Posts Tagged ‘life’

Admit it.  You have something you do before every long run, race, or event you take part in.  I do.  Though I’m a numbers girl at heart and understand that pretty much everything is black and white (sorry English majors!), there’s certain things that I feel are left to a higher power: superstitions. For me, habits form and I have a good race which means that it must be due to the extraneous factors, not the work in the race, right? 😉 

So what are some of mine? 

Bib number.  This is crucial.  There’s something to be said about a nice, symmetrical number.  Take for instance my PDR Bib number last year: 3404.  Nice number.  MCM? 8155 (notice the 9 squared and double 5s).  Two PRs. Two nice numbers.  Yep, I never claimed to be normal:)  This year? 4011. Eh.  Just not as fun of a number. NYCM?  16753.  Jury’s out on this one.  Trying to find the significance.  Although I find it fun that I was writing this post the day of bib numbers being posted. Hmmm… 

Clothing.  Yep there’s something to be said about race day wear.  I had been with a running team for my previous marathons but still opted to not wear my team’s wear in most races.  Why?  I had success with my Penn State singlet, blue Brooks shorts, pink hat and Mizuno Inspires at MCM (both times).  It’s become my official marathon jersey if you will.  Guess it worked out I’m doing NYC this year as a free agent. 


Cruising through Beantown


Food.  I get finicky on this one.  My stomach has a mind of it’s own and it doesn’t take much for it to freak out.  That’s why the night before MCM both times I ate at  Facia Luna in Virginia.  It also is located in Happy Valley.  So it gave me the Penn State love…or at least that’s what I think!  Before a race I stick to bread and peanut butter.  I don’t curve away from this.  OK so maybe for a marathon I go crazy with a bagel and peanut butter.  If it’s a half marathon I can stick to one piece of bread and peanut butter.  Longer? I up it to 2 pieces.  Nothing fancy. 

I heart PB & Co.


Music.  Can I share a secret? I’ve got a certain song that I play before every big race.  I’m not telling you what it is because the power of the song may diminish.  I told you I am superstitious;-)  I also have certain other songs picked out based upon the type of race.  I guess that’s the math/science geek coming out. 

Post-race? I’m a burger, fries, coke and black&white cookie kind of girl.  November 7th you know what I’ll be indulging post 26.2 miles. 

burger and fries 

black and white cookie 

I also do not run the day before the race.  Whether it be the mile or a marathon I just don’t do it. 

That’s just a few.  There’s more but that’s a start to how I tick. 

What are some of your superstitions?

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Tempus fugit

For those that are not in the Latin know, it means “time flies.”  As the end of my 20s approaches, it amazes me to look back at what transpired since 2000. The 20s was truly about ME.   I’ve learned a lot, hit some speed bumps along the way but ultimately have made leaps and bounds over where I was 10 years ago.

A brief synopsis:

  • I graduated from the most awesome university in all the land: PENN STATE!

The Nittany Lion

  • I somehow ended up with a job in Manhattan doing work I didn’t necessarily graduate with a skill set for: engineering.  I graduated with a BS in Info Sciences & Technology with a minor in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management.  Best part of the job? I only went to the information session because I was hungry for dinner after classes from 8-5!
  • I moved to New York at the youthful age of 22 without any acquaintances within 50 miles.  I had no idea where Brooklyn was, that there was a such thing as the Manhattan Bridge,  or that I was a runner in the making.  Within 3 months of moving here, I dealt with a bomb scare across the street from my office and the Blackout.  At that point, walking 3.5 miles seemed insane.
  • My first roommate tried to get me on one of those “what not to wear” type of shows.  I came within a millisecond of having that happen.  Hey, I would have gotten a free closet of clothes.  Those that know me should know I have no shame.  Plus, at that point no one knew me in NY;-)
  • I wanted to move out of NY after 6 months here.  Some not so happy times.
  • I became a runner.  It really started because I didn’t want to become fat from sitting on my a** all day in a cube.  7 marathons later (with 8&9 within the next few months), 25+ half marathons later guess that panned out.  It also helped me find “my people.”
  • I met friends, watched them leave (and some return), some faded away.
  • I’ve had some pretty cool vacations: Seattle/Portland/Oregon, Vienna/Salzburg, Prague/Budapest, San Diego, and soon to be…COLORADO!!!
  • I lived in one apartment on the UES with four different roommates over my first 6 years in NY.  Oddly enough 3 of the 4 roommates ended up engaged or in a very serious relationship during my time as a roommate.
  • I decided on Brooklyn after a freezing cold race in Prospect Park in 2009.  I remember walking out of the subway into my current neighborhood and saying “this is it.”  Oddly enough, the first apartment was the one I ended up buying.  Yep, I own a piece of property in NEW YORK F’ing City!  Pretty damn cool. (my goal before 30 was to be roommate-less!)

