Sunday, September 30, 2012

Run 98

It's funny the way our minds work at times.  You'd think that running past a building or location wouldn't make a lasting impression.  Many times it doesn't, BUT, some times it does.  One thing I didn't count on was the memories I was making as I ran every street of Manhattan.  There are areas that I'm passing for the 3 or 4th times.  I saw them originally as I ran the streets, then again when I ran the avenues and then again getting to and from different running locations.  Some times I have to re-run a street just to get to a street I haven't run.  Once you are in an area that many times you begin to become familiar with it.  By the time I'm done with this I will have seen everything at least once.  I may not remember exactly where some thing is, or how to find it, but it's all stored some where deep inside my little mind.  Today I ran past the corner of 155th Street and Broadway.  I knew that my spooky run was just around the corner and I also had this very vivid image flash into my head.  The very first time I was at this corner, I was stopped waiting at a red light and this girl in her early 20's had just come from the liquor store,  She had a brand new bottle of booze in a brown paper bag.  I'm sure it was for that evening's festivities. It slipped out of her hand and the bottle crashed, breaking and spilling all over the sidewalk.  Her two friends laughed and ran away, not too far, just far enough to watch and laugh more. She stood there in middle of the puddle of wasted booze with a mix of emotions on her face.  She was embarrassed that everyone was watching her, she was definitely sad that her hard earned money was now running down the sidewalk, she was confused about what actually happened, how it slipped and what to do next. She ended up leaving it on the ground and running to hit her friends for laughing and then quickly disappeared.  
Though this story carries no real significance or importance. It's now a memory engraved in mind that I look back on and smile. It's moments like this that make life fun and exciting.  I will now have little anecdotes that have happened all over Manhattan.  

Time: 8 pm
Distance: 12.5 miles
Time: 1:44:22
Music: Once the Musical, Green Day

Run 97 Shoes

Shoes!  Running shoes are no laughing matter.  When I started running I just went to the nearest athletic store and picked out a pair of shoes that I liked.  I got Nike for no other reason than I am brainwashed that they are "cool" and I wanted a nike+ running chip in them.  I picked out the size and color that I liked, tried them on to make sure they "fit" and walked out the door.  They worked well and I had no issues with them.  The next two pairs I had  similar shopping experience. As the marathon was approaching I wanted to have the "perfect" pair of running shoes to help me improve my time.  I got advice from running coaches on the "right" way to pick out running shoes.  They suggested going to a store that specializes in running shoes. A place that asks you questions about how you run and even better does running tests, like filming you run on a treadmill.  Also to never pick out shoes based on brand or color (whoops, lol.) 
I went to one of these shops and wanted to walk or even jog away with miracle shoes on my feet.  The guy at the store, did none of the running tests, seemed in a hurry to close and wanted me to try on the one shoe he suggested, love it, buy it and leave.  I forced him to find a few other options.  The shoe didn't feel as good as my last three pair, but he's the expert so I bought them.  I wore them once and had a horrible run, I was sloshing around in them and they made my legs muscles hurt.  I didn't finish the run I went home and changed into my old shoes.
I still needed new shoes so I tried a different specialized running store.  This time they at least put me on a treadmill, filmed me running and showed that my technique is normal and I don't need any type of special shoe to help fix my step, a neutral shoe.  But then the choices and sizes of shoes became a problem.  They just didn't carry enough variety or have enough shoes in my size, that I felt like I was settling for what they had.  I wish I could have bought some thing from them, because they were nice and trying really hard to get me in shoes I loved.
I took my new knowledge and went back to your basic shoe store.  Started trying on neutral shoes, with med support, not too much, not too little.  I went back to how I started buy shoes, just trying shoes on and getting which ever ones felt good.  I ended up buying 2 pairs.  I'm going to rotate them, until I like one better than the other to wear durning the marathon.
So my advice to others about buying shoes: just get what feels good on your feet.  If you have any question about the fit, move on, try another pair (or store). 

