What Marathon?

Hello from post-Sandy New York City! JB and I are just fine, have power and no flooding. In other words, we are the luckiest people on the island of Manhattan.

Just outside our apartment building.

Down the block.

As I walked around my part of town and surveyed the damage, I became even more appreciative of our good fortune. Many of my friends and classmates are without power, cell phones, and all the amenities that go along with that infrastructure. And there is no end in site for them, as Con Ed works to get the power back on.

Pumping out one of the basements in Stuy Town.

This was washed ashore A FULL CITY BLOCK and demolished a car. Thankfully, it wasn’t a person.

This storm was no joke. People were killed. People are now homeless. NYU Langone Medical Center lost power and had to transport more than 200 patients to other hospitals in the middle of the night last night. Thankfully, we have a massive team of First Responders here to help.

Ready to go.

Thankfully, we still have a President who believes FEMA is important enough to fund.

Our city is trying desperately to hold it together and help one another. Downtowners, come on uptown. We got you. Our beloved Central Park is being cleaned up. Our Rivers are still washing stuff onto running paths. We have a lot to do to bring our city back to normal.

The sirens have been going all day and night. I’m just glad they’re responding to emergencies.

Debris under the FDR.

The clean-up effort has already begun and is tremendous. I high-fived a sanitation worker over on Avenue C today who was kind enough to smile at me as I passed by his job site (a massive tree that had toppled over). The city services are out in force!

The scene from Broad St. into a below ground parking garage this afternoon.

One of the tunnels that merges with the FDR downtown.

But we have a long, long way to go before things are back to where they need to be in order for us to get back to school and work and life. You know what the last thing on my mind is?

The New York City Marathon.

Yes, I am part of the Medical Team. But right now, my efforts and energy are elsewhere.

Both Bloomberg & Wittenberg say the marathon will happen and I believe them. There is far too much money in it for them to cancel such a main event for the city. It will turn into some “enduring spirit of New York-ers” sort of PR event and the city will make lots and lots of money.

I don’t care.

I feel for you who have trained for it and would be so, so disappointed if it were cancelled. I do. I’ve been there. But you know what? Let’s put things into perspective and quit bombarding the {New York} Road Runners Facebook page and Twitter account with your panicked messages.

It’s going to happen. Come as planned. Quit your bitching.

Yada, yada, yada, the bleachers are up. Quit freaking out.

That’s two days in a row that I’ve sworn on my blog. I supposed hurricanes bring out my saucy side.

As for my New York neighbors, there are plenty of places to volunteer now that we are all out of work and school for a few days:

Our NYC Marathon Medical Team needs more volunteers since so many docs were pulled away because of Sandy. Email me: runstrongereveryday{at)gmail{dot)com if you are a medical professional or student who would like to volunteer on Marathon Sunday.

Please, give of your time, your talent, and your resources to help those who are in need and those who are helping to get our fairy city back on her feet. If anything, just be thankful it wasn’t you. And quit bitching about the marathon.

(There I go again…)

Now go out and run!

PS. I will see all of you at Flywheel Sports (11:30am @ JCC), luluelmon E 66th St., and the Javits Center tomorrow. Sweating, hugging, and volunteering. Hope to see some of you there! 

My {2nd} First Run Post-Op

Central Park, I have missed you.

 

I have missed you, old friend.

There really is nothing like New York in the Fall. If you have any doubts, watch You’ve Got Mail. It’s basically a love letter to NYC throughout the seasons, which I just love.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I went running!

I’m sure that was what was on your mind when you woke up this morning. Not that silly little storm bearing down on the Eastern seaboard as I type.

Hurricane? What hurricane? All I see are whitecaps on my normally calm East River and sideways rain and trees about to get pulled out of the grou…OOOOOH! You mean THAT hurricane.

In my world, two successful post-op runs in a row is far more newsworthy than Sandy the Monster. Ok, that’s probably not true for anyone else but me but I’m gonna write about it anyway.

