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Being present with a stress fracture, volunteering with NYRR, and my new race schedule.

One of the yogic philosophies is to “be present,” which is meant to teach us to live in the moment. I find myself reflecting back to this lesson every time I stretch out my right foot. The good thing is, when I stepped into the shower yesterday morning, I noticed that the pain was starting to dull. Immediately, my heart exclaimed, “I’m healing! If it’s like this on Monday, I’ll totally be able to race on Sunday!” Then reality sunk in. If this is a stress fracture, I’m out of commission for at least a couple of weeks. I’ll be lucky if I get to race with NYRR on May 11th.

On Easter Sunday, I was certain that I needed to see a doctor but now that it’s feeling better, I guess I’m on the way to recovery. Yoga has been helping a lot. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t want to damage the metatarsal any further, but I do not feel pain in most poses, including Downward Facing Dog. This has only reinforced to me that I will not run without dong a yoga warm up for at least 20 minutes. I guess that’s the best thing about learning your mistakes. Sometimes they hurt so bad, you’ll try to avoid making them again.

I decided that I’m not going to miss race day. I’m still going to pick up my bib and my shirt. The only thing is that I won’t be running. Instead, I signed up to volunteer with NYRR as a Course Marshal in which I get to direct the runners to stay within their lanes and encourage them on the race. I’m really pumped because I love seeing the course marshals when I run and here’s my turn to be one! Also, this will satisfy my volunteer requirement for entry in the 2015 NYC Marathon as part of NYRR’s 9 Races + 1 Volunteer Event program. During the course of this injury, I was so disappointed that I’d be missing out on the energy of the NYRR community if I sat this race out but that’s what volunteering is for! In fact, I’ll get to know what goes on behind the race and meet some new people, so it’s all good. Ah, I know it may sound weird, but I really thrive off of experiences where I get to help out others and I have the biggest smile on my face about Sunday. (Edit: I decided not to do this. Not because I didn’t want to but it’s become apparent that I need to be a shut in until graduation and get my assignments in. Real life awaits in a few weeks. I’ll probably post about how I’m learning that I can’t do it all even though I feel like I can.)

Now that I’m faced with the possibility of missing out on two runs, here is my updated NYRR race schedule so I can keep my eye on completing 9+1.


1. Run for the Parks 4M 4/06: Done

2. Japan Run 4M 5/11: Depends how I’m feeling

3. Oakley Women’s Mini 10k 6/14

4. LGBT Pride Run 5M 6/28

5. Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe 4M 7/12

6. New York Giants 5k Run of Champions 7/20 (and you get to run in MetLife Stadium!)

7. Percy Sutton Harlem 5k 8/23

8. TCS NYC Marathon Tune Up 18M 9/14 (this will be good since I’m training for Mohawk-Hudson in October)

9. Grete’s Great Gallop Half Marathon 10/05 (this is also going to be good since showtime for Mohawk-Hudson is the following weekend)

10. Poland Spring Marathon Kick-Off 5M 10/26

11. Race to Deliver 4M 11/23

12. Jingle Bell Jog 4M 12/06 (I hear this race is a blast)

13. NYRR Midnight Run 4M 12/31 (this isn’t a marathon qualifier but this year I went my studio’s New Year’s Eve hot yoga class and got to ring in the new year with my fellow yogis, I think it would be awesome to switch it up and spend it with a bunch of runners.)

The cool thing about this list is that I’m not going to stop at running 9 NYRR events. I really love being apart of this club and I want to get out with them as much as possible. And of course, there is volunteering at the 2014 NYC Marathon! I can’t even contain my excitement about how pumped I am for this. It is going to be soooo sick being part of that experience, especially since it will be right after I run Mohawk-Hudson. Plus, who doesn’t want to be in Staten Island at 2:30AM?

I’ve got a ton of reasons to rest this right foot. Yet, it looks like I have an academic race of my own and that’s to get all of my assignments done so I can graduate! Until next time, here’s a line from Wilco that I feel is appropriate about this situation: “take all the good with the bad, make something that no one else has.”



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I <3 Running Stores That Allow Dogs.

In my last post I said that I would wait to get new sneakers until later within the week. I’m dog sitting at my friend’s place in Brooklyn and one of my favorite things to do is go around her neighborhood in DUMBO. But my most favorite thing turned into the most painful thing because the only shoes I packed with me are my Converse All Stars and my Vibram Bikilas. Before I went out, I tried doing some yoga but it was too painful and realized that sitting and supine poses are on the agenda until I heal up. I thought that the Converse would be a good sneaker to walk in but I was so wrong.  I wrapped an ACE bandage around my foot and put my Vibrams back on because my foot liked the compressed feeling.

I looked at the dog, who wanted to play, and I realized that if I’m going to make it through this weekend, I’m going to need better shoes. I searched for “best running store in NYC” and found New York Running Company. All the reviews on Yelp seemed solid and I liked how they make you run on a treadmill until they find your perfect shoe. I didn’t want to leave the dog alone so I called the Columbus Circle location and asked if they allowed dogs in the store and they said yes! I put Zoey in her carrier and off we went!

