Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Years of Running

My 10 Favorite: Miles | Medals | Shoes | Bibs

Thursday marks my 10th runnerversary, and thanks to anyone who has been along for the ride. I never imagined I would still be doing this on that Friday of December 1, 2006. That morning, I moved into a new apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City, and it was freshly painted. While waiting for the movers to arrive with my stuff, I walked over to the bodega at 73rd Street & Columbus, to buy a few items. I stepped out, and was standing there at the intersection, with a full box of KOOLS in my hand, ready to light one. I had visited the apartment earlier that week, huffing and puffing up the steps to the third floor, overweight and a smoker for the past six or seven years, to meet the tenants who were moving out. They changed my world, without knowing it, because they told me they belonged to the New York Road Runners club and that they regularly ran and biked Central Park a block away. With that healthy thought in my head, I looked at that full box of KOOLS and I broke it in half, drawing curious looks from women who stood beside me. I went into my new apartment, met the movers, unpacked, and then immediately took the A train down to Times Square and bought a pair of ASICS at a Foot Locker. I went to and paid for a one-year membership. That week I started running hilly Central Park, and on that December 10th I ran my first race, the Joe Kleinerman 10K, finishing with a net time of 1:18:40 (12:41 pace).

I have thought about this moment for a long time, and in counting down the days to this special runnerversary I have been posting several top-10 lists of my favorite things over this past decade of running. Today, I am going to celebrate by running Central Park at 5 a.m., then running around the Washington Monument later in the day, then by popping a bottle of champagne and spraying it all over myself. I am also going to celebrate by posting my final top-10 list, so here it is: 10 unbelievable things that happened after I quit smoking and started running.

10. It taught me to be a finisher in life. Set a goal, work hard, persevere and finish. My first goal was to run the New York City Marathon within my first year as a runner, and I did that in November 2007. In the past month I finished my fourth NYC Marathon, and 17th full or ultra.

9. There are 137 bibs on my bedroom wall. They signify all the races I have registered for and then got up for early starts and put one foot in front of another until I crossed a timing mat. That has equated to thousands and thousands and thousands of miles I have run either in those races or in training. It means my heart has pumped blood in wonderful fashion amid all that activity. I owe a special thanks to the New York Road Runners, for conducting all those races I have run, and to the people who take care of Central Park and keep it so pristine and the best place in the world to run -- my track!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Garmin Fitness chat with Alexi Pappas

Garmin pro athletes Alexi Pappas and standup paddler Jenny Kalmbach were at the Garmin HQ for a Facebook chat, and since I am a longtime Garmin (Forerunner 220) runner and am sort of obsessed with how cool and inspiring Alexi is to mere mortal runners like me, I thought I would transcribe her replies here. You can watch the full video below, including all of Jenny's replies, and also be sure to follow @GarminFitness and join the page.

Q: How do you structure your day and fit in everything you want and have to do?

A: The first thing is, I lay out my clothes and everything the night before -- which sounds like the person I didn't think I would grow up to become. But it makes the day a lot easier. That way, when I wake up and head to practice, everything is ready to go. I do normal things like eat and practice but I also eat every day.

Monday, November 21, 2016

10 Years of Running: My 10 Favorite Miles

December 1 will mark 10 years since I became a runner instead of a smoker and changed my life. On the way to that 10th runnerversary, I am going to celebrate with an occasional top 10 post.

My 10 Favorite Medals | My 10 Favorite Bibs | My 10 Favorite Shoes

Officially, my favorite mile is "the one you're running." It is vital to think that way as a runner, and in life. Unofficially, I definitely have some of my own favorites just like everyone else. This is the hardest of my lists to narrow down, but here are 10 that have special meaning in my life.

10. Mile 11 of Maratona di Roma. Between the 17K and 18K markers, you follow the cobblestones right up to Piazza St. Pietro and the Vatican. As I passed the Pope's window where he gives his short speech and blessing some Sundays, crowds were forming behind barricades in anticipation. It is really hard to decide on just one mile in this race. This race is a feast of the senses.