"Aspire not to have more, but to be more"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What the heck is up with designers these days?

Something that I have always struggled to understand since I was involved with United Students for Fair Trade is why is apparel these days so much lower quality than it was 50 years ago? Even in the past 10 years alone I find that the materials and methods used to make our every day apparel has gone down the drain. What the heck is going on? Wouldn't designers use common sense and choose higher quality, longer lasting fabrics? Wouldn't the supervisors in factories overseas take pride in the work that is being completed and actually reward the hard work being done? Well unfortunately no, that's not the way it works.

A few years ago I visited a former sweatshop in the Dominican Republic on a trade justice trip. After speaking with the workers in the factory as well as at a fair trade chocolate cooperative.

I don't understand why people are so motivated by money. Yes, it's nice to get rewarded for hard work, but I feel like I have been meeting more and more people these days that place material goods higher on their level of important than their own family or friends! Maybe I've just become more aware of this since I've personally hit a financially tough spot in my life. It's upsetting that it's all people worry abotu and money is their only way to happiness. How can we change the world for the better and encourage people to live simply so others may simply live?

My reaction to WSJ's "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It"

"OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It" <-- No, how about YOU get over it??

On November 12, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by Chad Stafko titled "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over it" . I recommend you read it if you haven't.
Basically, Chad writes about runners and anger about them putting something as simple as a bumper sticker on their car indicating a race distance that they have completed (such as 13.1 or 26.2). Well Chad, I have BOTH on my car and display them with pride.

I'm not going to lie, when I was driving cross country I would look in my rearview mirror to see what people's reactions were when I drove past them. The majority of them would talk but who knows if they were talking about the fact that I was passing them or the fact that I had those bumper stickers on my car. I think that those stickers really unite the whole crazy running community.

As I was running today, multiple cars passed me with those stick figures on their back window displaying for the world to see how big (or small) their family is, and how many kids they have. In my opinion, if someone driving those cars is against runners having runner bumper stickers, why is it right for them to display their family? To me, the family bumper stickers are worse than the runner bumper stickers. What if a couple can't have kids but really wants to? Wouldn't driving by these stickers be a stab at their heart? I guess some people don't take it personally, but sheesh, people take the chill pill before you go getting mad at runners for displaying something their proud of! At least we don't walk around all year long wearing our half or full marathon medals!!

To close, here is the BEST response I have seen to the WSJ article: The WSJ's "Get Over It" Column, Translated

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Margaritas and Miles

I went out for margaritas at my favorite Mexican Restaurant Monday night after work. Once I got home, I realized I hadn't even eaten dinner but was so tired I just went straight to bed! Woke up this morning and was dreading the Ladies Run but those margaritas did wonderful things - I wish I could have run longer.

Today I had my longest run since the NYC Marathon - just about 6 miles! It's good to be back on the road. Some people have been asking what my next race will be -- right now it looks like the Rock n Roll DC Half in March with some friends and then the Vermont City full marathon at the end of May. I'm tempted to do the Rock n Roll full because it's only $15 more...for twice the distance...but we will see what the doc says (I have to see a chiropractor about my feet - oy vai). I definitely know I can do two full marathons in a year, it's just deciding which two I want to do is the hard part! Like I said, I have my eyes on Vermont City (since I deferred my entry from last year) and possibly Chicago in the fall? We'll see ;)

Also - some of my running blogger friends have been posting about two different initiatives by the running community to stay fit with some pretty cool prizes - one is "Pile on the Miles" (aka #POTM2013) and the other is the 2013 Holiday Running Streak . Pile on the Miles is a goal-setting initiative for the month of November managed by one of my favorite bloggers this year - RunEatRepeat . The idea is that you choose the mileage you want to run in the month of November and you do it! I just realized that I never signed up, so today I did. My original goal was to run 50 miles after I've run the NYC Marathon, and I'm only 24.25 miles away from that goal! I'm going to do the Holiday Running Streak as well - thats where you run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's....we'll see how that goes. I encourage you to sign up if you haven't already!

