Stay Ahead Of The Pack

Thanksgiving is over and in a day or so, November will be completely behind us. Staring us right in the face is a month that many of us love to let loose in. Days off of work, celebration with family, various holiday parties and lots of food and drink make this month so dangerous that once it is over you hear the same resolution mantras year after year once December exits and January enters.

“New Year, new me!”

“Time to shed some pounds”

“This will be my healthiest year ever!”

Sound familiar? I don’t mean to sound like a scrooge at all. I will most definitely attend my share of holiday parties. In fact as I look at my calendar, I am very thankful for the multiple “ugly sweater parties” I will be attending and the various work gatherings I have on the calendar. At the same time however, I also cringe because I know that at all these events there will be a lot of food, alcohol and of course dessert that will be calling my name and without undoubtedly, I will answer that call!

With all of that said, I have accepted December for the health trap that it is. However, I did something a few years ago that I have repeated each December and I highly recommend to everyone. As I mentioned above, folks wake up on January 1, some hungover and others not, and realize “damn, I was bad in December”. The pants fit tight, the scale annoys them because of the number they see and the resolutions begin. But why do people wait til January 1?

Don’t Wait Until January 1!

 

Three years ago, the gym that I am currently a member of, Lifetime Fitness, opened up the location that I go to in Garden City. They opened their doors in the first week of December. When my family joined, I thought that maybe we should just wait til January because were we really going to go to a new gym in December? Boy was I wrong!

Since then, when everyone is making ” “January 1” their eureka moment, I would much rather stay ahead of the pack and pick December 1. Think about it for a second, would you rather wait until January once you have added 5, 10 or whatever number of pounds to your frame and work harder to take that off? Or is it easier instead to offset the gains as they come along? Don’t get me wrong, December will be bad, but by all means embrace the holidays! I know I will. By starting an exercise routine in December however, you will give yourself the opportunity to either gain very few pounds or if you are lucky, none at all! Simple logic also tells you that once the deadly month of December is over, it’s easier to lose a few pounds if you started working out in the beginning of December than to lose a lot of them if you wait until January. An added benefit of starting a healthy plan in December is that there is no one in the gym in comparison to January. It’s a given that EVERYONE will show up to the gym in that first week of January. December tends to be a ghost town in the gyms!

Get Ahead Of The Pack – Gyms Are Empty in December!

 

There is no rule that “New Year’s Resolutions” need to start on January 1. I know your schedule may look busy in December but I encourage you to find those gaps in your schedule. Trust me they exist. Further, I have always said that you do not need a block of two or three hors to get a workout in. Remember, some time spent on yourself is better than no time.!

Once again, get ahead of the pack and start now, believe me you will not regret it!

What Races Are You Running?

What Races Are You Running?

As many of you probably know by now, I am a big believer in setting goals thru running. It is one of the many reasons why I still run at 42 years old. When lots of men are pondering miniscus knee surgery or “fill in the blank” surgery, I have decided to keep pushing my body because of the goal fulfillment aspect that comes with running! For now, I can say that I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve been back to running now about three years, two of which have been serious years. For full disclosure, when I say serious, for me it simply means that I am actually tracking my time and monitoring my progression. That is as far as serious goes with me!

Come Join Us At A Starting Line Near You!

You likely have also read my insisting that you all give a race a try once again, simply for the notion of setting a goal, working towards it and hopefully finding some physical, mental and emotional gain from it. I’ve gotten questions however from people who arent runners such as “Where can I find a race by me?” or “I am looking for a race that is a certain distance but can’t find one?”. Therefore I have decided to start a section of this site that is dedicated to races in and around the New York City. Call it a race calendar of sorts that folks can reference should they need a race to run that suits their skill level, or lifestyle. Maybe you wake up on a Friday and decide, I have nothing to do this weekend, where can I run a race? Maybe my page can help you!

In the meantime, I am reaching out to some of you that do run. What races do you have coming up? I would love to include them on my race calendar as a point of reference. Let me know what you are running in the comments section or as always, you can email me at catrunsnyc@gmail.com !

Lets get out there and conquer some races! Check this race calendar often as I plan on updating it constantly!

Don’t let mind tell you that you can’t run a race- YOU CAN!

A Marathon Of Inspiration!

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Shalane Flanagan Wins The Women’s Race! (photo credit USA Today)

The 2017 installment of the New York City marathon has come and gone. I must say that there were so many great emotions for me personally during the last week because of the marathon and I didn’t even run the race! From the race week activities, to just visiting the finish line and to hearing the stories of so many friends that ran the race, it has been a great week to just take it all in.