View from the roofdeck

  • I’ve worked at the same company since moving to New York.
  • I started my blog before blogging became cool.  Born and bred in 2002 over at livejournal.
  • I’ve got one more race left as an F29…this coming Saturday: Club Champs.  First race as a true F30?  Pikes.

Club Champs 2005

If that’s one decade, imagine what the next brings?  Stay tuned.

Celebrating with friends at the Boat Basin in 2005

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What makes you tick?

When I run, I think about a lot of things. There are silly things to calm the mind from an exhausting work day or perhaps how to obtain world peace. However, when running with others I like to get into a simple question: what is your passion? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? All too often, there’s an attitude of ‘I have to..” Not good. Sign of someone lacking that fire. I have suffered from that disease. not a good one!

Me? What makes me go these days?

– carpe diem (“seize the day”). Each day means a new experience ahead. Go get it!

one day I woke up and said, time to run up the empire state building...

– my home. I’m fortunate enough to wake up in my space. So grateful for that every day. I’ve earned my way to home ownership. Love it!

I love my neighborhood!

– friends & family. This is a post within itself. The past year has been a transition of sorts with so many wonderful new friends entering my life. It really has been a source of feeling more alive than ever.  In a city like NYC, it’s easy to get buried beneath all the chaos.

My 93 yr old strong as nails mom-mom and nephew

vacation with friends out in Oregon in 2006

– running. It’s been a source that has helped me become the person I am today. As I’ve expressed before, I wouldn’t be in NYC without it.

Hood to Coast. Always smiling:)

First Boston. Bottom of heartbreak with dad!

– photography.  I’ve been told I’ve got a good eye behind the lens.  I just bought an SLR and what fun I’ve had with it!

Snowy NYC

– NYC.  Though I have my fights with it, overall I love it here.  It’s true if you can make it here…

Love ya NYC

-engineering.  Sure it drives me crazy sometimes but I do spend a lot of time doing this.  I sure as heck better enjoy it.  Plus, come on who can resist a girl with a hard hat? Haha!

– Food.  Sure laugh but with all this training I can enjoy the finer things in life:)

-the promenade.  This is my spot after a long day to decompress.  Simply awesome.

Sunset rocks!

– summer.  I love it.  Sure you sweat but you’re outdoors!!  When it’s “freeze your butt off” weather, everyone’s indoors.  No fun!  Give me the heat!

– summer rain.  It’s fun to get caught in one monster rain storm.  Last year on my birthday was the crazy rain/thunderstorm.  Once wet you may as well make the most of it;)

Singing in the rain!

This list could go on and on….it’s a good reminder that no matter how you may feel at a particular time, there’s a lot to be thankful and excited for out in the world!

I’m off to a wedding upstate this weekend.  Hope everyone stays cool – enjoy an ice cream!

Pretty flowers in Ft Tryon!

