Get Ready For Another Half Marathon

Good Morning to everyone out there! This will be a quick but informative post!

The cold weather has taken its grip on New York City again! While running may not be on the forefront of people’s minds right now, runners know that race planning is always occurring. It is after all one way that runners stay motivated. They set these goals and put races on their calendars as something to strive for.

Today, myself like many other folks will try to put another race on their calendar. Next to the NYC Marathon, a half marathon in Brooklyn, New York might be the hardest race to get into. The Brooklyn Half Marathon, now called the Popular Half Marathon, usually sells out in less than 30 minutes. This race unlike the NYC Marathon or the United NYC half marathon does not have a lottery. It’s a simple sign up to register. But registration spots are limited and that’s why it sells out in less than 30 minutes.

Registration for the Brooklyn Half opens at 12:00pm noon today! Park yourself by a computer at that time and deploy a little patience! It might be a marathon and not a sprint to get thru on the registration!

Good luck to all attempting to register today!!

Fred Lebow Half & NYC Marathon Tidbits!

Well my friends we made it to the end of another week! The weather is supposed to be a lot nicer in the NYC area this weekend so if you have been thinking about getting out to start running, this weekend is a good time to start with warmer weather in store! Saturday should reach close to 50 degrees with Sunday seeing 45 degrees.

If the weather doesn’t inspire you to get out then, maybe the runners toeing the line this Sunday will in Central Park. On Sunday the New York Road Runners club will be holding the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon in Central Park. 2 and a half loops of the standard loop in Central Park will be run. As of now the race is sold out so there will be lots of runners conquering the 13.1 miles on Sunday. What is more inspiring than having a sold out half marathon in the middle of January! A big salute to all of the runners running the race on Sunday and don’t forget to smile for Fred when you cross the finish line!

This Fred Lebow half marathon pays homage to the late great Fred Lebow who is the founder of the New York City Marathon which of course has become one of the most famous marathons to run in the world. He founded the marathon in 1970 and was one of a handful of 55 runners that took part in the inaugural NYC marathon. In 2017, the NYC Marathon hosted about 55,000 runners while turning away much more than that who just couldn’t be accommodated. Lebow went onto complete 69 marathons in his lifetime and doing so in 30 countries before passing away in 1994. Today aside from his legacy of creating a great marathon, he can be remembered for some of his quotes:

The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama, competition, camaraderie and heroism.

As the Fred Lebow half marathon is run this Sunday, earlier in the week, the race Lebow founded opened up its lottery to accept runners who wish to run the 2018 version of the TCS New York City Marathon. This year’s marathon will be Sunday, November 4th. This race has become one of the hardest races go get into. I was giddy when I received my acceptance into the race earlier this week and had to post something about it! I know however that not everyone will be so fortunate. It has become so difficult to get accepted into this race, that last year, only about 16,000 runners were accepted via lottery. Close to 100,000 applications were received in the lottery. That means only 16% of runners were accepted via lottery!

So if 55,000 runners make up the race- where did the other 39,000 come from? Here are some other options for you to explore if you don’t like the 16% odds via lottery.

9+1 program. For me this is the easiest and most assured way of getting in. It is also the one that requires the most work. It simple. This is the option I opted for last year and how I qualified this year. How to do it? Run 9 NYRR qualifying races and volunteer to work one and you automatically qualify for the following year’s marathon. That won’t get you into this year’s marathon, but you are assured to be in for the 2019 marathon.

Then there is the endless list of charities that you can run for in the marathon. Each charity has a number of spots reserved in the marathon however, you will be asked to raise money for that charity. Usually the amounts that you must raise are over $2,500 and that might be daunting for some.

If you are reading this from another country, you are in luck! If you plan a vacation to New York City from another country, there are guaranteed spots reserved for several runners that are willing to book a vacation to NYC. The vacation must be booked with one of their approved tour directors. More info on that can be found here.

Then there is luck for really fast people. If you are an elite athlete, you will likely get in. But if you are not elite but still fast, there is hope for you. There are time qualifications by age group in the half marathon and full marathon. If you have run a time for one of these races faster than the time qualifiers then you are in luck! To qualify for the 2018 marathon you will hAve had to run the qualifying time in 2017. To see if you were fast enough, check out the time qualifying standards here!

If none of these apply, I’m sorry but your just going to have to sit back and wait for those lottery results! I got turned down for 4 years in a row before I went the 9+1 route. I pray that none of you have to wait 4 years to get in. Lottery results are expected to be announced on February 28th. Close to 60,000 are expected to toe the line this year.

Fred Lebow is surely smiling from above at what his race has become!

Long Weekend Ahead!

Happy Friday too all my friends out in the blogosphere!

