Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Shop & Help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Now through Saturday, December 17th.

Thanks to a generous offer, a portion of sales from this online Scentsy party will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Scentsy products make your world smell real good, and include wickless alternatives to scented candles, room sprays and more! Order between now and December 17th, and not only will your order arrive in time for Christmas, but a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Team in Training on my behalf.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I've Made the "BIG TIME"

A picture of me in my nun's habit as "Sister Mary Incognito" during Sunday's "Race to Deliver" is featured on the New York Road Runners web site here: Race to Deliver - Faces of the Race
"Race to Deliver - Faces of the Race
November 20, 2011

With a sendoff from the Broadway cast of Sister Act and an emotional tribute from Food Network star Sandra Lee, runners in Sunday's 4-mile Race to Deliver had plenty of inspiration to spur them on. Many got in on the act, so to speak, running in nuns' habits for a chance to win tickets to the hit Broadway show."
This picture was taken before the start of the race. Gotta love my halo, no?:-)

It was a fantastic race, and lots of fun! I highly recommend it!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nike+Women's Half Marathon January 2012

I'm thinking of signing up for this. It benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the registration fee is $40.00, and you can run it anywhere, as long as you synch with your Nike+

Nike+Women's Half Marathon January 15, 2012 Registration

"Description: Want more NWM? You got it, sister. Lace up and sync up for the Nike+ Women’s Half Marathon!

When: January 15, 2012.

Where: Run where you are, anywhere in the world. Plot the course of your choice with Nike+ and join us in crossing a virtual finish line on the big day.

Distance: Minimum of a Half Marathon (13.1 miles or more).

Reward: Sync with a Nike+ device to nikeplus.com and get an exclusive finisher bracelet designed by Hurley (mailed 4-6 weeks after the run).*"

UPDATE: I've decided that I'm going to sign up for this instead of torturing myself next month with the Ted Corbitt 15K in Central Park.  The Nike+ Women's Half Marathon will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a cause I'm very involved with (http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nj12/crawlcarolcrawl). Some of my Team in Training team mates may also be doing this as a group thing and I can join them. Or,if the weather sucks, I can always choose a route that starts and ends at home. Can't beat the flexibility!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A VERY Belated Update and More...

For some of you who follow me on facebook, this is old news. I've been neglecting the blog, so for some of you, it's new news. Plus, there's some new news at the end.

The Hamptons Half - It was hot, it was disgustingly humid, and overall, it was an interesting race. But, I finished and now my 13.1 is over and done!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can see me as I walk across the finish line of the Hamptons Half Marathon! You can also see some good and bad pictures of me taken during the race here:


Now for the new news. I just signed up this week to train for the New Jersey Marathon with Team in Training. If you would like to help blood cancer research and patient support programs, you can do so by making a donation to my fundraising campaign at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nj12/crawlcarolcrawl

Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Nearly 958,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support. I greatly appreciate your generosity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pictures from My "Other Life"

9/11 10th Anniversary Weekend 9/2011

In addition to training for marathons and half marathons and raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, I'm also a 9/11 WTC area survivor, and member of the Ground Zero Worker and Volunteer Community. This past weekend marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and I was once again honored and privileged to spend it in the company of the most incredible people on the planet.

As some of you know, many WTC first responders are now getting sick with various types of cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. Some are going through treatments for which they have no medical coverage. Cancer is not, surprisingly, considered one of the 9/11 related medical conditions covered under the recently passed James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/report-no-benefits-for-9-11-cancer-victims-20110726). They are also now broadening the scope of 9/11 related health issues, and cancers like leukemia to those in the Wall Street area and beyond (http://www.911healthnow.org/911healthnow/Not_Just_Responders.html). Some have, sadly, lost their battles with cancer.

My two worlds are now joined.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Run/Walk to Save Lives

Run, Carol, RUN!!!

I’m doing it AGAIN!!!

I’ve walked 26.2 miles in the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2010 and run-walked 15 out of 23.5 miles in the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2011. Now it’s time to up the ante a bit and Run, Carol, RUN!!! not one, but TWO half marathons this year!