So, what makes you tick?  Interesting to think about…

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Just Be

As some of you may know, or not, running has given me the ability to “just be.” Everyone looks for a way to fit in to a niche or area in life. No matter how much we try and say we want to be a part of it all, each of us looks for that place to ‘just be’.

It’s funny for me to look back on my time in NY now. When I moved here, my first roommate tried to transform me into someone I am not. Let’s just say she tried to make me conform to the black pants crowd on the UES…yikes. She even *gulp* signed me up for one of those shows like “what not to wear” of which it’s scary how close I was to being on said show. Super yikes. While it worked for a little while, my heart wasn’t in it. It wasn’t me. If I’m not all into it, forget it. I wasn’t allowed to…just be.

For me, to just be means doing it ‘my way.’ Sometimes it means an unorthodox, non-conventional way to mainstream, but that’s how I roll (my running attire? Bring on the bright colors!). My 7 year anniversary of my move to NY is coming (June 1st)…which coincidentally matches up with my move to my first ‘home’ in Brooklyn.

Do I think I’ve learned to ‘just be?’ Yes and no. I think life always throws curveballs to throw me off my ‘just be’ track. I’ve become more conscious of it and when I feel myself going away from it, I try and find my way back. This past year my track has taken me to Brooklyn [this was a pretty gigantic step given the crazy economic timing and the fact that I was leaving my ‘comfort’ zone] and ultimately a new cast of characters has entered my life. Running wise I’ve branched out with tackling new races and ultimately have formed new friendships.

It’s pretty fantastic to feel confident in who you are. I think this is what people talk about when they say getting to your thirties isn’t a bad thing. I’m happy with who I’ve become in the seven years since I arrived in NYC. I’ve been able to discover who I am and want to continue to become. So bring it F30….and oh, that big hill thing 4 days after;-)

You can travel the world
But you can’t run away
From the person you are in your heart
You can be who you want to be
Make us believe in you
Keep all your light in the dark
You’re searching for truth
You must look in the mirror
And make sense of what you can see
Just be

They say learning to love yourself
Is the first step
But you take what you want to be real
Flying on planes to exotic locations
Won’t teach you
How you really feel
Face up to the fact
That you are who you are
And nothing can change that belief
Just be

Cause now I know
It’s not so far
To where I go
The hardest part
It’s inside me
I need
To just be
Just be
~Tiesto – Just Be

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Everyone has a story on what led them to running.  What sparks that passion.  Sparks the fire in your belly.  I’m always interested in hearing what makes you tick.  Well, here’s a little background on me.

I was not always a runner.  In fact, I revolted against running for a long time.  My dad was a big runner.  I wanted to be my own person so I played team sports – softball, basketball, etc.  I’m not a big person (weight or height) so that did offer an added challenge. (fact: my family calls me Big Lis. Ha.) I was the feisty little kid – always diving to get the basketball, stealing the ball away from the big center that only played because of height, and of course at softball I played catcher.  I think you get the drift on where I got my toughness from – let’s just say one championship softball game I was run over by a girl twice my size.  Held onto the ball. She was out.  🙂

Back to running.  High school came and I ran with the spring track team for one season, my sophomore year.  I got into fantastic shape.  I had no idea what I was doing. I showed up for practice. Ran a lot. Came back the next day.  My team was a state contender so I didn’t get much attention and since there was no such thing as a Garmin, I have no idea what I was training at in terms of pace.  I ran with the XC girls on their “easy” days.  Unfortunately, that winter the track coach said some pretty awful things to me and I came home one day to my parents and said “I’m done.”  Looking back, this is probably the only time I’ve ever “quit.”  I can’t remember what was said but I’m pretty certain it must have been pretty awful.

Fast forward. 2003. I graduated from college. I moved to the big apple to start my career. I didn’t know anyone besides the random Craigslist roommate I found. I had zero family up here. Scary.