That's all for now - happy running!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

One week post-NYC Marathon

I can't believe it's already been a week since I ran the NYC Marathon. I'm STILL all smiles - definitely one of the best moments of my life. I know I have probably said this before but I am so thankful to be where I am in my life right now. From my family to my lululemon family, there are so many things I look forward to every day when I wake up. Running is fun. Bikram Yoga is fun. Life is fun. Earlier this week I realized that there are so many miserable people in this world. How can they be so miserable? How can negative people live their lives day to day? I wouldn't be able to do it; too depressing. I choose to be happy and I hope that I can inspire others to do the same. There are so many great things happening, why miss out on them by being miserable?

This week I "took off" from running. I got back from New York late Monday night and was so excited to sleep in my bed! Tuesday AM I was up early to lead a Ladies Running Group at 9am at Charm City Run -- I only did 2 miles at a sluggish pace, but it was nice to be able to loosen up my legs after having sat on a train forever on Monday. Tuesday night I went hardcore and did Bikram at Bikram Yoga Columbia. I could barely walk going in to class, and afterwards I felt renewed and pain free. Turns out I really just needed a good stretch! Wednesday I treated myself to a much needed mani/pedi (it's been too long...) and lots and lots of sleep. I worked quite a bit during the latter part of this past week, but I was able to recover from the marathon. Today I went to Centennial Park and ran 5 miles -- I was going to do 7, but I felt so sluggish that I decided to give myself a break :).

Someone asked me tonight what my next race is: I'm actually not registered for anything - this is the longest I've gone without registering in almost 4 years! As you may remember, I deferred my registration for the Vermont City Marathon last year because of my "injury", so I'm probably going to do that race at the end of May. I'm also probably going to be doing the Rock n Roll Half in DC with one of my best friends from high school in March. My goal for the winter is to do some tuning and get FAST. I now know I can run half and full marathons, I just want to cut down my time and eventually qualify for Boston!

Well that's all for now - hope everyone has a great week! Stay positive :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 ING NYC Marathon

I feel so official typing the title of this blog post. I ran the New York City Marathon this past Sunday.... I actually did it!! I have come so far since the first mile I ran when I was 12 years old, the summer going into my freshman year of high school. All throughout high school I was the slowest girl on my cross country team, but in college I was able to motivate myself to run and wound up running my first half marathon in October 2010. Since then, I have completed 3 full marathons and 9 half marathons. Here is my analysis of the NYC Marathon....

Leading up to the race, the NYRR did a great job at keeping us informed of everything that was going once. They stay on top of their social media and send emails, but not too many. All throughout preparation and race weekend never once did I find myself saying "where should I be now?" or "what should I be doing?". Communication was A+ throughout the entire weekend and I felt very safe, too.

After having my train arrive to NYC almost 2 hours late due to downed power lines, I arrived at the Javits Center for packet pickup around noon. The line was outside and down the sidewalk, but as with most lines in NYC, it moved pretty quickly. Once we entered the actual Javits Center, they checked our bags and in we went to the expo! WOW - it was HUGE and very well organized. I picked up my number, got a picture with the "countdown until race day" clock, and did a little shopping.

The Asics section was huge - as it would be since they were a main sponsor! I decided against buying any apparel because I told myself I would only buy finishers apparel -- what's the point of buying apparel for a race you didn't even finish?! I stopped by the Saucony area and said hi to Jeff, one of our Tech Reps. I treated myself to some CEP recovery socks for post-marathon recovery. I also got my hands on the new Garmin 220, but had to resist buying one. Maybe that will be my birthday present to myself :).