Time: Midnight
Distance: 7.38 miles
Time: 58:40 minutes
Music: shuffle

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Run 96

I'm a sucker for old world charm.  Turning a cornering and happening upon a cobblestone street is always a pleasure in my eyes.  The unmaintained rough road is extremely difficult to run on, even just to walk on, especially in heels, but the look and and feel is worth it in my eyes.  There is only approximately 15 miles of cobblestone streets left in all 5 boroughs.  (Technically it's not even cobblestone, it's actually "Belgian Block".  Cobblestones are of irregular shapes and sizes.  But even now that I know it's wrong, I still plan on calling it cobblestone) 
Asphalt and cement are far less expensive, much easier and quicker to install and requires much less man power.  So with the amount of traffic, volume, time restraints, budget, etc in NYC it makes more sense to go the modern route.  Hopefully some will be preserved and protected.  
I mention cobblestone today, because I went on a run in Soho.  It was a fairly long run, 6.75 miles.  I saw many things along long the route, but the moment that sticks out, the moment that makes this whole adventure worth while is what happened at the very end of the run.  As I planned my route, there was a small one block street that I had not run yet, near enough to include in my run.  So I rounded the corner of Franklin Street and was met with a visually stunning sight.  Franklin Street ended up being a run down alley.  It was paved with old work cobblestone, it was artistically decorated with graffiti, it was filled with scaffolding, unique lighting, garage doors, signs of construction, moped and bicycle parking and a homeless man's bed for the night.  The world's best set designer could probably not create such an eclectic yet beautiful sight.  With out this adventure, I would most likely never wandering into this alley, never experiencing rounding that corning and the euphoric feeling that came with it. 

Time: 10 pm
Distance: 6.75 miles
Time: 53:55
Music: Lisa Loeb

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Run 95 Garbage

This day and age there is a lot of things we take advantage of.  Every day I throw things in the trash and never think of them again.  It just disappears, right?  It is pretty easy to ignore the trash here.  The majority is kept out of sight, until late I'm the evening, then in middle of night, while most are asleep, the NYC trash fairy comes and sweeps it all away.

But in reality, NYC trash is not laughing matter.  Here's the fact about NYC Sanitation:

Today, the Department is the world's largest, collecting over 10,500 tons of residential and institutional refuse and 1,760 tons of recyclables a day. The City's businesses, whose waste is collected by private carting companies, generate another 13,000 tons of refuse each day. And under the leadership of Commissioner John J. Doherty, New York City's streets are cleaner today then they have been in over 35 years.
The Department serves the City out of 59 Districts, using approximately 5,700 vehicles that include:
  • 2,230 collection trucks
  • 450 mechanical street sweepers
  • 275 specialized collection trucks
  • 365 salt/sand spreaders
  • 298 front end loaders, and
  • 2,360 various other support vehicles
In December 2001 the city's last land fill reach capacity and closed.  We now ship all of our trash to out of state landfills.

City of Systems: Waste Removal from Urban Omnibus on Vimeo.

On a lighter note, the very first thing that came up in my internet search of NYC garbage was an artist who creates artistic cubes from NYC garbage.

There is also a Trash Museum, curated by a sanitation worker, consisting entirely of art rescued from household trash...  I'm going there as soon as I can.. be right back for an update...
Time: 9 pm
Distance: 5.25 miles
Time: 45:21
Music: Lauren Alaina

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Run 94

Today was my first run after my not so stellar performance at the 18 mile marathon tune-up.  I took a day off and then hit the streets.  I began running and my legs were killing me, especially my calves.  I almost stopped.  I felt like I was too sore to run.  I fought the feeling and wanted to at least run a super easy 2 miles.  The entire first half mile was horrible.  I really wanted to quit.  I felt like I could barely move and that some thing was wrong.  I decided I was being a whimp and couldn't give up.  After that painful first half mile, things started to loosen up.  I then started to feel much better and was able to go over 7 miles.  By no means was it a fast run, but it did end up being a satisfying and enjoyable run.  
I had traveled all the way to the top on Manhattan for this run, which is part of the reason I wasn't going to give up.  Running on 10th Ave in the 200's is a pretty neat view.  The subway is elevated here and the street is directly below it.  On a nice sunny day the light penetrates through the tracks and creates beautiful patterns and shadows on the
 ground below you.  It reminded me of the sprockets on 35mm negatives.  It was a gorgeous sight.  I had to stop and snap a picture so I could share it with you.  