In order to do so, I need to raise at least $2,000.00 before August 31st for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help people facing blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma.

THIS YEAR: I've signed up as a Team in Training Mentor for the Hamptons Half Marathon, and will also be signing up for another half marathon later this year! I’ll be training to run/walk not one, but TWO half marathons to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, AND helping new team members get the most out of their Team in Training experience. That’s a combined total of 32 weeks of training, and at least 26.2 miles of racing!

Why do I do this, you ask? For starters, I've lost way too many friends and family members to various forms of cancer, including leukemia & lymphoma. I also do it so that I can hear GREAT news - like my friend who just got her scan results back and is STILL CANCER-FREE over a year after her last chemo treatment. I do it for the cancer survivors on my team, and for people like my team mate Andrew, who has been training during chemo, and just finished his last chemo treatment a few weeks ago.

Please visit my website to donate

If you would like to send a check instead, please contact me for the mailing address. Checks should be made out to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please include: Carol Martzinek – Hamptons 09-2011 in the memo section of your check.

Donate $50 or more, and I will prominently display your name or your company’s name in multi-colored Sharpie ink on one of my arms or legs during the marathon. Your donation can make such a huge difference. It funds research, assists patients with small reimbursements for treatment expenses, provides training for peer support programs, and most important- it brings hope to so many. Please donate what you can. I know the economy is tough on us all, but please think as big and dig as deep as you're able. 

Every dollar counts, and at least 75% of your donation goes directly into cancer research and patient support programs. Also, your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Every single dollar makes a difference! Here's a breakdown of where your money could go:  
 •$25 could pay the taxi fare for a patient's ride home from the hospital after treatment 
 •$50 could register one person to be a bone marrow donor 
 •$100 could pay the cost of 4 patient's chemotherapy drug prescription co-pays 
 •$300 could train 25 peer volunteers to provide emotional support to newly diagnosed patients 
 •$1,000 could allow a patient to meet with health care specialists to design and discuss their disease and treatment plan 
 •$3,000 could provide a patient with a one month supply of Gleevec (a life-saving drug, developed through LLS research funding, used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia)

***PLUS, if your company offers matching gifts, your donation can be DOUBLED, or even TRIPLED! Be sure to check the “matching gift” box on the web site or donor form.***

Did you know that discoveries originally made in the treatment of leukemia are now also being used successfully in the treatment other cancers? 

Thanks for taking the time to read and for anything you can do to help me 
Run, Carol, RUN!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It Was a Hot One - Like Seven Ninjas in the Midday Sun

RELAX! I know those aren't the lyrics!

All I can say is that I am amazed that we not only survived our originally-scheduled 5+ mile run/walk to the Roosevelt Island lighthouse and back in the oppressive NYC heatwave, but we upped the ante! When we got to the lighthouse someone who shall remain nameless, for reasons totally beyond comprehension (including her own) asked the rest of the run/walk group if they wanted to try doing the rest of the way around the island. For reasons equally beyond comprehension, they agreed. So, we did, for a total of somewhere between 7.2 and 8.2 miles, depending on which gadget was doing the tracking.

Given both the record temperatures and the totally suckazoidal air quality, I opted to skip the "run" part of "run/walk" yesterday, and focus instead on race walking it. Very. Wise. Decision. It not only kept me from being totally miserable to be around in the heat, it also helped shift my mental focus. I've been struggling a bit with run/walking in the hot weather, not so much in terms of my legs or feet, but in terms of my breathing. It's also become a bit of a mental struggle, since I don't feel I'm doing as well as I "should" be doing. Focusing on race walking yesterday helped remind me that I'm a very good, strong, fast walker. It felt really good to be able to put in the extra mileage and still feel reasonably human while doing it. Yes, there were some torturously hot stretches (I've re-named Vernon Blvd to BURNIN' Blvd), but there were also several people out there with garden hoses who were very willing to hose us down upon request. The added bonus is that now we know where the sprinklers are on Roosevelt Island!

