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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mary's Year In Review

I'm ready to kick 2009 out of here. Here's why...

January 2009: I started 2009 with a half marathon. Unfortunately, the 13.1 miles and the 14°F temperature proved too much for my immune system and I got the worst flu/cold of 2009.

May 2009: I received my Doctor of Musical Arts degree. But only after a 200 page dissertation, an advisor still giving me revisions days before my defense, and nearly 7 years of humiliation.

Summer 2009: I worked at a girls' camp in the Berkshires during the rainiest summer ever. I managed to get in some running and hiking between thunderstorms. I was also a regular at Lenox Coffee. (Same routine, different place.)

November 2009: I got married on the beach in Mexico. It was a perfect day! Sadly, we had to adjust our honeymoon plans to accommodate Hurricane Ida. I'm hoping for a second honeymoon in 2010.

See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

UK and the downward spiral.

It all started with good intentions. I packed my running shoes, socks, jog bra, sweats and sweatshirt. It took up, as always, half my suitcase. We arrived at Heathrow, with no sleep, at        7 a.m. We were scheduled for an Open Gym workout at 10 a.m.  By the time we got to The Hotel Florence (aka Anthony's sister's gorgeous flat), we had enough time for unpacking, changing, brewing several lattes on their plumbed double-boiler espresso machine (praise god!) and to head off to the local park.

I fancy myself pretty sporty. However, jet-lagged as I was and with no sleep for 34-ish hours, I felt like I was having a bad dream. The class was circuit training. 8 or 10 little areas with their torture equipment, so-called weights and jump ropes. Evil little things looked so small and harmless until we were asked to spend 2 minutes on each until all were executed. 

As I don't care to relive my torment, let's just say I have been as sore rarely before.

From that workout it was a downward spiral of exercise routines. By the following Saturday's second Open Gym class - don't ask; I am a gluton for punishment - Anthony and I had gone for 1 full hour+ run and one 1 mile run. That last run was shortened by the stiff Dublin winds.

I'll tell you what we DID exercise: our ability to drink copious amounts of ale and stout, nose to tale dining, umbrellas.

How does the tale end? We returned home none the thinner, moved house the next day and within a week were both on our way into winter flus. 

The score? The last 2 weeks, 4 runs.

Guess what folks? 15K this coming Saturday in Central Park! That should be fun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Get Relayed!

Joesters -
A good friend of mine is organising a team for the Ragnar Relay that runs along a superb 178 mile route from Woodstock down to NYC on May 14th to 15th. We still need 4 or 5 people to make up the team of 12. Cost will be $90 per runner, and each pair of legs will probably run 3 legs of 3 to 8 miles long. Should be a blast and an overnight jogging adventure.
If anyone is interested, please let me know - we need to sign up by the end of the year to get the cheapo registration price.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chemex 101. Because it's not all about running.


      1.        Grab Your 4 square Chemex Filter.  Fold into cone shape keeping 3 of the 4 folds in the front.


2.        Place the 3 folds side of the filter towards correct pouring end of the pot.



3.        With hot water wet the filter and the vessel with a few ounce of water.  This creates a better seal between the filter and the pot as well as pre-heat the vessel.


4.        Add your ground coffee beans.  2.2-2.4 grams of coffee per ounce of water.  Grind for Chemex setting with is more course then auto-drip but not as course as press pot.


5.        Add your correct amount of water preferably using these coffee specific kettles which create a perfect stream of water for better pouring control and insulate heat well.


6.        Add a few ounces of hot water into the center of the coffee grounds.


7.        Let the coffee blossom and let out some of it’s oxygen.  The bigger the bloom the fresher and higher quality the coffee.


8.        After letting the coffee bloom for about 30 seconds, start adding the rest of the hot water slowly.  Pour the water in a spiral motion starting from the center out towards the filter keeping the water from getting onto the side wall.  Work the water back from the outside in towards the center until all of the water is emptied from the kettle.


9.       The coffee should start flowing through the center of the cone.


10.     Watch the magic happen.


11.     Take out the filter.  Pour.

      12.  Enjoy!

-Rickie Hecht, Manager of Waverly Joe

Saturday, November 28, 2009

11/28 Waverley Joesters (all 3 of us) went long and bridgewards:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dreaded ITBS & the Lands of Badness

...and post-run at Waverley on Saturday, the topic of the dreaded IT band syndrome came up. Thought it might be useful to share my collated notes re. proactive stretches and drills given that I was out with ITB knack for all of March this year and spent a good chunk of time finding info. Pdf can be grabbed here. Includes the quadballer & foam roller stuff plus a set of core excercises that the 'experts' suggest can help prevent injury, not only to the ITB, but also calf, hamstring, etc.

Unrelated, this time last week, I was jogging a few miles through the Badlands in South Dakota. If you're ever out west and want to feel like you're running on the moon, I recommend heading into the semi-arid wastes:

The end of the world as we know it

After this morning's run from Joe Columbus, the conversation drifted, as it does, to the concept of magnetic north. I managed to stun some of my fellow runners with the news that eventually, perhaps even soon, magnetic north was going to shift to magnetic south, a switch that will be pretty chaotic and would probably make a good premise for a disaster movie a la "2012". This was met with a certain degree of skepticism, and to show you that I wasn't making this up, here's the link to the Wikipedia article that explains this phenomenon:

See, Gabby, this is what happens when you leave us on our own. We finish a beautiful 5-mile run in the park and end up talking about gloom-and-doom science. Come back soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

London Bound!

Not sure what that's all about, but I found it on the Hash House Harrier's website. It's the drinking and running club started in England. While I admire the sentiment so much, I prefer to drink coffee before a run instead than beer. Not that there's anything wrong with it - what could possibly go wrong when you mix alcohol and speed? - but I am a little old-fashioned and like to be wearing more clothes in respect to the booze.

So, Anthony and I are off to London for Thanksgiving week. Nothing says thank you to the Native Americans for teaching us to a hunt and plant then a pint of Guiness at the factory and a Nose to Tail meal at a local pub!

We'll definitely be running all that fat and beer off, so stay tuned for updates of running in Great Britain.

Team Joe runs are still on, so please run, drink the coffee free and tip the baristas!

I'll also be checking out the coffee scene, including Monmouth Coffee and Flat White.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Manage the Damage [11/19]:

Tomorrow night, Jackrabbit has a special free class on holiday nutrition. Joe coffee will be served as well!

Have you ever longed to take a nutrition class where they told you it was ok to  eat dessert and mashed potatoes?  Then come to our holiday food workshop, where  we cover "healthier" alternatives to traditional holiday cuisine.  Learn about  ingredient substitutions you can make without sacrificing flavor, and which  desserts top our "wholesome" list (and maybe even allow for seconds)! Thursday,  November 19th, 6:30-8pm, Union Square Store. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


If you are up early this Saturday, and the following 5 weeks, come by the ASICS store on 42 street!