Another accomplishment happened on this run.  I reached the very top on Manhattan.  I ran 220th street.  It's only one block long with a car wash and lube station.  It has ample street parking and very little traffic or noise, in no way a typical NYC street.  I had planned on reaching this point long ago, but my plan of attack on the street grid changed some.  It feel pretty amazing to have reached this point.  I really am gonna make this happen.  

"Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air? Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don't care? It's only half past the point of no return, the tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn, the thunder before the lightning, the breathe before the phrase, have you ever felt this way?  Have you ever wished for an endless night? Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight. Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself, will it ever get better than tonight?" -Pink

Time: 1 pm
Distance: 7.36 miles
Time: 1:04:55
Music: Pink

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5th Ave Mile & Marathon Tune up

By no means do I claim to be a sprinter, but I signed up for and ran the 5th Ave Mile.  A one mile race down one of the busiest avenues in NYC.  I had never ran just one mile as fast as I can before.  I've been working on long distances.  It usually takes my a mile or two to hit my stride and I don't really kick in until mile three.  In this situation that would be of no use, the race would be over.  I am in good shape and was up for the challenge.  I ended up jogging for about 2 miles right before my heat to get warmed up.  I took off as fast as I could.  It was rough.  I was pushing it.  Thought I was gonna die.  Longest 5:35 minutes of my life.  I was happy with that time, not really having anything to compare it to.  Next time I think I can beat that time...  maybe. 

Time: 9:40 am
Distance: 1 mile
Time: 5:35 minutes
Music: none

The very next day I had the marathon tune up.  Three laps in Central park totaling 18 miles.  Not sure if it had to do with the sprint the day before or just the alignment of the stars, but today was a rough day.  Some days you are on and other days you just aren't.  An example of a good day was the Bronx 10 mile. Everything felt good and I ran better than expected.  Today was the other end of the spectrum. I wasn't having fun, wasn't feeling good and had to fight hard to keep running.  I just wanted to do anything else but run 18 miles.  I finished it up and was glad it was over.  Crossing my fingers that the day of the marathon is a "on" day.  

Time: 7 am
Distance: 18 miles
Time: 2:19:19
Music: Shuffle

Friday, September 21, 2012

Run 93

Today's run was uneventful for the most part, if you ignore the part where a bug flew right into my mouth. I didn't swallow it, just gagged and spit it out, lol. 
I am pleased to announce that I have finally reached my fundraising goal and am officially entered into the NYC Marathon.  I'd really like to thank everyone who chipped in and helped me get there!  I designed and ordered a custom jersey to wear during the marathon.  It has the blog address on the back.  My name up top, so spectators can yell personalized encouragement and then all the names of those who chipped in.  So you will be with me the entire run.  Thank you again!! I hope I run you proud.    

THANK YOU!! Wayne & Char Amber Nathan Mark G Marc S Rickey Matt Andrew Jeff Tom & Diane Ro Alan Danielle Abbey Allie Buddy Heather Nicholas Jenn H Jen M Dan Eric Matt Rea Timber Rodel Cheryl Liz Grace Hillary Joey Lacy Merc Bob Sharon Brett & Kasia Christy Hedy Helene Jenny Jess Katie Beth Kevin Kylie Maile Megan Sandra Shannon Terri Caitlin Cornelius FRNY All for Africa

Time: 7 pm
Distance: 7.1 miles
Time: 56:01 minutes
Music: Jennifer Hudson, Pistol Annies

Run 92 UPS

As I've mentioned before, I am fascinated with what goes on "behind the scenes" of NYC.  I ended up being out really late one night.  I had missed a few days running and wasn't going to miss another, so even though it was 3:30 am I took off on a run.  I just so happened to pass the UPS garage.  We all love sending a package to a loved one or even better having a package delivered right to our door step. (anyone need my address??) But do you ever thing about the logistics behind how that happens?  As I started running past the garage I giggled at the amount of UPS trucks.  I hadn't really thought about it before.  Soon the giggle turned into gaping mouth shock.  When I got to the end of the building I knew I had to figure out approximately how many trucks were in there, lucking the garage doors were numbered.  There were 70 doors and inside each door there were 2 trucks, every now and then 3 trucks.  There was a conveyor belt system that ran the entire width of the building, obviously sending packages to the correct truck.  It wasn't until I rounded the corner and started running past the other side of the building that I realized I wasn't done counting.  The garage continued on this side of the building as well, so 70 wasn't the final door count.  By the end there were 136 double garage doors, all with at least 2 trucks. and some extras shoved in there when they could. So there was approximately 280 UPS trucks inside this garage, just waiting to bring you cookies that grandma just made.  That's how we do it NYC style.     



