minute and what didn’t happen and focus on what we can do today. It’s worth pointing out that the ability to live in the present is a worthwhile pursuit, which allows us to channel our energy and resources into what can benefit us today. What if you made one goal – just one – for this year that involved daily tactical steps to make sure its realization. It is possible this may ensure that at the end of 2019 you are in a better place than when you started, and you might just kick ass doing so. The idea is to eliminate division in your ability to apply your yourself, your time, and your resources, thus allowing you to channel all of the above into one major area for growth, change, and/or accomplishment. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing this new year resolutions/goal setting thing for a few years, and try as I might, I have yet to accomplish everything I set forth to do each year. So much so, that I’ve decided that a change is necessary. If I want different results then I must do things differently.

And so, here I am, resolution-less, and finally figuring that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been going about this resolution thing the wrong way all along. Thank God for second, and third, and fourth chances; and that’s what this new year represents to me, another opportunity to get it right, or at the very least, to try differently to accomplish something of immeasurable worth, something that will not only add value to my life, but to someone else’s as well. You see the world is filled with people wanting some inspiration, motivation, a bit of hope, a reason to change, to move, to do, to become something that will in turn impact someone else. The easy part is deciding what to do – making the resolutions – the challenge lies in actually carrying out those plans. I posit that with one goal in sight your chances of running 2019 and getting to the finish line increases exponentially.

Whether you’ve determined to run your first marathon, hike The Andes, participate in your first triathlon or iron man, or even just begin a new health or exercise plan, I encourage you to keep it singular, have someone hold you accountable, do quarterly reviews and necessary realignment, and keep company with those who will support and champion your vision.

The door swings wide open on 2019 and there you stand: one goal, one mind, twelve months, and you determined to succeed.

Winter, Weekends, and Why Running!

@ The Unisphere, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

I took to Central Park last Saturday for a cold, fast, 12-mile run. As it happened, I wasn’t the only one with the mettle or crazy – you decide – to get out there cold weather notwithstanding. In fact, maybe because this is New York City, there’s really no let up of the number of New Yorkers and tourists alike out and about. And, well, it is the holiday season, so there’s enough reason as to why there would be so many people littering the chilly park from as early as 9am. The truth is I had no desire to go out there but, and I’m beginning to believe it now, runners – those serious about the sport – are defined by the days, races, and times that present the most challenge and oftentimes suck big time. We understand that it is those times that will develop strength, tenacity, and the spirit to fight, dig deep, and finish the race when that time comes. And so, despite the inviting pull of those sheets and with thoughts of the chill driving me to just finish already, I bundled up and headed to a slight detour before the run.

My gym hosted an in-house competition at their other location, which was a stone’s throw away from Central Park, my running route, and I needed to be there as it was my first official exposure to this type of competition. I wanted to spectate, support my fellow crossfitters and scout around to figure out how it all worked. No baptism by fire for me, not if I can help it. Turned the competition was awesome and loads of fun. After two and a half hours there, longer than I intended, I couldn’t not go and kick that chill right in the butt. And so a quick two loops of the park starting at Columbus Circle’s entrance and heading up the east side of the park, up Cat Hill, and all the way past the 102nd Street transverse, and looping over Harlem Hill to the West Side of the park and back, past the overlooking Strawberry Fields and 72nd Street Transverse, and making a full circle back at Columbus Circle east entrance. One more time and I was done, and off to run a couple errands and spend the rest of the day holed up watching football. Well, Alabama and Georgia was playing is my excuse since I’m no football fan.

Surprise, surprise, today followed a similar pattern with me heading out in freezing temps to grab a 13 miler in my lovely neighborhood of Queens. I met up with some buddies of mine at the Queensboro bridge in Queens – just 1.3 miles away from the city – and we headed on a running tour-of-sorts of this underrated borough of New York. First few miles was pretty cold but at least the sun was out so we eventually warmed up some, as long as you kept moving. Running through different areas of Queens turned out to be pretty interesting as we zig- zagged across Astoria and headed to Flushing Meadows Park, across from Citi-Field and in the vicinity of the home of the US Open. We grabbed a pic, lost a team member (she bailed), and we headed across the park to Lake … taking in the natural beauty around us and headed out in search of Queens Boulevard and Forest Hills. We ran by the Forest Hills Stadium..oohed and ahhed..and finished off at the LIRR station off Austin Street. After than chilly run, food was on our minds and with plenty pickings we found a local dive and dove right in. Way to wrap up a cold morning if you ask me.

