Race Recap: Join The Voices 5 Miles

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I always have a mix of emotions on Race Day: one part excitement with two parts laziness. Let’s be honest, I love running but on a cold, foggy Sunday morning after a long Saturday, the last thing I wanted to do was race. But it’s no surprise that afterwards, I’m always glad I did.

The Join the Voices 5 mile race supports the Voices Against Brain Cancer’s search for a cure. It was an uplifting day as runners and non-runners were out in honor of loved ones. Runners may not actually be the ones to find a cure for cancer one day, but our spirit of empathy and love is more powerful than medicine, test results, or doctors visits. We run because we wish we could fight the cancer for you! We run because running is the only way we know how to fight.

After watching the Kansas City Chiefs press conference and running yesterday, I’m reminded that we are our brothers and sisters’ keeper. Even when there is a cure for cancer, it means nothing if those folks don’t have a life worth living filled with love.

Make sure to love someone this week and think of them the next time you run. It will definitely fuel your workout.

Happy Monday!

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Scene on the Run: Hurricane Sandy

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New York City has a different vibe, smell, sound in the rare times it’s bracing for a big storm. It’s something I can’t quite capture in photos.

My dear friend Nelle texted me asking how I was going to prepare for the marathon with six days remaining and Sandy crashing the party. My four goals for the next few days:

1. Continue to eat clean. Yes, I want a glass of wine but I don’t want anything badly enough to ruin the work I’ve put in.
2. Don’t get injured. My running group co-leader asked how I was going to get injured if I’m tapering. He clearly does not know how clumsy I am. I bruise and bump into things way too easily. Yesterday I took a misstep and now my foot hurts. Hope it’s better by Sunday.
3. Roll out and ice the Achilles every night.
4. Remember that all the work is done. I did my last long run yesterday. Sandy is actually a blessing because she’s forcing me to rest my legs these next few days. Always remember that not much is accomplished at the last minute. Preparation is key. I am ready!

Lastly, should the NYC Marathon be cancelled for any reason because of Sandy, which is highly doubtful, I will be ok. I read tweets and status updates about how the marathon “better not be cancelled” and it angers me. If it is, it means this storm will have been devastating to the city of New York and its people. Let’s not be so self -centered fellow runners. Instead, let’s pray for the homeless and those in evacuated areas and get through the week safely.

Be well. Be safe.

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20

We’re 20 days away from the big race, the ING NYC Marathon, and this weekend I ran my last (successful) 20 miler. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk about this one race. Every time I post something on Facebook or Twitter about how many miles I ran, I’m pretty sure someone is rolling their eyes as much as I roll my eyes after reading someone’s political rant status update. So we’re even.

This post isn’t so much about the run itself, but rather why this particular run was better than all the others. A big big big THANKS to my friends Lisa at Early Morning Run and my Cherbrale (and her boyfriend Nick who was there in spirit) for meeting me at different points along the 20 miles and not letting me walk. Having to meet them at certain points by a certain time helped me stay on track and finish under four hours. It meant a lot that these folks would spend part of their weekend, outdoors on the coldest day yet in NYC, running with me.

It’s always nice to know that friends and family support you. I know mine  support me and my goals 100% but many of them have never seen me run a race. Remember those days when your mom and dad came to your recital or game? You didn’t make a deal about them being there, but you definitely noticed when they were not. There’s something about the human spirit that is contagious. Isn’t that why we cheer for our favorite baseball team? We, the spectators, believe and know that our spirit and encouragement can sometimes lift the team out of the pits. We have faith when the athletes themselves don’t.

There are runners around you, or just people in general, who need your support and faith. Will you cheer for them?

Me? I will be fine.

I’m Not A Runner

We’re eight weeks away from the 2012 ING NYC Marathon and I’m experiencing achilles, feet and knee pain. Great. Eight weeks away and not this. I scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist my coworker highly recommended on the Upper West Side. Let’s call him Dr. G.

He’s lovely. He’s gentle and personal. He listened to me and my concerns, even massaged my feet a little. And then told me I’m not built to be a runner, I’m not the ideal athlete, I’m bow-legged, and need to be stronger. (Insert record player scratch).

I was offended for a milli-second. I get it, I’m not built to be a runner. I’ve spent more of my life being a couch potato than I have being active. Maybe I do have bow-legs. But I’m not going to let that stop me from running. And he knew that.

I start physical therapy next week and have to go every week for the next six weeks. Dr. G didn’t even try to convince me to quit, he’s just going to “help me be stronger.” (Let’s not ignore the fact that I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life.)

The point is I have to work harder than the average person to do something I love to do. But isn’t that the irony of life? What we love to do is not always what we’re most naturally inclined to do, it’s usually the opposite. Anything worth having doesn’t come easy. And that’s why it’s so rewarding and fun when you actually get to do it. That’s what makes one an athlete. Not a jersey, or a fancy contract, or actually being the best at a sport. It’s hard work, persistence, and continuously aiming to be better.

Eight weeks ’til the NYC Marathon.

I may not be the ideal runner, but I will show them what an athlete looks like.

Running Shirtless

One of my goals in life has been to run without a shirt. It’s not because I’m promiscuous or want to show off my body. But rather, it’s always been a symbol of freedom for me- freedom from caring what others think of me and being comfortable with who I am and what I look like.

I ran shirtless for the first time. For some reason, I woke up to run and decided not to put on a shirt. I just didn’t feel the need. There were people out. It was sunny. I couldn’t hide. Eeek!

Let me tell you, running shirtless makes you mindful of your core. It forces you to engage every muscle and it actually makes one run faster.  Try it, even if it’s running in place in your bedroom.

For one day I felt fearless. That attitude carried though the day, and lots of positive things were set into motion. I’m not superstitious, but I do believe a combination of a fearless attitude and just a minor change in my daily routine propelled me to approach my day differently thus leading to different results.

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Workout in Central Park

Hey Lean Girls-

My trainer Justin will be leading a $20 Workout in Central Park this Saturday, April 21 from 3-4 pm. You can sleep in a still get a good work out done on Saturday 🙂 He specializes in lactic acid training, which is sure to make you burn!

Email me at leangirlsclub (at) gmail (dot) com for more info.

Hope to see you there!

Top 10 Gym Pet Peeves

As January is coming to an end, I’m encouraged by the fact that the gym will be less crowded by the end of February. But the reality is that newbies and veterans are all guilty of annoying somebody. Here are the top gym pet peeves surveyed by Lean Girls, fitness fanatics on twitter, and myself.

 

10. When people come to the gym with makeup that’s been freshly reapplied or pour on the perfume/cologne. If you’re coming from work, we get it. But don’t put on a coat of mascara right before that Zumba class!

9. When people DO NOT wipe down the with disinfectant.

8. When people come to the gym sick. Please refer back to #9.

7. When people hog multiple sets of weights.

6. When people DO NOT return weights or any other equipment to their original location. Please refer also to #7.

5. When the fitness instructor or trainer has no idea what they’re doing and has worse form than you.

4. When people who are using the machine you need, sit there texting, watching TV, or rest for a really really really long time.

3. When people drop weights after a set. There’s usually a sign that says “please do not drop weights”.

2. When you are the only one doing cardio and then some other person comes up and uses the machine right next to you.  It’s like bathroom etiquette – occupy every other until it’s full!

1. When people walk around the locker room completely naked and have no intention of dressing.

 

There are too many to list. What did I miss? What’s your gym pet peeve? Leave a comment or tweet me @gracekelle with #gympetpeeve #leangirlsclub.