I remember the first year and a half being very tough on me. This is not an easy place to just meet people. The first step was deciding I needed to join a gym so I didn’t get fat. That winter of 2003 I got very lonely. I was at the point I was crying myself to sleep. Now I am not one to feel sorry for myself. I was hiding all of this from work, my roommate and worse, my family! The roommate situation wasn’t helping as she got engaged and moved out in just 7 months. That’s when I found something called NYRR and running.

Running? Hmm. I went on the running personals page to find a running partner. A week later, dressed more like a ninja, I met my first running partner: Susan. We did a loop of Harlem Hills on that chilly march evening. I went home realizing something new and refreshing was entering my life.

Seven months later I ran my first marathon:the ING NYC Marathon. I crossed the finish line with Susan. Huge smiles for more reasons than the 26.2 miles covered.

A few weeks later I decided to try out a running team, the Reservoir Dogs. The president ran with me and invited me to the team holiday party that evening. I went. 5+ years later I’m still a member, not as active, but still a member.

And there you have it. I’ll be running NYC this November. Yes, it’s my hometown but it also served as the reason there’s still a Bridges Runner in NYC. It will be an exciting experience to tour NYC and see the friends I’ve made scattered around the city. I am one lucky girl.

Why share? It still amazes me that I wake up in this city everyday.  I don’t think anyone knows how close I was to being somewhere else now.  Boy am I glad I had the strength to hold on and keep fighting for another day!

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A New Day Ahead

It’s amazing how much running is like life.  You could be having an awful time with it and then take a complete 180 the next.  That’s exactly  my life in general and running the past 7 days.  Life has been a draining task at work for many reasons as well as in family/personal life.  It showed in my running.  I just haven’t been feeling it lately.  Then came yesterday.

I awoke at an uncool hour of 6am to meet a group of runners up at 181st street (whose idea was this???).  Our mission: bang out 14-15 miles on the way to City Bakery way down at 18th street.  I was planning to meet up with Boston or Die Trying for a mile or two before hand.That meant a lovely trip utilizing the MTA weekend service. Yikes.  I mapped it out and it seemed easy enough.  I take the 2,3 to 96th and transfer to the 1.  About 30-35 minutes. Not bad.  I’m on the 2,3 and after Chambers we pull into Franklin. Uh oh. It’s running local which means I will hit EVERY single stop up to 181st street.  For those of you scoring at home, 30 stops.  Thank goodness I brought the ipod and ran into ironing.it.out at 96th street.  Since I got there on time instead of early, I scrapped that idea and decided to add-on to the end if need be.

After a few brief introductions ( a few newbies), we exited the warm confines of Starbucks for the vicious winds of the West Side Highway.  The beginning of the course resembled cross-country skiing more than running.  It also made for a very windy and cold commute down to City Bakery.  The wind was relentless striking us in the face at every able moment.  However, having the awesome company made it easier to bear.  The 15 miles seemed to evaporate faster than last year’s summer (we didn’t have one).  Conversation consisted of everything but running which was wonderful.  If I recall correctly there was talk of food (duh!), cats and dogs, spring, and anything else under the sun but running. We kept a LSD pace a shade under 9 which is deceiving with the brutal headwinds.  When we made it down to 18th street and realized I would hit 15 miles I bagged the idea of running a little longer.  When the finish line is so near, forget running extra!  Plus, my marathon experience has taught me adding an extra mile is not going to make or break you.

Post run at City Bakery

This run is what I hope is a jump-start for the next 9 weeks to Boston.  I felt great out there today and I really enjoyed new company for the long run (quite literally).   It’s also awesome to see the different personalities that come out of people.  It reminds me why I love New York so much – it takes you out of your comfort zone and the ability to meet such a variety of people.

So thank you to those that came out yesterday because this may have been one of those transforming runs that come out of training for an event.  Time will tell but I do know I’m starting to feel that rekindled flame to get out there and kick ass.  Yep, I said it.  Game on.

(Finally, don’t forget to vote for my photo: http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/16460.  Leave a comment at the end of the blog post voting for me:)  Sixth photo down – the sepia photo).

