A Month of Marathons

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These days life is a marathon: a long, sometimes tough, sometimes enjoyable, but always enduring experience. And our city is caught smack in the middle of what I refer to as, the throes of a malady – marathon fever. This feeling, though widely prevalent, is not unique to New York City, for while we boast a ridiculous amount of runners and the largest marathon around – the TCS New York City marathon – the running obsession that hits here in the month of October is sure to be similar to cities around the world that are part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM).

The WMM is a premier racing event where runners take part in six stipulated marathons to earn the coveted title and medal of world marathon major. Thus, I’m sure cities such as London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago and Boston are similarly prone to this type of marathon-induced crazy that characterizes NYC these days. Notwithstanding, New York’s marathon, which is November 5 this year, October happened and with such a bang with so many marathons and half marathons happening around the United States, some very close to home, one could be forgiven for missing out on the change in weather, which certainly must have something to do with the hike in running. We had the Marine Corps marathon last weekend, which I ran, the Chicago marathon, the Steamboat marathon, and the Staten Island Half marathon, which I also ran, and which were all the weekend before last. Apparently we like to keep it pretty busy around here. This has all served to keep the pressure on and have everyone either on their A game or on the edge.

As such, the city is busy trying to keep up with the countdown that’s underway. Even if one is not running the New York City (NYC) marathon, chances are good you either have friends who are or know someone who is or a few who are – hence everyone’s involvement. While I’m not running it this year, I do have ongoing plans to try to qualify for next year after wrapping up two races in the last two weeks. With all the attention it’s getting, it’s fair to say the NYC marathon is the hottest ticket in town for the running community and no expense (where the currency is time) is spared by runners in ensuring they have the best seats in the house, whether that is on the course running or cheering on fellow runners. In the days ahead, as we whine down the year, there will be more races to come. For now, my part will be out there cheering my heart out for those running folks who’ve earned their spot on the world stage, if only for a moment, hoping to inspire the run of a lifetime.

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Running Ahead

running aheadThere’s not a lot of racing going on in winter on my end. I tend to plan my Spring and on runs during this time when my running is limited to the treadmill with very few outside runs and one or two races out-of-town wherever warmer temperatures can be found.  As such, I like to think of this as training season for the months ahead, which will consist of a few marathons, half marathons, and some fun runs with goals of a few PR and raising money for charity.

I have my sights set on at least four marathons this year: New Jersey, Chicago, New York and Savannah SC. There’s also a very good chance of a run upstate, while my shorter runs will be at local competitive level here in the city.  I’m also always open to exploring the area around New York with the fun races hosted in and around town over the summer.  Lastly, but just as important, is my goal of training for and completing a triathlon; I’m searching out a place that does not involve these cold waters but isn’t so far away to maximize cost and potential.

The Marathon is a much more comfortable race for me now that I have four under my belt (shoes), at least in my mind, when I don’t have an injury to contend with. I feel pretty sure I can make one this year my best yet if I could just run issue and injury free – that’s my prayer anyway. Half-marathons are my babies. I feel confident, fit and at my peak during most runs of this ilk and feel I can qualify for the NYC marathon 2016 with a PR this year. On the other hand, Fun Runs are what I call any race less than 10 miles and would include obstacle, mud etc., These are my relax and roll with the tide races that I oftentimes take too seriously, such is my competitive spirit. This year, the triathlon will be my biggest challenge. Though I’m a Caribbean girl and love the open waters, experience has taught me to have a healthy respect for water I cannot stand in. So while I swim, I am timid when it comes to exploring my potential out there; this I feel will be my biggest obstacle in such an event. I am to begin brush up classes in Swimming in February, hopefully it helps to build my confidence. Cycling, I don’t consider too much of a big deal, except that I haven’t ridden a bike for any time for a couple of years now. I’m hoping that “like riding a bike” cliché is true in my case. These minor (thinking positive) obstacles aside, I’m looking ahead with much anticipation, excitement and determination. By God’s grace and with the help of my two feet, I can get this done and have a blast while I’m at it.

