When The Wind Blows!

Sure it’s easy to read the title of this post and call it a day! Sunday it was blustery in New York. Winds were steady at about 25-30 miles per hour all day with gusts over 40 miles per hours. This was after a full day of rain on Saturday. If you recall my post from Friday, I needed to get a run into my schedule that wasn’t a treadmill run. I will admit, I was out pretty late on Friday night celebrating a friend’s birthday, so the rain on Saturday made it easy for me to skip a run on this day. In hindsight I regret not running on Saturday, Which meant I had to face the winds on Sunday.

If you are like me you woke up and saw everything blowing around. I took a quick trip to the bagel store and the route there and back usually sees a lot of runners taking a Sunday morning jog. Not today. I had doubts about taking that run. Gusts of up to 40 miles per hour kept rattling my window and taunting me. Knowing I have a race on Thursday coming up I asked myself, “what if we wake up Thursday and the winds are blowing then”. That was enough to get the running shoes on and head on out the door.

On A Windy Day, Consider Forgetting About Pace!

 

My five mile run was interesting to say the least. I thought I felt good on the first 2-3 miles of my run. I wasn’t going all out but I wanted to go fast enough to stretch my strides out as I went along in hopes of getting faster as the run went on. That didn’t quite happen when it was all said and done. My fastest mile was my 3rd mile and it started to get slower after that. That was simply due to the route I ran. It was an out and back loop. The wind was at my back on the first half. On the second half, it was like running into a wall. To the people driving by in cars, I probably gave them a chuckle. There were times I had to squint just to avoid leaves and debris from blowing around in my face. There were times were it was blowing pretty hard that I had to put my head down in an effort to barrel thru the winds. Those last two miles sucked. At the end it felt like an uphill climb for 2 miles even though it wasn’t.

But I stuck to my plan. I got a chance to test out how things feel when the winds blow. Next time I might wear some shades or goggles to keep the crap out of my eyes. Sure it was inconvenient to run in the wind but the debris swirling was a bit of an issue and something I learned next time I run in these types of conditions. Yes I said next time I run in these conditions. If I’m sticking to a plan and the winds are blowing on the day I have a run, screw it, I’m going out there. I equate it to running a hilly course, “the uphills will kill you but the downhills will kiss you.” The winds will smack you in the face but they will propel you also when they are at your back. Yes I know I didn’t make my analogy on the winds rhyme like I did with the hills but you got my point right??

Here are a few other things I took away as tips for the next time you or I have to tackle a windy run:

  • Consider wearing shades- debris will fly into your eyes
  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing. I had a wind breaker on that was just flapping all over the place creating drag! Wear tighter fitting gear!
  • Be ready to have some mental strength. You can’t control the wind so don’t give into it!
  • Definitely consider doing a loop run so that not only will you have to run against the wind but you will also run with it at your back!
  • Forget pace. You will not run your normal pace on a windy day so don’t over exert yourself trying to nail it. Just cover the distance you need to on a windy day!

How about you? Did you stick to your plan this weekend? If you didn’t, there’s always a new time go start or make up for a day that was skipped. Brush off the hiccup in your plan and press on! Thanksgiving is coming and YOU KNOW you will eat more than you should. We all will. You have 3 days to offset what will inevitably go down on Thursday. Here’s your push – go do it

The Emotions Of A Runner

This race moves participants in so many ways!

I wasn’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, I’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 couldn’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 can’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- I’m a runner and this is our Super Bowl, Our World Series, I’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 won’t have this race, we don’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

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!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Run For Swag! 

Sporting a t-shirt from from the 2017 NYC Half Marathon!

Many of my friends will likely telll you that when they see me running on the streets or working out in the gym there is a very high possibility that they will see me sporting a t-shirt or some article of clothing from an event I have participated in. I can’t help it that I’m a walking billboard but I love it! Hey if you have taken the time to train for a race and complete it, why not be proud of it. You SHOULD be proud of it! 
On Monday night though I realized that I have taken my swag madness to another level. When I run on the road, I always use Under Armour’s Mapy My Run Application. It works for me. Gives me detailed mile splits and tells me in my ears what my overall pace is each mile and what pace my last mile was. 

A sample screen shot of the “Map My Fitness” app


Last week I noticed an email from Under Armour that said “$40 off any order of $100 or more on the Under Armour website”. Apprently the coupon was sent to me because I accumulated a lot of miles on the app. So I figured I would give it a try and order some items that I had been looking to buy anyways. Low and behold, I received my items Monday in the mail! All brand new, all fit fine! I was able to get a pair of tapered sweats ($40 list price) , cold weather compression running pants ($50 list price)  and 6 pairs of socks ($30 list price) for $70 with free shipping! If this isn’t another reason to run then I don’t know what is! Needless to say, I think I will keep using their app to track my runs! 

Under Armour swag in the mail thanks to App discount!

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!

 

Why I Got Back Into Running

First Step

Maybe its time for your first step?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I got back into running about 4 years ago. It has led me on quite a journey learning about myself and as long as my legs will allow me to keep running pain free, I don’t think this journey will end. But where is it going? Well to know that, I’ll have to tell you where I’ve been first!