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I’m a happy person in general. Lately I’ve hit the “winter blues.” I also think it coincides perfectly with my training. This is the time when the race is close but there’s so much more work to do. The excitement of starting a new training cycle has worn off and there’s certainly no going back now.

I thrive on the feeling of running with the sunrise and sunset. Even if I have a terrible run, I get to enjoy some of the most scenic routes one could run! What do I get now with a BOS run? I’m cold and cranky! It’s not helping that I’ve had several BOS runs lately. Ugh.  Another thing about me: I won’t let that stop me.  I know this is all part of the process and ultimately I’ll get through it.

I contribute this to several factors:
– crosstraining effort not there
– other areas of life are a stress load
– sun & warmth – need it!
– need a change

Crosstraining. As you may remember my march to MCM, I had things clicking on all cylinders. I had moved to my new home and found a love for commuting to work with my bike! Nothing felt like a chore. I couldn’t wait for bike to work days! With the cold and darkness, it just hasn’t been possible. I’m hoping to start that back up in march.

I’ve lost my way. I’m so thankful for the twitter and daily mile crew for keeping me from falling off completely.

Work hasn’t helped matters. As is everywhere else in corporate America, the workplace is a scary place to be these days. I’m hoping this area gets better in 2010.

I guess I need to find that mojo again. I have a feeling that mojo will be the longer days and warmer temperatures to come. I really hate winter – no different in 2010. Training is about to ramp up – time to gain that identity. I’m looking forward to racing the last two weekends in February and ultimately the NYC half as my pre-Beantown test.

9 1/2 weeks to game time. I know I’ve got this in me.

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This is my first speech I’m giving in my Toastmasters club.  The idea is you can talk about yourself and just do something for 4-6 minutes.

“Life is a Marathon”

How many people in the room have completed a marathon? Interesting, I think for the most part every one of us has and are in the mist of a marathon.  As most of you know, running is a pretty important part of my life and I have run several marathons (six to be exact and have begun to train for #7 on April 19).  Running a marathon is similar to life in that it teaches you several things, among them perseverance, overcoming mental and physical challenges, dedication, luck, excitement and the ability to believe in yourself.  Running a marathon you experience these things within a few hours instead of over a lifetime.

Challenges are a part of life.  One such mental challenge to me was my move to New York City about 7 years ago.  I graduated from Penn State University, not exactly a sprawling metropolis by any means.  The campus is made up of 40,000 college aged kids.  How I ended up in NYC is a lucky occurrence in itself.  I had no intentions of moving to NYC.  I remember visiting NYC my parents one summer before my junior year of college and stating the following: “It’s a great place to visit but I could never live here.”  Oh, did I learn to eat my words.  Anyway, one cold and snowy December day, I decided to sign up for an interview on campus…a couple months later I was called to NYC by F+K for an interview and two weeks after graduating from Penn State I was packing up from everything I knew and moving to NYC.  I knew not a single person, moved in with a stranger I had spoken on the phone with and met once to sign the lease for my new apartment on the UES, starting a new job and essentially knew nothing about the city.  I always joke about the fact that if you asked me where Brooklyn was I’d say that’s part of NY?  (side note: I just bought an apartment in Brooklyn this year).  I’m still amazed I’ve been able to just throw out all fear and move out here.  It hasn’t been without its ups and downs but overall I love it here.  My parents kept my car for a year because they were certain I would be coming back to Philadelphia.  They did not see this coming!  7 years later and I have no intentions of leaving.

As far as physical challenges, the marathon definitely is one that seems unbelievable to carry out.  Believe it or not, I was not always a runner.  I started running about 6 years ago.  My dad had tried to get me to run for years but I always resisted.  Why do I want to do that? It’s boring.  I hate running.  I did try several times between high school track, races my dad trained me for and races with my mom (you’re a black sheep in my family if you don’t run).  Each time met resistance as I would resort to other activities such as softball and basketball.  I still remember running my first race at 8 years old with my dad and hating every minute of it.

