That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Friday, July 13, 2007

Detour #2!

I will soon be leaving the country to spend two weeks in Italy. So I can’t promise I will be blogging…or running. But I will try! I am very nervous to miss 3 longs runs. However, my coach assured me that as long as I run 40 minutes 3 times a week, I should be able to maintain my current fitness level. Coincidentally, the team is doing a Naples 10K in place of a long run this weekend, and I will actually be in Naples! So I will try to do my run there, as if with the team. This morning I got up early to pack and do my last long run. I ran by my favorite Astoria sites: down to the Socrates Sculpture Park and then over to Astoria Park, past the track and tennis courts, and along the water to soak in my last views of the skyline for a while, and finally around my favorite part of the park, the mammoth Astoria Pool, a public works project from the depression era before heading home to complete my 6.75 mile run.

Bye New York, I’ll be back soon!

Pictures: Top left, Scultpture Park, Top Right, Astoria Park, Center, Astoria Park Track, Bottom Left, Astoria Pool, Bottom Right, View from Sculpture Park.


So on Wednesday I was unbelievable excited about practice. I had been waiting to go since the moment I got the e-mail about the workout. Our Coach was going to lead us through undiscovered Central Park. Waterfalls, lakes and beautiful views were professed scenic highlights. Let’s face it, if waterfalls are involved, I am in. Not to mention we were going to intersperse running with squats and lunges! I heart interval training!

So I am walking out the door to practice and it starts raining. I grabbed an umbrella and started out toward the subway, but the after four straight days of 95 degree weather and relentless humidity, the heat steak seemed to be breaking. The sky started getting really dark, and I heard a distinct clap of thunder in the distance. (After lifeguarding for 8 years, I can hear thunder a good 30 miles away—out of the pool!) So I took a detour to the gym instead. I was pretty sad, but as I looked out at the street I saw the rain level going from “annoying and I really would like to have an umbrella” to “torrential downpour, hydroplaning ahead!”

About half way through my 4.5 miles the TV monitors lost signal, so much for I love the 90’s. But I kept going and finished my run in a respectable 42 minutes, and even took a power dance class to round out my workout.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

"Running is not fun" ~Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes is an ultra marathon runner. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, ending with the 2006 NYC Marathon. Pretty incredible. However, even Dean will admit that running is not fun. So don't worry folks, no one actually likes running.

Here is Dean's quote, in context, from his book, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, "To call running 'fun' would be a misuse of the word. Running can be 'enjoyable.' But in a pure sense of the word, running is not fun."

Nonetheless, it can be addicting.

While I can not say I am gleeful through my runs, I will say that I have never once regretted going on a run. You always feel better after working out.

On Saturday we had our long run. I ran my longest distance: 8 miles. And fun would not describe the experience.

We started out with a mission moment from a young girl who was in remission for cancer. She thanked us for running on behalf of the Society. She said 30 years ago, she would not be standing before us in remission. It was the support and research of the LLS that made her battle possible and relatively brief. Everyday science, research and support improves.

The beauty of the inspirational moment transitioned into a "pep talk" from our coach. He explained that running fast was not the goal. On long runs you want to run slower than your race pace because you want the actually time you spend running to reflect how long you will be running on the race day. Made sense.

So I started running in the ten minute mile pace group with a buddy. The first mile and a half up to the 102nd street turn off seemed like it took an hour. My partner and I struggled and discussed the fact that we were thinking about pain with every step. The hills on the 4 mile loop seemed to have gotten longer and steeper than the last time I had done this run.

But we kept at it. I was faking enthusiasm and optimism the whole way. I think my partner wanted to kill me. But we pushed each other. We talked about running, fundraising, weekend plans, work. You really get to know someone while running 8 miles. So we made it around the 4 mile loop for the first time, and we were both wondering, how on earth are we going to do it AGAIN?

We discussed slowing down, although that would be prolonging the pain, and decided to just keep going. I knew I could do it---I am the little runner that could after all. So we just kept going around the second loop. We were making awesome time, faster than our 10 projected 10 minute mile. So we huffed and puffed, and things started getting much better. The next 2 miles kind of breezed by. We were incredibly good partners because we both started suffering again at the same point. About 1.2 miles from the end. There were so many hills. I continued my fake cheerleading, and my partner kept our pace. I felt about 90 going up the last two hills, but I knew there was no way I could stop. In fact, I insisted we keep running across the terrace to the exact spot we started.

Once we stopped, we felt euphoric and ecstatic. For all our complaining, finished at exactly a 10 minute mile pace. My whole body felt light and fuzzy, and then cold and sweaty, but great nevertheless.

So running really is mental. I refused to let myself stop, short of my body involuntarily falling to the ground. And in the end, it made all the difference.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Now you know the why, here is the who

Our inspiration at the New York City Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the thousands of people, who are living with, or have received treatment for, a blood cancer.

Approximately 165 children and adults are diagnosed with leukemia, Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma every day; this breaks down to seven people every hour.

Here are the stories of many people that wish to share their journeys, struggles, challenges and triumphs of living with cancer.

More reasons to support the Leukemia and Lymohoma Society

In 2006, the Society invested $61.6 million to support more than 480 researchers and projects in 15 countries on five continents. The Society also provides financial assistance to patients; sponsors scientific conferences around the country; produces educational materials and videos; and runs dozens of Family Support Groups nationwide. Because we receive no federal funding, we depend on you for continued support of these needed programs. To see exactly where your donation will benefit others click here.