We also had a chance to see some interesting and cool stuff, like these three pieces:

Overall, it went much better than I had imagined it while I was getting ready the night before! I'm also really glad I brought some non-sweaty clothes to change into afterwards!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things that make training sessions worth it.

The rainbow during our training session tonight. Made doing laps around the track much more interesting.

In addition to the beautiful rainbow, a few other things kept me going around the track tonight. One was the sight of my team mate Andrew ahead of me. I figured if Andrew was out there running, there was no way I could wimp out. I had to keep my rear in gear!  The other was reminding myself that I was dedicating tonight's training to honor Leibby Kletzky, the 8 year old boy who was missing, and later found murdered in Brooklyn this week. These are the kind of things that keep me going some days.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things That Make it All Worthwhile

Today ended up being a non-running, bag-watching kind of a morning, as I am among the slightly-injured. Nothing major - I must've turned my foot wrong yesterday or something. One minute, I was in the pet store paying for my cat food, and then when I turned to walk away from the register, I felt a pain in my left foot when I put weight on it. This is probably at least partially shoe-related, because the minute I got home, I took off the shoes I was wearing (which were running shoes, not heels) and that seemed to improve matters. It wasn't swollen or anything, so I wasn't too concerned. This morning when I woke up, it was a little sensitive, but I could walk on it. I decided not to push it any further than showing up at practice this morning. Based on past experience, that's when I end up making it worse. So, I decided to swap bag-watching duties with my Mentor Buddy, Jenna.

While we were waiting to get started, we saw what can only be described as one great, big, giant "EWWWWWWWWW!!!" - the woman below giving her pocketbook dog a bath, IN THE DRINKING FOUNTAIN. Of course, within minutes of her departure, a runner came up to the fountain to get a drink. About a dozen of us watched in horror as she ignored our frantic shouts of "NOOOOOOO!!! DON'T DRINK THE WATER!!!" It reminded me of when people watching a horror movie yell "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!!!", and the person on-screen opens the door anyway.

One clean dog = one really gross drinking fountain

While I was bag-watching (which for you non-running folks means I sat on the bleachers and watched everyone else's stuff), I decided to play around with some of the camera apps on my phone and take a few pictures. Below is a shot of the Astoria Park track taken with my phone using the Toy Camera effect:

After practice, I met with two of my mentees, Yvonne and Andrea (who are both doing really awesome so far) to talk about fundraising, and go over a few things, since this is all new to them. The fundraising is possibly the most intimidating part of this whole journey, especially if you've never done it before (at least it was for me). A few other folks chimed in with ideas, suggestions, etc. which was very helpful! One of the things I'm finding so great about mentoring with the Team in Training group in Queens is that we have so many incredible people, and a really nice sense of camraderie fairly early on. When you consider that we officially started our training season two Saturdays ago, we're bonding really quickly.

On the way out of the park, I spotted this gentleman. I'm not quite sure why he was dressed this way, but from the front, it looked like he was carrying some sort of notebook or sketch pad.

While waiting for the train back, Jenna and I had this fantastic view:

The view from the Astoria Blvd subway platform this morning - how awesome is THIS???

No sooner had we put away the camera phones, than a female NYPD officer came up to thank us for all of the work and effort we put into what we do, as she put it, "in case nobody else has". Then she went back down the stairs to the station entrance. I'm guessing from the way she said, that she, or someone she knew had a connection to some form of leukemia, lymphoma or other cancer. It was a goosebump moment, and I'm glad Jenna was there with me to share in both the officer's thank you, AND witness the goosebumps that showed up on my arms within seconds.

The same view, using the Toy Camera effect

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My New "Home Away from Home"

Welcome to Astoria Park, where I'll be spending most of my Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings for the next 16 weeks. It has a nice local neighborhood feel, and some nice views!
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

7+ Miles, 2 Dead Camera Batteries, 1 Almost-Dead Cell Phone and 200+ Pictures Later...

I'm exhausted!

