Smile Samantha! You Are Our Member Spotlight Of The Week!

Always with a smile, Samantha has been featured on many NYRR promo ads!

Another week has passed so itโ€™s time to shine the spotlight on one of our members! Today we are happy to shine that spotlight on one of our very first members, the always smiling, Samantha M.!

Samantha has always come to club gatherings with tons of energy, a positive attitude and of course her vibrant smile.

Samantha started running in 2001 in college when she felt she was overweight and as a result, it made her self-conscious. At the time she had an unpleasant dance teacher that would make her feel uncomfortable about her weight so she turned to running to prove that teacher wrong and feel better about herself. Little by little she would set small benchmarks for herlsef measured in city blocks.

When she’s no running, Samantha loves singing and dancing!

 

Eventually she had worked up to a mile and before she knew it she was running as far as 5 kilometers! As running became a healthy obsession, she would run at the gym on treadmills admittedly so she could watch trashy TV (lol). Ever increasing her mileage, she joined New York Road runners in 2012 and ran her first 5k that year. Fast forward to today, Samantha has run over 80 races with NYRR!

Being a runner since 2012, Samantha stumbled across We Are NYC Running club last year while training for the United NYC Half Marathon. Why would Samantha join a running club though after being a runner for 6 years and having success with it? Samantha points to the amount of support that she felt from strangers who shared the same common goal as her and had a true genuine love for running.

3rd from the right, Samantha was at the very first officialย club meet up!

Samantha was part of the first unofficial meet up of the club back at the 2018 NYRR Gridiron 4 miler run. That day she felt the group had something special just from spending 15 minutes together with the group before the 4 mile race. With many years of running already under her belt, she wanted to be part of something bigger where she could talk to people and not be judged. She remembers many years back still to that dance class teacher where she made to feel so small. Being a part of this club, she no longer feels that at all! Since joining the club, Samantha has loved being a member as she points to the many fabulous, strong, dedicated and down to earth people she has met. She adds that running a race is so much better knowing that you have a lot of people out there rooting for you and running with you. Just yesterday, Samantha ran her 22nd race as a member of We Are NYC Running Club as she ran the NYRR Gridiron 4 miler with the club and celebrated a year of running with her new found running family!

Looking forward, she continues to think about running the TCS NYC Marathon as a long term goal. For now she is concerned with committing time to train for a marathon as she knows the amount of time involved with it and she does not want to take that time away from her family, especially her three year old son Harrison. Speaking of her son Harrison, he himself has already run some races with NYRR. Samantha plans on continuing to have Harrison run more races this year while she continues to prepare for some more half marathons herself with the 2:00 time barrier as her ultimate goal!

Pictured here at the Bronx 10 Mile, Samantha ran 22 races with We Are NYC RC in 2018!

We are fairly confident that Samantha will break that 2:00 barrier if not at the NYC Half Marathon, perhaps the Brooklyn half marathon! Once she has done that, if she hasnโ€™t changed her mind about going for the TCS NYC marathon, she may just be content with continuing another fun hobby of hers โ€“ performing and singing famous Broadway musical scores on top of her radiator with her son Harrison!

Here are some words that some of our members had for Samantha!

Fellow Club teammate Marjorie

Fellow Club teammate Cesar

 

Monday Member Spotlight Time!

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Our Member Spotlights Bassem Reaches “50” Days On His Run Streak

In continuing with our We Are NYC Running Club member spotlight, our next awesome member is one of our more vocal, motivated, and loveable members. Bassem has been a long time runner and has logged well over 60 races just with New York Road Runners alone. Three of those races have been the New York City Marathon. In 2018 he opted not to run the NYC Marathon and focused on the Philadelphia Marathon instead. It resulted in him running a personal record of 3:49:22 after having a previous record of 4:52 in NYC! An outstanding PR of over an hour, but what makes this even more fantastic, is that Bassem just turned a young 50 years old!