Finally, I decided just as moving to NYC is a challenge I needed a new challenge and decided to sign up for the NYC Marathon lottery in 2004.  Sure enough, I got in on my first try! Yikes, now what?  I met a fellow runner, Susan, for a run in Central Park one cold March evening for a run.  She had gotten in as well!  For four months, I’d wake up early for runs, train on the weekends and dedicate myself to making sure I cross that finish line. Six months later I was running through the five boroughs of NYC.  What an amazing experience and I’ll be giving it a go again in November this year – not to mention I’ll be running the Boston Marathon on April 19th!

Unlike a marathon I run, the marathon of life is a continuing experience.  No one really knows how and when it will turn.  However, for me I’ve learned to enjoy life and continue to challenge myself both mentally and physically.  Finding running for me has helped me learn to love life but each of us has something to make their marathon happen. Also, never say you will never do something because I certainly have learned – you can do anything you put your mind to!

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A real update!

As advertised in the last post, I will be running the Chicago Marathon this fall.  My original plan was to run Philly next November.  However, peer pressure is a female dog sometimes;-)  Instead I’m heading to the midwest with several other teammates!  Hopefully coming home with a BQ this time.  If it’s 90 degrees again, well the world has much worse things to worry about than a marathon!!!! 

I also saw Spirit of the Marathon on January 24th!  Yet another sign that I should run Chicago!  I thought it was very well done and made me VERY excited to get back out there.  I’ve definitely hit a rough patch since Steamtown.

It’s been said that life has a funny mix of work, social life, living arrangements.  Generally one never has all of those aligned at the same time.  Guess what? I definitely have not!  Work has OWNED me.  Social? Suffered.  I think all the stars are aligned right now to throw it all on me at the same time.  Boo.  Time to get some semblance of balance back…

Anyway, I’m finally getting back into a running/fitness mode again.  I signed up for a couple of races in the meantime – including the Cherry Tree Relay in a couple of weeks!  I’ll also be taking part in Mudders & Grunters this year.  Let’s just say they don’t lie about the mud part;-) No more excuses it’s time to get back.  I’ve been doing weights 2x a week and getting my running back to 25-30 mpw.  This included getting a 6 mile run on the bridle path today including some hillwork.  On the hills, I ran harder.  No excuses – just do it!

You may ask who I’m rooting for in the SB?  GO COMMERCIALS!  And I have cookies ‘n cream cupcakes in support of the calorie rich tradition of Superbowl Sunday!  Yippee!

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Birthday fun

The past week has definitely been jam packed with the good, bad and definitely ugly. I hope the next year isn’t as insane as this past week. I don’t think I’ll make it if it is;)

Last weekend, while fun, definitely wore me thin. A brief recap: dinner with teammates Friday evening before the race, Birthday which included a call from my parents at 6:43am (yes, it’s tradition), Club Champs race, running around town to prepare for my night out on the town, birthday silliness at the boat basin, meet my brother and his wife for brunch sunday, help SL move.. Oh and this does not include the mental anguish which I can’t go into detail about here.

With all that, I didn’t get my long run in this past weekend. I also just did not feel like running at all. It was really weird because I’ve never had such a sensation before. I met Pink Monkey Tuesday morning to get a 12 miler in and I was miserable. I felt terrible and I think my comment to her summed it up well “this is honestly the last thing I really want to be doing right now.” Again, I attribute this to other aspects of life going on. It probably didn’t help that it was dark and rainy.

Oh yeah! Other good news! I got a promotion at work! I’m officially labeled an “Engineer.” No, I do not wear a pocket protector:-p

Well I’m in Philly this weekend and 20 miler #1 is tomorrow. My dad (the coolest guy ever!) is going to run the entire 20 with me:)

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