Dos and Don’ts of the 5 Boro Bike Tour: Do Train. Don’t Not Train.


Of all of my harebrained ideas (and I’ve had a lot), this had to be the most ridiculous.

November 2018:  Clearly I was feeling invincible after completing the New York City Marathon when I registered for the 40-mile 5 Boro Bike Tour. Besides, one of my run buddies encouraged me to sign up because she was doing it too. So it seemed like a great idea, except fast forward to the week before the tour.

Eight Days to the Tour: Who on earth am I supposed to be riding with? I ask around. No one is doing this thing. The forecast is calling for rain, rain and more rain and I have not trained — at all. Hold up, the homey Shirel is doing it. Maybe she knows a novice that I can hang with … wait, she said I can ride with her.  So I take dusty and cobwebbed KITT out for leisurely 6 mile ride to make sure I still know how to do this thing. 

Six Days to the Tour: My butt is still hurting from my six mile ride. Yeah, I’m not doing a 40 mile bike tour. But there is a video of the medal being made. It’s so pretty. I mean, it would be the second time that I signed up and didn’t go. The rain would wash the dust out of the crevices of my bike. Plus, it’s days away and the forecast is likely to change. 

Four Days to the Tour: The mystery is solved. My original Bike Tour partner texts me. She can no longer do the Tour. I was so excited because I was beginning to think the whole thing was a figment of my imagination. Rain is still in the forecast. I’m not doing it. I’m many things but I’m not crazy.

Three Days to the Tour: Who am I kidding? I’m loonier than a Looney Toon. I need padded shorts for my tender booty, stat. I order a cute biking jersey too. Got to look the part.

Two Days to the Tour: I pick up my packet at the expo.

One Day to the Tour: I do a 12-mile training run for the upcoming Brooklyn Half because priorities. I get my bike tuned up. My baboon butt shorts arrive but no jersey. I figured it would arrive later in the day. Now it’s 8:00 p.m. and my bike jerey didn’t come and I need a rain poncho. I make a run to Dicks Sporting Goods. I walk in the door. There are rain ponchos and biking jerseys at the door. I grab one of each.

Tour Day

I get up at 3:00 a.m. I’m wearing my new short-sleeved fushia and black jersey and shorts. I look like a biker. I throw on a light jacket. The shorts are short. I throw a pair of running capris in with my post-tour change of clothes and I’m off to Staten Island. It’s  pouring rain. I meet up with Shirel and the NYPD Cycling Team. She looks at me and says, “you’re wearing shorts?” I pull my capris on over my shorts because it really is cold and don my poncho. We bike to the ferry. It’s dark and we look like Elliot and them taking E.T. to safety. I no longer look like a biker.


We are on the ferry. My feet are soaking and my butt is already sore. I chafed during my 12-miler and it is literally not sitting well on the bike. Then one of the guys makes a remark about my Yankees poncho. I had no idea I had the Yankees logo emblazoned on my chest. I look crazy.


We bike from the ferry to the start. We have an hour to wait before the event starts and we are cold and wet. We grab some tea at Dunkin Donuts and decide to reward ourselves with hot chocolate when we finish.

The NYPD Cycling Team

The Tour begins and it’s cool seeing all of the different bikes: road bikes, hybrids, tandems, and ellipticals. Yes, elliptical bikes. People are swooshing around at the speed of light. I bet their booties weren’t hurting.

I need one of these.

After mile three, we hit Central Park. This is where things got a little dicey because the paths were narrow and bikes were weaving in and out. I lost Shirel but there was no safe place to stop to look for each other. So we kept going separately. I heard some one yell “watch out” and then heard someone go down. I kept focused and finally learned how to use my gears by the time I exited the park. Look at me! I stopped briefly at the mile 9 water station in the Bronx, mostly so I could look around to see if I saw Shirel. Then I continued to the first rest stop on the FDR at mile 11. As soon as I pulled in I saw Shirel waiting for me, like an angel. We continued on to Queens via the Queensboro Bridge and rode to the mile 20 rest stop, where I had the best banana I have ever had. NYRR could learn a thing or two.


We left mile 20 cold and wet. My fingers were prune-like and my butt was crying out for Excedrin. I started having some real trouble at around mile 31-ish.  I think we were on the BQE or Gowanus Expressway. Shirel was ahead of me and I was struggling. There were a couple of hills that snatched my soul and I learned that there is a wall in cycling. I looked so bad that other riders were yelling, “you’ve got this” as they passed me. One guy told me I’d have more fun if I raised my seat. I wanted to trip him. I saw the sag buses to the left of me but I kept moving. At some point I caught up to Shirel, who was chilling off to the side waiting for me. I had to stop at the last water stop at mile 33. I needed to mentally prepare for the upcoming Verrazano Bridge and swig some Gatorade.

The Verrazano doesn’t look like much until you’re biking or running it.

The Verrazano climb was rough but I had a better time of it than the BQE, probably because we were covered on the lower level and there was finally some reprieve from the never-ending rain. After flying down the other side of the bridge I was greeted by the finish line at Fort Wadsworth. What a sight for sore eyes. A volunteer placed my medal over my helmet onto to my graceful and grateful neck. But wait, it wasn’t really over because we had to get out of there. We had to cross a field that had turned into a giant mud pit and then bike back to our cars. I was so happy to warm up and change into dry clothing. We were both shivering while in line waiting to order our hot chocolate but we were also smiling.

KITT was glad for it to be over too.

Despite my utter disrespect for the event by not training, I am really pleased with how things went. I stuck to my guns and did not push KITT at any point on the course, even when I wanted to throw her off the side of the expressway. Shout out to the NYPD Cycling Team for allowing me to tag along and a super special thank you to Shirel. She kept me laughing and riding when I wanted to pack it in and go home. Now that I’ve I had time to reflect, I look forward to doing the Tour again when I’m properly trained.