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Bassem Last Month At The Joe K. 10k

Realizing his accomplishment this year, Bassem now has his eyes set on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. He would have to knock off another 25 minutes on his marathon time but he says there is something different now about his training. As noted earlier, Bassem is a long time runner, but this year he has seen improvement thanks to the support that he has received from his โ€œWe Are NYC Running Clubโ€ members. He points at the motivation factor as well as accountability being a huge boost to his training. While his pursuit of the Boston Marathon is currently a long term goal, his short term goal is to keep his current run streak alive. A couple of months ago when he turned 50 years old, Bassem decided to start a โ€œrun streakโ€ where he runs at least one mile each day. Last week during one of our weekly group runs, Bassem reached 50 days on that streak and doesnโ€™t plan to stop any time soon! How long can Bassem go? We shall see!

Seeing how much the club has given him this past year, Bassem is always willing to give back. At group runs and on race days, Bassem is always willing to give runners advice based on his past experiences. Whether it may be about running apparel, nutrition or race logistics, you can count on Bassem to give you his words of wisdom.

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Bassem (on the right) With His Vuvuzuela @ The Fred Lebow Half Marathon!

Bassem doesnโ€™t stop there either in supporting his running club teammates. Coming out and cheering with the club as part of our infamous cheer squads is something Bassem enjoys doing. If you have run any races in Central Park recently, you may be familiar with the loud echoing sound of a โ€œvuvuzuelaโ€! Yup – one of those vuvuzuelas is likely Basem!

His energy and dedication to the club make him a clear candidate for todayโ€™s spotlight and he is just another reason that We Are NYC Running Club continues to thrive today!

We will leave you with some words from Mr. Vuvuzuela aka Run Streak Man, aka Ragnar Guy aka Boston Marathon hopefully, aka BASSEM!

 

NEW FEATURE – Monday Member Spotlight

Cheryl crushing the 2018 TCS NYC marathon this past November!

Good Morning Running Community!

Over the past (almost) year,ย Weย Are NYC Running Clubย has grown tremendously and with over 450 active members worldwide sometimes itโ€™s hard to keep track of who is up to what. So to assist with keeping up to date with our members, weโ€™ve decided that starting in 2019, we would introduce one outstanding member per week to showcase who they are and why they are such a great teammate.

It is our honor and privilege to introduce the first ever Member Spotlight:ย Cheryl F. (IG: @cfriscia).ย 

Cheryl has been such a supportive and compassionate member from the day she joined the club. She puts 110% into everything she does whether itโ€™s encouraging her teammates during group runs or organizing a Cross Fit class for the club. Cheryl is committed to taking We Are NYC Running Clubย to the next level.

Cheryl is a survivor of stage 3 kidney disease. With her kidneys failing in 2014, she was hospitalized and underwent two years of intense treatment. While she avoided a transplant, she has come back to full health thanks in part to a complete diet change and lots of exercise. In April she celebrated her full recovery with our running club by running the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K.

With the arrival of her first grandchild and watching her son get married, Cheryl experienced it all this past year! She capped off a triumphant year by running and completing her first marathon, the TCS NYC Marathon, and her teammates were there cheering her on all across Manhattan!

When Cheryl sets goals, she hits them! Check out some highlights on Cheryl and hear what other members had to say about her character and impact sheโ€™s had on the club! We canโ€™t wait to see what 2019 has in store for you, Cheryl! Thank you for being the personable, driven, and kind member that you are!

Here are some member messages about Cheryl!

Some kind words on Cheryl from teammate Derek S.!

More kind words from teammate and good friend Rosa S.

A big thank you to our teammate Casey (IG: @caseyalexandrafit ) for her work on this!

Be on the lookout every Monday for our latest Member Spotlight!

Happy running to you all!

Cheryl holding her newborn grandson earlier this year!

 

 

This Thursday – Special Queens Group Run!

Hey running friends! I wanted to jump on here to tell you about a special group run this Thursday!

For this one week our club is heading on over to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. Why? One of our original members who came to the first ever group runs and was a regular many of the early group runs has become one of the heads of the NYRR Open Run at Flushing Meadows. Melanie will be hosting her first NYRR Open Run on this day and she asked if her club could be there to support her on her first official NYRR Open Run. I think it would be nice to do this so we are headed to Queens!