After leaving the expo, I walked around the city for a little bit, grabbed some dinner, and headed up to my cousin's in the Bronx. She was having a "Day of the Dead" party, so I got to meet her friends. I got to bed a little later than I was planning on going to bed, but I was able to sleep in on Saturday so that made up for it. Saturday afternoon we explored the Bronx a little and then before I knew it I was headed down to Manhattan for dinner! Saturday night I stayed with a friend who lives right near Hell's Kitchen, so we had a great Italian dinner. I was in bed by 10:30pm....didn't fall asleep until about 2... and was up at 5:45! I'm really glad I opted to stay with my friend in Manhattan - made the commute so much easier and shorter in the morning!

One mistake I did make was not planning where I was going to be eating breakfast race morning. I assumed there would be a 24hr Starbucks in Times Square - I was wrong! Luckily I didn't have to wait too long until it opened, so I got plain oatmeal, a banana, and a shot of espresso. I hopped on the subway and headed to the Staten Island Ferry!

I arrived and the wait wasn't long and the ferry had plenty of seats. I had selected with my registration to take the 7am ferry, but because I hung around in Times Square for a Starbucks to open, I got on the 7:30. No one checked to see which ferry we were supposed to be on, which was fine with me! I'd say I waited 15 minutes to get on the ferry and the actual ride was about 30 minutes. Once we reached Staten Island, I joined thousands of other runners hanging out in the ferry terminal to stay warm. I charged my phone, got all of my stuff situated for the race, and then was ready to head to the start! I went outside and was greeted with a cold wind and a long line for the buses, but as I mentioned earlier, just because there may be a long line, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be waiting a long time. I was on a bus within 30 minutes and headed to the start.

Once we got off the buses we had to go through metal detectors and headed to Fort Wadsworth. They had tons of port o potties and the corrals were clearly labeled. I started in the 3rd wave in the Orange Corral. I had been warned that I was going to be sitting outside for a long time in the cold, but I was sitting for maybe 10 minutes when they ushered us to the start! The sun was out so it was much warmer than I thought it was going to be. Glad I had layers on!! After I ditched my excess layers, I was all ready for the start.

People have said it before, but there is really nothing quite like the start to the New York City Marathon. Just imagine tens of thousands of people lined up to run 26.2 miles through the streets of NYC..."New York, New York" playing... the cannon goes off -- and we're off!!

The Verranzano Bridge really wasn't that steep, considering what I had been warned and some of the hills I've run. The bridge in Annapolis, MD that many races have included in them is 10x worse, and I've done many races in Annapolis, so I didn't have any problems running the Verranzano. I did get a little hot on the bridge, so I had to peel off my pullover and re-pin my number onto the shirt I was wearing underneath. Now I understand why race number belts exist! I'm going to have to get one of those.

As soon as we got into Brooklyn there were SO many people cheering for us - it was awesome. Throughout the entire race I didn't need my music because there was so much music being played throughout the course! Apparently the NYC Marathon has more music per mile than any other race - ~5 bands per mile (that isn't even including people just blaring music from their speakers!). The bridges really weren't that bad - even the Queenstown Bridge was fun!

There really is nothing like running up First Ave with tens of thousands of people cheering for you on either side of the road! I ran into one of my good friends from Maryland, my cousin, and another friend who was working at a water station during the race. I'm glad I had my phone. I didn't hit the wall, but around mile 18 my back started to cramp up -- the crowds helped me along and I powered through until the finish! Running through Central Park at the end was probably my favorite part -- the leaves were beautiful and the crowds going into Columbus Circle were electrifying. The finish was breathtaking!

Right when you finish they keep ushering you along for your medal, space blanket, official finishers picture, and bag of recovery food. Then the hard part starts - the walk to the exit. I swear that walk is feels like you're running another 26.2! Luckily, I had opted for "no baggage" so I was able to "exit early" which meant I only had to walk one mile uphill after the finish instead of 2 miles like the people who checked their bags! If you didn't check your bag you also got a snazzy fleece-lined poncho -- TOTALLY worth it!! The recovery food was great, poncho was toasty, and the pictures have turned out really well so far(I might even consider buying some).... the walk to the subway and walking the next few days has sucked haha but I'll survive.