Whether you’re training or looking to get in shape this season, it’s time to lace up and join us at ASICS Fun Run NYC. Runners of all levels meet to run 3.5 miles at your pace.

It’s free, fun and a great way to meet other runners! Come join us on Saturday mornings at 8:00 AM, followed by post-run refreshments and so much more!

Sign up is required:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Going the distance!!!

Good luck to everyone running in the marathon this weekend. . .

And just a little more evidence in support of distance running:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Marathon Day!

One of my favorite days of the year. The others: Hallowe'en(the little munchkins in costume), Hanukkah (Latkes, Latkes, Latkes), Christmas(more like Christmas tree's a Jewish thing). 

Marathon Day!!! The energy in the air is unmistakable. Maybe it's more the stench of 30,000 sweaty bodies than an energy...but to me, those are 30,000 amazing sweaty people. Last year and in 2003, I was one of those people, and I can tell you (or maybe you could tell me) the challenge, the finish, the crowds, the 5 boroughs - all these things make up an amazing day. 

New York spectators are the most important thing to a runner, besides port-a-potties with tp, and this year we will be out there screaming our lungs out for the friends we know (Pooja, Viviana, Tod, Simon, Adam, Christopher Stephens...probably more that I can't remember...), and the friends we haven't met yet.

Here's where and when we will meet: 9 a.m. at Joe Waverly (Free Coffee), we'll take the F-train to 4th ave at 9th street and we will stand on the west side of the street there until 11/11:30.

There may be a pitstop in Chinatown for some dim sum, and then we will squeeze our way into the line at 5th avenue and 110th street, east side of the street from about 1/1:30.

I'm probably wearing running shoes in case I decide to run with someone we know in Brooklyn. 

See you Sunday...and Saturday, of course, for the regular Joe run! 

p.s. those of you interested in signing up for the NYC Triathlon, sign up starts at midnight November 1...I got ready October 31st at 11:59 pm and got in...20 minutes later it was sold out. That means there are a lot of keen and crazy people in the world...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let's Catch Up

I apologize for my negligence with the blog of late, but as my friend Lysa said today, "could you have any more going on at once?" 

This has been my Autumn - the time we are supposed to start nesting for the winter, eating slow-cooked stews and having Twin Peaks marathons: 

a. looking for and finding a new apartment in brooklyn.
b. making wedding date for 6 months from now...and now starting to plan it. Who knew there are about 100 things to do to just take a short strut down the aisle?
c. making a big change at Joe (new coffee yesterday) which required many days and hours of training, studying, drinking of coffee. It's awesome, by the way!
d. trying, as always, to see my new niece Sally a few times a week.
e. trying to get in especially great shape for my wedding..did I mention my upcoming 6 months??!!

I feel like life goes a lot quicker the older I get. It needs to slow down! Whoa Nelly! Last New Year, I made a resolution, which I rarely do, to slow down, do less, just be a little bit. Have I had any success? 

Happily, it's been mostly great things filling up my time, so I really can't complain. 

Team member Mary Thorne is getting married on Marathon day in Mexico. Congrats Mary! Jen Jennings is in Georgia - The country - with Doctors Without Borders, and she's doing great, finding time to run, even with her 6 day work week. She plans to run the Paris Marathon in the Spring. 

Meanwhile, this is a running blog, so let's talk running.

I've been loving the weather, mostly, running about 4 times a week. I have just signed up for 2 races in December, the 10k and the 15k. I miss racing, and can't wait to start again! I also am excited about watching the Marathon. 

I hope to see some more of you now that the weather is getting cooler. I miss you!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Cider Doughnuts

On a recent uptown Joe run one Sunday morning, a few of us were discussing apple cider doughnuts. To our collective shame, we all admitted that we weren't exactly sure what made a doughnut an apple cider doughnut, though some of us were highly intrigued at the concept.

Today I came across a posting at the always informative kitchn blog (part of the equally stellar group of Apartment Therapy blogs) which tackles this subject:

Impossible to Resist: Apple Cider Doughnuts

I look forward to sampling some of these seasonal delicacies. With coffee, of course. Followed by a run.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Georgia On Her Mind

I miss Jen "Jenkins"! No, that's not her real last name. That's the name I thought was hers for way too long, and although I know her real last name, I prefer Jenkins. Jen Jenkins.

To the Southwest of this blog entry is a picture of her with myself, Anthony, and Pooja.

Jen has gone to Georgia - The Country - to work with Medecins Sans Frontier (anyone have spell check in French?), otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, for 6 months. Bra-Vo Jen!

Jen, we will miss you. However, Jen has left us with something, besides her amazing ability to dress funky while running (Fashionista Runner Girl is her Super Hero persona). She started a BLOG in Georgia - The Country - about her runs, her experiences, hopefully her new cuisine that we can all enjoy in the place of her dazzling in person self.

Become a Follower and enjoy Jen's unique style up to the moment!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Congrats Runners in Queens Half Today

I can't believe that people would travel to Queens for a reason other than the great food (see Sripraphai in Woodside). I, myself, wouldn't...subways on the weekend, et al...

Two of our runners, one from Waverly, one from Columbus, ran, and ran hard!

Pooja Pandit, a senior at NYU and running her first NYC Marathon this year, ran it in 2:06:08, running a 9:37 pace. Not too shabby.

South African Gary Berchowitz, new to Team Joe's Upper West Side runs, ran like the Dickens in 1:41:10 at a 7:43 pace.

Former Team Joe member, and current Central Park Track member (yes, it smarts) Kristine Riisberg, ran in 1:39:39, at a 7:36 pace.

Meanwhile, our new 10 a.m. time was a lovely gift of Autumn. We ran a gorgeous 6 mile route today on the bridal path in Central Park, and finished with a cortado and a visit from Baby Sally Rubinstein, who enjoyed some pear.

I hope to see you all (200 of you) next weekend. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I love the Fall. No, not the Fall Of Man, because that was bad(except for all the knowledge and the apples)... but let's not get the two confused. I am talking about the cool temperatures, the sweaters and jeans, the change in color of the trees, the apples, the stews (why does it always come to food with me?), Hallowe'en and tiny masked monsters asking for candy. 

But best of all, the Team Joe Saturday and Sunday runs will be moved back to 10 a.m.!

You are welcome.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I came, I ate, I ran on treadmill in hotel...

Hi friends,

I am sorry I broke my promise to you, my readers, that I would write from HK. This will be my only post from here. I hope I didn't inconvenience you too much, as I know all 25 of you really look forward to me timely cutting-edge reports on the world of running and eating. Heehee.