The loop in the park is a 5k but she says runners do it multiple times to get their miles in. There are bathrooms on site and volunteers on hand to watch people’s bags. You can either drive there or take the 7 train. It may be a bit of a commute from the city but its a one time deal for a team member, so hoping folks can troop it out there this one time!

See you all there!

โ€ข WHAT- Weekly group run (3-6 miles)

โ€ข WHERE- Flushing Meadow Park close to the Children’s Carousel

โ€ข WHEN โ€“ Thursday, August 30, 2018.

โ€ข TIME-Check in is 6:45pm, run starts at 7:00pm!

NYRR asks that you signup for the group run by filling out the below form prior to coming to the open run!

https://openrun.nyrr.org

Trial Run Of The Brooklyn Half Course!

My friends! We are less than 3 weeks from the NYRR Popular Brooklyn half marathon! This race came pretty fast but Iโ€™ve seen many of you getting at it with all of your training runs!

 

This Saturday, May 5th, 2018, I will be having a trial run of the course with members of the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Facebook Group that I host . The trial run is as it sounds – a practice run of the entire course- yup 13.1 miles this Saturday morning! The trial run is free and everyone is welcome to join!

*MEET UP SPOT๐Ÿ›๏ธ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

As this is a trial run of the course, I would like everyone to meet up at Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238) at 7:45am! Please do not be late!

Yes thats nice and early in the morning but keep in mind, the actual starts at 7:00am on race day anyways! This gives you a chance to wake up early and practice your routine and route to the start line!

*TRANSPORTATION TO START๐Ÿš•๐Ÿš†๐Ÿš—

For those of you that donโ€™t live in Brooklyn, can I suggest driving to the finish line area, by Coney Island and parking by the finish line. There is a parking lot in MCU Park that if you manage to park there before an attendant is present, you pay nothing! If an attendant is there, I believe it is $15. This lot will only work for the trial run this Saturday because for race day; this lot will be off limits as it will be used for bag check pickup.

For this Saturday however, if you park by the finish line, you can then either take a subway to the start or Uber which is about $10. A few of us are sharing uberโ€™s to the start from the finish line. In order to do this, I would suggest being parked by 7:15-7:30 at the latest!

Of course you can take the subway to the start line. The Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Musem stop on the 2-3 line seems to be the closest station to the start line. Check the MTA website to make sure these trains are running on Saturday morning!

*COURSE MAP!๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ๐Ÿ—พ๐Ÿ”๏ธ

Course map courtesy of New York Road Runners

 

The course map is above. I also posted details of the the start area and finish area are below. Some of you may remember the trial run of the United NYC Half Marathon course that I held back in February. Unlike that trial run that we held, we should be able to run this course fairly close to the actual course. If you remember we couldnโ€™t get on parts of the United NYC Half Course. That shouldnโ€™t be the case here for the trial run of the BK Half. We should be able to see the entire course!

Hereโ€™s a brief overview of the course and what we plan on running on Saturday!

-The course starts at the Brooklyn Museum and we will run south along Washington Avenue, down to Empire Blvd where we make a right and another quick right onto Flatbush Avenue.

-Next we head north on Flatbush Avenue, towards Grand Army Plaza. Runners of the United NYC Half may remember this stretch as it was the starting corrals of that race.

-One we approach Grand Army Plaza (at approximately the 1.5 mile mark) we will loop around the Plaza and then head back south on Flatbush Avenue, til we get back to Ocean Avenue.

-We will take a slight right onto Ocean Avenue and proceed straight until we get to Parkside Avenue where we will make a right onto Parkside Avenue. This will be around the 3 mile marker on the course map.

-Continuing west on Parkside Avenue we enter Prospect park near Machate Circle where we will then proceed to do a full loop within Prospect Park.

-After one full loop within the park, we will exit the park close to where we entered it for the loop and run onto Ocean Parkway. Once we leave the park we should be 7 miles in

-Once on Ocean Parkway we will stay on Ocean Parkway and head south for a little over 5 miles until we turn onto Surf Avenue. On the course map this is around the 20k marker or 12.5 miles.