When the race finally began, I decided to “watch” the race for the final time hopefully in some years to come. I literally say on my couch from about 9am until 2pm which is when channel 7 ended their coverage. I was engulfed by all of the stories coming across the broadcast. One of the ones that really got me emotional was the story of Beverly Ramos, an outstanding female runner from Puerto Rico, who completed her marathon  training in Puerto Rico after the wrath of hurricanes Irma & Maria had left the island in shambles. With the suffering that her country was enduring, Beverly pushed on and was determined to run the marathon. Her interviews on the broadcast were pretty emotional. She may not have finished as well as she would have wanted but she came to New York, competed, and is likely going home to Puerto Rico a champion. 

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In his final race, Meb collapses at the finish line (photo credit – NY Daily News)

Then there was the story of Meb Keflezighi. Most of you probably know it. The storied American marathoner is calling it quits after this race. For a while, he teased us all a bit during the marathon as he ran with the lead pack and he may have even taken the lead once or twice. Nevertheless, the 42 year old marathon legend would finish in 11th place in his 11th NYC Marathon. Adding more suspense was that he collapsed right after the finish line. He was fine, just exhausted from giving the marathon that he loves so much, all that he had left in his body. He will be missed on the NYC marathon scene, at least by me.

Shalane Flanagan talking to children before the start of NYRR Percy Sutton Kids race in August.


Then of course there was Shalane Flanagan. Oh how she has lifted so many young girls spirits. Being a youth amabasador for New York Road Runners club, Shalane was a favorite for alot of kids on Sunday, including my 7 year old daughter who got to meet her back in the Percy Sutton 5k in Harlem back in August (see my pic above from that day!). Shalane was at the starting line for the kids races that day high fiving all of the kids before they sprinted to the finish line. Fast forward back to Sunday’s marathon, watching her with my daughter from the couch was pretty awesome as she broke the tape to become the first woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon. Hoisting the American flag with a huge smile on her face was not only a much needed proud moment for Americans but INSPIRATION for so many young girls. 

Then there was the fun aspect for me to track some celebrities from my couch with the New York Road Runners app. I got a kick out of watching Kevin Hart go out at sub 3:30 pace only to see him cramp up and finish in 4:05. I remember thinking “man Kevin Hart is going to CRUSH this”, but this is the marathon and it will test you! I also saw Tiki Barber and Prince Royce run a steady race and I am hoping that when I run the marathon in 2018, I can at least run faster than the three of them did!

 

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Peg Trager from Minnesota Finishes on Crutches (photo credit – Mike Waterhouse)

However none of these stories hit my heart and soul like the ones that ABC News 7 posted on their website earlier today. I ask you all to give this article a read and take some time to read the stories of the runners WHO NEVER GAVE UP. These aren’t experienced professional runners or folks in tip top shape. They came to this race wanting to finish. When water stations were empty and abandoned and when people no longer lined the course to cheer them, they continued. When nightfall fell they didn’t waiver. When their bodies told them “No mas”, their mind and their spirits told them to continue. Read these stories, they all finished the race! This is why running is SO POWERFUL and why it is my wish for all of you to experience the power of overcoming something you didn’t think you could do and being proud of it! Once you read these stories, if only one of you will get up and make a vow to make yourselves better, then my mission was accomplished for the day!

Always believe in yourselves just like the 50,000 plus that crossed the finish line on Sunday did! If your up to it, join me and let’s crush the 2018 NYC Marathon ir any other race together! 

A Quick Visit To The Pavillion!

Right by Tavern On The Green is the Marathon Pavillion


Happy Tuesday to all of you beautiful folks out there! I was in Philadelphia the entire weekend and for the second straight weekend in a row, I did absolutely no exercise on the weekend. Mark my words – THIS NEEDS TO STOP! 

As winter approaches and the days get colder and shorter, the weekend will likely bring me the only opportunities that I will have to get out and run outdoors in the day light. I am vowing that I will no longer have weekends like the last two weekends that I had! With that said, let me just say that at least I did enjoy myself visiting Terror Behind The Walls in Philadelphia! Throw in the fact that I had cheesesteaks two days in a row at Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks and lets just say that I myself was in need of some inspiration on Monday!

I would have taken pics of my sandwiches but I ate them too fast!


Last week I had written about the NYC Marathon Pavillion going up in Central Park. What better place to get inspiration than there. I walked over around noon time and made it about 5 minutes into a “Course Strategy” presentation given by two NYRR coaches. 

Tips on running the marathon!


Since I am not running the marathon this year, I was not listening intently as others were. I decided to grab some lunch while there (roasted turkey sandwhich on wheat bread) and enjoy the sights of the Pavillion. New York Road Runners club was so gracious as to give away some nice pint glasses with the NYC Marathon logo on it. I was lucky to be able to score these as I heard they are limited edition!