Two weekends before I had done an 11 mile out and back run closer to home, and a windy 10 miler the weekend prior. While we await the official start of winter, many would argue that it’s already here with blistering winds and freezing temperatures. In fact, we’ve already had our first snow fall. Sadly, the Fall season was gone before we could dive into running and all we’re left with is the audacity to get out there no matter the weather.

These days it matters not the time of day as we see record temps erasing all that we think we know or should be experiencing. And so my runs over the past few weeks have been totally out of my comfort zone. They have been cold, hard, long, and crazy enough, rewarding. However, they’re always so much better when I’m able to have others join me. I look ahead with trepidation as winter advances, but also with hope, knowing that come Springtime, I will be stronger and better for it.

26.2 Miles For Lupus: The TCS New York City Marathon in Review

Sunday November 4 has come and gone, two Sundays ago today in fact, and is a true testament to how quickly time is flying on by. It’s also a tip of the hat to the very clichéd saying “this too shall pass,” because as it was then – out there running on November 4 – it felt like an eternity in purgatory. I exaggerate of course as I have no idea what purgatory is like, but surprise, surprise, I fell victim to another impaired performance at the NYC marathon. I shouldn’t be surprised given the year I’ve had with running..it’s been up, down, and sideways..so the chances that I’d get away with a perfect run was almost nonexistent I’d say. What was crazy was that I was perfectly fine up to three days before the marathon and fell sick on Halloween. What timing huh! Hell, I was shivering, blowing hot, then cold, and stuffy-nosed all in the matter of a day. What an appropriate freak show! That feeling, tempered by some meds, prevailed for the next couple of days until marathon Sunday.

Source: lupusresearchalliance.org

On Saturday, the day before the marathon, I tried to have a relaxing day, which worked out for the most part as I only had an early charity dinner to attend with other runners and members of Team Life Without Lupus. Because I was medicated and feeling a slight chill, I excused myself after a decent showing and went home to rest. Despite this, I still didn’t get to bed until about 9pm. I woke up at 5am to grab a ride with a friend – friends are very awesome! – and was able to rest on the drive over to Staten Island, which took about 40 minutes – best decision ever! – as I didn’t have to go through the crazy logistics of waking up extra early to catch the bus or ferry and then indulge in the waiting once on the island to get on a bus to the start if I had taken the ferry. Thus, we got there early enough and got through the security lines pretty fast before heading to our respective wave assignments.

This year, I’m happy to say, there were open tents; hand warmers; and minor seating, provided by United Airlines. I quickly found my shivering and voiceless self a spot, lay on my heat sheet, wrapped myself in 2015’s marathon poncho, and promptly fell asleep for about 40 minutes. All too soon it was time to get up. I was ecstatic to see that the sun was out though that had little effect on the chilly air. I did a last check to make sure I had everything, bagged up my stuff to take to the baggage check, and then got in line to use the bathroom; still shivering some, but feeling much better. Seems the Tylenol I had taken earlier was finally kicking in.

9:45 am found me in Coral F tripping along with hundreds of others as we made our way to the start on the Verazzano bridge. And we had blinding sunshine! The excitement and hype around me was real, although I maintained my cool for the most part. It’s the signing of the national anthem, the voice of Sinatra, and his “New York,” the official fly over by the NYPD helicopters, and the sounding off of the start horn that never gets old. Runners reacted with a rising chorus of delight and anticipation and hollered for the elite athletes as they took off. Fortunately, I’ve always been placed in the first wave atop of the bridge and hadn’t considered before then how unfortunate those below were. It’s a whole different experience up there. Soon after 10am we took off to Sinatra’s “New York” and a lot of excited runners peeled off to enjoy the run across the bridge and the ensuing amazing view.