It has been a whirlwind tour here in formerly-Brittish HK. Five days here felt like months because it is so transporting from what I am used to in NYC. In some ways, HK is so much like NYC: the massive highrises lined up neck and neck, the hordes of busy people, the reckless taxis. But nestled uncomfortably in every spare inch of room are old-school Chinese ways and means: tiny restaurants in alleys, giant outdoor markets hawking all sorts of goods. Kind of exactly like NYC, but in a Sci-Fi parallel universe sort of way. It reminded me of the novel Cloud Atlas, although that's a bit esoteric.

Here are a few things I noticed here in HK. 1. People wear deodorant. That was great. 2. Subways are so clean you could eat off them..if it weren't for the swine flu. 3. Phones work on subways, but no one talks on them; neither on the subways or on the phones on subways. 4. Customer service is off-the-charts amazing. It makes Joe employees seem like Hell's Angels gang members. Sorry guys, you're really great. 5. People eat constantly here, but are tiny tiny. That one just hurts. 6. The city is so much more technologically advanced and organized than NY. The Octopus card can be used on every mode of transport, minus cabs, and for buying things in stores. It's more amazing than it sounds. 7. People just seem happy here..especially the ex-pats from all over who get paid well and live like kings. 8. The pasttime people love the most, besides eating, is shopping. They are mad for it and have super-sized, icy-cold luxury malls all over the city. 9. HK is an island that is mostly a small mountain, and to get up and down into different neighborhoods there is a series of outdoor escalators that go all the way up, but let people off at each street. Wild!

A few things I explored here in HK were: The Big Buddha on Lantau Island at a Buddhist monastery where we finished the tour with a vegetarian meal; a cooking class for professionals where I was the only student and learned to cook "restaurant-style Shanghai cooking", mostly by deep frying in a wok, recipes I will never attempt at home; The History Museum, which is incredible and has the only buildings (in exhibit) that look at all like "Old China"; a meal in a real HK neighborhood with Anthony's relatives where I was the only western person there - maybe ever; general walking and drifting in different neighborhood soaking up local culture, which includes mostly shopping and eating.

As for running, tempertures being in the 90s with at least 80% humidity, I used the hotel gym a few times. Tread mills aren't my favorite, but I was in a pinch. I did see quite a few runners in the heat of the day, and was surprised to find out through a friend of Anthony's who lives and runs here, that there is a pretty large running community and races all the time starting in October.

That was just a taste of what I discovered in HK. I really kind of miss my own little city-island, filthy and disorganized as it now seems, and can't wait to start running outside again, and with my wonderful little team.

See you next Saturday at Waverly!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Gonzales Cantata

I (Mary Thorne) sing the title role of Alberto Gonzales in The Gonzales Cantata on the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

Miss America meets PDQ Bach on Capitol Hill in this choral work by Melissa Dunphy with a libretto taken directly from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Thirty performers in concert present one of the most dramatic moments in modern US politics—with genders reversed.

Other singers include: Jessica Lennick as Patrick Leahy, Danya Katok as Arlen Specter, Julia Mintzer as Orrin Hatch.

Friday, September 4th, 7pm
Saturday, September 5th, 7pm
Sunday, September 6th, 2pm

The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

And find us on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. That's me singing in the clip at the bottom!


Not that Philadelphia compares with Hong Kong (or business class or a diamond ring), but I thought I would share my Rocky moments.

I have been rehearsing here in Philly for a few weeks (see next posting for performance details) and running in Philly. I'm staying a couple miles from Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, thus the Rocky reference (yes, I ran the steps).

On my run I pass the Eastern State Penitentiary, which I thought might be in a shady neighborhood until I learned that Eastern State is now a tourist destination. Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was the first modern building in America. Imagine, prisoners had central heating and running water when Andrew Jackson still had chamber pots in the White House!

Eastern State Penitentiary provides some reflection for citizens on our current prison system. Initially built to house 250 inmates in their own private cells, when it closed in 1971, Eastern State held 1,700.

On way to HK!

Am sitting in the Brittish Airways First and Business Class lounge. Nice. I could get used to this. Hanging out with Tracy Morgan...well, not so much hanging with, but looking at from afar. Same diff.

They are pre-boarding Business class, but I don't want to be a showoff, as I pass the commoners on my way into my fancy cabin, complete with beds, servants, and gold-leaf covered dinnerware. Let's face it, I'm a mench.

I want to enjoy the Business Class experience for a few hours before I take an Ambien, but I am afraid I won't make it past lunch, after taking an extra strength Contac for my head cold. G-d, I love cold meds!

They just called Business Class in again...I guess I should go. Champagne and foot massages await me...but probably just in my drug-induced dreams...


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off to Hong Kong

I'll be blogging from HK (you thought you were getting a break from me, but think again!) Don't know that I'll be running there, but I'll keep in touch.

Also journeying is our good friend and Team member Jen, Fashionista Runner. She's off on the 8th  to Georgia - the country - with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for a 6 month stint of goodness. I will miss her very much! Au revoir.

Exhausted and can't remember what I packed. Kind of threw everything in suitcase, as usual. Taking with me a budding head cold, which I will mask with extra strength Sudafed so that I won't be turned away from the airport with a Bird Flu or Swine Flu scare.

Happily I'll be traveling Business Class (thank you miles and Anthony), so that will be a "pleasure". I get to test drive those cool pseudo-beds, and the famous Seinfeld episode("More of Everything!")

Cheers mates! Next time you hear from me, I will be severely jetlagged...don't hold anything I may write against me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Changing subject for now..

I never want to be that know the one who goes on and on about being engaged, her fiance (that word just makes me think of Seinfeld..i.e."the dingo ate your fiance"...), the wedding(cake, bridesmaids, giant pouffy dress - blech!). Anyone who knows me knows I am not that girl. I am the girl who slings coffee for a living. Who does races, gets her hands dirty cooking, wipes spit-up off her shirt every time she visits her niece Sally(Oh, Sally!). 

In short, I like to think of myself as earthy, humble, salt-of-the-earth.

In other words, that last blog was making me self-conscious, so I am changing the subject.

Off to Hong Kong Wednesday to check out the running scene. Ok, it's actually in the 90 degree range and 85% humidity there right now, so I'm not sure there will be running.

I'll tell you what there will be in Hong Kong: Massive eating, shopping and a crazy 7 1/2 hour cooking class! In the words of my Grandmother Belle, Oy Vey Iz Mir!

I miss all my Teamsters and can't wait till I can run with you again, September 12th!

p.s. I will show you the hardware when I see you. It's really beautiful.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Official Team Joe Engagement!

Part I

Dinner was great last night at Au Pied de Cochon. Lots of delicious fat was eaten, red wine from Vacqueyras washed down the bison tongue, lamb shank, boudin, maple pie...(extra runs needed).