Time: 3:30 am
Distance: 5.57 miles
Time: 45:35 minutes
Music: Rent

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Run 91

Today's run covered a very large area, over 12 miles of NYC streets.  As I ran I was thinking about NYC in general and what's it is like to visit versus live in NYC. 
Now that I've been on almost every street in Manhattan, people are beginning to ask my advice about NYC.  I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm trying to put together a little NYC guide.  It's definitely a work in progress and hopefully will change and get better with time.  I've been meaning to put one together for a long time, so here it is..  Click NYC Guide at the top of the page or the direct link is:
If you have a hidden gem or must do in NYC leave a comment below!  

Time: 10 pm
Distance: 12.2 miles
Time: 1:36:16
Music: shuffle

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fitness Games

Just coming off a great performance at the Bronx 10 miles, I had my next race just 6 days later, The Mind Body and Spirit Fitness Games.  I was a 4 mile race in Central Park.  With my confidence built up from the last race, I set out to break my NYRR race pace.  It was currently 6:41 minute/mile which I set when I did the Wall Street run. The last time I tried to break it, I had a horrible race and came in at 6:45.  Conditions were great again and I was feeling good.  I took off running and keep a nice steady fast pace.  Once again, I started to see some Front Runners ahead of me and my goal was to pass them one at a time.  There was one Front Runner just a couple of hundred feet a head of me.  Every time I caught up to him, he would pass me again.  I was right on his heels most of the race.  So at 3.5 miles I was caught up and even with him.  I wasn't even sure if I was on his radar, or if this was a one way battle.  I decided to push a little and get a head of him.  I thought I had beat him, but then 400 feet from the finish, here he comes sprinting by me.  When I saw him over my right shoulder I said, "No, don't do it" and that fueled his fire even more and he breezed right by me.  So he ended up ahead of me, but I was pretty sure that I beat my pace, so I was still pleased.  I just needed to wait for the official results.  Later that afternoon when I saw the official times, I had killed my old pace.  So my new NYRR pace is 6:28 minutes/mile.  I decided to see where I fell in the Front Runner list. Was I second right behind that guy?  or were there even more ahead of us?  The funny thing about races with large amounts of people, is that you don't all start at the same time.  You official time starts when you cross the start line (each racer had a "D tag" on his shoe, to electronically time your race).  So if you are further back in the crowd, a couple of minutes can go by before you even start the race.  It just so happened that the speed demon that passed me right at the end also started the race a good deal ahead of me.  So when you compare official time it took to run the course, I had run it faster than him.  I must have started behind him and caught up.  So it ended up I was the 1st place Front Runner.  Making the NYFR gram 2 times in a row!!  It was another good race!   

Time: 8 am
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 25:51 minutes
Music: shuffle

Friday, September 14, 2012

Run 90 Graffiti

One thing that gives NYC character is graffiti.  What is graffiti? 

graffiti noun

Form of visual communication, usually illegal, 
involving the unauthorized marking of public space by an individual or group. Technically the term applies to designs scratched through a layer of paint or plaster, but its meaning has been extended to other markings. Graffiti is widely considered a form of antisocial behaviour performed in order to gain attention or simply for thrills. But it also can be understood as an expressive art form. Derived from the Italian word graffio (“scratch”), graffiti (“incised inscriptions,” plural but often used as singular) has a long history. It has been found in ancient Roman ruins, in the remains of the Mayan city of Tikal in Central America, on rocks in Spain dating to the 16th century, and in medieval English churches. During the 20th century, graffiti in the U.S. and Europe was closely associated with gangs. Graffiti was particularly prominent in major urban centres throughout the world; common targets were subways, billboards, and walls. In the 1990s there emerged a new form of graffiti, known as “tagging,” which entailed the repeated use of a single symbol or series of symbols to mark territory.

