Category Archives: Ramblings

Inside the finish of the NYC marathon

I learned from my own NYC Marathon finish in 2014, that the volunteers are a special breed of human.  From a runner’s perspective, NYC Marathon volunteers, wear official jackets, along with unofficial halos.  They take the time to look you in the eye, grant your every wish (mostly), restore your anxiety to a sense of calm, listen to you as if you were the most important person amongst a sea of thousands, and let you know that no matter how much pain you are in, everything will be all right.  These are the volunteers that make up an army of 12,000 to support the 50,000 runners on NYC marathon Sunday.  I wanted to be a part of that army of angels – or at least try.

I arrived at my designated location on 33 Central Park West to sign in for my shift.  Our shift was from 10AM to 6PM.   I was assigned to “Zone 3” in the NYC marathon finish area.  Zone 3 is a location 5 city blocks past the actual finish line.   When you run the NYC marathon you are not actually finished when you complete 26.2 miles.  That’s just part one.   Part two is the additional mile walk that all runners must endure.  It is the longest mile you can imagine, and your body has only one thought.   It want’s to shut down.  But no, you must keep walking. Continue reading Inside the finish of the NYC marathon


Mill Mountain Star
Mill Mountain Star

Every once in awhile, you challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable. You push the limits, and there is still a reserve to push harder.  You consider the “Q” word, but somehow manage to talk yourself out of quitting.  You think the worst is over, only to find you need to push yourself even more.  You wonder what provoked the need for such a challenge?   Or, maybe you just don’t realize what you have signed up for.

We had signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in the dead of winter.  The days when the temperatures were in single digits, the outdoor runs were slim to none and signing up for something that was advertised as the “worlds hardest half marathon’ seemed like a way out of the winter doldrums.  We live at sea level in Maryland.  Our altitude of 300′ with hills that might reach 1/4 mile at most is plenty challenging.  Yet, we were drawn to an event that claimed to reach the stars.  Words that touted 2 mountain climbs with nearly 4000′ of elevation change drew blank stares.  Fixated by the claim of the worlds hardest half marathon – well, I had to see it to believe it.  In that blissfully unaware cold winter day, sitting at my computer with a hot cup of Joe – I clicked on the “Register” button.   Now, all I had to do was to convince my running partner to do the same.  Fortunately she didn’t read the fine print. Continue reading Elevated

Helloooooooooo 2015!

Strategy for January:   Impromptu

If I learned anything at all about training and running the NYC marathon – I could sum it up as an adventure in discipline.   But now — 2 months after running the 5 boroughs of NY – I’m ready to balance that discipline with something else.  A new strategy – at least for the next 30 days.  Impromptu.   Now, it might not sound like much of a running or exercise strategy – but it resonated for me.  Less planning, more in-the-moment, winging-it, dance in it type of theme.  Finding new ways to keep the flames hopping in my metabolism fire-pit.  So – let’s see what this looks like so far:

January 1 – New Year’s Day:   No running, no exercise, Nada.  I admit – I was a bit nervous not starting out the new year with some round of intense exercise.   At first I thought this might not be the best way to start out a new year.   But then re-framed that thought around the theme of re-balancing and impromptu.  Rest is good.   Rest is healthful.  Rest is part of training.   I’m deciding in the moment – that today I will rest fully – and without guilt.   And I did.

20150102_095154January 2 – Noticed a detour during a Tundra Bike workout – and decided it was worthy to explore.  It was an abandoned airplane landing strip for the locals.   Maybe not, but that’s my story.  It’s a long wide road, never noticed before, and next to the BWI airport with lots of room for airplanes.   Sounds like a landing strip right?   And – why else would it be called Park and Fly?   Continue reading Helloooooooooo 2015!

Day 9 of the Holiday Challenge: Return to basics

gogglesI must admit, my lackluster swim performance upon returning to the pool from a 6 month sabbatical – had me thinking.  Am I really out of swim shape?   My immediate reaction is yes!   Swimming and Running really don’t have a lot in common.   These are distinct sports with specific demands.