Source: ceritalari.com

Past experience proved a good teacher and I paced myself across the bridge and into Brooklyn remembering to stay present and enjoy the moment. A moment that lasted pretty much until mile 13, all before which I remained tuned in to the amazing crowds – I even saw a friend and a couple of people I knew there in Brooklyn – one of the most diverse boroughs of New York. Around mile 8 I stopped for a minute to use the port-a-potty, something I try hard to never do, but I really wasn’t chasing a time under the circumstances and didn’t want to give myself any additional pressure to work with. Technically, about 11 miles of the race is in Brooklyn and I felt really good most of that time. It was around mile 13, on entering into Queens, when a sudden feeling of lethargy seized me, along with a pounding headache, and I started sniffling. I could feel a temperature coming on again. At that point, I was sorely tempted to sit down right there in the streets. However, good sense, prayers, and a couple of Tylenol prevailed and after stopping to grab some water – bless the hearts of those volunteers at every station, every 2-3 miles, they did awesome double-duty both serving and encouraging us – to swallow the pills, I continued on slowly praying for the meds to kick in.

Source: nyrr.com

A few miles later, and feeling slightly better we got to the Queensboro bridge – daunting as ever in its length, ascendancy, and silence. Surprisingly, a few spectators got themselves to the halfway point on the bridge – I didn’t think it was allowed – and provided a welcome distraction for my one tracked mind, cheering loudly as we ran by. If only they knew how much that meant to me. Coming off the bridge at mile 16 to the sea of spectators on First Avenue in Manhattan was helluva amazing! It always is. I forgot everything for a brief moment and started to look around for my friends in the crowds and was hugely excited to get to see some of them. It totally floored them that I was voiceless and I had to settle for hugs, no words on my part. They thought me a hero, more like crazy I thought, to be running in my state but really all I cared about was that those cheering and running would identify with my cause and even give us a shout out as I ran by. Raising the level of awareness of Lupus is, after all, what I’m after.

Me looking dead in The Bronx – Source: Lupus Research Alliance

I continued up First Avenue all the way over the Willis Avenue bridge into The Bronx at which point I was told to look out for the charity cheer squad. Try as I might, I didn’t see them, though there was lots of spectators and cheers going on, which probably accounted for us not connecting. The truth is I was beginning to feel crappy once more; It didn’t help that I was getting ready to stare down Fifth Avenue, not a favorite part of this race for me. I recalled the weekend before, running down that stretch, when I had run the final 10 miles of the marathon with a group, I was running a 7:24 minute p/mile pace back then. What a difference a week makes. There I was, on Marathon Sunday, trying my darndest to keep one foot in front of the other and running an entire minute slower. In all fairness, it was a good pace considering how I was feeling, and I was really happy for the cheer support we got in Harlem and as we headed toward Central Park North. As it turned out, I remember feeling worse heading into Central Park my last time around, so this time I leaned into the sounds of the crowds and soaked up the calls, whistles, claps, and all-round cheers. New York City spectators are the best in the world and are a huge part of the marathon experience. It would have been a mistake to not feed off of them and their contagious excitement.

Central Park I know and could anticipate every turn, which was good and bad. It meant I could quite literally see the end within grasping distance but had to abide with my legs to work for a bit longer to physically get me there. The crowds converted Central Park into an arena of sorts, it looked so surreal with people all around. By then, we were on the last couple of miles as we headed out of the park at 59th Street to run the final leg of Central Park South with the backdrop of The Plaza Hotel receding in the distance. Runners headed back into the park at Columbus Circle and as we made the turn onto West Drive I attempted to locate the Trinidad and Tobago flag amidst the mass of other flags and people, as I always do, to give it a tiny tug. I then ran the final 800 meters to cross the finish line and finished amidst much fanfare as is usual for this race. It’s always a bit emotional but this time I was happily so in support of a life without Lupus. I had done it again!

marathonphoto.com

If you took the time to read this super-long review, thank you! I am grateful to you for following my running and taking the time to read my stories. Please, if you can, give a gift to support the work of The Lupus Research Alliance [ https://www.lupusresearch.org/]
in developing treatment, research, and finding a cure. Click on the link to give and find out more.⤵
⏬⏬⏬
This is the campaign for Team Life Without Lupus TCS New York City Marathon 2018 (Loren Caldon):

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/lupus-research-alliance-nyc-2018/loricaldon?utm_campaign=oc&utm_medium=email&utm_source=crowdrise

13.1 Qualifying Miles at The Staten Island Half Marathon

A couple of Sundays ago I surprised myself by achieving a goal that till then had seemed unattainable, in a race that made it seem unlikely to happen in this lifetime. While I’m a fan of the persistence school of thought, I was almost prepared to let it go in this instance as I was getting pretty convinced that qualifying for the New York City Marathon was something I could have done four or five years ago.