Poor Anthony was nursing a head cold. We decided to forgo the jazz club and the funky lounge and head back to Hotel St.Paul so he could get some rest.

In the taxi home, the radio was tuned to the Opera station. Some gorgeous aria by Puccini was playing. I was feeling romantic...

We got upstairs and I was about to make Anthony a nice cup of Mint tea, when suddenly he pulled out a small black velvet box. He asked, I answered "show me the ring!", and then "yes, of course!".
Part II

Some of you may not know this, but Anthony and I met through Team Joe. March 2007, Anthony, fresh off the boat from Australia and looking for a running club in his new home, saw a sign up at Joe about Team Joe. He sent me an email, and got back my generic response, "Dear Anthony, please feel free to show up any Saturday for our weekly run! I look forward to running with you soon! Cheers, Gabby"

Not only did he show up, but we soon became friends. After almost 2 years of being friends, my brother Jonathan said to me, "why don't you date your friend Anthony?". Hmm...for those of you who don't know Jonathan, let me tell you, he can be brutal about men I have dated. For anyone to pass his test would be high praise indeed. An eyebrow was raised...

New Year's Eve 2009. I had nobody to kiss. Neither did Anthony. I jokingly suggested we kiss each other at midnight and then forget about it.

Didn't forget about it, did we?

Moral to story:

All The Single Ladies out there: Don't give up! It can happen anytime anyplace. Wait for the real thing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Montreal 10K

This weekend I am off to my old stomping grounds, the city of my Alma Mater, Montreal. I studied Le Musique, specifically Classical Voice(Opera). I had a wonderful experience both at McGill University and in the city as a whole. 

What I think I missed out on while living there was running. I became a runner roughly one year after I graduated and moved to NYC. Now, I hear there are some great runs to be had in The City By The St. Lawrence, and I intend to right my wrongs in that respect with a couple good jaunts. To be fair, I will be eating a large amount of delicious artery-clogging food as well, so there is the need cleanse as well...Check out Au Pied du Cochon... absolutely heart-stopping.

I will be sure to report back to you Monday...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hot Yoga? Hot Running!

Gotta get the run in! Last week I ran once at 7 a.m. and once at 2:30 p.m., both when it was muggy. It's not easy but it's not impossible. Check out link in above title for tips to hot running.

My personal tips: run slowly, drink lots of water, stop and walk once in a while, treat yourself to a donut afterward.

Today in a few minutes, Deborah and I will hit the Hudson Park. I cannot say that I am looking forward to it.

Things I'd rather be doing:
eating donuts
watching the 30 DVR'd shows I need to get to before they're deleted
sitting in air-conditioning and finishing the stack of books I can't seem to get through
cook my way through Julia Child's cookbook
eat dim sum

Anyway, wish me luck!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Team Shirts Ordered

That's me above...did I ever tell you about my previous life as a sportswear model? 

I went into Jackrabbit to visit Doug Oldiges, who is in charge of such things(don't remember his title) as team shirts. He's found us a new shirt from a company called Sport Science. It combines the feel of cotton with wicking properties for a soft sporty running top.

I ordered 5 each of Women's  small and medium and Men's medium and large. They will be less costly than last time, at $20 a pop wholesale.
 the design will be       TEAM
                               on the front and the same logo on the back with "" on the back.

Who wants one? Besides you, Dad...that one's on me.

Looks like a good time...

Here we are together at the 10K, looking spry, then Anthony ("GQ picture") and me ("What NOT To Wear", especially sunglasses on hat and fanny pack around waste...nerd!). 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now that I can think again...

Yes, the 13.1 mile ordeal was rough. Now that I've had some rest, I want to mention how nice the PBDS (Powered By Dim Sum) folks are! We all shared dim sum, and boy, can they eat dim sum. They know how to order, too! Chicken Feet, tripe, and all manner of dumplings.

PBDS seem to be pretty competitive runners, so I am not sure if they will be joining us for our weekly jogs. Maybe just dim sum. Fine by me. I wouldn't want to make a habit of running that half-Marathon again just for dim sum...maybe if there was a maple bacon donut at the end...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Real 1/2 Marathon Story.

First let me comment on the above pictures from today's race...(sounds of flatulence). Yes, that bad. I'd really like today to just be over and for me to be sleeping, so I'll get right to the point. It sucks to run long distances in the muggy heat of August. Period.

Alarm wet off at 5:30. By 6a.m., bagel toasted, coffee brewed, banana peeled. Visor on, ipod in fanny pack(cringe...but necessary), vanilla goo(only palatable flavor). In cab by ten past 6, and at race corrale by 6:30.

15,000 runners lined up, led by Paula Radcliffe, my personal hero (ran while preggers), and toilet paper in porta-potties.

7a.m. race starts. 7 1/2 miles in Central Park, then exit at 7th ave and 59th street. Run through Times Square, across 42nd street and down the West Side Highway. Hotter and more humid by the minute. Anthony was having leg pain and I had to go on without him(Jewish guilt ensued).

Did I mention that last year I vowed "never again!" to this race? How did I end up on the same lonely stretch of highway in the sweltering heat yet again? Ask Anthony.

Race ended, I found Anthony and we found the R train to Prince Street. Showered and we were off to dim sum at Jing Fong 20 Elisabeth street with our new friends PBDS(Powered By Dim Sum). We sit, Anthony turns green(pea soup color). I send him home in taxi. I eat copiously. I return home to check him for pulse. Pulse strong. I ask for new vow for end of the cycle of violence (to ourselves. No more half-marathons in summer).

p.s. really poor photos Simon Bird.

Friday, August 14, 2009

run, run,then maple bacon donut

Unholy, un-kosher goodness. Maybe the best thing I've ever eaten. Definitely worth running 11 miles for...and even then I probably ingested more calories than I ran off. It was one whopper of a donut.

Maybe I should start from the beginning of the story. Last Thursday, my brother Jonathan and I flew to Portland, Oregon to attend the wedding of our Director of Coffee, Amanda Byron on Cannon Beach, an hour & a half away on the Oregon Coast. We went for a jog before dinner, and happened by this crazy donut shop downtown. There was a large line outside and a party atmosphere. I looked into the small window to the kitchen, where I saw people rolling and cutting donuts by hand. There was a man handing off a large and strangely shaped donut and I asked him what kind it was. Get ready: "The Cock and Balls", he said with a straight face. "Okay", I said back. Sorry I asked. What if a small child had asked? Portland's a wild town.