Hopefully for most of you, there is a long weekend in store that includes Monday off for Martin Luther King!

Coming into this Friday, I thought I would go back to my “Friday Free For All” posts that I had done last month. So here goes!

NYRR Virtual 5K

They gave me a bib for the virtual 5k but I think I will pass on wearing it!

 

Earlier this week, I decided to sign up for the NYRR Virtual 5k. I did it pretty much because it was free. There was an option to pay $20 if you wanted this particular virtual 5k rece to count towards qualification for next year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon. I believe you needed to run 6 virtual races with NYRR in order to automatically qualify. However, I started to think about this – six virtual races at $20. That’s $120 in virtual races just to qualify for the Brooklyn Half and it would be for the 2019 Brookyln Half and knowing NYRR, I would likely still have to pay the race fees for that race which is listed as $90 for NYRR members. So over $200 just to run a half marathon? Ummm no thank you. I will just run this virtual 5k for free! Most likely I will get out and run my 5k on Sunday. It’s supposed to be cold again on Sunday so I’m not looking forward to a fast time. Let’s see how I rank on the virtual race leaderboards!

Stanner Games At The Armory NYC

I cannot tell you how nice the armory is!

Its no mystery but I love running. My love for running doesn’t stop only at road races, I actually love Track & Field as well! Next month, I am hoping to get to the Millrose Games on February 3rd, which will be held in Manhattan at the Armory Track & Field Center. But before we get to the Millrose Games, this Saturday I will be assisting with a very well attended high school meet which will also be held at the Armory. For folks outside of New York City, the Armory is a state of the art indoor track and field arena in Washington Heights New York City. It’s a great facility and it produces some great track meets and some even greater results. On Saturday the high school that I graduated from Archbishop Molloy high school, will be hosting its annual track and field meet, The Stanner Games. They lean on former track and field athletes from the school to work the meet and each year more and more track alumni come out to assist. The meet has become one of the biggest high school track meets in the North East. Last year Olympian Sydney Mcloughlin ran at the meet as a senior in high school and I had a chance to meet her and chat with her a bit. I don’t think any Olympians will be there this year but for me, the vibe of the meet and seeing these younger kids compete at a high level is inspiring for me! I remember as high school kid being nervous at these meets but then using that nervous energy to surprise myself and run strong. It will be a long day 8am to 6pm, but I enjoy it so much each year! So if anyone is at the Armory on Saturday, come down to where the relays are being checked in- I will be there all day!! 🙂

Celebrating Martin Luther King

If you have a chance – read Bryan Stevenson’s book!

 

As I mentioned above, hopefully many of you will have off from work or school for Martin Luther King day! Earlier this week we had a speaker, Bryan Stevenson, come to my job to give a talk on social injustice and criminal justice. His 70 minute speech was very profound and resonated with me a lot. Mr. Stevenson is a lawyer whose work is centered around prisoners on death row. He’s worked with so many inmates over the years, including children. When he came to our job he didn’t come to talk about the issues with social injustice but rather how we can all help to fix them. He outlined 4 points. The first was we have to be proximate to where there is poverty and injustice. If we aren’t exposed to it then we can’t see the issues. Second, we have to learn to change the narratives that we are always given. Third we have to create hope for those that don’t have it. Lastly, we have to be willing to do uncomfortable things, like visit inmates or impoverished in struggling neighborhoods. I won’t go into too much detail here but I thought it was very fitting that a few days before MLK day, I was hearing Mr Stevenson kind of carry on the work of MLK right in front of me. Mr. Stevenson is the author of a New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, a Story of Justice & Redemption. If you have some down time this weekend and want a good read, pick this book up! And if you don’t, take some time on Monday to reflect on Martin Luther King!

Have a great weekend my friends!!

Display Your Pride For New York City!

Happy Monday to all!

New York City has just gone thru one hell of a cold spell. The temperature has not been near freezing for over a week. Wind chills have had it feeling below zero for quite some time. Still, I have seen so many posts on social media of people running in this cold weather.Seeing this is quite inspirational. It shows a drive and determination that you just don’t see in too many place.

I myself ran a 5k on New Year’s day in zero degree weather. New Yorkers for lack of a better term can be crazy at times with their running. For me, it has to do with a very busy schedule so my time to run is limited. That being said, whenever I plan on getting a run in, I hold myself to that no matter what it is doing outside. For others, as well as myself, there is a great sense of pride to running in New York City. That can also be said for the hundreds of thousands that flock to New York City each year to run races here.