I really earned this one.









2017 Running Year in Review

2017 Medals

Looking back, 2017 was an enjoyable run year. Although not my speediest, it might have been my most interesting run year yet. Here is a brief rundown:a Ragnar Relay; a marathon; seven half marathons; a ten miler; a 15K; a 10K; a 5 miler; two four milers; five 5Ks; and various distances on the BGR-RFFC Cruise.

I will not recap all of the races but I think a highlight is in order.


The 200-ish mile Ragnar Adirondacks Relay. It was bizarre and I have not viewed white passenger vans the same since.


Including a volunteer, there were thirteen Bad & Bougie Beauties (our team name) transported by two vans and at least one of us was running at all times for approximately 36 hours. And yes, that includes nighttime. We ran from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid. We took naps everywhere … in the van, at the beach, in a high school hallway. Some runners slept outside but we were too bougie for that. But because we were bad, we sweet talked the DJ into playing the song Bad & Bougie when our final runner crossed the finish line.

The Bad & Bougie Beauties

MOST MEMORABLE (In a good and bad way … but mostly bad)

Definitely the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon. I still wake up in a cold sweat mumbling, “I’m the last runner.” It was a Murphy’s Law fiesta. I arrived at JFK the night before the race to catch my flight to Portland, Maine only to discover that the flight had been delayed two hours. The flight was delayed three more times. By the time I got to Portland, I only had time to change into my running clothes at the airport before picking up the rental car to head directly to the race. After finding parking, my bib that my roomie had left for me, and the start line (another debacle because I was misdirected to the start of the 5K) I was good and late when I crossed the start mat but figured I would catch up to the back of the pack. When I hit a fork in the road I was the only runner in sight.


A course marshal directed me to make a right turn up a hill. The runners were running down the hill and one of them told me I was going the wrong way. Ha Ha, real funny Speedy. I continued running but after a while I began to get nervous because I had not yet caught the back of the pack or the turnaround to send in the direction of the other runners. I asked a marshal if I was going the right way. He didn’t think so. I turned around and asked every marshal I passed for directions. None of them could direct me. One of them told me to just fall in with the other runners. What? I ran back to the fork and the marshal that originally instructed me to make the right turn, told me that the course didn’t actually turn at that point but went straight. Dude!!!

one job

I didn’t even know how far out of the way I had run because my Garmin had suddenly conked out. This race had a strict 3:30 cutoff and for a fleeting moment I considered making my way back to the car but I had come so far to run this race, so run it I would. I tried to speed up to make up some time but had to keep stopping to look at the map online. Then I saw a table off to my right. There was a woman packing up a hydration station. She informed me that I had just passed mile 2. WHAT??? But I’ve been running forever! She scrounged up some water for me and summoned a guy on a bike.

never dispair

So I continued with Jake, my bike escort. The next water stop was an abandoned shambles. Jake rummaged through all manner of boxes and packages looking for water. Nada. We continued on. A police officer pulled up to us and said he did not realize there were more runners. He radioed ahead to instruct the race to keep the water stations open (it was July and blazing hot … bless his heart). That’s how “I’m the last runner” was birthed. When I would get to a water stop the volunteers would ask, “Are you the last runner?” So, I started automatically announcing myself at my arrival at the hydration stations, “I’m the last runner!”

last runner

Throughout the race, the volunteers were extremely supportive. I could hear them yelling, “Here she comes, she’s looking strong” and they cheered me as I passed. Jake ran interference a few times to correct marshals who were sending me the wrong way and stayed by my side until we passed mile 8, when I caught up to another runner. I was no longer the last runner. It was a bitter sweet moment because I was back to being by myself but I did get to respond, “No, I’m not the last runner” a few times.

not last

I fought the urge to stop and take a nap and was so grateful that the timing mat at the finish line had not been turned off.  The clock read 3:38:05 when I crossed. I probably would have torn someone’s head off if they had given me a DNF. I was anxious to see my net time because I figured I had started about 30 to 35 minutes late and that would be deducted from my clock time. I actually can not recall when exactly I saw my official time because I think I blacked out the memory. As my luck would have it, the start mat had been turned off by the time I crossed it, so 3:38:05 was my official time.


But the post race party was nice. There was lots of food and I found Jake to thank him. I  honestly don’t think I would have finished this one if it wasn’t for Jake.

jake (2)

I also found my roommate (that never was) and thanked her for picking up my bib and then dropping it off at the start for me. Now, to make my way to Vermont to run the Mad Half the next morning.


The Bank of America Chicago Marathon by far. It was the 40th Anniversary of the race which drew 45,000 runners. Despite the race being so large, the logistics were fairly simple. The staggered start was quick and easy, the water stops were plentiful and operated extremely well and the medical tents had knowledgeable volunteers. It turned out to be a hot October day but there were misting stations and the Chicago F.D. had a huge misting machine that was a delight. The crowd support was awesome and the course was flat. I loved Chicago.



The NYCRUNS Queens Half Marathon takes this honor. Check it out.

Queens Medal

And now on to planning my next set of adventures. Bring on 2018!!!

Run For Fun Cruise 2016 Recap


Three months ago, I embarked upon an exciting journey. It was a runcation with Black Girls Run! through Run For Fun Cruise Tours. Yes, Run-Cation! I know it sounds like an oxymoron but I had a fabulous time. Run For Fun Cruise Tours (RFFC) is a family run business that provides structured runs/races in various Caribbean locations. This year RFFC partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line to drop the runners off in: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. First of all, I have to say that the scheduling of the trip for this Northeast resident was perfect. There is no love lost between winter and I, so by the time February rolled around I was completely over the winter elements and was ready for some fun in the sun.