ANYWAY, we decided to be good and not donut (donut becomes a verb when they are one's favorite food). However, the next day, we drove on to Cannon Beach, an adorable seaside town with Nantucket-style houses and saltwater taffy. We went to the best coffeehouse in town, called The Sleepy Monk. It's a really cute coffeehouse that looks like a monk's cell. They also roast their own beans. However, most importantly, they get a shipment in every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. of Voodoo donuts! Well, clearly it was a sign from the gods that I was destined to try one.

Saturday, when I woke up early, I decided to go for my long run to train for the Half-Marathon this coming weekend. I would go about 11 miles, or 1:45 and then be free and clear to get a maple-bacon piece of heaven. I had a glorious run, all over the beach, up a mountain, through a primeval forest, back down on the beach, through town...and then for the last 30 minutes, I pretty much just circled the Sleepy Monk, making sure there were still enough supplies for me.

Then the donut. Fresh, soft dough, perfectly baked, real maple syrup frosting, and to top it off, perfectly crispy, salty bacon. My Orthodox-Jewish great grandfather may have been turning in his grave, but I was in heaven.

If I could eat a maple bacon donut every weekend, I would be willing to run 11 miles beforehand. A pact with the devil?

p.s. I shared the donut with my rotten brother. Grrr....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer lovin' and Summer streets

Summer time - gotta love New York City during summer - sure, the Hamptons, Fire Island or the Jersey Shore are fun, but if you happen to be in the city during the weekends, make the most of it and enjoy everything the city has to offer during summer time.

Yesterday, as part of my half marathon training, I thought why not take to Summer Streets and run up Park Avenue - so I did just that. Running along Lafayette in Soho up to join Park at Union Square and then up to about 60th St before doing a u-turn and heading back and eventually ending up at Joe Waverly for a refreshing and soothing iced skim latte. It was great to run places typically reserved for cars only, like up and the ramps around Grand Central. Incidentally, I forgot to charge my iPod, so all I had was the city and Park Avenue to keep me entertained. It was such a great atmosphere - cyclists, runners, walkers, tourists out along Park Avenue - water stations, mini tennis courts, bike repair stands, free roller blading as well. A hotel along the route even had its own water station out.

Summer Streets is on for the next 2 Saturdays (15th and 22nd) between 7am and 1pm. Get out and enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bird legs in the desert

Just to add a quickie to the Joester reports of running in 'exotic' climes, I'm here in Albuquequequequque, New Mexico and have been jogging a few miles the last couple of mornings along the Rio Grande. (Or not so Grande, given that it's a 10-foot wide mud slick in most places this far north, it seems.) It's 'nice' and hot, so have been trying to get out early enough to avoid the Big Shrivel. Feels good on my recovering splinted shins to be running on the sandy trails and I've been treated to humming birds, hawks, bees the size of baseballs, and other desert wildlife skimming past. First time I went out, I took an interesting path along the side of an irrigation channel and ended up trapped on a never-ending path, water on one side and large, imposing fences of rich gits on t'other. Luckily a kindly bloke watering his cacti let me shin over his wall so I could double back and re-find my original path. I will, apparently, never learn when running and hiking in unfamiliar locales - not particuarly wise to do unplanned miles in these arid cities, eh?

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Friends, The NYC Half, and Un-Half


Recently, I noticed a team at several races called Powered By Dim Sum..hmm..first I thought it was maybe a computer program, like Java, but no, it's a running group that likes to eat dim sum. Cool. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love dim sum (known as yum cha in Australia), especially chicken feet and any other 'nose to tail' parts.
I thought Powered By Dim Sum and Team Joe Coffee. Huh. Maybe we could be friends. Jerry, who seems to be the Team Leader, has agreed to join forces loosely. We have invited his team to run with Joe, since they don't have regularly scheduled runs. In exchange, we get to tag along for dim sum...also, they have organized their own Half-Marathon the same date and time as the NYC Half. August 16th. 7 a.m. The difference is there is no fee to run...also no T-shirts, no water stations, no nothin'. Afterward, we will all meet up at Jing Fong. Read Jerry's email below.

Due to stronger incentives for PBDS members to be cheapskates, PBDS will be holding their 4th Annual PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon on August 16th, 2009.

The PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon is for those who found their net worth to be lower than the Titanic and for those who didn't wake up for several days to make it in time to sign up for the NYC Half before it closed out.

The PBDS format is causing NYRR to change their format for the NYC Half this year. For NYC half, its now First come first serve for race entry instead of lottery. For PBDS its first show up ON TIME, then run. Those who are late will not run because we will not be around. For PBDS, we have done our halves without any sponsorship. For NYC Half, NYRR has reduced their sponsors by getting rid of NIKE.
The theme for PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon 2009 will be Milking NYC for what we can get out of it. We will use their roads and pedestrian pathways for no money, we will use their bridges for no money. we will even use their water fountains in the public parks for no money. In return for the milking, you will receive nothing from us. No t-shirts, no water tables, no marked paths, no forced, smiling volunteers to guide us in the right direction. I know this is a culture running shock to some of you who before could afford the NYC Half but this is how it is done when you come down to our level. This year we must institute 2 pace group. Slow and Fast. I will be with the slow group. Those who are considering to be in the fast group should familiarize yourself with the route. We will not lose people or leave anyone behind. Those 2 girls that we somehow misplaced last year found their way back to the start. So technically we did not lose them since they were found.

Here are the details of the PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon

START TIME: 7AM, That means START running at 7AM.

Course will be:
1ST LEG Start on South St. and Market St. (Chinatown)----Up East River park----To Williamsburg Bridge and over----around the Navy Yard----To Brookyn Bridge and over----to Entrance to Manhattan Bridge. 8.08 Miles

Start On Entrance of Mahattan Bridge----Over Manhattan Bridge----Up Jay St.----Right on Tillary St.----Brooklyn Bridge and Over. 3.05 Miles

Start Off Brooklyn Bridge----left on Park Row----Left on Broadway----Continue on State St.----around State Plaza----pass South Ferry----Up South St.----Finish at Market Slip. 2.23 Miles

ROAD CLOSURE: None, unless you use your body to block the cars.

POLICE PROTECTION: They will be protecting the NYC Half. Not us.

WATER STATIONS: There are 2 water fountain in the 1st Leg. 1 water fountain at the beginning of the 3rd leg. If you have water belts, Bring it!

STRAGGLER BUS: More Like straggler walk back to the start for us.
MEDICAL SUPPORT: None, so don't get hurt.
BAGGAGE: Can be stored in my place.

SCORING/TIMING: whatever your watch tells you.
DISTANCE: Total distance is a little greater than 13.1 So train for that extra .1 or .2 miles.

If you can make it, Email me directly at

More Recipes from the NY Philharmonic Extravaganza

There have been many many requests for the recipes of the delicious food that was cooked by Team Joe runners at the NY Philharmonic picnic in Central Park (luckily everything was eaten before the rain came down!).