With all of the above in mind, I had an idea to make accessories and shirts with the hashtag #irunnyc on them. For me it is one of my favorite running hashtags. I’m proud to be from New York City and I love running thru out the streets of New York! I have had several runners, both from New York and from out of town express the same pride. I’ve started a page on this blog that has a few items on it that display the hashtag. I am hoping that you will give it a visit and check it out. If you do, check back often as  I will be adding more things from time to time. If anyone has something that they would like to see with the #irunnyc hashtag on it, let me know and I will try my best to make it happen! If nothing else, I will have fun wearing some of these items over time to some of my upcoming races!

For now, be proud of your city and display your pride with #irunnyc accessories and apparel!

This Is Your Journey

Good day friends! Time to get over that hump, its Wednesday! These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the reactions I get from people when we discuss my running. Of course there is always the comments like “dude you are crazy” or “running is just boring for me”. Those are to be expected. Then there are those that claim not to have the time or will blame something else for them to avoid running all together. Then there is the bunch that confuse me with the following comment: “I’m not fast enough, so why bother”.

When I hear that comment, or something similar, it’s like a punch in the gut. My first reaction is to say, “you know you are right, I’m going to stop running because I’m not fast enough either”.

There are tons of people faster than me. So I wonder, why compare yourself to anyone at all? This is your own journey. It’s my journey also. My journey will be completely different from yours. There may be some similarities but at the end it’s customized to you and me.

My journey three years ago started when I was holding onto my daughter’s stroller to use it as a walker in Disney World because excess weight had given me bad plantar fasciitis and the pain caused me to hold onto the stroller, just to walk! My journey started when I got home from Disney. Lose the weight with exercise. I took small steps. Walking, jogging, stopping even during my running as my foot got thru the discomfort. Time on my watch didn’t matter. What mattered was dropping the weight.

When the weight started to go down, the satisfaction of a walk or a jog felt so euphoric. It was like a drug. An exercise high if you will. I never wanted to give this drug up. Walks became jogs and jogs became runs. Never since HS did I ever think I would run as much as I do now, however that journey has led me here.

Going back to the concept of being fast enough, did it matter how fast I was going to walk around my block three years ago when I started my journey 40 pounds heavier? Not at all. My eyes were set on losing that weight. My daughter was 5 at the time. Dad wasn’t about to be slowed down at this age because of some excess weight and ankle issues. When you put all of this into perspective, ask yourself instead, ‘are you fast enough to make the decision to do something better for yourself before too much time passes or before its too late?’ That’s where the question lies. That’s where you question ‘your speed’. Never mind how far others are running or how fast they are running it. They aren’t on your journey. Only you are!

Further what awaits you once you decide to take on ‘your journey’ is a transformation into a better version of yourself than ever before. For many, the physical aspects of your journey will bring you a healthier, stronger and more fit self. However that’s not the only transformation you will see. I talked about that ‘fitness high’. Oh its real…it is very real! Runners can tell you about their ‘runner’s high’ also. For me it is a feeling like no other and it isn’t one that I feel only when I run fast or I set a personal best at a distance. I feel it every time I run. You may not feel it initially but it always comes around! How I wish more people would experience this – but they don’t because mentally they have put up a road block that won’t allow them this euphoria.

Now that I’ve explained why time doesn’t make a difference, I hope I have been able to push some of you out there to stop doubting and questioning yourselves! Sometimes the mind is our worst enemy. Ironically enough, just yesterday I spent the whole day thinking of a quote that a great American Olympic distance runner, Kara Goucher, said back in 2013. I will leave you with a graphic of that quote below and implore you to start your own journey now!!

Friday Free For All!

I was looking over my blog and I pretty much have stuck to the point. Running, motivation and inspiration. That is what my blog is about after all right? I figure, one day a week I just kind of say what is on my mind or at least talk about the other aspects of what is going on in my life. God knows this particular life is not just about running! Enjoy this piece every now and then or ignore it lol

*Weekend Vibes*

A summertime view of Old Westbury Gardens

 

I am looking forward to this weekend! It is not a jam packed weekend but in my opinion, it is filled at just the right amount. Of course, I am hoping to get a couple of nice easy runs under my belt, but that’s not all. I’ll be attending the annual Christmas Tree Lighting where I live in Long Island at the Old Westbury Gardens.  How do I describe this place other than an enormous estate where someone used to live many years ago that has been preserved as a beautiful garden. Onthe grounds is an equally beautiful mansion and they dress this place up for the holidays with a touch of old school Christmas décor. It is one of may favorite holiday events to attend with my family, so we will be doing this again Saturday night! Sunday has me tackling the remainder of my own Christmas decorations on the outside of my house. I thought I was done last week, but we had some “technical difficulties” during the week!

*Christmas Has Arrived At 30 Rock*

Snapped A Pick Of The Rock Center Xmas Tree Thursday Morning After Its Lighting!