All my running this year provides an opportunity to support the causes I care about and in so doing give a little back to the community that has given me so much. Whether it’s through fundraising, donations and/ or volunteering, it is with the deepest pleasure and gratitude that I give. My mind’s running ahead now.. better wait on my feet.

Let’s Rock n’ Roll DC!

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I tend to approach races with an overly confident demeanor. My philosophy has always been that 90% of any task is attitude, hard work makes up the other 10%. Though that has worked more than less times throughout my life I’m beginning to believe it may not necessarily hold true for running..not marathons anyway. To be fair to one’s body and those who wonder, it takes as much kick-ass attitude as it does hard work; every heart-thumping, feet-pounding and limit-defying moment is bathed in determination and sweat. To me, that counts for nothing less than 50/50 and so I’ve tried to have a more balanced approach to this one.

It’s my first time running in the nation’s Capitol and as with any first time course, I’m excited, my adventurous spirit cannot be tamed, but this time around I’m going for bit more realism. We’ve had some really funky weather this season and the last few weeks have been no exception though the last couple days have been pretty darn good. The advantage here is that DC’s temperatures are quite similar to New York’s so there should be no big surprises. Shouldn’t I say, cause well.. your guess is as good as mine what’s going down weather-wise come Saturday. Tough, mother-of-a-month that it has been to train in, I’ve managed to get some crazy running in amid some aches and pains here and there. I’m definitely over-due a siesta after Saturday -big smile- and I’m so looking forward to it.

During my self pep talks, I mentally run the course and psych myself up so I feel ready for race day. I go through the fuel and gel stations, mileage and my pace and try to incorporate some sight-seeing along the way. There are benefits to this; I’m able to lose myself in my surroundings a bit and enjoy the beauty around me. Also, during this time, less attention is given to the pressures of the race and I’m able to live the moment. Additionally, I’m big on experiences and every race is an experience I love to revel in, at least when I’m not in pain, so while some races are more memorable than others, I like to think I take away something valuable each time.

High expectations is another facet of my type-A person. I run around expecting the best from myself every time. Within recent times I have been not-a-little disappointed with my performance and sometimes lack of proper judgement, and while that would be enough to faze the average Jane, I remain fearless and determined as ever with eyes fixed on Boston 2015 and a goal of 3:35. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and hopefully wings for feet.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This Irish-named girl feels lucky! image

Smart & Fun Running

imagesSome people have the wrong idea..they look at running and think, “I can never do that! It’s too boring, to difficult, too tiring and in sme cases, even dangerous…” “Did you hear of tht guy who collapsed after running the marathon…” Propaganda and truth abound over the subject of running but whatever side of the spectrum you’re on there’s one over-riding truth that stands out: running can be and is beneficial to your well being.  However, as with every good thing, there is always the opportunity for abuse and its subsequent consequences.

It is true tht running can become monotonous, that is, if you run the same course, distance and races all with little or no variation.  For that matter, I have a hard time thinking of any activity tht wouldn’t afford the same result if done the same way all the time. If one is to assume the maximum benefit from this “mind sport,” variation is key.

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Today there are so many forms of running and so much fun attached to the sport that it is impossible to maintain an air of indifference or even incredulity. You have the traditional track & field and long distance races such as marathons, and now there are decathlons, urbanathlons, iron man, cross country racing, trail running (my favorite) and so many other shorter fun-type races like mud runs, color runs and obstacle races among others.  Also, if you ever needed a reason to run, there are races for just about every cause you care about.  Running to advance literacy & cancer are two important ones for me, with these races, you get to make an important contribution to society while getting your exercise on.  How’s that for a bonus! I mean that is so FUN! Somewhere among the lot is a run for you, cause you have to believe me when I tell you that YOU were born to RUN!

Now all you have to do is find a running buddy: join a club, find a meet up group or get your friend involved cause it’s so much better to have a reason to run and others to share your running adventures with.

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