So fellow runners and readers, here we go:

Corn & Jalapeno salad(serves 6) - from Caitlin

1 cup walnuts
4 cups (from 4 ears) fresh corn, raw or cooked (I always do it raw, as I like the crispness)
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt & black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta (I always use a bit more!)

Toast walnuts in 400 degree oven for about 8 min, or until fragrant. Let cool and roughly chop.Combine all ingredients (including walnuts) except feta in a large bowl. Mix, let sit, and add feta just before serving. Freakishly easy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (Serves 6-8) - from Laura

Rich shortcrust pastry:

6oz (175g) plain flour
pinch of salt
4oz (125g) hard margarine or butter
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

8oz (225g) frozen chopped spinach
1oz (25g) butter
1 small onion (peeled and diced)
4oz (125g) mushrooms (sliced)
3 eggs
1/4 pint (150ml) double cream or crème fraîche
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
large pinch of dried basil

Preheat oven to gas mark 6 (200ºC, 400ºF). To make pastry, sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in margarine or butter, then rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Bind together with the egg yolk and water to form a dough. Chill for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough and use to line a 9-inch (23cm) loose-bottomed flan ring. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the pastry, then fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Turn oven temperature down to gas mark 4 (180ºC, 350ºF). Cook spinach according to the directions on the packet. Drain well. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add onion and fry until soft but not brown. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, spoon into pastry case. Beat eggs and cream together and season well with salt, pepper and the basil. Pour into pastry case and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until just set). Allow to cool.

Flapjacks* - bonus recipe from Laura

4oz butter
4oz soft brown sugar
3oz golden syrup or honey
8oz rolled oats

Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (350ºF, 180ºC). Melt butter, sugar and syrup/honey over low heat until smooth. Stir in rolled oats. Press into greased baking tin. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before cutting into fingers. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing.
* In the UK, flapjacks are made out sugar butter oats honey etc, and pancakes are batter things that you fry.
In the US, the words flapjacks and pancakes are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. The pancakes may have other ingredients in them, such as oats, honey, etc., but we still call them either pancakes or flapjacks.

Sorry readers, no recipe for the cupcakes yet - they are a secret - you will have to come to Team Joe Sunday run and get them out of our cupcake baker extraordinaire - Laura. Plus they have a shot of Joe espresso, so even better]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hmm...What To Call This...

Tri'd and Failed(to change my own tube)? Tri'd and succeeded(in never giving up)?

Yesterday was the NYC Triathlon. It was my 3rd NYC Tri and 6th Olympic Tri overall. I've been extremely lucky in the previous 5 in never having a flat tire or an accident, so yesterday, I actually was more or less expecting the flat. When it came, I just said to myself, "Oh yeah, there it is." and hopped off my bike to change the tube. I'd never actually practiced the move before, but had seen it enough to feel confident I could do it.

I couldn't do it. 20 minutes of trying and my hands cramped up. 25 minutes more of standing on the side of the highway with bikers racing past, a look of relief in their eyes that it was me and not they who were stranded. Finally a young woman with a flat wheeled over to me and we commiserated. She tried to get get my tire off and also was unsuccessful. 15 more minutes and I decided to fill the tube with a CO2 cartridge and try my luck at riding. When the tire was full, I could feel the spot on it where the air was escaping. I got on the bike and rode another mile or so before the tire was again flat. I tried to fill it again, but was unable to inflate it. Now, I was stranded AND alone again on the West Side Highway at around 165th street. Luckily there was a nice view.

Now, before the flat, I had been having the race of my life! My swim was great, my transition pretty quick, and I had been steadily passing people on my bike. Team Joe member and Tri coach Deb Mahanger had raised my seat an inch and it made such a huge difference! I almost felt like I was cheating! So, when I was standing on the highway, I got a mite frustrated because I knew I would have had my best tri time ever.

After waiting for over an hour, a passing cyclist told me that the Toga Bikes help truck was just behind and so in me awoke new hope for a finish! However, 30 minutes more passed before they came by. By then there were no more passing bikes. Not one.

Toga changed my tube. To make me feel better, the guy (with huge muscular forearms) said that my type of wheels and tires were really tough and hard to change. Thanks guy.

I called Anthony because I knew he'd be very anxious. He had to know SOMETHING had happened. The last time I called him during a race, I had a terrible ankle sprain (see earlier blog entry from January). Anthony was the go-to person for live updates to my parents and to our friends.

Finally, I got back on my bike and raced back to Transition. I put on my Team Joe shirt, grabbed some ShockBlocks and began my 6 mile run across 72nd street and up and around the park. 72nd street still had a few cheerers out and many finishers, all of which cheered for me as if I were a hero. It was so nice of them and their encouragement helped me along. The hills in the park felt different than usual. Steeper, longer, harder. People continued to cheer me on, last as I was. They looked a little surprised that I was last and was running pretty quickly, considering. I was probably running about a 9 minute/mile pace.

The finish line couldn't come fast enough or be a more welcomed sight. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish line. I got my medal and a wet cold towel. All was well again.

Triathlons are exciting for the very reasons we fear them and fear the challenges and unknowns in life. You know there will be pain, you don't know if you will fail or succeed, you have no control of the weather or of the people around you. There will be a flat one day, maybe today.

We do tri's because they test us. Do we give up when we get a flat or do we do everything we can to finish, even if it's in last place? We get scraped up, swallow Hudson River water, get kicked in the face, want to cry while riding uphill, face 6 miles of running when already exhausted. We want to just stop, but we don't. That is life in a 3 hour race. That is why I love triathlons.

That, and the free T-shirt.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tri This!

I THINK I can, I THINK I can...that's usually my motto when on the bike portion of a triathlon that I haven't trained enough for. How does one train ENOUGH for a race with 3 different muscle groups working against each other? 

Sunday is the NYC Nautica Olympic Distance tri! .9 mile swim in the Hudson, 25 grueling miles on the bike, and 6 miles of running on brick legs. yay. I mean YAY!!!!

If you care to watch and get some great photos, there are several spots to watch the beginning or end of each segment. See below.    

Team Joe runs are as scheduled. Saturday 9:30 from Waverly (you can wish me luck in person), and Sunday at 9:30 from Columbus...You can go after you get up at 5:30 a.m. to watch the swim start at 6:30, the bike start around 7, and the run start around 8:45.

Hey- I'm not the only crazy nutjob doing the race! Kristine Riisberg, Ani Go, and Laren Spirer are also doing it! Good luck Ladies!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Katie Lee Joel’s Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies

For the Team Joe Potluck Picnic last Friday, I wanted to try my baking skills and thus made this batch of Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies, courtesy of Katie Lee Joel.