After I finished, I headed to my friend's in Manhattan to get my bag of stuff. He was at a bar watching the Pat's game and as soon as I walked in everyone cheered for me - it was pretty cool :). I ate dinner at Chevy's in Times Square and then began the journey back to the Bronx where a hot shower, my recovery compression socks and stick were calling my name! I slept like a baby Sunday night!

Monday morning I got up at 5:30am to get down to Central Park for the Marathon Monday Finisher's Festival to get my medal engraved and official finisher's gear. Getting my medal engraved was totally worth it - it was only $20! The finisher's gear was lame - it was some off brand with weird sizing and was ridiculously over priced, so I just bought an Asics Marathon jacket instead (they only had 4 left at 7am when they opened, and I was able to snag one!). Everyone wore their medal that day in the city - it was fun to be able to look at the runners and if you made eye contact you would both wave and embrace each other's pain!

All of this being said, if you can do one marathon in your entire life, make it the New York City Marathon. It is worth every penny and you will have so much fun! Who knew you could have so much fun running 26.2 miles??

Some final thoughts...
  • I'm really glad that I decided to not check a bag
  • I got a little sun-kissed, but I'm glad I didn't wear a hat. Wish I didn't even bring one with me!
  • You don't need water bottles- there is water at every mile after mile 3! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

'Twas the day before the 2013 NYC Marathon...

I still can't believe that in less than 24 hours I will be running the 2013 NYC Marathon!

I remember when I swore off ever running again my senior year of high school. When I went off to college, I was going to the gym every day but didn't really feel like I was getting much out of my workouts. 20 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes power walking, and 20 minutes hiking really wasn't doing it for me! I remember going to the gym one Sunday morning in November 2009 and was power walking (I refused to let myself run) on the treadmill and I was watching the NYC Marathon. I told myself : "I'm going to do that one day". If you asked me 4 years ago if I thought I would actually be running the New York City Marathon, I would tell you no. The day I committed to running a marathon and then 5 months later committing to run a half marathon were two moments that literally changed my life for the better.

When I ran the Baltimore Half in 2010, I had trained by myself and came up with my own training plan. I finished in 2:09, which is pretty admirable for a first half! All I remember during that race was running as fast as I could and pushing myself. Then, a year later, I ran my first full marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon. Although I didn't have the best finishing time, I definitely learned that it takes a *little* more time to train for a full marathon than a half 😉. I used that experience to improve the next year and hopefully this year the training has paid off as well!

Earlier this year I was having weird tingling sensations in my foot so I went to the doctor and they said the only way for the pain to go away was if I stopped running. Telling a runner to stop running is like telling a movie star they can't act or a singer they can't sing. I was devastated.

I took some time off from running and did bikram yoga and pool running ... For a few weeks.. But I couldn't wait to pound the pavement. I went back to running and still felt the pain so I decided to defer the Vermont City Marathon I had been training for until next year. I was heart broken, but this injury was actually a blessing in disguise.

A few months later (mid August), I found out I got into the NYC Marathon. Seriously. What a surprise! Some people go 10 years of entering the lottery and being denied before they are let in. Some people never even get the chance to run a marathon in their lives! I'm so incredibly thankful and blessed that I will have the opportunity to run 26.2 miles with 50,000 other crazy runners tomorrow - among them are Olympians, world record holders, and even Pamela Anderson!

I went to the race expo yesterday at the Javits Center and it was a zoo- I had to double check and make sure I wasn't at a UN Conference because it was so crowded and there were people from all over the world speaking different languages. Last night I stopped by the Opening Ceremony for the Marathon- WOW! It was very well organized and seeing the finish line gave me goosebumps.

I cannot imagine who or where I would be without running. Running is not just part of my lifestyle, but it's part of my career. The satisfaction I get from being able to inspire others to run cannot be compared to anything else in this world . Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a constant support system - especially my family and friends.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kingsbridge Ave,New York,United States


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