Wikipedia says, "Graffiti in New York has had 
a country-wide and perhaps even international influence. Originating in the New York City Subway and spreading beyond it, it has only recently became more tolerated by the city's authorities and recognized as an art form, as in its first years it was seen as an act of vandalism."

There's a wide variety of graffiti in NYC.  It ranges from huge artists murals, to tagging your name, to advertisements.  

Some graffiti is beautiful, 

some ugly,

some political, 

some artistic, 

some crude.
At times it enhances it's surroundings, other times it defaces it. Recently I ran across the Manhattan bridge and was blown away by the amount of graffiti.  It was really a tremendous sight to see.  I've been planning to talk about graffiti at some point and today's run gave me the perfect opportunity.  I was down on the lower east side and every where I looked was tagged or had huge murals painted on the walls.  It made my run very enjoyable.  Enjoy some shots I've snapped of graffiti all around NYC.

Time: midnight
Distance: 7.37 miles
Time: 1:02:30
Music: Alanis Morissette

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bronx 10 mile

Today was the Bronx 10 mile race.  I was up late the night before for a friend's anniversary celebration.  I had not been running as much as my training schedule says to.  I had to get up way earlier than I like to.  I had to go to the bathroom right as it was time to start the race.  But in spite of all these things, the race started and things started to improve.  It was a beautiful day to run, the weather was a perfect 68 degrees.  I started running and felt really good.  I plowed through that course.  I kept a very consistent (and fast) pace.  I felt great as the miles rolled on, so I kept it up.  I'm part of a running group called NY Front Runners.  There are some great runners in the group. As I neared the end of the race I could see some of the group up a head of me.  My goal was to pass as many front runners as I could.  I turned on the jet propellers and passed 2 or 3 of them.  It ended up being one of my best races ever, especially at a longer length.  I finished in 1 hour 9 minutes and 08 seconds.  Which is a 6:55 mile/mile pace.  I was 250th out of 5,719.  After all was said and done, the NYFR's weekly gram came out and I placed 4th on our team (they only report the top 5).  
While I was waiting for the race to start, there were amazing cloud formations in the sky.  I couldn't help but smile and take a picture.  


Time: 8 am
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:09:08
Music: shuffle

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Run 89

My time management skills were failing me today. I had too many thing on the to-do list.  Running was just one of the many.  I was struggling to try and fit it all in.  I finally came up with a plan to combine a few of the items.  I need to go to Ikea and Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some stuff for my apartment.  Ikea is quite the trek.  You have to take the subway to a bus (or ferry). It is always an ordeal.  I decided to head over there and then run home.  That way, instead of wasting 40 minutes on public transportation, I could get started on my run.  It was a good plan, for the most part, until it started to rain.  It wasn't raining hard, just a sprinkle.  Come the morning of the marathon a little rain isn't going to stop us, so I continued on and didn't melt. 

Time: 8 pm
Distance: 7.65 miles
Time: 1:03:32
Music: Spring Awakening

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Run 88

Today's run was about filling in the gaps.  I have run in Central park, lots of times.  I've done multiple races in the park, but every time I'm there, we run the loop in the center.  There are multiple access roads into the park that were being ignored.  I didn't have too much time and the park is relatively close to my house, so it felt like a good time to finish off the park.  Even though NYC loves Central Park, we also can't be bothered to drive all the way around it.  The park runs 50 City blocks, from 60th street up to 110 street.  There are 4 roads that cut though the park to connect the east and west sides.  It is pretty amazing how well they disguise these roads from the park.  They as sunken below park level or bordered by large brick walls with large trees growing near.  In the park you almost don't even notice the roads, even when you cross it on a bridge.  Today I ran these roads too.  Being on the road is the opposite effect.  You can defiantly tell the park is all around you, but you are trapped with the cars, the trees peaking out from above the large walls tease and taunt you to come in the park, but there is no access to the park from these roads.  It's almost frustrating to be on them.  So near but out of reach.  

Time: 7 pm
Distance: 8.47 miles
Time: 1:10:57
Music: Cabaret