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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Monday Motivation: Santa Claus, marathons and other magical things

I thought of you. Yes, you.

Sunday, Oct. 9, was the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

To say I am not a runner would be an understatement, but I know many of you Lean Girls are. Running 26-plus miles does not sound like fun to me. In fact, it sounds unnatural. I cannot think of one thing that would compel me to run a marathon.

Or, I couldn’t, until I heard Chicago attorney Brenda Russell’s marathon story that Monday morning on Chicago Public Radio.

Russell didn’t run the Chicago Marathon. She ran the Santa Claus Marathon in Rovaniemi, Finland, a place I previously was familiar with only from my favorite childhood Christmas movie, “I Believe in Santa Claus.” The poorly-dubbed VHS version I had actually was called “Here Comes Santa Claus” and came, courtesy of my mom, from some Christmas movie bargain bin. It’s about a girl and a boy who travel to Rovaniemi to appeal to Santa Claus to bring back the boy’s parents, who were, like, murdered in Africa or something. Anyway, the point being, Santa Claus lives in Rovaniemi. So does The Blue Fairy.

Russell’s story is every bit as crazy and magical.

The Chicagoan challenged herself to run a marathon on her 50th birthday, she told Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight. And the only marathon on her birthday was the Santa Claus Marathon, she said. So she traveled to Rovaniemi, alone, to run the marathon. Only… well, she found out she wasn’t really alone.

You’ll have to click here to listen to the whole story.

And then, tell us, what’s the craziest place where you’ve found encouragement?

Running with UGS and Athleta – Part 1

New York City has seen so much rain this past week that I thought I would need to start building an ark. (Bada-ching!) It rained so much that my first run with Urban Girl Squad and Athleta was postponed to … Continue reading

Leadership: Skinny Is Not A Requirement

For years I’ve lead “growth” groups for my church, The Journey. Growth groups are small groups in which people meet during the week to build friendships and study the Bible. I’ve met some of the coolest people through these groups and still keep in touch with many of them. While I originally joined these groups to learn something and grow deeper in my faith, I was asked to be a leader nine years ago. I don’t know why. I was always the youngest person anywhere I went (and somehow nine years later, still am) and felt that I was the most inexperience in…everything. This summer I’ve been leading a running growth group. This isn’t my first running growth group. Two years ago I led a running growth group but it was for leisure. No one was a marathoner. We all stuck together. This time, I’m leading a group of runners who are definitely faster, stronger, and leaner.

Recently I was also asked to volunteer with the Urban Girl Squad (UGS) running groups. If you are unfamiliar with Urban Girl Squad, it is a networking group for women in their 20s and 30s that offers fun activities for women in NYC (fitness classes, cocktail nights, volunteering, etc) and you should definitely check it out!! UGS and Athleta, the premiere active apparel line, have partnered up and are offering free coached runs and then afterward the women are heading over to the Athleta store for refreshments. I’m NOT a running coach for these events. But it’s also intimidating to be a volunteer because of the pressure of setting a good example and wanting to encourage these women.

There is nothing I can teach either of these two groups of runners. I’m not the fastest, strongest, or skinniest. Who would want to follow my lead or my example?

Leadership and being a leader doesn’t mean you’re the best or the most skilled. One of my biggest insecurities in participating in any sort of fitness group or fulfilling any sort of leadership position is not being skinny enough. I know it’s wrong, but I judge fitness instructors who don’t have ROCK HARD bodies. Leadership is less about ability and more about attitude. It’s a willingness to encourage people, challenge them and help them. If ability has anything to do with it, it’s the ability to move people, to stir emotions deep within them that s/he would want to improve themselves and improve the world.

I may not be a great teacher, but I want to be a great leader. I want people to see how happy it makes me to run. I want people to run and exercise because it makes them feel great, not because they have to do it. Being skinny has nothing to do with it. It’s not the fat that’s weighing you down and holding you back, it’s your attitude.

 

What steps do you need to take to be a leader in your field?

Race Recap: Run for Central Park

Happy Monday Lean Girls! I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with great work outs, sun and delicious fruits. This weekend I ran race #4 of the 9 I need to qualify for the 2012 ING NYC Marathon. I ran … Continue reading