Yet, it’s possible there is another answer.  Is it possible that my exhausting return to swimming was a result of a technique malfunction?   Have I forgotten the nuances of technique – paying attention to the little details?   Today, Christmas eve – just hours before the pool closes – I would return to the pool to find out.

Continue reading Day 9 of the Holiday Challenge: Return to basics

Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut

Today’s adventure was breaking through a running route rut.  A rut of running the same 1-of-5 courses, the same route, the same general area, or the same roads or anything that has the bottom-line sensation of ‘same-o’.

2014_12annapolis01It’s the weekend – so my running adventure is joined by my partner in crime – Jill.   Apparently Jill forgot it is “winter” and we had to rendezvous for the Annapolis run (a  different city from our regular runs) by 6:30AM – meaning the alarm goes off at 4AM – and breakfast is inhaled by 5:30AM.  Sigh.  Sleeping fully will occur another day.

Continue reading Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut

Day 2 of the Thought Rut Challenge: Jump roping for an hour

janejumpropeToday, I decided to start my daily thought rut challenge with an “I wonder…”.    What do I typically talk myself out of — that just maybe I could do?   I wonder if I could jump rope for an hour alongside my hubby while he gets in his hour long neighborhood walk.  Let’s find out.

All sorts of voices in my head are telling me this could be a very bad idea.  They sound like:

  • “you never jump rope – it’s too hard”
  • “you’ll get injured”
  • “remember the last time you jump roped – it wasn’t pretty”
  • “it’s too windy”
  • “it’s too hilly”
  • “you’re not 20 years old”

Continue reading Day 2 of the Thought Rut Challenge: Jump roping for an hour

Running the Alps of Crozet

Oh sure.  You can Google the Alps of Crozet.  And likely you find them located in France.  Exactly where the Crozet Alps belong.

But, if you are not needing to cross the Atlantic, live in the burb vicinity of Washington DC, and have a “thing” for running uphill in an all femme half marathon – the Alps of Crozet – located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Crozet VA is for you.

Continue reading Running the Alps of Crozet

The New York City Marathon – an epic ride

If you only have time for the headlines – here it is:   I started.  I finished.  And I’m going to take some time off to recover.  Just a little.  OK?

Now, if your curiosity is piqued about what this adventure was really like, the nitty-gritty, the behind-the-scenes-adventures – then keep reading.

fortwadsworth_startI could tell you that the story of NYC marathon Sunday was the 20+ mph headwinds for 20.5 miles, the wind gusts to nearly 50mph, the crosswinds that snatched your feet out from under you, or enduring bone chilling 20 something degree wind chills for 4 hours waiting for the run to begin.  I could tell you that 5 layers of clothing and 2 heat sheets were not enough to keep you warm at Fort Wadsworth.   I could tell you that the weather conditions were so severe, that the race organizers had to modify the start for the wheelchair division athletes — so that they avoided the 2 mile Verrazano Bridge. I could tell you how I watched the winds rip loosely fitted clothing right off runners crossing the Verrazano Bridge, and at one point I even felt the need to hang on to my step-daughter Emma who was running next to me. I could tell you how the headwinds in the South Bronx were so strong, that I actually stopped moving forward.  For a few moments, I ran “in place”.  No forward momentum. Continue reading The New York City Marathon – an epic ride

Times Roman 9

Within days of the NYC Marathon — my thoughts are busy studying the weather forecast for Sunday Nov 2, 2014 (currently predicting wind chill at 23 degrees and 30 mph headwinds!), wondering if I have trained enough, wondering if the “taper” concept really works, and examining that elusive question – “Why run?”.   For the longest time, I sought out a sole answer to “Why run?”.  I’ve read countless books and running magazines that try to make sense of that question with sensible answers.   Answers that range from “it’s childlike and adults need more childlike”, “it’s playful and adults need to get more play time”.  There are more answers too — from feeling a sense of accomplishment, to having a gym the size of mother Earth, to not needing to pay a monthly membership fee, to leaving your responsibilities behind — to just plain “me time”.   All of these make sense, and all of these I can resonate with at any given moment. Continue reading Times Roman 9