When I got to New York Running Company, I met with Stephanie who was absolutely enamored with Zoey and was so helpful. She brought me to the treadmill, analyzed my gait, and said that I overpronate when I run and I need a more stable shoe to correct my gait. I did not know what she meant by overpronation but apparently, when I run, my ankle rolls 15 degrees inward to meet the ground and most of the work comes from the big toe to push off. Now this is a problem most commonly found with people with low arches or flat feet. I have high arches. I feel the reason why I developed an overpronated gait is because Vibrams encourage a midfoot strike. When I strike with my midfoot, my ankles roll inward, and boom: overpronation. This can’t be corrected with my Vibrams.

Stephanie suggested that I should run in stability shoes and brought out the Brooks Ravenna, another model of Brooks that I don’t remember, and the ASICS Kayano 20. I always heard such great things about Brooks and was excited to try on a pair. I really liked running in the Ravenna because the top of the shoe promoted a rolling motion which made it really easy to push off but the deal breaker with both of the Brooks models was that the ankle felt too loose. I tried on the ASICS Kayano 20’s and was sold. While it doesn’t have the rolling motion the Brooks Ravenna has, it is a stable and responsive shoe. To help correct my gait, Stephanie fitted me with an Orange Superfeet insole for high arches. Holy wow. Where have these been all 26 years and 11 months of my life? The shoes and insoles cost $197 but I got a discount from being a New York Road Runners (NYRR) member. It was expensive, especially since I’m still on my intern salary, but I’d rather pay money now to avoid a doctor’s visit later. Stephanie told me about her marathon training class that she’s teaching in the summer. I mentioned to her that I’m going to give myself a GPS watch for my birthday and while she recommended Garmin, she also told me to check out the DCRainmaker blog, which reviews all the GPS watches. I asked her how important having a good heart rate monitor is because my co-worker raves about his. She said that it’s a great feature to have because based on your heart rate, you can see if you are healthy or sick, and it can determine if you should take a rest day. She recommended for me to have a training journal and I really like that idea. I already keep track of my workouts on MapMyRun but I’m thinking about making a public GoogleDoc spreadsheet where I can log my stuff and integrate it within the blog. All in all, I highly recommend the New York Running Company. I dig the community, they allow dogs, and you walk out with some solid kicks. If you go there, make sure you ask for Stephanie because she is so great. I feel like that’s something that Jimmy Fallon would say.

Since I had Zoey girl with me, it was time for the ultimate test. I may be injured,  but it’s no reason why the dog can’t enjoy a stroll in Central Park. It was such a gorgeous day and Zoey is such social butterfly so she gave a lot of people front paw hugs and made new dog buddies. This was my second time in Central Park and I saw this huge rock that seemed like it was something out of The Lion King . Zoey and I raced towards it but then realized that it is no place for dogs because of all of the broken glass in the crevices so we chilled out in a sunny part of the grass while we enjoyed our $3 bottle of water because the water fountains weren’t turned on yet. I brought a silicone collapsible bowl with us for her to drink out of. I can’t get over how handy those are. The pain that I experienced was still there but nowhere near to how excruciating it was earlier in the day.

As for my Vibrams, I’m still going to wear them, but only casually. It”s disappointing because being a minimalist runner was something that I took a lot of pride in but I’m not going to injure myself and risk losing out in competing for my first marathon. I don’t regret the journey because I really enjoy wearing Vibrams because of how comfortable and flexible  they are.

Even though I have a pair of running shoes that I’m dying to try out, I’m sticking to swimming this week. I think I’ll go to yoga on Wednesday because I should be healed up by then and Donna Scro of Garden State Yoga is absolutely fantastic. I am going to miss her classes when I move to Hoboken. Thankfully, there is a branch of GSY in Hobo so I don’t have to worry about switching studios. I still will go to Bloomfield because there are some classes, like Yin Yoga and Meditation and Restorative, that aren’t offered at Hoboken, and the teachers are that amazing that I don’t mind having to travel a little bit for class. I’ll go out for my first run on next Saturday. I feel that will be enough time to heal up.




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Vibrams and Foot Pain

The tops of my feet have hurt like crazy for the last couple of days. The last time I experienced pain like this was when I was beginning to transition to running with Vibram Five Fingers.

I will say that I think it’s partially my fault because it’s been weeks since I’ve been to yoga and I haven’t been keeping up with a home practice because I’ve been getting over a cold and grad school has taken over my life. I’m used to going to yoga at least 4 or 5 times a week and maybe this is my feet’s way of telling me that my body needs my practice.  I also haven’t stretched my feet as well as I should because I thought my feet were adjusted to minimalist running. This is going to make me sound like such an awful runner but even when I haven’t stretched like I should, I’ve never experienced pain like this.