Persistence, they say, pays off. Well, I’m happy to say, I remain a fan and I qualified. Goal check anyone! If you’ve been following, then you know that was one of my goals in addition to a hundred others. For the past two years, I’ve been trying assiduously to increase my half marathon time. I ran many races using different strategies in an attempt to meet the qualifying time of one hour and thirty-seven minutes; up till now it seemed to get further and further out of reach each passing year. Turns out, it was when I wasn’t too preoccupied with achieving this goal that it happened. Not that I wasn’t wanting to run the time I needed, only that I’d run this race last year with high expectations and ended up with blah results. Therefore, I decided this time around to temper my enthusiasm and be a bit more practical, and so opted to focus on having an open strategy to compensate for a tougher course – a mountain of a hill – and uncertain weather conditions – surprisingly no rain.

To be fair, the Staten Island Half Marathon has been my favorite half marathon since running in New York, which is well reflected in my previous races there. In fact, my best half marathon time happened in Staten Island five years ago. It is precisely for this reason I was ecstatic with this year’s result as I was within twenty-eight seconds of my half marathon PR. Broken down, that means I’m currently running at a pace comparable to five years back. At my age that makes me feel pretty good. Makes me think there maybe something to that “your best years are ahead of you” at forty saying.

One may be tempted to ask, what’s my secret? And in actuality someone did. The thing is if there is a secret it escapes me. I’m really a believer in believing in yourself, putting in the work for what you want to achieve, and trusting the process to deliver. For sure the stars won’t always align and things won’t always go the way you hope or plan but if each time you give one hundred percent and remain prepared for the eventuality, then when it does come around, and it will, you’ll be ready. As for me, I’ll try to keep that in mind as I head into the final week of prepping for Marathon Sunday. ✌

October Runs Things

Source: bklyner.com

Last Sunday, runners everywhere took in the sights and sounds of the Chicago Marathon, either by updates on social media, online streaming, local viewing, or the very best way, in person as part of the spectacular event itself. For those of us, like myself, who weren’t there, we were insanely jealous notwithstanding the icky weather. Given the reviews and comments about the event on social media, it seems Chicago marathon was an outstanding success and remains a world-class unforgettable event for many. For my part, it is my favorite marathon of thirteen and I can’t wait to be there next year. FYI.. guaranteed entry for 2019 opens Oct 30 and runs through Nov 29.

Quite a bit have already happened this month though there are still a few weeks to go and so much more to come. A lot of us think of October and picture hues of orange, browns, and reds, turning leaves, and changing trees, a dip in summer temps and slightly shorter days coupled with a longer stretch of darkness covering dawn. While this presents a fair picture of the advent of Autumn or Fall, which is a great favorite, as far as seasons go, of so many of us; October is known for so much more than Fall – beautiful though it is. This month is known as Breast Cancer Awareness month and is widely acknowledged and accepted as a time to rally around a cause that has touched so many lives that almost everyone can attest to its debilitating effect either personally or by association. There is also the instance of running – it’s the best time for it as inspiration abounds: 5k, 10k, half marathons, marathons, for fun and to dress up, for pr’s, for qualifying times, for a great cause, and/ or for bucket list goals. It’s all the reasons we need to get out there and join in the hype surrounding the NYC marathon, which is due upon us in 23 days. Then there’s Halloween, the buzz is out and all the dressing up and parades that entails holds a lot of excitement for all New Yorkers- kids and kids at heart.

For Cancer Awareness this month there are lots of activities planned throughout the US and around the world. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is happening this month in many US cities and people are encouraged to register to run, walk, or donate to support the cause. Another major walk event this month is Making Strides of Central Park and other local boroughs held here in NYC by the American Cancer Society. Additionally, there are many fundraising efforts underway to lend your support from donating on official sites like American Cancer Society it taking part in other fundraisers like crowdrise as you register to run, or walk, and raise money. A slight concern of mine with these efforts is the transparency involved in the distribution and use of funds collected. This is by no means a reason not to take part, but only to raise the awareness of participants to seek accountability from organisers of these events. We are blessed to be a blessing after all.