How far we have come:

Team In Training (TNT) began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland's daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor.
The team of 38 runners raised $322,000 for the Society's Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter. Because of the pioneering efforts of Cleland and the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter, Team In Training was born and has grown into the world's largest endurance sports training program. Cleland was honored by Runner's World magazine in 2004 as one of their "Heroes of Running" for his role in establishing TNT.
Join the more than 30,000 runners, walkers, cyclists and triathletes who will participate in the world's major marathons, triathlons and century rides this year on behalf of the Society.

Team in Training's Mission:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The Society has dedicated itself to being one of the top-rated voluntary health agencies in terms of dollars that directly fund our mission.

The breakdown:
Leukemia: 175, 285 people living with Leukemia in the United States. It will strike nearly 11 times as many adults as children. About 30% of cancers in children are leukemia, and it will cause more deaths in children under 20 than any other cancer.

Why your donation matters, there has been a significant decline in the leukemia death rate in children due to research and improved medicine. You can help be a part of the cure.

Lymphoma:a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. Incidence rates are higher in adolescents and young adults. However, cure rates are more than 84%, your donation can help make it 100%.

Myeloma: cancer of the plasma cells. Survival rate of myeloma is only 31% today, making it one of the most difficult blood cancers to treat successfully.

Why you should donate

712,000 people currently battling a blood cancer. Blood cancers will cause the deaths of an estimated 55,100 people living in the United States this year.

Here is how your donation can help:

A donation of $25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

A donation of $50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.

A donation of $100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

Fast Times at Team in Training

So just as running was becoming more natural, I get an e-mail about Tuesday night practice...the test. I think the coaches purposely waited until the day of practice to send out a description of the run. We usually have a day or two to mentally prepare.

So I am reading. Okay we are going to run one mile as fast as we can, for a time. Okay, I think, no problem. This should be a quick practice. Maybe I should go to the gym, so I get in a good workout. Then I keep reading. After the mile, you will continue running the rest of the lower loop (1.7 miles total) to recover, and then you will run another mile as fast as you can. You will do this a total of three times. For those of you without your calculators, that is 5.2 miles, three of which are all out as fast as you can.

This may sound like fun...if you are a Kenyan. I, however, have never been a speedster. I am definitely the tortoise. Slow and steady, which is why I thought I might actually be able to finish this crazy 26.2 mile race. I don't care if I finish in 3 hours (maybe in another life...or body) or 6 (more likely), I just want to keep it moving and make it to the end!

So anyways, I was in a fair amount of panic by the time I got on the subway to go to practice. I decided to get a snack on the way to practice. I was fantazing about a organic banana, black cherry, cacao and almond milk smoothie from Blue Green, but I think I was too nervous to be hungry when I got off the subway. Which was lucky for two reasons, the first being I had no time to stop. I did manage to run into a deli and grab a Hint Pomegranate Tangerine Water. I have to say I had really high hopes for this water. I first saw it in an article on It is all natural with no artificial flavors. Unlike all the scary chemical Aquafina and Dasani flavored waters which use tons of artificial sweeteners. I refuse to incorporate any more splenda or aspartame into my life aside from my (diet) coke addiction.

Anyways, I was disappointed the bottle was really pretty, but the water didn't taste like anything, not even good water.

But there is also a second reason that it was good I had no time to stop for sustenance. When the coach described the workout he said, "you know you are doing it right if when you finish your first mile and you feel like you are going to puke, but you don't. By the end of the recovery you should be ready to go again.

I was not the only one. The Team was really small (maybe because it was July 3rd). We all looked like a bunch of 7th graders about to run "THE MILE." For the record, I think my all time best mile was in 7th grade, and to the best of my memory it was a 7.21 mile. I have come no where near that time in the last 11 years.

So we started with a slow jog to the starting line. I decided to go with the 9 minute 30 second heat. And we were off. I knew this was not going to be a nice conversational run. So I brought my ipod, weak. I always talk to teammates or sing if I am at the gym (much to the dismay of those on nearby treadmills), while I run. It really gets me through. Last night I could do neither. It was all I could do to utter a "How are you feeling" or "Hang in there" or a short two word response.

But I finished my first mile in 8 minutes and 36 seconds, which I was pretty happy about. I recovered and did it again. By the second recovery I was pretty damn tired and in desperate need of a water fountain. I found one, and tried to mentally prepare for the third mile. I think I can, I think I can. One step at a time. Think of all the people you are running for. Picture the children's ward at John Hopkins.

The third mile was pretty painful. For the first half, I felt like a duck moving as fast as humanly possible on land. Waddle, Waddle, Waddle. My inner thighs were searing and I actually kicked my self a few times. Very smooth. The smell of the horse poop all over the lower loop was seriously interfering with my ability to inhale deeply. Gross.

Nevertheless, my spirits remained high, and I was kind of enjoying myself. I can't believe I didn't make the cheerleading team in high school. It really is my calling.

By the last half of the mile, I was doing less waddling and more running. I finished, and man did it feel great. Kind of euphoric. No need to boot!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Tour de Central Park

I finally completed the full loop at this Saturday's practice! All six miles from East 90th street up around 110th street over the dreaded Harlem Hill, all the way back down to 59th Street and back up to 90 East Street. Actually, I had to run 7 miles, so I ran past 90th to 100th and then back to 90th again.

Yes, that was definitely the farthest I have ever run...and it wasn't that bad!

I just kept chatting, there were a few touch and go moments around the Carousel, but all together totally doable. Now I just have to do that 3 more times and I am there! Haha

Oh, I came across this website which has great facts about the park.

Did you know that there are 26,000 trees in Central Park?

Thank you!

Last week I mailed in all the donations you sent me! I can express how much I appreciate your support!
It means so much to me, and to the L & L society!
Off they go!

On their way
Just checking!