It was a great day on Governors Island! The weather was a little overcast, but otherwise great. If you click on the album link below, you can view the rest of the pictures in my online photo album. If you select the "view full screen" option, you can watch it as a slideshow. As you can see from the pictures, there was a lot going on today, including the Big Apple Circus Family Fun Day - which included some trapeze work (not me, although I was sorely tempted).

Governors Island 2011 - click to view online album

One of the really cool things I did on the island today was take a tour of New York Harbor School. I remember when the building that now houses it was vacant and being restored, so seeing it transformed into a specialized public high school was pretty amazing.

New York Harbor School from Governors Island 2011

There are more pictures of the interior of the school in the album, including the marine lab. The school is also involved in the attempts to revitalize the oyster population in the Hudson. It's really very impressive.

I also had some time to stop and smell the roses, and indulge myself in a bit of floral photography, too! Click the images below to view larger versions.

From Governors Island 2011

From Governors Island 2011

It was a fantastic day on the island all-around, and I managed to log 7.25 miles by the time I got home! Governors Island is a great place to get a walk or a run in! For starters, if you walk/run around the perimeter of the island, it's flat! One of these days, I'm going to bring my inline skates and roll around the island. There are bikes for rent as well, including tandem bikes and 2-6 person surrey bikes. I might try a bike rental one of these days. At least I won't have to worry about looking any more spastic than some of the other people I've seen riding bikes on the island!

Greetings from Governors Island

Aside from Disney World, my happiest place on Earth. Looking forward to spending the day here, walking around the island and taking pictures.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Beating the Heat

Getting a walk in after the storm, and before it hits 90 today.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Very Grassroots TNT Tabling Event

In fact, it was so grassroots, it even had grass!

In the hopes of possibly recruiting some local Queens Team in Training participants, I put together a very impromptu tabling during our local Memorial Day Parade. Unfortunately, it was also very windy on my corner, and I had to make use of some rocks and purple duct tape to hold everything down.

No one signed up to request more info, but I tried:-)
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Happening NOW: Online Scentsy Party to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


I'm hosting a FABULOUS online Scentsy party to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training from now until TUESDAY. This is an ONLINE party, and you do not have to BE anywhere. You can shop from the convenience of your computer.

Scentsy warmers use a low-watt bulb to slowly melt specially formulated wax. With no flame, smoke, or soot, the Scentsy wickless candle system is a safe way to enjoy Scentsy fragrances.

Scentsy also has room sprays, antibacterial fragrance foam, travel tins, and scent circles to hang in cars, lockers, and closets.

So far, my favorite summery scents are Cranberry Mango and Coconut Lemongrass, but there are TONS more, including MANLY scents for the guys out there.

If you wish to make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on my behalf, without making a purchase, you may do so at


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Great Day for a Walk Across the Bridge

This past Saturday, I participated in this year's Walk MS New York to raise funds for multiple sclerosis. The walk route was 6 miles, starting at the South Street Seaport, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, around Brooklyn Heights and then back over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Seaport. This is a walk I've been participating in almost every year since April 2001, and I really enjoy it.

(Click to enlarge photo)

The weather for Saturday's walk started off a bit ominously with grey skies and lots of clouds. Anyone who knows me (especially my Team in Training friends) knows that I don't "do" rain, although last month I not only "did" rain, I finished the Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks race in better time than I've ever done before. I'm guessing this was at least partly because I wanted to get out of the rain and into some dry clothes, so I moved a bit faster than usual. While the walk may have started off on a chilly and cloudy note, fortunately, it didn't stay that way. By the time I was halfway across, the sun had started to come out, and the grey skies had turned to blue.

Now, I'm not sure if you know what it's like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a Saturday morning, but it's a bit like bedlam on a normal weekend, due to the oh-so-well delineated and never adhered to pedestrian and bike lanes. There is only one lane for bike traffic and one lane for pedestrian traffic. So, you have people on wheels in one lane, going in both directions, and people on two feet going in both directions in the other lane. And then, you have the people that STOP - right - in - the - middle to take pictures. I don't know what genius granted a permit for not one, but two large charity walk groups to be crossing the bridge in opposite directions at the same time, but forget bedlam - it was chaos. Add to that a bit of bridge construction, and some very potent chemical fumes which smelled like a meth lab exploded over the East River, and it gives "taking a trip across the bridge" a whole new meaning.

