Upcoming WE ARE NYC RC Runs!

Happy hump day to everyone out there! The sun hasn’t come out in New York city that much the last few days but that doesn’t keep this group from running. So many of our members continue to post their “rainy days” run since they keep gaining their motivation to run in the rain from the group itself! Another benefit of being part of a running community like ours!

With that being said, here are some of our upcoming group runs that you all can partake in to keep that motivation going! Hope to see you at one of these!

Club Members At Last Weekend’s 5th Avenue Mile!

WEEKLY GROUP RUN IN CENTRAL PARK! (all paces are welcomed!)

• WHAT- Weekly group run (5-6 miles)

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Thursday, September 13, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:00pm, leaving run center at 6:15pm

Taken at the last workout led by club member Tobias

5 Mile Run & HIIT Training!

• WHAT- 5 mile Central Park Loop/HIIT workout 10 mins of high intensity interval training, followed by a one mile run to a location in central park. Repeat 5 times for a total of 5 miles and 50 mins of HIIT. Led by one of our club runners Tobias!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Saturday, September 15, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 8:00am at Run Center

Members at the NYRR 15 Mile training series! 18 Mile one coming up this Sunday!

NYRR NYC MARATHON TRAINING–18 MILE RUN!

• WHAT- 18 mile training run. While this is a NYRR run, you can run this together w/ a club member! After all, it is an 18 mile run!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet by 102nd transfers on East side by softball field 8.

• WHEN – Sunday, September 16, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:30am, run time 7:00am!

Training For A First Race

If you have committed to start running in 2018, congratulations!

Hopefully one of the things that you have done to help you towards this goal is to commit to a race. If you haven’t been a runner up til now, working up towards a 5k, a 5 miler or even a 10k can be a daunting task. But let’s not fret, with some patience and perseverance you can absolutely get there. In fact, I try to instill in most people that not only will you get there but you are going to enjoy it so much that you are going to want to do this again and again and maybe even on a bigger scale! With that said, I decided to list some key points to keep in mind as you prepare for that first race. These are from personal experience and I am sure they will help in your prep. In fact after all of the races I have done, I still follow these when I start to increase the distance of my races to distances I have never run before!

Give yourself enough time to prep for your big day – race day!

 

  • Plan right.Set a race date far enough out into the future that allows you adequate time to prepare for. Its perfectly ok to be excited and eager to get to your first race date but if you are new to running, you want to give yourself ample time to prepare. 3 months is a reasonable time to prepare for a race like a 5k (3.1 miles) or something comparable. If you have chosen something a little longer adjust the time frame accordingly.
  • Start slow. If you are new to running, please do not try and run your scheduled race distance in the first month of training runs. For example, if your first race is a 5k, build up to the 3.1 miles slowly. Start in the first couple of weeks to run one mile without stopping. When that feels comfortable work up to 1.5 miles and so on and so on. Also, do not be afraid to walk in the beginning. There are some people that find it beneficial to take a short walk and continue running. This is your race and no one else’s! Your goal is to finish the race and feel good! Also, very important that most new runners overlook is stretching. Stretch 5-10 minutes before each of your runs as well as a few minutes after your runs.
  • Listen to your body. If your body isn’t accustomed to running, certain muscles will talk back to you at first. Don’t feel the need to run everyday. Allow your muscles to recover before going out for another run. At first, run every other day to allow your muscles to recuperate. Do not feel the need to run 7 days a week. For older runners, you may need two days off between runs. That’s perfectly fine because while you want to run your target distance on race day, we also don’t want you injured while training for it!
  • Keep it interesting. Many people shy away from running because they say it is boring. I cringe when I hear that because sometimes they give up on running before ever running a race! I firmly believe that if you stick with your running until you have conquered that first race, you may get addicted to it. So how do we keep it interesting? Listen to music while you run works for me. Also, don’t run the same routes every day because that can get boring. Sometimes I say that running is the best sight seeing in your neighborhood. Also running with a friend or a group can keep thinks interesting. If you are engaged in good conversation, those miles will pass by fast! Finally, pick a running application to track your runs. The stats on these things are amazing and they actually can add a sense of fun to your runs. Check out Strava (in my opinion the best) or Map My Fitness by Under Armour.
  • Change up your routes and become a sightseer in your area while you run!