I ran my very first run back on my beloved Bridal Path in Central Park. I was greeted with cool temperatures, a quiet path, and the most beautiful scenery NYC has to offer.

Sheep Meadow looking very fine this Fall day!

Hello, gorgeous. Not the Bridal Path but I was too happy to stop and take a picture. You understand.

Sadly, Sandy is currently blowing away all of my beautiful leaves and trees.

Bitch.

I’m really glad I got two full runs in before this nonsense took over because several happy things happened on my run:

  1. I didn’t have to stop once, not for anything.
  2. I ran 1.75 on Saturday and 2.5 on Sunday.
  3. I feel great.
  4. My body doesn’t feel beat to hell like it did last time.
  5. No one ran into me.

Win!

I also saw one of my best friends on the side of a bus while running. Rockettes are preeeetty.

I spent the past two years figuring out how to run with this disease. When I was able to run, it was always interrupted by having to make a mad dash for the bathroom. Multiple times. Every run. No exceptions. It was not a way to live and it beat my spirit.

In a bathroom during an 11 mile workout, where else?

No more.

It started with a bag and Rosebud.

Me & Rosebud were a good team, though she often thought naked running was the way to go.

And now, it’s me and my pouch. 1.75 miles and no panic. 2.5 miles and no fear. For the first time since all this started a month ago, I am hopeful that I will be able to get my life back.

One run at a time. One mile at a time. One step at a time.

I’m off and running! How about you? Who knows–you might just spot me at a half-marathon sometime this Spring. You never know! In the mean time, you can find me at the medical tent of the New York City Marathon with my fellow NYU DPT students. I don’t want to see any of you there, ok?

Catch me at the Finish Line Medical Tent for a massage 🙂

Now go out and run!

(Unless you are on the East Coast, in which case ARE YOU CRAZY?!?! GET INSIDE!!!!)

Hurricane Sandy: DON’T PANIC!!!!

Oh man, I’m already hearing about people deferring and registering for a Spring marathon. While I totally get this kind of panic, I want to warn against it.

The weather isn’t really a sure thing until the night before.

Weather people often overstate for dramatic effect. See: Hurricane Irene.

Damage from Hurricane Irene in NYC. Staggering.

The decision to defer or to just not run is a very personal one.

On the one hand, you’ve trained for this for months and  to have Mother Nature screw you at the last minute just plain sucks. One of my friends said she’d run another one that is also nearby but is two weeks later. That’s one way to go.

Uh-oh, spaghetti-o’s!

On the other hand, if the race coordinators are going to hold it despite a little rain (read: not during a hurricane, but a rain storm), I’d run as long as I felt safe. I mean, we train in the worst conditions over very long, hot summer days. Why should a little rain stop you?

You’ve battled the heat (you sweaty beast, you!), why not the rain?

Get a hat. Wear fitted gear. Make sure your shoes have good tread. Smile.

This is what I would wear. Fitted tank, fitted shorts (both made of Luxtreme), rain resistant lightweight jacket (if it’s lower than 55 deg), and a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes.

The choice is, obviously, yours. But remember, you can’t predict Marathon Sunday weather, which is why we don’t abandon a long run just because the weather isn’t optimal during training.

If you’re not obsessed with getting a PR or hitting a specific goal (anyone left?), give it a shot. Have some fun. Be the badass who ran a marathon in the rain and lived to tell the tale.

My last two marathons, I was just happy to finish feeling good. No PR. No BQ. But I was really proud of my performance and felt seriously awesome for powering through.

I earned that medal. I’m proud of that medal. And I didn’t PR, not even close. Totally worth it.

Just a thought.

Now go out and run!

The Chicken or the Egg?

A question I get asked every time I start with a new running client is, “Do I run before I lift or lift before I run?”

Basically, the “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” question for runners.

Apparently, this guy is running the NYCM, too.

