Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Your Shoe Laces Will Never Loosen

Have you ever noticed that your shoe laces loosen as you are running?  This happens to me often.  Although double knotting my laces prevents them from untying, the laces still can, and often do, loosen in the top eyelets, around my ankles.  I find this incredibly annoying; also, when running, if my shoes are too loose around my ankles, I am more predisposed to a foot, calf or shin injury.  

Well, I have found an awesome solution -- introducing... LaceLocker.  This incredibly simple invention is brilliant and very easy to use! LaceLockers come in a variety of colors - black, silver, white, neon green, hot pink, and white ladybug graphic. Watch the brief instructional video on the website and you will become a LaceLocker pro in a matter of minutes!  

I am going to purchase LaceLockers for all my running shoes!  This way, I do not have to waste any time switching the LaceLockers from one pair of shoes to another -- after all, time is precious and I want to use every spare minute to bolt out the door for a run.

Click on the LaceLocker link below for more information.  You will be so glad that you did!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Cross Training - "Changing It Up!"

Do you run every single day without ever taking a break?  Well, unless you are hell bent on doing some sort of running streak, running every day may not be your best strategy.  When it comes to aerobic exercise, every so often, your body could use a change of pace -- that is why I recommend Cross Training.

If you run every single day, you risk an overuse injury -- common overuse injuries for runners include plantar fasciitis, runner's knee and iliotibial band syndrome.  So, why not run four to six days per week, and try different aerobic modes on the other one to three days?  I recommend the elliptical machine as a great alternative to running -- you can even run on this machine without the impact.  If using an elliptical machine with "arms," try using 25 percent upper body and 75 percent lower body -- this will get you to use some muscles in your upper body to a greater extent than when you are running.  When exercising on the elliptical machine, be sure to stand upright and keep your abdominal muscles tight -- this will ensure that your pelvis stays stable and therefore, prevent lower back pain.

I am also a fan of swimming as an alternative to running.  When performed correctly, the freestyle stroke is a great aerobic exercise -- it uses the entire body with a tremendous emphasis on your core.  An added benefit is that there is absolutely no jarring on your body.

Meb Keflefzighi on The Elliptigo
  image from www.running.competitor.com
Now, if you are a fan of outdoor exercise, try an ElliptiGO (see photo on left).  This is a crazy new machine that gives you an absolutely phenomenal workout!  Check out their website at:  www.elliptiGO.com.  I fell in love with this machine at the 2013 New York City Marathon Expo  -- it combines the best of running, cycling and elliptical training, and is a low impact exercise.  The ElliptiGO is on my "purchase as soon as I can" list.  You can go on ElliptiGO's website to find the dealer that is located closest to your hometown.  It is so worth the trial ride!

Every once in a while, trick your muscles by subjecting them to an aerobic activity other than running.  In addition to injury prevention, cross training helps to prevent plateaus by challenging your body to move in different ways than it does when running.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


It is amazing how quickly I am able to jump out of bed when I have a race to run!  I was up and ready to greet the day at 6:15 am.

Compo Beach - Westport, CT

This was my view while doing my warm-up exercises immediately prior to the Minuteman 5K race in Westport, CT.  I stared at the water and sky while I simultaneously stretched and had a silent conversation with my mom -- she passed away 14 months ago. My mom was my rock and the voice of reason -- oh, how I miss her!  

I was so happy to be up bright and early, doing what I love.  When the starting horn sounded, I felt so free!  Today, I ran without a chronograph -- no time pressure, just sheer enjoyment.  I ran comfortably and enjoyed every step from start to finish.  I was particularly impressed by the number of young runners, ages seven to twelve, who were able to pace themselves appropriately and demonstrated great running form!

The running community is the best -- everyone cheering each other on!  After crossing the finish line, I stayed (as I always do) to applaud the runners who finished after me.  I am now empowered -- so are my two clients who both ran personal bests.

My Buddies at the Finish
Ahhh -- simple pleasures.  I am feeling very grateful today.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Favorite Running Socks

Feet -- they are not the prettiest body part, but, as runners, they are of ultimate importance!   We need our toes, arches and heels to be comfortable at all times, especially during our runs.  It is really awful to get a blister in the middle of a long run or to feel your socks slipping around in your running shoes during a race.  