-We will continue west on Surf Avenue for about a half mile until west 10th street where we will make a left onto west 10th street once you pass by the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster.

-Take west 10th street one block to the Coney Island Boardwalk – once you get to the boardwalk make a right.

-Run on the boardwalk until you reach โ€œTomโ€™s of Coney Islandโ€ -this is the approximate finish line of the race!

*PACE OF RUN โฑ๏ธโฑ๏ธ

grouprun

Group runs are as much about fun as they are about the run!

 

Some things to note – this is not meant to be all out pace. Personally I will enjoy this run and i think you all should too! The weather is supposed to be nice. My definition of nice is Sunny with temps in the 50’s and 60’s for our run! I will likely snap some pictures along the route for myself so that i donโ€™t have to do that on race day! Have fun with this run on what is shaping up to be a gorgeous day!

As for paces, this trial run is for EVERYONE! As I mentioned earlier, I did one of these in the pouring rain in February for the United NYC Half and 12 of us completed the trial run successfully as we split up into similar pace groups. I plan on splitting the group up into the following pace groups:

*Under 9 minute mile pace

*9-10 minute mile pace

*10-12 minute mile pace

*over 12 minute mile pace

It is highly suggested that you note the course directions above as we likely will not stay together in one big group due to the different paces we have. As such, I would be appreciative if anyone is familiar with the course and would like to volunteer as โ€œpace group captainโ€ on this date for any of the above pace groups!

*OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Also to note are bathroom breaks – try and hit the bathrooms before you start. I have been told that there are portable bathrooms at 5 different locations on the loop within Prospect Park with 2 portable bathrooms where we enter and exit the park to and from our loop.

The stretch along Ocean Parkway is mostly residential so Iโ€™m not sure if you will have access to bathrooms during that 5 mile stretch. Or course when we get to Coney Island, there should be public rest rooms to use also.

As for hydration and nutrition, please bring your own! There are 5 water fountain stops within the Prospect Park loop. However once we exit Prospect Park, I cannot guarantee that we will pass by open store fronts.

Additionally please bring your own gels or anything you may consume for a 13.1 run.

Once we are done with the run we can hangout on the boardwalk and maybe catch a cold adult beverage to “re-hydrate”!

If you have any questions or comments – please do comment below! As I mentioned, itโ€™s going to be a nice day on Saturday – letโ€™s get together – meet some fellow runners and take one huge step towards getting ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon!

Trial run will be sponsored by We Run NYC Running Club but by all means open to all!

See you all on Saturday!

Starting area map courtesy of New York Road Runners

 

Finish line area map courtesy of New York Road Runners

This Is Your Journey

Good day friends! Time to get over that hump, its Wednesday! These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the reactions I get from people when we discuss my running. Of course there is always the comments like “dude you are crazy” or “running is just boring for me”. Those are to be expected. Then there are those that claim not to have the time or will blame something else for them to avoid running all together. Then there is the bunch that confuse me with the following comment: “I’m not fast enough, so why bother”.

When I hear that comment, or something similar, it’s like a punch in the gut. My first reaction is to say, “you know you are right, I’m going to stop running because I’m not fast enough either”.

There are tons of people faster than me. So I wonder, why compare yourself to anyone at all? This is your own journey. It’s my journey also. My journey will be completely different from yours. There may be some similarities but at the end it’s customized to you and me.

My journey three years ago started when I was holding onto my daughter’s stroller to use it as a walker in Disney World because excess weight had given me bad plantar fasciitis and the pain caused me to hold onto the stroller, just to walk!ย Myย journey startedย when I got home from Disney. Lose the weight with exercise. I took small steps. Walking, jogging, stopping even during my running as my foot got thru the discomfort. Time on myย watchย didn’t matter. What mattered was dropping the weight.

When the weight started to go down, the satisfaction ofย a walk or a jog felt so euphoric. It was like a drug. An exercise high if you will. I never wanted to give this drug up. Walks became jogs and jogs became runs. Never since HS did I ever think I would run as much as I do now, however that journey has led me here.