The general school of thought is that you do your primary exercise before your secondary if you are doing them back-to-back like I often do. Theory: you don’t screw up your form by having tired, overworked muscles and you get a proper running workout (your primary goal) before you hit the weights.

I tend to think there’s a better way to go about doing a double.

 

  1. Split your workouts into morning and night. I still recommend running first.

    Dawn Patrol running in Central Park. My favorite time to run.

  2. Do your serious (heavy/hard) leg workout on a day that you don’t run at all.

    Leg workouts are serious business & need their own special day of the week.

  3. Lift on a cross-training cardio day, like one when you swim or spin for cardio training instead of running.

    Spinning = VO2 max training = faster runner. It’s science.

  4. If you must do it back-to-back, do a dynamic leg workout following your run–plyometrics. That way, your muscle fibers are consistently doing one form of exercise.

    Running = jumping, so keep the same muscle fibers active in the gym & JUMP to avoid injury.

  5. Only do upper body lifting on a double day.

    Strong runners have strong upper bodies. Don’t ignore the other half!

Overtraining is the main cause of injury in runners. Don’t be “that guy”! Rest, recover, spread out your workouts throughout the week. But whatever you do, be sure to get your strength training in so you can protect your joints and get to that start line!

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Well, it’s Tuesday and since I’m finding my way back from surgery, let’s continue getting back to “normal” with Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

First off, welcome! welcome! welcome! to those of you scooting over from my friend Tina’s blog, Carrots ‘n Cake, who is hosting a 4-Week Plank Challenge and so kindly included me in her post this morning. I hope lots of you are planking as you read (Twitter time = workout time)! Tina is awesome and I seriously love finding #IBDSisters.

Tina is popular, so this is what happens to my normal blog numbers when she gives me a shout-out 🙂

BTAT is all about why no matter how crappy life is today, it’s way better than the alternative. Today: Respect.

Respect /riˈspekt/: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

The New York City Marathon is next week. The Marine Corps Marathon is this week. We are deep into marathon taper season and, according to my Twitter feed, many of you are struggling to Respect the taper.

Complaining about a taper is like a celebrity complaining about getting their hair and makeup professionally done while their stylist outfits them with a one-of-a-kind designer dress for the Oscars.

Hey Gwynnie, life is tough, I know. Wah, wah, wah. (Image courtesy of grazia.daily.co.uk)

YOU MADE IT TO THE TAPER!!!!! Enjoy it. Relax. Meditate in the healing and recovering that you are doing before your big day.

Respect the taper. It’s there for a reason. And if you don’t Respect the taper, at least Respect your coach.

Duh.

Guys, I am reminded daily (by JB, Mrs. Obi-wan, Obi-wan, The Golden Child, Boz, PAK, and just about everyone else I speak with) that I have to Respect the recovery period.

It’s not that I am putting on my running shoes and trying to sneak out the door for a 15-miler. I am not THAT pig-headed. Mostly, I’m impatient to feel better. To feel like myself. To be able to eat stuff. To get through just one day without being reminded of my recent surgeries/hospitalizations/ER visits/bummer diagnosis.

JB to me: “No, you are not coming to the 4-hour Tough Mudder run OR the outdoor soccer game two weeks after surgery. You are staying home to study and REST.” Husband knows best. Feet up!

I made it through surgery. I don’t have an infection or anything weird like that. If I want to get back to being me, I have to Respect the healing process or I will only hurt myself.

And if you have made it to the taper or made it to the healing process post-op, isn’t that Better Than the Alternative? And don’t you owe it to yourself to Respect this time so you can rock your race or get better?

Nod your head yes with me.

Stretching is good for both tapering and recovery. You should do it. I do it on random streets on the Upper East Side, all clad in matchy-matchy lululemon.

Ok, good. We’ll do it together. I will go to bed early tonight and you will not run anything at race pace this week. Deal?

Good.

Now go out and run.