Pre-Cruise: Now before we even set foot on the ship, many of us ran the A1A Publix Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon. It was a lovely sunrise race with a great post race party at the end. I’ve never seen so much food at the end of a race. This will go down as one of my favorite Half Marathons. And check out the bling.

A1A Medal

Ocho Rios: One stop driver!!! I loved Ochee. After the ship docked we gathered in the downtown area and picked up our numbers and timing devices. Yes, this was a timed 5K race. RFFC are no slouches. While we were waiting for the race to begin I saw people gathered around a store across the street. I went to investigate because whenever I would see these splintered groups there would be rumblings and rumors of WiFi. But alas there was no WiFi, they were lining up to use a bathroom – the original runner’s treasure. Soon enough it was race time. The going was a little rough because it was 86 degrees and my body was still used to running in freezing temperatures. We ran through the city and there were hydration stations with nifty plastic baggies filled with sports drinks. I actually really liked the baggie concept better than the cups we usually get. Things were going well and after the first two miles it was time to run the mile long hill that we had heard about. They told us that it was steep. But hello, I just wasn’t ready for this hill. Not at all. First of all, it wasn’t a hill. It was a mountain … namely Mystic Mountain. All running ceased after ten steps and I hiked that final mile. But of course I ran the last 50 yards to the finish line because that’s mandatory. You always, always, finish like a champ. There was a nice little party at the top of the mountain and I got a chance to relax before heading back down … on a chairlift. The other three options were, to zip line down, take a rollercoaster or walk. For the condition that I was in, the chairlift seemed to be the most civilized, until my buddies and I got on it. It was pretty high and I screamed like a baby. We spent the rest of the day eating (at Mama Marley’s) and shopping. I enjoyed Jamaica there is a certain energy there that just isn’t present anywhere else. Good Riddims and Vibe.

Chair Lift Ride
Chairlift Ride

Grand Cayman: It was my first trip to Grand Cayman. What a breathtakingly beautiful island. We did a three mile run through Georgetown’s busy downtown and a residential area. The finish line was on a quaint little beach. It was great, you could literally just run right through the finish line and into the water. We hung out at the beach for a while and then headed off to Stingray City. Not my idea. I was duped. The Stingray City excursion coordinator said we would go to seven mile beach afterwards.The boat ride to the sandbar where the stingrays are found was beautiful. Since I had no intention of getting up close and personal with the stingrays, I stayed on the boat and took pictures of my friends, who were having quite the time kissing and canoodling with the stingrays. I’ll pass. Steve Irwin anyone? Anyway, there was no Seven Mile Beach for me, we barely had enough time to make it back to the ship.

Beach at the finish line
Beach at the finish line

Cozumel: The island officials were excited to see us and created a great race atmosphere with music and announcers. I felt as though I was at a big race. We arrived in Cozumel later than our other destinations and the run didn’t begin until around 11:00 A.M. The sun was blazing but at 2.25 miles, the run was nice and short. This was my first visit to Cozumel so I knew I would do something exciting with the rest of my day. You might be wondering if I visited the Amazing Secret River or the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. The answer would be a resounding “NO.” I spent a inordinate amount of time at Starbucks. And not because the service was just that slow in Mexico but because there was WiFi at Starbucks. YEEESSSS!!! So my buddies and I sat in air conditioned loveliness and made lots of contact with the world we had left behind. We wound up having a nice relaxing day strolling around the area shopping.


Costa Maya: There was a 5K slated for Costa Maya and much of it was run along side the beach in Mahahual. We ran by an array of vendors and ended our run at a wonderful establishment where they gave us a room to change into bathing suits so we could enjoy the rest of the day on the beach. And enjoy I did. I ordered some nachos from my beach chair and they were hands down the tastiest nachos I have ever had. I’m salivating right now just thinking about it. Some of the more adventurous members of the group did some paddleboarding. You should know by now that I am not in that number. However, I had signed up for yoga but it didn’t happen because I became one with my lounge chair. This was another beautiful day in Mexico. Run and lounge. What could be better than that?


The Getaway: I had bumped into an elderly couple at the airport on my way to Miami. They asked if I was cruising and informed me that Norwegian is for older people and for that reason they were cruising on Carnival. Well excuse me grams and gramps!!!  That said, I enjoyed the Norwegian Getaway. There was lots to do on the ship between ports and at night. One of the highlights of the ship was Bandaoke. When I saw it on the schedule I gave it the stink eye. What happened to good old Karaoke? But Bandaoke turned out to be the cat’s meow, the dog’s bark and the bird’s chirp. Yes!!! Instead of performing to a track, you sang with the house band. And what a band!!! And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Oh and in light of the old timers referenced above, I have to mention that Norwegian’s embarkation party in Costa Maya blew Carnival’s out of the water. No pun intended. The Carnival cruisers were looking really pitiful watching us Wobble our way back onto the Getaway. Ha!!! Norwegian also arranged for the RFFC group to tender before the other passengers in Grand Cayman. That was pretty cool.


In conclusion, this was a fabulous trip. The Newton Family aka RFFC took great care of us. And even as I type they are cooking up another great trip for 2017 that will include the ports: Roatan; Belize; Costa Maya; and Cozumel.


My Experience with J.J. Smith’s 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse


The fact that this is my first blog entry of 2016 is not indicative of how active I have been. In fact I have participated in some interesting races this year. I may just backtrack and provide a summary at a later date. But another interesting thing that I have done is J.J. Smith’s 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. Someone asked me to blog my experience and I aim to please my one and only fan. So here it is.

First let me start by saying that this is not a review of the book 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. So you will not find any scientific critiques of the methods and claims expounded in the book. And let’s be clear, I am not recommending this cleanse, so if your hair turns green on Day 5, please don’t call, text, or message me. Just don’t. I won’t be there for you. This is merely a recap of my experience while attempting to do the cleanse.