On to running.. it starts and ends with running with me! Lol. Marathon season is in full swing and coming out of Chicago and Berlin before that, NYC has a lot to live up to. If past years is anything to go by, well then, it’s about to get pretty crazy up in here. Indeed, running in this city has always been something of an experience, but with the marathon looming and so many other races going on, it’s a bit of a running circus right now..details on my Staten Island Run next week! And so, here in NYC, we love it and can’t help but get caught up in all the excitement that floods our streets and culminates on November 4 into the biggest street party in the world, that is, the TCS New York City Marathon.

They say three times a charm, well I’m not buying it. It didn’t work in Boston this year and sadly that has made me a non-believer. But it’s another big one on my list this year, primarily because of my miles-for-a- cause initiative – I’m running with Team Life Without Lupus.. see here:

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/lupus-research-alliance-nyc-2018/loricaldon?utm_campaign=oc&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=crowdrise

It’s also my third attempt to nail this course after two previous blotches. If anything, you can tell how stubborn I am, and because more often than not it pays off, I remain hopeful. Enough said, I’m breathing & practicing mindfulness this month..hello yoga! Stay tuned next week to hear all about another amazing fall run that happened today!

Fall in Love with Running too!

Photo: Baltimore Running Festival (source: dailyburn.com )

Each year, around this time (marathon season), I go into the virtues of running, the where and why the heck not. Aside from the fact that many consider the Fall season to be perfect for running, because of the cool down in temperatures, there are admittedly some of the best runs and races happening during this time in these parts. Thus, inspiration is all around you. And, whether you’re a runner or not, chances are you’re likely to suffer some serious runners’ exposure; that, to my way of thinking, is good enough reason to be a part of the crowd rather than be found standing off the sidelines.

Last weekend the world watched Eluid Kipchoge ran away with a record-breaking time of 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon. I mean, gosh, you couldn’t help but feel immensely satisfied, proud, hopeful, and a host of other things about his crazy-fast, amazing run. Who doesn’t want to run like that! LOL..or, at the very least, feel inspired to lace up and get out there and at least try, albeit for something on a slightly smaller scale.

In just about 2 weeks time, the Chicago Marathon is up. It’ll be awesome I bet. There are so many runners I know heading out there that I’m slightly miffed that I opted to sit this one out. And then of course the New York City Marathon is 2 weeks after that, which by the way, I’m running! Is it any wonder that we go a tad crazy for running around this time. Mind you, I’ve only mentioned three of the biggest and most popular ones. There are a host of other runs, marathons included, and other exciting adventures awaiting you this Fall.

Here’s a look at some up and coming, must-do, races this Fall for the adventurer in you. Sprint to a BQ, get your paddle on, get into character and enjoy a night run, or just run, whichever you choose, you can be sure you’ll have a blast and a bunch of memories from these destination, fun, and scenic courses.

  • St George Marathon, UT – Oct 6
  • Powisett Farm Trail Run, Dover MA – Oct 28.
  • Another Dam Race, Parker Dam CA – Nov 3
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll St Louis Half Marathon, St Louis – Oct 27
  • Xterra Harvest Half Marathon & 10K, Kenmore WA – Oct 12
  • Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis MN – Oct 7
  • Steamtown Marathon, Scranton PA – Oct 7
  • Ashworth Awards Baystate Marathon, Lowell MA – Oct 21
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon – Nov 11
  • Chucktown Showdown, Charleston SC – Oct 6

And that my friends are just a few happening in these parts, by which I mean in the US of course. Internationally, there’s a ton more going on including the Dublin Marathon on October 28. I met a fellow runner last evening who was excited to run Dublin as a first marathon! I mean WOW! Go big or go home right? Well, that’s the thing with running, you just never know where it’ll take you or what great feat you will accomplish while there. Hats off to those who are willing to step up and find out, and who knows, maybe fall in love while you’re at it.🤗

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