Run For Fun Cruise 2016 Recap

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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.

Cozumel

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?

CostaMaya

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.

getaway

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.

 

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

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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.

toilet

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.

hangry

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.

no-bread-basket

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).

wwjd

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.

fred

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.

beautiful

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.

RuhRohScooby

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.

Flatbush_Avenue_IMG_0665

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.