Those who know me are well aware that I am not about the diet life. I like what I like and and I eat what I like. I’m more of a portion control chick because I cannot be denied my foods or else binging will ensue.

I have no idea what that is on her face.
I have no idea what that is on her face.

Anyway, I had gotten to the point where I could not shake my winter hibernation. I had packed on some serious pounds and was trapped in a vicious cycle of losing and finding what seemed like the same five pounds. So after an online group decided to do this cleanse, I thought why not? I was feeling gross and it was time to try something different. It helped that this procedure is marketed as a cleanse rather than a diet. It focuses on detoxifying the body so that it will work more efficiently. After doing my reading, I decided that this was a more civilized cleanse than my mother’s “wash-outs.” Although effective, the wash-outs consist of a foul tasting homemade concoction, cause abdominal cramping and keeps you chained to the bathroom for two days while you pray for Jesus to take you.


This cleanse promised 10 days of delicious smoothies. The sticking point was that there is no food, just smoothies and limited snack options. But no problem. I was ready be clean and detoxed.  So off I went to the supermarket to pick up my smoothie ingredients as instructed in the book.

DAY 1:  Not too bad. Since I was hyped up to get going and I’m no stranger to green smoothies, I had no problem slurping down my Peachy Green Smoothie. Although Smith recommends that you make your day’s worth of smoothies at once, I embarked upon a twice a day routine. I blended all of my greens in the morning and stored half of the blended greens in the refrigerator for later. Then I added the fruit provided for in the recipe to the other half of blended greens. Why these shenanigans you ask? Because I have found that greens tend to overtake the taste of the smoothie when left sitting for a number of hours and I just cannot get with the grass flavor. I got two servings from each batch and had four smoothies per day. Apples and crunchy veggies were recommended as snacks along with sugarless peanut butter, boiled eggs and raw nuts. Let’s not kid ourselves, I was not trying to have anymore fruit and vegetables so boiled eggs and nuts became my snacks of choice. Besides, I needed that protein. I felt pretty good after day 1 and was really proud of myself for successfully completing the day.

DAY 2: Interesting. I started my day with some ginger tea and tallied up my calories from the day before and realized that my caloric intake was way too low. So I added Greek Yogurt to my smoothies to help ramp up the calories and the protein. I decided that I was not going to use the optional protein powder, so I needed to get it elsewhere. I also added another boiled egg to my snacks. I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved my boiled eggs. However, I was starting to feel fatigued and irritable.

Bring on the eggs.
Bring on the eggs.

DAY 3: Take me now because surely I am dying a slow death by smoothie. This was by far the worst day of the cleanse. Everywhere I went I smelled food. I was craving hotdogs, burgers, pizza, ANYTHING. I was salivating over the meal I had prepared for my family. And the very thought of my smoothie was making me want to retch. They all seemed to taste the same and I was not a happy camper.


I complained to any and everyone about the cleanse. This turned into a good thing because I received a lot of encouragement and stayed the course. By the end of the day I figured that maybe I’d hang on to day five as that would constitute a valiant effort.

DAY 4: Not sure what all the fuss was about yesterday. I was feeling berry peachy, just like my smoothie.

DAY 5: Ohh ohh, we’re half way there, Ohh ohh, living on a prayer. I weighed in and I was down 7 lbs and had lost two inches off my ample waist. Whoo hoo!!!! But even with this victory, I had a little slip up. I had a two cups of popcorn that I made on the stovetop with a little olive oil. What? Don’t judge me. I just felt the need to clear my palate of the smoothie mouth that I had.

DAY 6: So today I made the conscious decision to modify the cleanse. I had a lunch date with a friend and didn’t want to be a Herb and not eat. So, I substituted one of my smoothies for a salad and nixed the dressing. I didn’t even touch the bread. I mean really. I didn’t even sniff it. I was so proud of myself.


DAY 7: I think I’m going to actually finish this thing. It was the weekend and I wasn’t even feeling bad about the smoothies. In fact, I found myself looking forward to my smoothies. And today’s Pineapple Berry smoothie was delish. I picked up more supplies today and realized that this cleanse is pretty pricey. I almost shed a tear when I dropped the pomegranate kernels into my basket. But onward and upward.

DAY 8: So close but yet so far. I don’t think I’ve discussed how much I despise kale. I really hate the stuff. It’s for people who enjoy eating grass and weeds. Today’s smoothie was heavy on the kale but I got through it.

DAY 9: Oh. My. Gawsh. I’m almost done. I’m super excited and I’m making post-cleanse eating plans. I’m going to have a Panera Greek Salad in two days. Yes I am!!! I have NEVER been so excited about eating a salad in my life. Today’s smoothie was really tasty.

DAY 10: I couldn’t believe it was the last day. I kept calculating the days to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. I did steal a couple of french fries from my daughter. She shouldn’t be eating that anyway. Aside from that I was good and by the end of the day I was a 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse Alum. Whoo Hoo. Happy dance, happy dance!

Running man


Now THAT is the Running Man.

The big question is, was it worth it? The is answer is, “Heck yeah.” I lost 11.5 lbs and 3 inches off my waist, 1.5 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my chest (back fat be gone). My sugar cravings were gone and I was no longer seeking a cow to devour. I see some improvement in my skin but I never got the increased energy that was promised. I have been waking up more energized but that surge peters out by noon and then I just feel tired. But I would definitely consider this cleanse a success.


Oakley Mini 10K 2015 Recap and Miscellaneous Stuff

Mini_GoodTimes_07I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the NYC Marathon and have not blogged at all. The winter was really rough and I did a lot of eating (of the sumo wrestler variety) and sitting on the couch. I did manage to drag myself out to end the year with a 5 mile Turkey Trot and back to back half marathons on December 13 and 14 … craziness.  The first half of 2015 consisted of: a January 1st Hangover 5 Miler; the Philadelphia Love Run; the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K (great race); the Brooklyn Half Marathon; the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon; the Long Island Corporate Fun Run 5K; and today’s Oakley Mini 10K.