Well, I have tried so many different pairs of running socks over the past 35+ years and can say with confidence that Feetures are the very best!  In addition to the perfect fit and the various options available (Ultra-Light, Light Cushion, & Heavy Cushion; No-Show Tab, Low-Cut, Quarter, & Crew), the new colors are amazing -- just put on a pair of "happy colored" Feetures and you are on your way!

You can purchase Feetures running socks at Kelly's Running Warehouse -- just click on the red link below to go to the online store.  Kelly's Running Warehouse carries all varieties of Feetures.

Happy shopping. Hoping all your future runs are as colorful as these awesome socks!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Minority

"Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

On May 26th 2002, I ran in the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.  Earlier that week, I began having a nagging pain in my lower back.  I figured that I was a bit stressed about the upcoming race and that my muscles were just "tightening up."  I guess I was wrong about that diagnosis.

At mile 15, I started getting some serious lower back pain with some weakness and tingling down my leg.  I knew that I would have to slow down and soon realized that for the first time ever, I would be crossing the finish line in over four hours. I began chatting with another veteran marathoner -- we were both experiencing some serious discomfort and were trying to push each other through the pain.  I confessed that I was unhappy to be joining the 'Over Four Hour Club.'  She smiled, and to this day, I remember her reply.  "You should be so proud to just cross the finish line -- being a marathoner puts you in a category that is not very populated...after all, how many people in the United States have actually completed even one marathon?  It is quite an accomplishment."

I repeated this woman's words of wisdom as I struggled through the next 11 miles. I limped through the finish line in 4:01:51, a new personal worst. That day, I discovered that my marathon accomplishments are pretty unique; instead of being disappointed with my time, I celebrated my victory.  Since then, I have had some slower and some faster times.

Marathon participation statistics are actually quite staggering.  In 2012, of the 315 million people living in the United States, 529,000 completed a marathon in the U.S.  I applaud the 0.17 percent of the American population that crossed the finish line that year!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Safety First

When I was young, I thought I was invincible.  Now, at the tender age of 55, I know better. Numerous injuries over the years have convinced me that I am a mere mortal.  Experience has taught me to ALWAYS run with my cell phone and some cash.  After all, you never know what may happen when you are on a run - you can turn your ankle, become dehydrated, or develop heat exhaustion.  There are a myriad of possibilities, most requiring immediate attention.

Now, what if you are running by yourself and you faint?  It would be very difficult to make a phone call to ask for help if you have blacked out.  Safety comes first! That is why every runner needs to own and wear a Road ID.  Road ID makes personal identification gear so that, in an emergency situation, you can be identified and your emergency contact can be notified.  You can choose from a variety of Wrist ID's, the Shoe ID, or the Ankle ID.  I just ordered the Wrist ID Elite in black.

Go to the Road ID link directly above this blog post to view all products.  Be sure to check out the cool t-shirts and other items. Then place your order -- it could be a life saver and will provide you and your family with peace of mind!

Let me know what you buy, and always remember, safety first.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Filing An Extension

Earlier this year, I promised myself that I would file my income tax returns on time. Then, with a blink of an eye, it was April 15th, and yes, you guessed it, I was not ready to file my returns. Although I had good intentions, life got in the way. Unfortunately, during the past year, I encountered several unexpected family emergencies -- dealing with these situations became my top priority and everything else was placed on the "back burner."  So, on April 15th, I begrudgingly filed my federal and state income tax extensions.

After filing my extensions, I went out for a run and started thinking...  It occurred to me that filing a tax extension is very much like deferring a big race entry to the following year.  There have been times when I have signed up for a big race and then, regretfully, have had to defer -- this typically happens when I am either too injured or overextended in some area or areas of my life and therefore, unable to put in the proper training.  It is important to know when to race and when to back off even if you have already paid your entry fee.  Just because you choose not to participate in a race this year does not mean that you will never run that race -- sometimes, it is just wiser to wait for the right time.  It is a judgement call and you are the only one who can make the call.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Displaying 20140410_121947.jpgThe Verrazano Narrows Bridge is my favorite bridge to run across -- this is where the NYC Marathon begins.  This November, I will toe the starting line on the Verrazano for the fifteenth time.  The funny thing is that standing on this bridge, waiting for the cannon to go off never gets old.  The bridge and the view are both beautiful, the fireworks are amazing, and running to Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York is so inspiring.  During the NYC Marathon, runners also cross over four other bridges that connect the boroughs of the Big Apple.