(Click to enlarge photo)

At any rate, I was most of the way across the bridge, when I spotted a familiar purple shirt of the Team in Training variety. It was a woman named Monica who is training for the San Diego Half Marathon, and she was meeting one of my favorite Team in Training people, Alison, on the Brooklyn side. So, we walked the remainder of the way across the bridge together, and we were talking so much that before we knew it, we were at Tillary Street. That's one of the really cool things about being part of Team in Training - you run into your fellow "purple people" at other races and events all over the city.

The walk then proceeded into the heart of Brooklyn Heights, which is an area I spent a lot of time in during the late 1980's doing community theatre with The Heights Players. It's a beautiful neighborhood, with some gorgeous gardens and views like this one:

(Click to enlarge photo)

Then, it was time to head back towards the bridge, but not before I stopped several times to take pictures. (I had to keep reminding myself that this was a walk, and not race, and that I could, if I chose to do so, stop along the way.) One of the really cool things I saw was this old Chevy:

(Click to enlarge photo)

The view on the return trip across the bridge was incredible:

(Click to enlarge photo)

(Click to enlarge photo)

I made it back across the bridge, and back towards the walk finish at the Seaport. On the way back to the subway, I spotted this:

(Click to enlarge photo)

Can someone please explain to me why someone would crochet a cover for their bicycle??? Are they afraid it's going to get cold??? It had this huge chain and lock on it, too. I don't know what they're worried about - no one is going to steal a bike with that thing on it! Then again, maybe that's the point.

After the walk, I had a very nice afternoon. I met up with a special friend that I haven't seen in years, had the most delicious Irish Farmhouse Breakfast I've had in a long time (aka "Cholesterol on a Plate"), a Bloody Mary to DIE for, and had an absolutely fabulous time! I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

For Those of You Just Tuning in

Since many of my Team in Training friends and future mentees do not know "the old me", I figured I'd post a bit of back-story.  If this doesn't prove that yes, you can finish a full or half marathon, I'm not sure what will.

Seriously, I am not the poster child for endurance athlete. On 9/11/2001, I weighed in at roughly 305 lbs. As you can see from the picture below, hill repeats and strength training weren't even part of my vocabulary, much less a part of my life.

Fast-forward to late November, 2007 when, after having quit smoking just a few weeks before, I decided to further tort... improve my health and physical well-being, by joining Weight Watchers. Less than 2 years and over 70 lbs lost later, I received a mailing from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training about their upcoming Winter Season events, which included the Walt Disney World Marathon. What better way to celebrate "the new me" than by challenging myself even further by attempting to train and race walk a full 26.2 mile marathon in my happiest place on earth?

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time... Actually, it was not only a good idea, it turned out to be a great idea. I had all sorts of fun - training sessions in sub-freezing temperatures, long distance walks in torrential rain, developing an acquired taste for GU Espresso Love - the list goes on and on. I learned about proper endurance sport nutrition (which I still suck at), boot camp workouts (which I suck at even worse) and all sorts of cool running gear and gadgets. I've become really good at finding stuff for dirt cheap, too! Most importantly, I've come to know an absolutely fantastic and wonderful group of people, dedicated to a great cause. Many of them have become friends for life and like it or not, they're stuck with me.

And yes, I finished my first marathon, at the ripe old age of 46, and somehow managed to raise over $3,700.00 for cancer research and patient support programs. I managed to get through 23.5 miles of this past year's Walt Disney World Marathon, and all 13.1 miles of the MORE/Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon a few weeks ago.

I look pretty good, considering it's 5:30am.
In another few weeks, I'll begin training for the Hamptons Half Marathon as a mentor with Team in Training. In another few months, I'll be 48 years old. If I can do this, anyone can. Really! Plus, you get a medal when you finish - what's cooler than that?