This was my third Oakley 10K and this race continues to kick my behind. This baffles me because a portion of the race is outside of the hellish Central Park and the course runs counter to the really steep hills. As always the beginning of the race was extremely crowded and congested, which limited my pace. I can’t say I was too bothered by the slow pace though because it was so hot that I knew that I should ease into this race. But what did bother me was the chick who pitched her bony elbow into my left boob as we were entering Central Park. She didn’t even look over to see if she had impaled me. Ugh!!! And less than a mile later, I almost took an elbow to the face by some 7 foot Amazon woman. I don’t recall having these problems when running in a mixed gender field.

Throw them Bows

This race got hotter and hotter as it progressed. I stopped at most of the water stations to be on the safe side. However, I felt as though the water stations were short. By the time I would merge over to grab water the stations were over. I had to back track to get the water at one of the stations because I had completely passed it. They did have some water sprinklers out there, which was great. What they did not have on the course was Gatorade. What??? Here I am sweating buckets and they didn’t have even one station with some electrolytes. What was the meaning of that? All I knew was that they had better have some Gatorade at the finish or else there was going to be consequences and repercussions. At mile 5, I had visions of me turning over the water table at the finish after realizing that there was no Gatorade (much like Jesus when he flipped out on the money changers in the temple).


Luckily for them, they broke out the Gatorade at the end of the race. Now, I don’t mean to sound completely negative concerning this race. I do like it … or maybe I just like the idea of it as it is an all women’s race that provides the participants with nice tanks and medals.

Oakley Shirts
They even provided participants with a choice of color this year.

mini 10K medal

Of all the race distances, I feel like the 10K is the most tricky. I don’t feel as though I have the luxury of taking my time as I would in an endurance race but at the same time it’s 6.2 miles, which is significant mileage to be running at a fast pace. Today’s time of 1:09:02 is not my worst 10K time. That honor goes to the 2014 Oakley Mini 10K.

Next up … Queens 10K.

Countdown to NYC Marathon: The Playlist

ipodSo I have six days to go until my first marathon. There isn’t much that I can do at this point to improve my performance. I have literally run my butt off for the past four and a half months. As much as I dislike strength training, I found a way to get it done. I fell off and got back on the wagon with my nutrition several times. I’m still working on the rest aspect of the training plan and I intend to be in bed an hour from now. But there is one thing left for me to do and that is finalize my playlist.

I ran out of music during my 20 mile training run and that is a no go for the marathon. I need new and fresh musical inspiration to get me through this thing. I’m pretty liberal with my running music genres but a song must have special qualities to make it onto my race playlist. It has to inspire and have the ability to get me up a hill. Unfortunately, this means that I have gospel mixed with secular … judge not. However, I will not include tunes that may cause me to be struck by lightning mid run. I will say that I have some pretty good tunes already. Here are some examples:

This is the Day by Fred Hammond – This song gives me a turbo boost EVERY time. “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I can happily run a hill if this song is playing.


Break my Stride by Matthew Wilder – The lyrics … “Aint nuthin gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I’ve got to keep on moving.” What? Automatic running mantra.

Dreamer by Chris Brown – This song was featured during the 2008 Olympics (before he lost his mind) and always makes me feel like I’m Usain Bolt. “High speed like I’m racing, it’s like lightning. Sky is blazing.”

He even look's saner in the picture
He even look’s more sane in the picture

Souled Out – Hezekiah Walker & LFC – Puhlease, I am souled and soled out!!! “My heart is fixed my mind’s made up. No room, no vacancies I’m all filled up. His spirit lives in me and that’s the reason I’m souled out.”

Show Me What You Got by Jay-Z  –  I take this tune as a personal challenge. He keeps asking me to show him what I got. “Show me what you got li’l mama. Show me what you got pretty lady.” I have a hard time resisting dares and challenges.

Beautiful by Noel Gourdin – The man just keeps calling me “beautiful” and it makes me feel like can conquer the world, or at least the hills.


Maniac by Michael Sembello – If you don’t know why this on here I suggest you watch Flashdance on Netflix ASAP. I’m running like I’ve never run be before people.

What a Feeling by Irene Cara – Yes more Flashdance!!! I need to just rename the movie Flashrun. “What a feeling, being’s believing I can have it all, now I’m [running] for my life. Take your passion and make it happen. Pictures come alive, now I’m [running] through my life.”

I Will by Men of Standard – More mantras … “I will never give up. I will keep on holding on. I will never let go. I will always stay strong.”

I will

Victory by Tye Tribbett & G.A. – This song reminds me that there is nothing that I can’t do because God has my back. “Because the devil Is defeated and God be praised,
I got the victory. Every situation I face I win, I got the victory. And everything works for my good in the end, I got the victory.”

The World Keeps Spinning by The Brand New Heavies – A reminder that regardless of what happens, life will go on.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. I don’t have much time to top off my list.

New York City 10K 2014

NYC 10K Logo

This was the second year of the New York City 10K (6.2 miles) that is put on by the Cerulean Sports Group. I hastily signed up for this race because I suffered terribly last year from bling envy after I saw the massive medals they doled out. As everyone else was signing up in 2013 for the inaugural race I recall thinking that I would NOT be traipsing on over to Roosevelt Island for a race. I had visions being trapped on the island in the midst of a prison break. Yes, I realized later that I was confusing it with Riker’s Island but I didn’t care because I just knew it was the place that you got to by traveling by air in little cars that were held up with string attachments.

ri tram

No, the tram business was not going to work for me. But after seeing the gorgeous gaudiness of last year’s medal, transportation became a trivial afterthought. I was on my way to Roosevelt Island.