Some NYC marathon swag!


Those nice little pint glasses weren’t the only things that I scored. New Balance was also on hand to give out some really simple but nifty free gift for runners. Up for grabs without any limits on quantity, they were giving out chapstick sticks, mini sun screen packs, mini band-aid packs, scarves, and a nice little pennant that said “All Roads Lead to NYC”. In all when you factor in the glasses, I walked out with a nice little swag bag of goodies when  I wasn’t expecting to get anything at all. Had I actually paid attention to the race tips, I may have walked out with some valuable information there too, even though  I am not running the race for another year!

Lots of NYRR merchandise!


Of course there was plenty of New York City Marathon Merchandise on hand for sale. One cool little added bonus that they did have on site at the Pavillion was if you purchase a TCS Marathon shirt at the Pavillion, they would screen print a message of your choice on it. Think of it as personalizing your shirt so that you can wear during the NYC Marathon. The personalization was also free! What is better than that! The personalizing will be at the Pavillion all week so if you are into that, go on over buy a shirt and get it personalized!

Once I was done at the Pavillion, I can honestly say that I was back in a healthier state of mind. I proceeded to complete a pretty nice workout tonight at the gym and I am looking forward to a run in the morning as I happen to be off on Tuesday!

As I was leaving the Pavillion, I noticed that they were working on the finish line area. Even thought I won’t be running this year, I will likely go back later this week to gaze at the finish line. Those that don’t run likely won’t understand!

 Hurdling Over The Obstacles

Never give in to the obstacles life throws at you!

If you are just getting started in whatever type of training, there are going to be times when obstacles or roadblocks will challenge you. It might be in the form of a cramp, a nagging sore muscle, fatigue, a busy schedule or some unforeseen outside force. It is quite normal. Heck it even happens to the most veteran of people who have been working out. 

What is important to recognize however is how you are going to get past that hurdle and most importantly, ensure that it doesn’t beat you. Physical ailments may derail you temporarily but does that mean you shut down your workouts all together? For example, if you are a runner and you experience a sore muscle or a severe cramp in your leg, rest that muscle but perhaps cross train and keep the other parts of your body active. The key here is to try and remain as consistent as possible. 

Then there is the occasional thing that pops up on your schedule at last minute that keeps you from getting that workout completed that you had your heart set on. This happened to me on Tuesday night. Had my sights set on more strength training and a short run, however I had a friend stop by thay was doing me a favor and when he left, it was past 9pm. I thought about still going to the gym but that would have meant having dinner at 11pm which is not always wise. 

Walking into the gym in the early AM fog!


Instead I altered my schedule, went to bed early last night and woke up at 5am today and got that workout completed. Now people will say 5am is too early. Yes it is lol – but the hardest part was waking up. Once that happened, everything flowed. Achieving your goals will take some sacrifice, there is no doubt about it. When my alarm went off at 5am, i thought about how I still had an hour and a half before I usually wake up. But to make up for my missed workout on Tuesday, that 90 minutes of sleep had to be sacrificed and in hindsight it was worth it! 

Early pic from my IG @cosmossoccerfan – Follow me!

About the only thing I regret about this morning is because of the heavy fog out at 5am this morning, I was forced to run in the treadmill (grrr). My strength training was done with hardly anyone around me! Now off to work we go!

Remember, don’t let those obstacles that life throws at you get in the way. It might take some sacrifice but find a way to jump right over them. Keep positive thoughts in mind like I did. I kept thinking about the breakfast I was going to crush! With that said – I’m done here and about to go and crush that omelette! Have a great day my friends! 

Protein after an AM workout – skip the potatoes& toast!

FOCUSED – Monday Workout!

Definitely not – it will require consistent work!

On Monday I was determined to get a workout in no matter what. In my home, both my wife and I like to get out workouts into our schedules so long as someone is handling the kids. Being mindful of my wife’s workout frequency is yet another thing I have to factor into when I will be getting my own workouts completed. In the month of October my youngest daughter has been practicing with her cross country team around 6:30pm two afternoons per week. I particularly like this coach because he encourages parents to join the workouts and while they don’t necessarily have to run with their kids, the parents at least get some exercise in. Monday my wife decided to go to my daughter’s practice and run at the practice which gave me free reign to get a great workout in.