I share this recipe with you all, fellow runners:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (be sure to use a high-quality chocolate with more than 60% cacao) [Anthony's note: I used 62% dark semisweet Scharffen Berger chocolate - YUM]
  • 1 cup dried cherries (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a bowl using a handmixer), beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate, cherries and pecans (if you’re using them).

Scoop by the heaping tablespoonful onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake until golden and chewy, about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets after six minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool and repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Makes about 40 cookies (depending on how big you make them!)

If you bake a batch, why not bring them along and share them with your fellow Team Joe runners. It's probably best to eat them after the run and not before.

Potluck Picnic Culinary Winner

Friday was great fun at the last NY Philharmonic a fresco of the season. Thanks to Caitlin, who got there at 3pm, armed with several blankets and books, we had a spot that was so close, I could actually see the stage! It may be the first time since middle school that I manned first base on a baseball field, and although I didn't catch any flying balls, all of the culinary efforts were home runs! I promise to get a few recipes up here soon.

Around 22 people showed up, both runners and the people who love them. Runners from "Waverly Saturdays" and "Columbus Sundays" mixed easily; it was no Jets vs. Sharks, but a cohesive group of cool folk.

Some of the gourmet highlights: eggplant lasagna, fresh corn feta and jalapeno salad, watermelon feta salad, Israeli couscous salad, homemade frittata, homemade quiche, homemade cupcakes, homemade chocolate chip dried cherry and pecan cookies, and much much more! Loaded plates were passed, wine flowed, clothes stayed on( you can't have everything), but besides that, it was a regular Bacchanale(stay tunes on Shakespeare in the Park, because they're putting on "The Bacchae" by Euripides...very light and happy... in August)! 

The Phil, conducted by newcomer Alan Gilbert, played some Copland American Songs, sung by Nathan Gunn, and then Mahler's Symphony #1. Both were wonderful, and I would have loved to hear the culmination of Mahler's effort, but lightening and rain ended the concert early. at around 9:35, roughly 100,000 people ran out of Central Park and away from the open ground where lightening was more likely to strike.

Home we all went, full of great food, conversation, musical glories and wet shoes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Joe Picnic This Friday!

Listening to the NY Phil play Copland and Mahler while laying on the grass sipping Sauvignon Blanc and sampling runner cuisine is just about the best thing to do on a summer Friday evening in NYC. I know, because I've done it. Trust me on this.

This coming Friday, the music starts at 8pm, but a few of us brave Teamsters will be gathering on the lawn starting at 4:30 to stake out territory. We'll get as close as possible, but based on Shakespeare in the Park this year, we'll still be miles away. It's amazing what people will do for free stuff! (like run 6 miles for a $2 coffee...)

Anyway, this is a potluck, so bring your favorite dish. I'm thinking veggie lasagne, and I know there's a salad or two coming along, as well as some dessert. Bring wine, cheese, bread, whatever.

I already have plates and cutlery for up to 28 people, as well as cups that I'm stealing from work.

Call me when you get there to find us. 917-825-1654...although sometimes reception is poor with 30,000 other people also trying to find their friends. Good luck.

Free Running Lesson!

 Jae has come to a couple of Team Joe's runs to give us free running workshops. Now she's offering them again this week in Central Park. I have found them to be very helpful with my own running style. Check it out! -Gabby

The Secret to Fluid Running
Thurs, 7/16, 6:30-6:45 pm
Sat, 7/18, 7:30-7:45 am
meet at Engineer's Gate, Fifth Ave and E. 90th St.
If you take a pounding when you run, this lesson will help you smooth out your stride.  It'll also help you optimize your stride length.  Take it either Thurs or Sat as a warm up to your run.

Click on title above for info about Jae Gruenke and Balanced Runner!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back in the Berkshires!

It has been abnormally chilly (49-67 degrees) in Lenox, Massachusetts making it perfect running weather!

My run this afternoon took me to Tanglewood where tonight Christian Tetzlaff will be playing (among others) Beethoven's Kreutzer Violin Sonata. I find it interesting that the sequence of keys he is playing is: G A G, which is probably what I'd do if I sat through THREE Beethoven Violin Sonatas. (Beethoven is great, but three!)

There are a few more hills around here than I'm used to after running along the Hudson, but I was able to make it home without sticking around for the Beethoven!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ohio running is where it's at!

Anthony and I are in Cleveland! Still!

After a 12 hour journey on Thursday, including a 3-hour delay at La Guardia, followed by the cancellation of our flight, a cab ride over to Newark for a new flight, another 2 1/2 hour delay there, we finally landed safe and sound at 12:30a.m. at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport! While waiting at the 2 airports, we sampled the very best in airport cuisine and met some very nice people. Did you know that Newark Concourse C now has a wine bar that offers flights of wine for $7 and nice cured meats and cheeses? Well, it now does! We did some shopping, some strolling, and if it wasn't probably a crime, we would have gone for a jog.

When I think about my city of birth and childhood, I think about the running trails it hosts. We ran a few of my favorites this weekend. Ohio has many thousands of acres of parks, with many trails for running, biking and horseback riding. Friday, we ran through the beautiful neighborhood of Shaker Heights, Ohio, past beautiful turn of the century mansions and around scenic lakes.

July Fourth, we did a 6 mile run on the Chagrin reservation towpaths, a pretty adventurous trail run with streams to walk over via large rocks and twists and turns that revealed ever more beautiful land that will never be built on.

Today, I took Anthony to Peninsula, Ohio (click on the tile above for website about the town) for a trail run that started at a historic railway station and went by a swift river that beckoned for a swim. I declined.

We decided to stay an extra night to enjoy the sound of the birds chirping outside my folks house. Not a neighbor in sight or within earshot. Aahhhhh!!! If only Midtown were this quiet and Central Park had bubbling rivers that one could take a dip in without getting a ticket.


Sunday Columbus Avenue Report. As a limerick

On Sunday the Fifth of July
Four runners went running, but why?
They ran for four miles,
were greeted with smiles
and lattes, though some preferred chai.

Full disclosure: technically, new runner Danielle had iced tea, but chai was easier to rhyme in this context.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Running Bellies - guest blog by Krs10

Ok, I cannot believe I am sharing this photo as I look like a big fatty, but Gabby thought it would be good to share the adventures of a pregnant runner for posterity. My friend Becca, on the far right, and I, on the far left, were both about six months pregnant for the Manhattan Mini 10K, June 7th, in Central Park. She decided to get a small shirt so that she would have it for the longterm; I decided I might need more XL’s for the summer, so I look like a blimp. All through the race people were cheering Becca on for being pregnant and probably just feeling bad for me that I was so fat and slow. I wouldn’t mind that much if a really hot and fit looking Aaron Eckhart of In the Company of Men fame hadn’t run right by at the end of the race as we were milling about and made eye contact (well, maybe he made eye contact because I was staring at him and scaring him.)