Still, I hadn’t completely lost my mind and so I drove into Manhattan and took the subway one stop over to Roosevelt Island. The race organizers kindly sent out an email informing the runners that there would not be any Coney Island Bound F train service from certain stations. What did I care? I was taking the Queens bound train in my carefully orchestrated plan to complete the race and make it to church on time … I have to get my worship on.

Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island

So I get to Roosevelt Island without incident. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there and thought the island might just be one big park. Anyway, it turns out that there are multistory buildings and regular life form on the island. The park where the race began was right next to the subway station, so it was very convenient.

We lined up in our corrals. It was a little chilly so I was anxious to get going. Whitney Houston belted out her Super Bowl national anthem and that warmed me up a little … the best rendition of the anthem ever. Then we were off. The race course was basically two loops around the island. Much of the course path was narrow which caused a significant amount of congestion in the beginning of the race. I would recommend making sure that you begin in the appropriate corral. I probably should have moved up a corral because I spent much of the first two miles trying to get by other runners. After the crowd thinned out, it was great.

Start Line
Start Line

The only real concern that I had about this race was that the medal could possibly be significantly smaller than last year. However, when I got to mile 4.5 I saw this:

ri medal rack

Yes, yes, yes. Flava Flav!!! The ginormous medals were back. I think I got some pep in my step at that moment just thinking about the saucer that was soon to hang on my neck. I was feeling good.

Me feeling good
Me feeling good

Before I knew it, I was staring down the finish line. It was a great race and I crossed the line with a PR that has been a year and a half in the making. I have to say kudos to Cerulean Sports Group for a good event with great swag. The race shirt is sweet, the medal pretty and they provided free race photos to boot.

Close up of the race shirt. It says "Finisher" on the bottom.
Close up of the race shirt. It says “Finisher” on the bottom.

With the race over, it was time to execute my exit strategy to make it to church on time. Things were looking good. I had two hours to get there. I went into the subway and headed to the platform to find that the Manhattan bound side was closed. Ugh!!! Turns out that I really didn’t think the whole “Coney Island Bound F train service” notice through carefully. So much for my one train stop plan. So after my a subway tour of Queens and an 11 block walk, I made it back to Manhattan … and to church on time by the skin of my teeth. So if you’re not afraid of heights or amusement park rides, I would recommend taking the tram to Roosevelt Island to run this race.

Next race … TCS NYC Marathon!!!

The 20 Mile Training Run

4 Jacks Logo

Every marathon hopeful is confronted with the 20 mile training run. You have to determine: if you are going to do it; when you are going to do it; and how many times you are going to do it. Well, when I saw the above notice for an organized 20-miler in NYC, I decided that I would do my one 20 mile run with JackRabbit, a prominent running and triathlon store in NYC. The run was advertised to commence at JackRabbit in Union Square and we would stop at the other store locations on the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn and then back to Union Square. Some of the members of my marathon group decided to do it too. So we embarked on this adventure together.

We're up for a challenge
We’re up for a challenge

Of course if you are running 20 miles you can only hope that everything outside of your control lines up perfectly because running that kind of distance is a hard enough challenge by itself. So naturally after waking before daylight, Accuweather tells me that it is going to start raining in 23 minutes. Sweet!!!

I took the train into Manhattan with two members of the team, Janet and Jazz. And of course we are approached by someone who looks like she could be Ann Margaret, who tells us we are raising the sound barrier and that a person named Susan Davis is laying down with white supremacists. We back away from the woman but she near chases us down in Penn Station. Janet promptly takes responsibility for being a magnet for the unstable but we let her continue to hang with us anyway. We meet up with our other two teammates and proceed to Union Square. We got there early and when the store opened we got ourselves together and received a pep talk from this gentleman.

JackRabbit Union Square Pep Talk
JackRabbit Union Square Pep Talk

He went over the course (I was not paying much attention to that part) and then he imparted some wisdom. He told us that something interesting was going to happen between miles 17 and 20. I perked up for this part of the speech. What was going to happen? Was it the infamous wall? Would we have a meltdown? He must have seen the look of alarm on our faces because then he said, “It’s good, it’s good.” Great, at least I have something to look forward to on this long trek. We then huddled with our pace groups. I was with the 11 minute mile plus group. So what if we were the slowest group.

The 11 minute pace group standing proud
The 11 minute pace group standing proud

So before we leave our fearless pace group leader announces that he is not wearing a watch so will not know exactly what pace we are running.


But then he said we will be taking our time because our goal is to finish regardless of time. Okay, I was good with that. Then of course the man takes off like a rocket for the first mile. Yikes!!! I was a little concerned because I had no idea of the route because this Einstein had not been listening. Anyway, someone sent our pacer a memo and he slowed down during mile 2. Now up until that point it was raining but it was more drizzly than anything. However, at some point while we were on the West Side Highway the skies completely opened up into monsoon mode. It was a little uncomfortable but we were on a bike/running path with very little pedestrian traffic.

After 4 miles we arrived at the Upper West Side store. They were playing “The Final Countdown.” I was stoked. It was nice to get out of the rain for a minute and they had water, gu and a concoction they were calling “gu brew.” I tasted the brew, it wasn’t bad but I didn’t have too much just in case it upset my stomach. I chowed down on a couple of Sport Beans. I love those things.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Jelly Belly Sport Beans

Pace leader then announced that we were leaving and gave us a choice of two different routes that both involved Central Park. I told him he should just go with the one with the least hills. So of course, some teacher’s pet group member said, “Hills will make us stronger.” Now pace leader looks at me and announces that because of my statement we will go the hilliest route. Insert big eye roll. So off we go to the roller coaster they call Central Park. And yes it was crazy hilly in the pouring rain. After exiting the park we soon arrived at JackRabbit Upper East Side. Now this is when I realize that we were going to have to run 9 straight miles through Manhattan into Brooklyn for our third stop.

