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! 

Marathon Expo In Full Swing!

An inspiring view message to all marathon runners!

All these years that I have been running and I never brought myself to visit one of the NYC marathon expos. What have I been missing all of these years? Well finally Thursday was the day that I made my way over to Jacob Javits Center and I was not disappointed in the least! The only thing that I was disappointed in was that  I didn’t give myself enough time there! Yes I left there frustrated that I only gave myself an hour of my lunch break there!

A huge welcome before getting your numbers!

I arrived at Javits Center at around 12;30pm and was literally overwhelmed when I walked in. I was not expecting the massiveness of it all! Many of the volunteers that were working the venue were directing guests upon arrival to the race number pick up area. Sadly for me, I am not running the race this year so there was no need for me to go into that area. I will say that to have the bags and numbers for 50,000 plus runners requires alot of space so this area of the expo in itself was very big!

An insane amount of official merchandise!

Once runners were done picking up their numbers, they were led right into the midst of the New Balance Official 2017 NYC Marathon Merchandise area. I have run lots of road races before but I have never seen a race have so much official merchandise! So many t-shirts with the NYC Marathon logo. So many fleeces, jackets, pants, shorts, winter tops, winter bottoms, hats, gloves, and every other accessory you can think of, all of them, with the NYC Marathon logo on it! There were so many items I wanted to buy but I couldn’t let myself buy something that said “2017 NYC Marathon” when I wasn’t running it. So I actually found a couple of items that didn’t have the year on it. I was very happy with these items but then I thought to myself “when I come back for the 2018 expo, I am going to have to come back with at the very least $500“!

A nice pair of cold weather gloves with no year on them!


After I left the New Balance area, the next part of the expo was what was considered the expo itself. Rows upon rows of different vendors selling every single type of merchandise that could ever be used by a runner. The amount of items I browsed was dizzying likely because I viewed them all so fast because I was limited in time. I tried a few different sports drinks, tried some protein bars and was introduced to Gatorade “carb-gummies” which I found as a personal future alternative to the “Gu Gels” that I have always used. My only issue with these gatorade gummies, they come 4 in a pack. If i only want one or two during a race, do I really want to carry the others during my race? Will they melt? I am going to have to research this a bit! 

Carb gummies from Gatorade!


From there I saw so many different types of apparel vendors, from North Face, to Paragon, to Nike, the list just went on and on. If there was an accessory or gadget that a runner may use, several vendors were selling them all.  I stumbled across a couple of vendors that were selling memorabilia keep sakes that would preserve your race number pictures and medals to commemorate your race. Definitely something I would consider getting should I ever complete the NYC Marathon.

Another course strategy presentation!


Tucked away in another corner was a section that was dedicated to the Marathon itself. In this corner there were a couple of NYRR coaches talking about race strategy. In one of my last posts, I wrote about attending a race course strategy event on Monday at the Marathon Pavilion. It was very nice to see them give multiple course strategy sessions because there is some really great insight discussed at this session and I think all runners should try to attend one that fits their schedules. Amongst the other items that they had regarding the marathon in this corner was an opportunity to meet the “Pace team” members and to learn the mile splits that you would have to run in order to meet your desired time. There were also virtual reality kiosks set up so that you could see several parts of the race in a virtual environment right smack dab in the middle of the Javits Center .

My hour was done and I barely scraped the surface at the expo. My last stop on the way out was at the Disney World table. I had heard of races run at Disney before and I wondered how one could sign up for them. The table had several medals from past Disney races on display and I fell in love with all of them. At the table they also had a timeline for upcoming races in the next couple of years. I have the timeline saved at home and I have entered the registration dates as calendar entires on my i-phone. This might just be my next race after the 2018 NYC Marathon!

Just look at these Disney Medals – #bucketlist!


I am still a year away from running the 2018 NYC Marathon but here I am looking at races beyond that. This is what will hopefully keep me motivated in the years to come. This is what can get some of you motivated, if you haven’t started running yet. Pick a race and start training for it. Come on what are you waiting for! 

In the meantime, if you need more inspiration, check out the NYC Marathon Expo at the Javits Center like I did. They will be there thru Saturday! Hope you enjoy it as much as  I did!

And for anyone reading this that is running in Sunday’s New York City marathon, I want to personally wish you all nothing but strong legs, hearts fulls of pride, and finally minds full of courage! This race is yours – enjoy every second of it!! 

 

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!

Day One or One Day?

I saw this quote today on my Instagram feed from a very motivational person that I follow, Audrey Puente from, Fox 5 here in New York. She posted this quote and it’s a question that I think many people should ask. 

I actually asked myself this question repeatedly when it came to the New York City Marathon. I always said “one day I want to run the marathon”. I said that for years! This past March I set up a plan for me to run it in 2018. Well actually New York Road Runners did. As of now, I’m qualified and slated to run the 2018 running of the marathon. I got tired of saying one day!! 

So which one will you choose- Day One or One Day?

Enjoy the weekend my friends!! 

Life’s decisions!

 

 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!

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!

 

Workout – Thursday 10/19/17

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Say no to the couch and yes to sweat!


Ever since I ran the Staten Island Half-Marathon two Sundays ago, I have scaled back on my running. The training for that race put a lot of miles on my legs and with my next two races being a lot shorter, I decided to scale back a bit. In fact scaling back after a half marathon is highly recommended by the so called experts – see this article!

This past Monday, I did some striders on grass to stretch out the legs a bit. On Tuesday, I ran some shorter distances on the track and focused on speed.

Today the weather was too nice to not go for a run. The layoff from running long distances seemed to have helped as my pace overall was pretty swift.

Here is the funny part though and the part that I think pertains to many folks reading this. I commute from Manhattan each day on the dreaded Long Island Railroad. Today I knocked out on the train ride home. I mean I was dreaming and the whole bit! Got home and felt like sleeping some more, but with the weather as beautiful as it was, I knew I wasn’t going to get too many more days like this to run during the week. So I pushed myself. I downed a Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink and off I went. I highly recommend these if you are feeling sluggish before a workout!

Got back at 7:30pm in time to enjoy some quality time with the family before everyone is off to bed. Once they knocked out, I logged on here about a half hour ago to write this. Why am I telling you my day? Because I want you all to see that even though our days can be busy and you may feel bogged down by it all – you can still get that work out in! You don’t need that much time – I gave it an hour today but a half hour would have been more than enough. I always say – “a little workout is still better than no workout“!

I’ll be posting my workouts from time to time. If you start to workout too, share yours with me! Would love to see your progress!

That 4th mile was under 8:00 because I waited at a traffc light for like 30 seconds during that mile – argghhh!!