 

Not that I would have ever mentioned it in any of my posts, but I work at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka the NBC Building, aka the Christmas Tree Building but officially known as Comcast Building. Many of you may have watched on TV as the tree was lit on Wednesday evening. This officially kicks off the holiday season in this part of NYC. The amount of tourists that will ascend on this part of NYC is unreal. As a tenant of the building I cannot tell you how crowded it gets. A 5 minute walk to get lunch turns into a 15-20 minute ordeal. Lets just say that in December, I start to order in lunch a lot or just bring from home! Enjoy the sights and sounds of 30 Rock if you are in the area and if you are, hit me up!

*New Addition To The Family*

Our New Dog Ernie!

 

No we didn’t have another child, but we did add a pet to the family earlier this week. My oldest daughter fell in love with a dog at her job and took the dog in. Say hello to Ernie a cute 3 month old Shih Tzu. Ernie joins our other Shih Tzu/Maltese Valentina, as spoiled pets that will sit around and sleep most of the day while the remainder of their days, they just act cute. This dog has a lot of energy, I’ll be shocked if my older dog can keep up with him!

*New York Knicks*

How About My NY Knicks So Far?

 

Aside from running, I am a big sports buff (except for the NFL). I didn’t expect much from my New York Knicks but don’t look now, they are 9th in the conference. I know its early, but that’s only one spot away from a post season spot (lol)! I laugh because I didn’t think these guys would win more than 11 games all year. 21 games into the season they have already won 11 games and have surprised the hell out of me. Can they keep this up or are they just setting my up for a let down? I like the team. Its a young team that has nothing to lose!

*Ugly Sweaters*

Nothing Like A Good Ugly Sweater Party!

 

I’ve been invited to two “Ugly Sweater” parties now in December and neither one of the crowds know each other. Is it wrong that I plan on wearing the same ugly sweater to both parties? I mean no one is going to know…until of course the pics go up on social media (lol)? Any “ugly sweater” parties in your future?

Hope you all have a great Friday and an even greater weekend!

Stay Ahead Of The Pack

Thanksgiving is over and in a day or so, November will be completely behind us. Staring us right in the face is a month that many of us love to let loose in. Days off of work, celebration with family, various holiday parties and lots of food and drink make this month so dangerous that once it is over you hear the same resolution mantras year after year once December exits and January enters.

“New Year, new me!”

“Time to shed some pounds”

“This will be my healthiest year ever!”

Sound familiar? I don’t mean to sound like a scrooge at all. I will most definitely attend my share of holiday parties. In fact as I look at my calendar, I am very thankful for the multiple “ugly sweater parties” I will be attending and the various work gatherings I have on the calendar. At the same time however, I also cringe because I know that at all these events there will be a lot of food, alcohol and of course dessert that will be calling my name and without undoubtedly, I will answer that call!

With all of that said, I have accepted December for the health trap that it is. However, I did something a few years ago that I have repeated each December and I highly recommend to everyone. As I mentioned above, folks wake up on January 1, some hungover and others not, and realize “damn, I was bad in December”. The pants fit tight, the scale annoys them because of the number they see and the resolutions begin. But why do people wait til January 1?

Don’t Wait Until January 1!

 

Three years ago, the gym that I am currently a member of, Lifetime Fitness, opened up the location that I go to in Garden City. They opened their doors in the first week of December. When my family joined, I thought that maybe we should just wait til January because were we really going to go to a new gym in December? Boy was I wrong!

Since then, when everyone is making ” “January 1” their eureka moment, I would much rather stay ahead of the pack and pick December 1. Think about it for a second, would you rather wait until January once you have added 5, 10 or whatever number of pounds to your frame and work harder to take that off? Or is it easier instead to offset the gains as they come along? Don’t get me wrong, December will be bad, but by all means embrace the holidays! I know I will. By starting an exercise routine in December however, you will give yourself the opportunity to either gain very few pounds or if you are lucky, none at all! Simple logic also tells you that once the deadly month of December is over, it’s easier to lose a few pounds if you started working out in the beginning of December than to lose a lot of them if you wait until January. An added benefit of starting a healthy plan in December is that there is no one in the gym in comparison to January. It’s a given that EVERYONE will show up to the gym in that first week of January. December tends to be a ghost town in the gyms!

Get Ahead Of The Pack – Gyms Are Empty in December!

 

There is no rule that “New Year’s Resolutions” need to start on January 1. I know your schedule may look busy in December but I encourage you to find those gaps in your schedule. Trust me they exist. Further, I have always said that you do not need a block of two or three hors to get a workout in. Remember, some time spent on yourself is better than no time.!

Once again, get ahead of the pack and start now, believe me you will not regret it!