What you Talkin Bout

And this is where things start to get dodgy. Now we are running down Lexington Avenue from 85th Street all the way downtown … and again I say, in the pouring rain. Picture this. The sidewalks are narrow and packed with people and wait for it … it is pouring rain. So now we are trying to get by pedestrians and we are puddle jumping off and onto the curb at every intersection … and not clearing all of those puddles I might add. By the time we got to the Manhattan Bridge we had lost four members of our pace group for various reasons. Running across the Manhattan Bridge was no joke and the loud and boisterous train that crosses it didn’t make it any more pleasant. Anyway, kudos to Pace Leader, because he was upbeat the entire time and made sure no one got left behind. Finally we were in Brooklyn and we were on a mission to get to the Brooklyn store.


We ran down Flatbush Avenue and saw members of a faster pace group. They were on their way back to Manhattan. They cheered us on and were high fiving us. This was good and bad. Good because they looked excited and fresh so the store had to be close. It was bad because I wished that I too was on my way back to Manhattan. But even though we had to be close to the store it just wouldn’t show itself. We were supposed to get there at mile 15 but that marker came and went. By the time we finally got there my watch was reading 15.4 miles. Now I’ll be honest. I was feeling pretty wrecked by the time we got to the store. But we had come this far. We lost four more at the store. When we went back out to hit the streets, Jazz gave us a good pep talk and another group member suggested that we slow it down and run the last five miles together. So we left seven strong.

As we passed Juniors restaurant, I recalled the season of Making the Band when P. Diddy made the band walk to Juniors from Manhattan to fetch him cheesecake. I felt bad for them at the time. Now I was thinking, puhlease, at least he didn’t make them run in a monsoon.

Get me a slice of Junior’s cheesecake

My little escape from reality didn’t last very long because soon we were crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in all of its steep inclined glory. That climb was really tough. But we made it.

Top of the Brooklyn Bridge
Top of the Brooklyn Bridge

At this point I had to dig deep to get to the end. But we had passed mile 17 and so I was waiting for the mile 17 to 20 magic to occur as promised by our cheerleader. Once we got into Chinatown, it was apparent to me that this run was going to be longer than 20 miles. Scroll back up to Arnold’s image. This couldn’t be possible because I didn’t think I could go one extra step but my watch was registering 19 miles and I knew we weren’t that close to the Union Square store. So now I was getting annoyed because I didn’t want to run any more and there was no magic. But we plugged along and when I turned onto 14th Street, magic occurred. I got energy out of nowhere and started moving because I knew the store was close. When I saw a familiar cafe, I yelled to Janet, “We’re almost there!” And before you know it we were. My watch had us at 20.85 miles. The people in the store cheered us in. We did it!!!

We changed our clothes. I am so glad that I thought to bring a change of clothing but realized that I should have brought a change of shoes and socks too. I purchased a pair of socks from the store and they were thick enough to assist a little with my soaking wet running shoes. JackRabbit provided a nice bagel and coffee spread. I was starving and scarfed down my bagel and then we hopped on the subway. And of course as we exited the subway car at Penn Station another mentally unstable person approached Janet and gave her an earful. But we let her continue to hang with us anyway.

I have to say thank you and kudos to JackRabbit for providing this complimentary training run. And a special shout out goes to Chris, our pace leader. He did a great job.

Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon 2013 Recap


Zooma Annapolis promised to be a great race. Zooma puts on a series of women’s races across the country and its slogan is Run, Laugh, Celebrate.  You could run a 10K or a Half Marathon. It sounded like the perfect race for Black Girls Run to participate in, after all we are a women’s running group and Zooma was pulling out all the stops with a pre-race day mocktail party, access to all-weekend yoga and post race massages. They even had a PR program set up so that runners who achieved their personal best or ran their first half marathon would receive a special medal. And, I got to meet the BGR visionaries Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey. What’s not to love, right?

Wrong. I have renamed this race “Zooma Annapol-hades: The Hilly Hot Mess.” Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad if you exclude the actual race from the equation … yeah you know, the real purpose of the event. There was a nice little expo going during packet pick-up, where I got my Achilles taped with Kinesio tape. We enjoyed a well thought out pre-race day dinner that appeared as a special on the host hotel’s menu before taking a stroll through beautiful downtown Annapolis.

Me at the Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis
Me at the Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis
Kunta Kinte, who was portrayed by Levar Burton and John Amos in the movie Roots, along with 97 other Africans ended their involuntary journey to America in Annapolis.

We were enjoying Annapolis and all was good in the world until the actual race. Since the race started at 7:00 a.m., we left the hotel close to 6:00 a.m. but not before I had to re-tape my achilles. The expo taping didn’t make it through the night. The walk  to the start line at the Naval Stadium was around 3/4 of a mile and was a pretty good warm up. At the stadium, there weren’t any corrals and there didn’t seem to be all that many women at the start line. I heard that most of the runners seemed to be lined up at the porta-potties but I couldn’t see the potties from where I was standing. Then the strangest thing happened. It was 7:00 a.m. and nothing seemed to be happening and so I figured the race was starting late. Anyway, a few moments later I heard the announcer excitedly say, “You’re almost at the start line.” What? The race had started? No anthem? No gun? No “On your marks, get set, go?” Nothing! No national anthem. For a race starting in the Naval town and on U.S. Navy property? That might have been an omen.