Going back to the concept of being fast enough, did it matter how fast I was going to walk around my block three years ago when I started my journey 40 pounds heavier? Not at all. My eyes were set on losing that weight. My daughter was 5 at the time. Dad wasn’t about to be slowed down at this age because of some excess weight andย ankle issues. When you put all of this into perspective, ask yourself instead, ‘are you fast enough to make the decision to do something better for yourself before too much time passes or before its too late?’ That’s where the question lies. That’s where you question ‘your speed’. Never mind how far others are running or how fast they are running it. They aren’t on your journey. Only you are!

Further what awaits you once you decide to take on ‘your journey’ย is a transformationย into a better version ofย yourself than ever before. For many, the physical aspects of your journey willย bring youย a healthier, stronger and more fit self. However that’s not the only transformation you will see. I talked about that ‘fitness high’. Oh its real…it is very real! Runners can tell you about their ‘runner’s high’ also. For me it is a feeling like no other and it isn’t one that I feel only when I run fast orย I set a personal best at a distance. I feel it every time I run. You may not feel it initially but it always comes around! How I wish more people would experience this – but they don’t because mentally they have put up a road block that won’t allow them this euphoria.

Now that I’ve explained why time doesn’t make a difference, I hope I have been able to push some of you out there to stop doubting and questioning yourselves! Sometimes the mind is our worst enemy. Ironically enough, just yesterday I spent the whole day thinking of a quote thatย a great American Olympic distance runner, Kara Goucher, said back in 2013. I will leave you with a graphic of that quote below and implore you to start your own journey now!!

10k Tuesday

If I’ve learned two things in the past couple of years while running they are the following.

  • If I’m having a bad day – then I need to go for a run because it means I need some “me with me” time
  • As I get older I need more rest between runs!

Well Tuesday came and I encountered both. I came home after a long day at work and not wanting to bring my work issues home, I went on a run. The weather was calling me as it was a gorgeous night for the end of November! For whatever reason, I wanted to try and run a 10k. My last two runs were Thursday and Saturday, a 5 miler and 4 miler respectively. Saturday was an easy run after my race from Thursday so on Tuesday I decided it was time to step it up a bit in miles.

 

Starting my run I felt good. Strides were strong and pace was steady for an evening run. I note the evening run because I prefer not running at night but at this time of the year during the week, you virtually have no choice. Somewhere around mile 4 or my run, something happened that hasn’t happened in a while. I caught a nasty calf cramp. I blame this primarily on 2 things. I had done some strength training on my legs the night before but nothing serious. With strength training being new for my legs, maybe I didn’t bounce back well? Also I have a tendency of lifting my stride to run on the balls of my feet when I feel strong. Usually I don’t do that my entire run and reserve it for the last mile or two but remembering my race on Thursday, I ran on the balls of my feet for most of that race. I usually don’t run like that the entire time because I reserve that for my increased pace. I likely over did it on the balls of my feet on Tuesday. As I am typing, my calf is a little tight but I am fairly certain that it will be ok. In hindsight, I likely should have taken one more night off from running and not run on Tuesday. I say that because I am starting to notice that after hard runs, I am needing two days to feel 100% again. Hey I guess it’s old age My last 2 miles on Tuesday, I went back to running “heel to toe” and while I could feel my calf annoying me, it wasn’t painful. My pace slowed during the last two miles but I was pleased overall with my pace for the night!

At times you have to listen to your body if you have long term goals. I could have continued on the balls of my feet on Tuesday but I could have paid the price for that dearly. I will have to watch my strength training on the calf machine going forward and also stretch that muscle out even more before I run. These things will happen but it’s how you learn and adjust that will make the difference.

Today I will take the day off and watch that big old tree in midtown get lit (aka the Rockefeller Christmas Tree). I must admit though that I am eager to get back and run again to see if the calf flares up!

This all makes me curious – do you all run heel to toe or on the balls of your feet? Running minds want to know! lol Hope you all are having a great week!