I’ve been running with Vibram Five Fingers since 2012 but I am thinking that if I’m going to be marathon training,  maybe I do need a regular pair of running shoes for the days when my feet aren’t feeling up to the Vibrams. I think I’m going to pay a visit to Fleet Feet and see what’s the best option for my feet. I hear that they are great; apparently they analyze your gait to see which running shoe is best for you. If there’s anything I’m realizing is that marathon training isn’t a solitary exercise (no pun intended). It takes so much input from others to help educate and motivate you to help build the endurance to run the race and make sure you’re not injuring yourself.

Even though my mind wants to push myself to run, I know it’s not a good idea. I’m going to do some yoga and walk around in my Vibrams after my practice. Maybe on Sunday I’ll feel up to running.

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Marathon Training: Coaches, GPS Watches, and Realizing My Schedule

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you need to run at a feeder marathon with a finishing time of 3 hours and 35 minutes. That means for 26.2 miles, I have to keep a pace of 8 minutes and 21 seconds. This isn’t going to be easy. I looked at last year’s results for the Mohawk- Hudson River Marathon, which I’m running in October to qualify for Boston, and only 163 out of 939 runners were able to finish the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes. While that is intimidating, they wouldn’t recommend the time if it wasn’t possible. People do it and I want to be one of those people who do. However, I am taking into account that 3:35 isn’t going to be achieved by running non stop. This may be tmi, but what happens if I need to go to the bathroom? Do I just pull a Forrest Gump when he said “if I needed to go, I went?” Haha, there’s so many mysteries.

Last night, I saw on NYRR’s Facebook that Summer Sanders, who is a former Olympian but I know her as the host of Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out, wrote an article about tips on how to train for a marathon and she spoke highly of NYRR’s Virtual Coach program. It’s $175 but I think it’s worth it, especially after consulting one of my friends who runs NCAA cross country, who also recommended me to find a coach. The program looks really cool, I can e-mail the coach whenever I want about my training program which is great because I’m going into this headfirst and am going to need all the help I can get to qualify.

I’m also going to need a GPS watch. For so long I thought I could do without one but I’m seeing that if I’m going to get that 8:21 pace, I need to know where I stand during my training. That looks like it can set me back between $125-150. My friend and I always joke about how we got into running because we thought it was so cheap but we were so wrong. I’m also looking into hydration belts because even though there will be water tables during the race, there won’t be when I’m training, so I need to make sure that I’m doing this safe because I’ve never been a fan of passing out. On the bright side, I’m starting to appreciate the fact that I have my 6 month grace period for student loans so I guess I should spend while I can.

I realize my plan to run 3 marathons in a little over a year is really ambitious but the way I see it, the Mohawk-Hudson one is the only marathon (so far) that I’m going to be nuts about keeping my pace. If I do qualify for Boston, I don’t need to worry about what time I finish at because I’ll have guaranteed entry for the NYC Marathon through the 9 races, volunteer staff at 1 race program. The running schedule doesn’t intimidate me because after I graduate, I’m going to have a huge void in my life because I’m not used to having free time. I got hired on the Obama campaign in March 2012, where I was working 7 days a week and usually long into the night. Immediately after the election, I finished a two and a half year grad school program in a year and a half. I wonder if committing to run a marathon is my way of filling up my time and the funny thing is I didn’t realize that until just now.

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My first Marathon in the 518.

This is going to mean a lot to me in so many ways. I’ve never trained for anything like this before but I’m excited for the challenge. I was kind of disappointed when I found out that I couldn’t qualify for the NYC Marathon this year because, through NYRR, I need to complete 9 races and staff one as a volunteer in 2014. Honestly, I see there’s a reason for that and it’s actually really fun planning which races I want to run and I’m itching to volunteer with a race because even though I’ve only done one race with them, I love the enthusiasm behind the organization and I’d like to be a part of it.

After my race, I thought about the Boston Marathon, which takes place every April, and is about 6 and 1/2 months earlier than the NYC Marathon. While I’ve always heard great things, I’ve never been to Boston and I think this would be one incredible way to see the city. Unlike the NYC Marathon, where all I have to do is complete the 9 races and volunteer at 1 event, I actually need to qualify with a time below 3 hours and 35 minutes. I looked at the top races and I found that there was in the Capital Region. When I found out, I laughed because I lived there for so long and had no idea that this event took place. Then I smiled because I saw the route is my beloved Mohawk-Hudson Bike/Hike Trail. I used to ride almost every day when I lived there. It’s where I developed my love for transportation planning.This is where my first marathon is meant to happen. Plus, I get to see my dearest friends for a weekend. I don’t get to hang out with them that often, so this is going to be so legit.

Now all there is to do is to train. I’m going to follow this marathon training schedule because it integrates yoga with it. I’m going to try my best to follow through with the practice. The best thing is that I live in the NYC Metro area and there isn’t a shortage of dedicated running trails. I also need to figure out how to eat for this thing. Luckily for me, I really like peanut butter!

Things are falling together. There are a lot of thoughts to expand upon but until I can sort them all out, what I can confidently say is that I believe I am where I need to be and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than here.