I ran cross country and track & field in HS and had some pretty good success with it. Managed to get down to a 2:02 half mile and a 5:05 mile. I would say that is ok.

Picture From HS

Slim and ready for a race (circa 1990)

After high school, I continued to run in college and even shortly after college but primarily to stay in shape. Even though I did run after high school, my intensity level was a lot less than it was in high school!

Years went by and as family life settled in and daily routines as a homeowner and father of two arose, the pounds started to pile on and the waistline started to expand. If I ran 3 times a year I was probably exaggerating. Then in 2012  I got a phone call from a friend who I ran cross country with in high school. He had become the alumni director in my high school and was reaching out to some of his running buddies to get a group of alumni runners to run an alumni race at the school’s varsity cross country city championships. I couldn’t pass up seeing old friends and running the course I used to run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, so you know I said yes and showed up.

Vanny! (Photo Credit: Van Cortlandt TC)

In high school, I ran the 2.5 mile (4k) course in high school usually under 15 minutes. On that day I ran the alumni race and out of 120 alumni, I finished 118th in the race and it might as well have been 119th because me and a buddy ran together and we finished together. My time was 23 minutes and change! Now let me stop for a second and say time should never be an issue to a new runner. But when you used to do this week in and week out and see where you are now, it’s an eye opener!  I felt helpless on some of those hills while I was running and woke up the next day in insane amounts of pain.

In the following months, I let that day scar me for a while for really no reason. Weight piled on after that and I developed some nagging pains in my ankle that a foot doctor said were weight related. I peaked out at close to 200 pounds.

Peaking at 200 pounds in 2013 – boy was that bad!

 

I love my family but when your daily routine consists of work, home, eating, drinking, lounging around the house and sleeping, it’s time for a change.

Cue up running.

My doctor prescribed me orthopedic inserts. At a very slow pace, I started to run again regularly. I changed my diet and in the course of a year my weight started to drop. In that year, I would come home and spend time with my family but I would yearn for a run. Sometimes when I would have a bad day at work, and even to this day, I tell my family, “Look, I’m not in a good place right now, can you give me an hour?”. Off I would go for a run and I would come back a changed person emotionally and mentally. For the past four years my need for a run has been like a drug but of course this is a good drug! I blame the euphoria that I mentioned in my last post and the endorphins that running brings.

How many of you out there feel tired all of the time. How often do you settle for nights on the couch which follow another night of takeout food? Weekends come and go and no exercise was done. Do you miss how you looked in high school or college? Are the clothes getting tight? Or do you wake up hungover way too many mornings?

Running worked for me – it can work for you! Start that change – all it takes is for you to get up and take the first step!

Get out and run, one step at a time!

Pushing Thru The Pain For The Euphoria

Each and every time I start to get dressed for a run, I utter to myself, “Man I don’t want to go on this run”. Even once I am stretched out and start hitting the pavement, I still harbor the same resentment for pretty much the entire first mile. But somewhere along the way, those feelings of angst start to dissipate. Maybe it’s the thoughts of every day life that start running thru my head, or perhaps it’s the song on my headphones, or the surroundings I pass that make me forget that I am running. And even in the rarest of occasions, if I am just having a bad day of running and I feel crappy the entire run, there is one thing that has never failed to happen – the sense of accomplishment that I have when I am done!

For some of us that do we run because we “think we have to”. While running is a great way to stay fit, ever try approaching it as a way to set goals for yourself? For me, it’s been a new way to push yourself and the fun thing is that you can set new goals for yourself every day whether they or short term or long term goals. No matter what it is in life, achieving any type of goal is extremely gratifying isn’t it? The next time you run, don’t just hop on a treadmill or run around the block, set a goal instead. Set a mile as an initial goal. Then change it next time to either be longer or faster. For folks that have been running a while, set a calendar for yourself and mix your running experiences up.

Goal crushing is EUPHORIC! To look back and see what you’ve done and feel the euphoria is tremendous! To have run a bit while you were crushing goals is not only a benefit to your mind and self esteem but to that body of yours as well!

So what are my goals? Well 4 years ago, I just wanted to lose weight. After a year, running was helping me to lose weight but I started to fall in love with running again because of the gratifying feelings I felt after my runs. So I signed up for the NYC Marathon lotteries for a couple of years. Last year I got tired of being rejected for entry to the race. So I signed up for the NYC Half Marathon lottery and got accepted into that. Now my goal became training for that half marathon. From then, I’ve kept scheduling races for myself and they have served as my goals on a consistent basis.

Now back to you guys. Looking at yourself and I am sure you are all busy with day to day responsibilities, maybe races are not achievable goals right now but focus perhaps on setting aside time for you to workout and run just a little. Build on your goals from there . You can do it. The EUPHORIA awaits you. Don’t let others enjoy it while you cling to the same hapless feelings of the everyday monotony!

Get out there, put one front in front of the other and RUN!