If you're thinking about joining the NYC Chapter of Team in Training as a run/walker or walker, feel free to request me as a mentor if you'd like!

Monday, April 4, 2011

13.1 Miles Later...

Another medal to add to my slowly growing collection! (Notice how nicely the ribbon colors match my jacket.)

Yesterday, I participated in, and finished, the MORE + fitness Women's Half Marathon in Central Park. The weather this year was much better than it was last year, when I bailed out after 2 miles of race walking in the pouring rain. The sun was out, and the temperatures were in the high 40s/low 50s throughout the race. Plus, I found a fantastic place for a pre-race pit stop - the third floor restroom of the Time Warner building in Columbus Circle. It was so much nicer and warmer than the porta-potties in the park! Plenty of room to remove extra layers before the race, make sure everything was pinned properly, in my race belt, etc.

This was also my first experience fully participating in a half marathon. (Last year's soaking wet 2 mile torture sess... I mean adventure does not count.) It was also my first half marathon/marathon experience without the benefit of 16 weeks of pre-race training offered by Team in Training. So, I really wasn't going into it with too many expectations other than finishing it this year. I managed to hold down a solid 15 minute/mile pace for most of the race (which was a feat in itself). I had to slow it down for the last 2-3 miles because my right calf muscle felt like it was going to cramp up. I really had to push myself, but I did it, and I did it in about the time I figured I would - 3:30:57. Not my greatest, but I wasn't third or fourth from last, this time, either. I was more like three hundred something from last.

There were some definite highlights and lowlights. Highlights included seeing my wonderful Team in Training friends out there cheering for me, including, but not limited to my "Team Words with Friends" friends Carolyn Brafman and Rachel Masterman, coaches Pam Wille, Dari Passarello and Ellen O'Shaughnessy, Noah Santorello, who manned Harlem Hill and stayed up there throughout the entire race all by himself to cheer us. Seeing my training buddy Norma Jennings briefly on our approach to Harlem Hill, after which point she left me in the dust. I really owe my cheerleading friends out there on the course. Knowing that I would be seeing their faces again was a big part of what kept me going during that second loop around the park!

Which brings me to the lowlights, the main one being two loops around Central Park. Who invented that torture??? Having to do Cat Hill and Harlem Hill once is bad enough - twice is just horrid. I have now made a new promise to myself (the first one being NO MORE TED CORBITT 15K ever again - EVER). that new promise is: No more Central Park races over 10K - PERIOD! One loop around the park is enough for me, and 10K should pretty much cover that. Now that I have done the MORE + fitness Women's Half Marathon and finished it, I think I may be done with it. Time will tell.

Next up on my schedule are two charity walks - Walk MS New York and AIDS Walk New York, both of which are roughly 10K. Then the fun begins - 16 weeks of training for the Hamptons Half Marathon with Team in Training!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm Walking in Walk MS New York

I'll be walking in Walk MS New York on Saturday, April 30th.

I've registered for Walk MS because I want to put my marathon-walking legs to more good use, and do something for several of my friends who have been diagnosed with MS.

I walk because I can, and because I want to do everything to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease.

Today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and with a diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability.

I walk for those who are not able to walk.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Made it Through the Rain

Today was the day of the Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K in Washington Heights. This is a race that I have been looking forward to ever since I first read about it on the NYRR web site right after the Disney marathon What could possibly be more fun than a 5K race with a bunch of live bands along the route? Granted, getting there from Queens took a bit of time, but it was a pretty straight shot once I got on the subway. The key was making the early (as in 6:40AM early) bus from my neighborhood to the subway station. Fortunately, the rain that was predicted in the forecast held out until after I left my house. Otherwise, I might not have made it out my front door. But, it did, and I did.

The commute was surprisingly hassle-free for a Sunday morning, even with MTA weekend service changes. I left my house around 6:30AM, was on a bus by 6:45AM, made it all the way to Times Square by 7:35AM, and up to 168th Street and Broadway well before 8:30AM. There was plenty of time to hang around outside in the rain, waiting for the race to start! Thankfully, it wasn't raining hard at that hour, but it was just enough to warrant whipping out the TOTES rain poncho I had decided to toss in my bag on my way out the door. That was probably the best decision I made today. Seriously, it saved me from being completely soaked and miserable later on, when it started to really rain - hard. And boy, did it rain in spots!