For some reason it isn’t that strange to be at the beginning of a NYRR race with thousands of women and no men. It is a good testament to how many women run in NYC that it doesn’t feel odd when it is just women. I was nervous before the race, much like I might be before a half marathon rather than a 10K. Five and a half miles is about the limit of my general running these days and sometimes I walk a little then, and for some reason a 10K in a public race was intimidating. I felt nauseous and dizzy before the start. But, once we started it is just so fun to run with other people (yay, Joes!) and we went a nice slow pace with a particularly slow start from the crowds so that I felt fine and peppy the whole way. Unusually, the race starts up Central Park West starting from Columbus Circle before entering the park in the 90’s and it did feel empowering to see a beautiful avenue lined with towering buildings filled with women running. That they would shut down a whole road for us was flattering. Our group hung together and chatted the whole way and the park is so nice and cool under the canopy in the shade that it was really a pleasant experience. All five of us finished together – a lovely women’s outing. Hopefully, the NYRR’s will start age-group categories for pregnant women like four months, six, months, eight months, so we could maybe win something for once, but I guess that would be ill-advised as it would encourage women to push it and compete, which is not recommended.

Given no other contraindications and if you are a regular runner, running is fine all through pregnancy and can provide a number of benefits to mother and baby. (See Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F. Clapp III) Pregnant women even have certain competitive advantages like higher blood volume and better heat radiation. Apparently, the East Germans tried to cheat in one of the Olympics by making sure their athletes were 12 weeks pregnant, which is supposedly like blood doping. Nobody I have spoken with, though, has felt like a superior athlete at 12 weeks, but hey.

The hard part is knowing your body, which is changing every day. As a runner, you generally know good and bad pain, when to push it if you are tired and flat and when not to. When you are pregnant it is much harder to gauge all that especially since the general population is expecting you to stop running; you feel a much greater burden of responsibility. There is always the nagging fear that you overdid it and did something bad. In some ways being pregnant is probably similar to being an older runner. You have to be very regular and keep it up or it is hard both mentally and physically to get back into it. So I try not to take more than a couple days off doing other activities because otherwise I lose confidence that I will be able to keep this up throughout, which I hope to do for all the health benefits, both mental and physical for me and the hanger on and because running rules.

So hope to see you all along the West Side Highway Park this summer. I’ll be the bulging one in the giant t-shirts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cleveland Bound. Again.

Check out the utube video link above about Cleveland. It's rough, but funny. I will be running and eating and celebrating The Rocket's Red Glare in the heart-shaped state in the midwest this weekend. 

It's actually quite nice, despite all the jokes. It's green, it's quiet, and there's amazing running to be ran in thousands of miles of parks. 

As for the Team Joe runs, as far as I know, most people are here and I know for a fact that people will be running Saturday and Sunday, although running with hangover Sunday may be rough. Drink lots of water. Weather looks clear for the weekend, but based on recent events, you may want to check your Crackberry on your way to the run.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Benefits of Group Running by Liz Robbins

I cut and pasted this from the online NY Times Blog via Jen "The Jinx". Click link above for actual article.


Long distance running may be the ultimate individual pursuit, offering a time for peace, solitude and communion with one’s body. But for many runners, distance running is the epitome of community, a true testament to the uplifting spirit of the sport.


Gill Schumaker, 68, who started the suburban Chicago running group Team NorthShore, says he used to be one of those people who savored running alone and didn’t want to be dragged on an unfamiliar pace. But when he moved from Cincinnati to Chicago, he formed a running group to help make running the area’s flat trails more interesting.

“And now, it’s like I can’t run without a group -– just the camaraderie, and experiencing what’s going on with them,” Mr. Schumaker said. “I learned how to run fast by being with a group. What it was, is that I wanted to be with those people.”

He vividly recalls a morning run a few years ago when members of the group, including an ex-officer of the United States Air Force, the Israeli Air Force and the Russian army, broke into song, each extemporizing a verse about the joys of running. Chanting in perfect cadence (”I don’t know, but I’ve been told…”), they charged to the end of the run.

Rob Udewitz, a clinical and sports psychologist in Manhattan, said many runners change their pace when they run in a group. “There is a phenomenon of running with people where you run faster and easier,” he said.

Call it motivation. Competition. Or accountability.

“It’s easy to roll over and go back to bed if it’s just you,” said Gail Kislevitz, an author of running books and coach of Team for Kids, the New York Road Runners Foundation team that raises money for youth fitness. “You know if you have a group waiting for you on the corner, you don’t want to be the one not to show up.”

Sometimes just joining the group can be the hardest part. “There’s a lot of intimidation for beginning runners early on to go into a group,” Mr. Udewitz said. “They think it’s like gym class and they’ll be the slowest, or be last. But that quickly dissolves.”

When Ms. Kislevitz decided to run her first marathon, a friend elected to help her get through the unknown of the long run. She was hesitant, not wanting to sacrifice her private time where she wrote many of her articles in her head. But then she and her friend started the run.

“We fell into the same pace, and before I knew it, the ten miles were over,” she said. “We were talking about our kids and our marriages and I thought, ‘This is amazing, how could I ever run a long run alone again?’”

She added: “You don’t really notice the pain. If you start whining, someone is going to tell you to shut up.”

The benefits of training with a team extend beyond encouragement to peer analysis, too. “If you do more intense workouts, like interval workouts, that kind of work is so much easier with a group,” Mr. Udewitz said.

Often, the group is formed because of a common purpose like a charity. Sometimes the post-workout socialization is the raison d’etre. (Powered by Dim Sum is my favorite named team in the New York area).

Of course, every runner trains the way their mind, body and schedule works best. The two-time New York City champion Jelena Prokopcuka trains only with her husband, Aleks, in the Latvian beach town of Jurmala. Many Kenyan runners, whether training in Boulder, Colo., or in the Rift Valley of Africa, work as a team in practices.

Time and geography may limit people’s ability to join teams. One woman, Patricia Plasencia, told me how she trained for the 2006 New York City Marathon by herself at 4:30 in the morning in Del Rio, Tex., before she went to work as a physical therapist’s assistant. Every day she would sprint past a pack of wild dogs near the Laughlin Air Force Base until they got used to her scent. Having joined Team for Kids, she used online coaching to prepare for her first marathon. The following year, Ms. Plasencia was the first name chosen in the lottery.

For runners who train in New York’s Central Park, the pack mentality can tend to tip to extremes. On some summer Tuesday evenings in the thick of marathon training, those who do not belong can get swept up in the chaos. Runners from teams, classes and clubs all seem to be rushing in opposite directions on the bridle path and park drives.

So much for the loneliness of the long-distance runner.