  • Ignore social media accomplishments. Yes you are reading my blog and you might follow my social media and I am telling you to ignore me! But wait – don’t ignore me all together! Ignore the accomplishments of other runners. Don’t be fixated on the distances or times that other runners are running and posting on social media. As I mentioned before, this is your journey and no one else’s. Don’t get me wrong, I think its good to follow runners on social media to see their experiences, to see what works for them and to learn from their mistakes. But sometimes new runners, say “well I am never going to run that time” or “gosh, my times for a mile or so much slower than theirs”. Who cares!! All of these runners started out somewhere and now you are! Your progress is what is important so while its good to follow other runners, never ever compare yourself to anyone else!
  • Trust the process and see it thru to the end. As I mentioned before, so many folks start to run and then give it up. I cannot stress how wonderful it is to run that first race. And then to run the next one. And the next one after that and so on. The experience has so many emotions. The nervousness before the race. The comraderie with other runners. The struggle of the race itself. The sense of accomplishment when you finish. There may be even more emotions for you as well and this continues to happen with each race you run. But lets not get ahead of ourselves – just get thru the first race!

The year is just getting started and with so many races that 2018 has to offer, your possibilities are endless. Hope the above can help you get on track towards your first race. Drop me a line and let me know how it went. Oh and hope to see you are the finish line!

 

Stick with the process and maybe I’ll see you at the finish line!

 

 

 

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!

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

My Obsession With Vanny

This is what makes cross country what it is!


For absolutely no sane reason, cross country running is something that has stayed with me for some time now. It is the type of running that I do the least of because sadly there aren’t too many cross country style courses by where I live to run on. But yet when an opportunity presents itself to run it, I jump at the opportunity to do so! 

What is cross country running you ask? No it’s not running from east coast to west coast! And it’s definitely not road running! It’s for the most part trail running, occasional grassy patches and lots of brutal hills with unstable footing at times. In short, it’s misery for those that have never run it. I think the reason that it has a special place in my heart is because when I first did any type of organized running in high school, it was the first type of race I ran. 

The Infamous Back Hills Of Vanny

The course that I ran the most was the famous course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, affectionately known as Vanny to many “harriers” or cross country runners. The New York Times wrote up a great piece about the course a few years back. The article describes the many facets of the course that I fell in love with as a high schooler. 

This Saturday, I go back and visit my old friend Vanny. For the last few years I have been paying Vanny an annual visit as I run the alumni race that is part of my former high school’s city championship meet. For me it’s not only a chance to run a cross country course that to this day I still admire, but it’s a chance to see some old coaches, and cheer on my alma mater. 

As I go back each year however it’s a continuous challenge that i’ve set for myself.  To put this challenge into perspective I recall how in high school, my best time on the course was under 15 minutes for the 2.5 miles course (4000 meters). Keep in mind I ran that course four years straight each weekend from September thru November. When I returned to the course for the first time since high school back in 2009, I didn’t know what to expect. I went into the race that year with a mentality of “whatever happens, just happens”. Well when I crossed the finish line, the clock read 23:32. I just looked at the time, laughed as it was almost 10 minutes slower than high school and then hit the floor because my quads and hamstrings were shot from scaling those hills for the first time in 22 years. It was quite a scene and quite a memory now that I  look back on it. 

The serenity of Vanny makes it very deceptive!

So I’ve gone back 4 of the last 5 years to challenge Vanny again:

2012 – 21:45

2013- 21:10

2015- 20:30

2016- 19:30

I return to visit my friend Vanny again this Saturday. While I can tell you that as I am typing this that I feel confident that I can run faster than last year, I have to remember that we are talking about cross country here, especially Vanny. What if I twist an ankle in the “Back Hills”? What if I hit a ditch on the grassy flats? What if I didn’t train on enough hills and they destroy me again? What if I take a tumble on the steep and fast down hills. 

This is what I love about cross country. The fact that there are so many different variables makes it even more challenging. Just when you think you are ready, you just never know what might happen!
As I go into my “date” with Vanny, I can’t help but remember an old saying one of my high school coaches used to tell us :

“You’ve never lived until you’ve died in the Back Hills of Vanny”

That saying is true as it’s known by a lot of New York City runners. I’ll let you know on Monday how my date with Vanny went!

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!