Despite the rain, this was still a really fun race for me!  There was lots of crowd support, I got to see a bunch of my fellow Team in Training folks before and after the race, and the bands were pretty good.  There were lots of children, not just those participating in the kids' race later on, but cheering in the crowd and (and this is the part that totally blew me away) volunteering at the race! They were out there working the food and water stations, in the rain, and smiling! I just thought that was so totally awesome and amazing! The course was hilly, but I didn't think the hills were as intense as either Cat Hill or Harlem Hill in Central Park. I managed to run-walk a good portion of the race, and somehow, amidst getting soaked and enjoying my run-walk, I also managed to beat my previous time, for a PR (personal record) of 5K in 44:39, with an official pace of :::drumroll please::: 14:24/mile!!! That's 28 seconds/mile off my previous best official time. Not bad, considering that my only goal for this race was to do it and have fun with it.

The worst of the rain though, was still waiting for me. It was pouring for the walk home from my bus stop! That was worse than the entire race! The only thing that kept me from being completely miserable was mentally chanting a two-word mantra during that final five blocks: "Dry clothes! Dry clothes! Dry clothes!" Next thing I knew, I was home!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Is Your Favorite Volunteer Organization In New York City?

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training is my favorite! They made a marathoner out of me last January at the age of 46. The people involved are all firmly committed to the cause of blood cancer research and patient support. It's an AMAZING organizati­on and I can't say enough good things about them! They've become my second family:-)
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, January 17, 2011

23.5 Out of 26.2 Ain't Bad...

The MEDAL!!!
I like this year's medal better than last year's.

Even though Disney closed the course in my face at 23.5 miles after only 6.5 hours, I got a MEDAL!!! That's the important thing, right???

Still trying to figure out what happened. I was ahead of my pace for last year, and I finished that in 7:23:03 - I crossed the starting line around 6:00-6:05AM, and there were about 1,200 people behind me at least. So the last person didn't cross the starting line until well after me. They closed the course at the boardwalk (23.5 miles) at 12:35pm, which would be about 7 hours from when the FIRST person crossed the starting line, not the LAST.

I would've dragged myself the last 2.7 miles (or my coaches would've taken turns kicking my ass to keep me going). I was still moving, still able to walk - just not as fast as they were pushing us to get to the next point. So, I ended up having a nice semi-private van ride back to the parking lot. I got my medal, AND didn't have to walk the 6,0001 miles to the Team in Training tent and THEN another 6,001 miles back to the resort bus.

My legs for the race with my honorees on one, family on the other.
Writing on your own legs is not easy. I'm surprised it came out this legible!

I really am more curious about the timing of the course closing than anything. I mean seriously, I didn't stop to pee, take pictures, OR update facebook! Apparently, I had a major rock star moment throughout the main street of Disney Hollywood Studios that I was a bit oblivious to, and I got on the JUMBO BOARD at mile 20.6. Thanks to coaches Tom, Bethany and Pam for putting up with me during what was, to quote John "The Penguin" Bingham, my "BITE ME" mode. It wasn't pretty, and whoever decided to put an on-ramp HILL at mile 22 needs to be fired. That's all I have to say.

However, what I did do was very a solid run-walk for 15 full miles. This was something I had never done before, so I'm really thrilled. I'm also not used to racing in less than 4 layers of clothing, so that took a little getting used to. Oh, and as an added bonus, I was up and on the dance floor at our victory party quite a bit later in the day.

It's also an AWESOME testament to the training of my Team In Training - NYC Chapter coaches that I was able to spend almost an hour shoveling snow less than 72 hours after run-walking/race walking 23.5 miles.

Shortly after the day of the race, this appeared in my e-mail:
“Whenever something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would,instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent. Everything plays to your favor. Score!

The Universe”
So, we shall see:-)