Me crossing the line during my 2016 cross country race

My next race is a 2.5 mile cross country in the Bronx at one of the best cross country courses we have in New York, Van Cortlandt park. The course is home to many prestigious races in the northeast at all levels of cross country running. For this distance and for this race, my distance running has completely stopped. I have been focusing on my speed more and actually trying to implement weight training. On Monday I wanted to do both so I did something I had never done before. I belong to Life Time Athletic gym in Garden City, NY and I love their facility. The one thing I despise at that gym, and actually at any gym for that matter. is the treadmill. I cannot tell you how much I hate these machines. The notion of running in place just annoys me in every which way. Yes, sometimes it is the only alternative in inclement weather and I will give in and run on the treadmill in inclement weather but we aren’t quite there yet. It was 70 degrees last night!! I did want to get that weight training in so I decided to drop my bag off in the gym and head back out the front door for a quick run in the neighborhood.

Why had I never done this before? The area was very well lit, in fact I would say more so than my neighborhood at night. Little to no foot traffic to interfere with my run and I was able to get thru a swift run to start my workout. On Monday, I aimed to run the distance of my next race, 2.5 miles. My thought process is that this would be the slowest I run this distance while training for this race. I plan on running the distance a couple of more times before race day with the expectation that each time I get faster.

My time on Monday, 19:31 for 2.42 miles. I’ll take that considering that when I ran this same race last year, I ran 19:30 on the course. Now keep in mind that this course has some nasty, steep, rolling hills. These hills keep coming for a whole mile and they can really test even the most seasoned runner. One of the things that is different when you are facing a race with these type of hills is that you have to make sure to have some weight training, especially in your upper body. You will need that to pump your arms some to get up the hills that await.

That brought me to the second part of my workout. Today I wanted to start focusing on my arms with the daunting thought of those hills in my mind as the music blared through my headphones. Here’s what I tackled on Monday:

3 sets of Arm Curls (25, 30, 35 lbs)

3 sets of Deltoid raises (12, 15, 15 lbs)

3 sets of Lat Pulls dowsn (60, 70, 80lbs)

3 sets of Rope tricep pulldowns (45, 50, 55lbs)

I have to say doing my run outdoors got me warmed up like a treadmill never had before! I maintained my sweat the entire time I was lifting weights. I left the gym on a Monday night feeling great! I’m hoping to complete two more quality workouts like that this week. My goal for race day as of now is to go under 19 minutes. It’s going to require some hill work and some more speed work. Ah yes all good things to look forward to! lol

Remember, it is always about setting GOALS, working hard to try and achieve them and hopefully CRUSHING those goals!! It won’t come over night but BELIEVE that you will get there!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Motivation 

Ok folks, I have a confession to make. I didn’t run this weekend, nor did I exercise either. I haven’t had a weekend like that in some time. Do I feel bad? Not really. A little guilty perhaps. But the calendar says it’s Monday and for me, that’s the time to get back on the fitness grind.

For many folks, Monday’s are a drag. But they don’t have to be. They can also be the start of a new beginning, especially for someone who has been away from the fitness game for a while. If you don’t know where to start, it’s ok. Start by making simple decisions in your daily routine that are different from what you’re doing now. Here are some simple examples:

  • If you commute to work, get off a stop earlier than you usually do and walk the rest of the way. Tomorrow do the same and perhaps add the return trip also.
  • Drink coffee? Soda? Start to cut back the sugar. Sugar can pack on the pounds and if your trying to lose them, sugar will help.
  • Look at your daily habits. Do you really need to binge watch all of those shows on Netflix on Hulu? Ask yourself how much time you spend daily on shows and start replacing that time with exercise. Walks, runs, trips to the gym. Anything is better than self-imposed Netflix marathons.
  • Guilty of ordering take out? Don’t do it this week. Look over your diet and make healthier decisions.
  • Add veggies to everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner and slowly cut out the carbs. It goes a long way – trust me!
  • A lot of us have iphones – use the apple health app! Count your steps, track what you eat. It’s such a useful tool that is already on your phone but people don’t use it! Try it!
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Is Netflix your marathon? Consider scaling that back!

 

Of course, I highly recommend running to anyone looking for a longer term plan to feel better. My favorite recommendation for beginners, schedule yourself to take part in a 5k race in the next 3 months. That’s 3.1 miles. That gives you 3 months to get your body used to running 3.1 miles. Start out light. Jog a mile a few days a week for the first couple of weeks. Then increase it to 1.5 miles and then gradually increase it each week. In your practices leading up to race day work up to running 4 miles max. If you can get two or three 4 mile runs in then a 5k on race day will be easy! But listen to your body and progress accordingly. If running is new to you make sure you stretch properly before and after and if you feel pain, not soreness, take a couple of days off before resuming.
Monday’s should not be looked at as doom and gloom! It’s time to start a new routine! I gave you a couple of examples of how to start a new routine but ultimately its up to you to figure out what it is that you need to change!

Just promise me one thing – that you will make today a better day than yesterday!

Running doesn’t have to be fast – just consistent!