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

 

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!

 

 

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

Monday Motivation – Starting A Run Plan!

Good Morning blog world! It’s a Monday and the sun is out! Sure there is snow on the ground but let’s not allow that to foil our plans. If you have been thinking about getting a running workout started, let’s not let the weather steer you wrong. If you are ever going to take one word from me take this. The hardest part of the whole process is taking that first step out of the door. Once you are out there your body will adjust and that cold weather that you were concerned with won’t be much of a concern.

Now that you have taken my word on that, here are some simple steps that I recommend new runners keep in mind as they get acclimated to the whole process. These are steps that I myself followed a few years back when I startedย  running again. Like many of you, my schedule is busy. Once you have a job, a family, children, friends and whatever else, it gets hard to get into a routine. I totally get it. But that doesn’t mean all hope has to be lost. If I can get it done, I know you all can get it done!

  • Before you take a step running wise, commit to yourself that this is YOUR journey. You don’t have to run at anyone’s pace or beat any certain times. This journey is yours and you are the master of your goals!
  • Once you have committed to my first point above, do set a goal for yourself. It can be as simple as running a mile without stopping or it could be running a 5k. It’s not easy to recommend a standard goal because everyone has different capabilities and fitness levels. Therefor I will say this, in general, your goal should challenge you but should also be something attainable. Set a reasonable time frame for your goal of somewhere between 1-2 months. Need a race to run?ย ย Check my race calendar on my blog here! (sorry NYC area only!)
  • Here is the most important part in my opinion, particularly for busy folks. Schedule your workouts! People starting to run say “I think I willย try and run 3-4 times a week”. Three to four times a week is great butย saying just that, leavesย things too open ended. Instead of saying 3-4 times per week, schedule those 3-4 times per week and tell your family and/or friends about your scheduling so that you don’t run into scheduling conflicts with your workouts. This may sound funny, but when I schedule my workouts, I set aside time slots and send calendar invites to my wife so that the time is blocked out on her calendar so that she doesn’t try and have me run errands or handle the kids during those times. Too often we “say” we will run but then “something” comes up!ย I found scheduling workouts to be very effective to meeting your goals!
  • If you have a mobile device download one of the well known running apps that exists. Two of my favorites are Map My Fitness by Under Armour and Strava. These apps run with the use of the GPS on your mobile device and can track your runs as well as the times and splits. I knowย I previously said not to worry about running a certain time, but tracking your own workouts will help you monitor your progress. These apps are free to use and both have premium options to add on. Basic tracking of your workouts is free. Don’t have a mobile device? Pick up an inexpensive stop watch on Amazon and log your runs in a small running diary of sorts.
  • Another very important tip that many people over look is stretching. I know we are pressed for time, but please please please do not by pass your stretching. If you are short on time, shorten your run but get your stretching in. Five minutes of stretching will go a long way especially if you are new to running. Remember, your muscles are new to this do. The last thing you want to do it build up the motivation to start a running plan and then get injured. Here are some key stretches that I do myself before I start a run.

Running Stretches

  • When running, run at a pace where you can hold a conversation. If you are running and you are out of breath and cannot hold a conversation, then you are starting out too fast. I have mentioned to many beginners that the number one thing to focus onย at the beginning isย your breathing. Never mind your legs or pace or anything else. If you lose your breathing tempo, everything else will follow suit.
  • As hard as it may be, don’t think of running as a bad thing. So many people never see it thru but the feeling at the end of meeting your goals when running is euphoric. For many it is a feeling that not many other daily things can bring.

I will leave the ‘starting out” tips at that for now as I don’t want to bombard beginners too much. As always if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me!

Experienced runners, have any tips for new runners starting out? Share them in the comments section!

Have a great week everyone!!

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!

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 Packย – 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!

The Emotions Of A Runner

This race moves participants in so many ways!

I wasnโ€™t planning on a Friday after 5pm post but then this afternoon happened. I walked to Central Park today because it was gorgeous out. I had read that the finish line for the New York City Marathon was finally complete so I figured I walk over to Central Park. 
The weather was beautiful out so uptown I went on 6th Avenue from my office at Rockefeller Center. Halfway on my walk up 6th avenue at around 54th street, Iโ€™m waiting for the light to change, and I see a young woman running towards me. I looked, I looked again more intently and I couldnโ€™t believe my eyes. It was one of my favorite runners currently on the circuit, none other than Brenda Martinez. I COMPLETELY FROZE for 3 seconds. I watched her run by and thought about asking for a selfie. Then I  had all of these thoughts

“maybe she was on a final training run for the Abbot 5k Dash To The Finish- you canโ€™t ask her for a selfie- what if you mess up her training run and she loses because of you- what if you stir up attention to her and she gets mobbed?” 

Recognized Brenda b/c she was still wearing the shirt in the pic she posted about an hour earlier lol

By the time I asked all those questions in my head – she was gone. Running down 6th ave- it was good to see you Brenda! But i continued my walk smiling because I had seen one of my favorite runners up close. Pretty damn cool!

The marathon – truly a global affair!

Onwards I went to Central Park! I made  it to the finish line and what first  struck me were all of the flags from all of the countries being representee at the marathon. How beautiful that sight was. How beautiful it must feel coming up that final uphill running between all of those flags.
Finally I made it to the finish line. I felt ecstatic about being able to see it. There was excitement because there were people meeting and discussing their plans for meeting their family members after the race. There were news reporters interviewing people about the race. So much buzz and optimism! Then I started to long for running this race on Sunday. Maybe I was teasing myself going to the Pavilion, Expo and now the finish line all in one week. But then I thought “screw this- Iโ€™m a runner and this is our Super Bowl, Our World Series, Iโ€™m going to celebrate”. 

Next time I see you, I cross you with hands held high!

While I still felt feelings of wanting to run the race. I started to chat with people that were taking pictures with their numbers and with their families. Heck I implored people to get into the pics with their families on a couple of occasions and I snapped the pictures for them. I congratulated them for getting the opportunity to run th best race in the world and wished hem nothing but luck!

On my way out, I turned back because I saw Fred. Fred Lebow that is. The grandfather of the NYC Marathon has his famous stature just to the left of the finish line. I snapped a pic of Fred and literally said “thanks Fred”. Without him he wonโ€™t have this race, we donโ€™t feel these emotions and we would never be able to say the words “New York City Marathon”.

I keep saying I will see you next year, but getting closer to the race this year has me more motivated than ever!

Once again good luck to all of those running this beautiful race on Sunday!

The father of the NYC Marathon – Fred Lebow