I was completely caught off guard, I tried to set my Garmin but it wouldn’t pick up a satellite. I crossed the start and began to run. It was hard to get into a rhythm because half of the runners were walking and so I had to try to run round a slew of people. It was hot but I started to feel good after the first mile. There was a water station before mile two but I didn’t it see until it was too late. So I figured I’d catch the next one. It was no big deal since I had just been drinking water at the start line. By mile three we had run a few hills and the heat started to feel oppressive. By the time we got to mile 3.5 I was parched and started to yell, “Where’s the water?” At mile 4 I saw this monster ahead of me.


Now this picture doesn’t even do the incline on that bridge justice. So now I’m panicking because I don’t see myself running this bridge without water. But a few moments later I spotted a water station up ahead. Relief wasn’t even the word. I get to the table and I pick up a cup … it’s empty. I grab another … empty. Yikes. I realize that the volunteer is pouring the water and there are only three or four cups of water in front of him and the demand was high. I ran behind the table so I was right next to the volunteer and grabbed some water. Desperate times called for desperate measures. I continued to run and passed the 10K turnaround on the bridge.

After clearing the bridge there was a monstrosity of a hill that made the bridge beast look like a walk in the park. After making it to the top of that hill, in not such fine form, I came upon an other water station. This time, there were no cups on the table. I actually don’t even really remember seeing a table. But I do recall that the volunteer was pouring cups of water and handing them out one by one while we waited on a line. What? This time I waited patiently for my water. I believe that was after mile 5.

A mile and half later, I hit a real hydration station that was equipped with Cytomax (Yuck, I guess Gatorade can’t sponsor all the races) and water. At this point, I was at the top of another nasty hill, it was blazing hot and I was mad that I didn’t turn around at the 10K mark. I informed the volunteer that I would be double fisting my Cytomax to which he graciously responded by telling me to take whatever I needed. I then grabbed a cup of water and took off at slow trot. I usually get a feeling of empowerment when I pitch my cup to the ground but now we were in a residential area and I reluctantly tossed my empty cup to the side and it wound up on someone’s lawn (that was a downer). Soon after, I hit the half marathon turn around mark. This should have been a joyous moment but all I could think was that I had to do this whole thing over … and it was HOT. After about maybe a half mile, there was another hydration station. Craziness. I had water though because I wasn’t sure when I’d see another one of these sporadic water stations.

By mile 8 I was in a bad way and I felt a hand on my back. It was one of my BGR sisters, Lisa. She literally pushed me up a hill. Bless her heart. I tried to enjoy the downhill but found I was struggling through that too. My knee was starting to hurt and I decided to take a walk break. WHAT??? I don’t walk my races, the main reason being because I just don’t do the run-walk thing well. Once I stop running, it’s hard for me to start up again. But at this point my time had already gone to pot and I didn’t want to get injured or pass out from heat exhaustion. So I began my run-walk journey, which was more like walk with sparse jogging intervals. I didn’t feel so bad though because most of the people around me were walking too. Lisa tried to get me going a couple of times but I wasn’t really hearing it.

Me running to keep up with Lisa’s walk

At around mile 10, a police officer told us that we should turn left.The road looked blocked because there were cars on it but another runner confirmed that we should make the left. Now this whole part of the course was really weird. There were cars, two hydration stations within mile 11 and a make shift turnaround involving one solitary cone on the right side of the road (not even the entire road). The course doubled back to where the police officer was standing and then went back to the stadium. I was really punchy in mile 12. I was thoroughly enjoying my iPod and began to serenade a police officer, “You are in my system, Oh oh oh, you arrrre in my sys-tehehem.” Yeah! Lisa had to come and get me. When we hit mile 13, there was a steep little hill leading us into the stadium parking lot. How obnoxious! As I approached the finish line a couple of runners sprinted past me. Well I was having none of it. I ran as fast as I could manage and rebel yelled through the finish line. Real class. People took notice though. Jennean was crossing the finish line, albeit with a time of 2:42:15.

Post-race. That’s right I’m still not finished. I was handed a bottle of water and my finisher’s necklace. My phone refused to take a decent picture of the necklace.


Even though I knew we were getting a necklace instead of a medal, I was a little disappointed. The back says, “Zooma 2013.” This brings me to medalgate. Zooma had a PR program where first time half marathoners and those who ran their personal best half marathon received a real medal (it was a very nice one). There was a long line of people waiting for medals and scuttle was that they began to tell runners that they would not receive a PR medal because the course was .25 mile short and so they didn’t have real PRs. What!?! First of all, it is a wonder that anyone even came close to a PR under those race conditions. They would have had a real problem on their hands if I had run myself into the ground to get a PR, only to be told that I couldn’t get one because they had me run a short course. The distance came up short on my Garmin but I attributed that to the fact that I started it late.

We also picked up our swag after the race. That was awkward. We received yoga mats and a metal water bottle (I think because I still haven’t opened the box). While this is some good swag, we had just run 13 miles and had to lug this unbagged stuff around post race. “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.” It was extremely difficult to handle the swag, the necklace and post race fueling.  To the fuel. They had snack boxes but I had to pass on the mayonnaised meat that was in there and the neon white pita bread thingies. I just ate the apple and downed a Muscle Milk. At least the apple was tasty. I didn’t see any massages or yoga. I just saw long lines and confusion. So we decided to head back to the host hotel. YIKES!!! Now we had to lug this stuff almost a mile on achy legs. We did approach an ambulance driver for a ride but he said we didn’t want to go where he would be taking us. It was a long walk back to the hotel and I did my best impression of an ice bath with very little ice before leaving Zooma behind. I will not be looking in the rearview for this race.

To be fair to Zooma, they issued an apology and explanation for the short course. Like to see it? Here it goes.

I received an email from them this evening offering a $20 discount for any Zooma Half Marathon in 2013 or 2014, $12 off any off their 10ks or $10 off a 5K.

I think I’ll cut my losses. On to the next one, The Oakley Mini 10K on Saturday.

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