Symbolically, bridges represent transitional periods in our lives - we are crossing from one place to another.  Every time I run a marathon, I am changed by the events that happen during my 26.2 mile journey.  Inevitably, there will be several significant occurrences during each marathon that become indelibly ingrained in my memory.  

I have witnessed injured runners literally crawl through the finish line.  I have observed the bond between fellow runners when one ceases up with a hamstring cramp and the other stops to massage his muscle so that they can continue to run together, as a unified force, pushing each other to the finish.  I have watched a very special father-son duo complete many marathons that I have participated in -- dad runs as he pushes his disabled son in a special wheelchair. Then, there was one NYC Marathon, when I was running across the Queensborough Bridge and everyone suddenly came to a virtual standstill -- we did not know why until we saw a blind runner who became detached from his guide, unsure of where he was going; our mission then shifted to reuniting the blind man with his guide before we continued our own races.

Bridges are a passage -- they connect us from one place to another. We as runners are all connected through our common goal to get to the finish line. Completing our trek is our rite of passage. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Bigger Picture

When I was 20 years old, I was winning or placing in every race I ran from five kilometers to half-marathon distances.  One New York Road Runner Official called me "the up and coming long distance runner in New York City."  Well, that was 35 years ago -- oh my, how that story has changed!

At age 20, I was very lean and my focus was on college and running.  I loved competing and got a pure adrenaline rush every time I passed a female runner who I just knew was in my age group.  I earned countless trophies and medals -- I was on top of the world.  I felt so empowered by these victories and, at the time, these awards meant a lot to me.  I was constantly setting PR's and loving every minute of my local fame -- I was the queen of running in Brooklyn's Marine Park.

Fast forward to age 41 -- it is the first Sunday in November, 2000.  I am running in the New York City Marathon as a member of Fred's Team.  Fred's Team is comprised of a group of runners dedicated to raising funds for research for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  On that Sunday morning, I was running for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research.   I had no idea who Aubrey was, but figured that in time, I would find out.  Before I boarded the bus that transported the Fred's Team runners from Manhattan to the start in Staten Island, I gave my one year old baby girl a great big hug and kiss.  During the bus ride, I reflected on how lucky I was to have a healthy baby, especially since I was running to help find a cure for childhood cancers.

It was a really good race day for me -- I felt great!  At five miles, I was singing to the live music that was playing on almost every street corner.  All of a sudden, I saw a very slight woman in a Fred's Team uniform directly in front of me.  I came up by her side and told her what a great job she was doing and to keep it up.  She thanked me, but said that this was not going to be one of her better races.  I immediately offered more words of encouragement and support, telling her to hang in there.  I suggested that if she was really hurting, she should just think about the children that we were running for, and suddenly her pain would seem minimal.  She kindly smiled and said, "I know.  I am Aubrey."  At that moment, I felt a major chill go through my body -- every hair on my arms was "standing up."  Aubrey told me to please go ahead and that she would catch up with me later that night at the post-marathon Fred's Team dinner.  I wished her "good luck" and took off.  I knew that I would find out Aubrey's entire story that evening.

Aubrey and me - 2013 NYC Marathon - Before the Start

Read Aubrey's Story at:  http://mskcc.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=ft_stories_aubrey
It was just one of those days for me.  I was having a really good run and was counting the minutes until I would be at mile 16 -- this is where Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is located. Fred's Team always has a huge cheering section at Sloan Kettering with bleachers, hot beverages, and many encouraging spectators.  I could not wait to see my baby girl and the rest of my family and friends who were eagerly awaiting my arrival at this checkpoint.  As I approached mile 16, I could see the Fred's Team orange and purple balloons forming a huge arch across First Avenue.  I felt myself speeding up, pumped with adrenaline.  My personal cheering section screamed out my name and told me that I was looking great.  I quickly ran over to the sidelines to give my baby girl a big kiss, and then refocused on the task at hand.

As I looked up First Avenue and started calculating the pace that I needed to keep to reach my time goal, I was beckoned by a Fred's Team volunteer to high-five the children.  I quickly looked over to the sidelines and saw approximately ten patients sitting in wheelchairs, covered in heavy blankets.  I greeted each child with a big smile, a high five, and a great big "thank you" for cheering us on!  After completing my 'ten high fives and thank yous,' I picked up my pace and felt the tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was about two blocks away from Sloan Kettering when it dawned on me that I had missed one little boy's hand when I was high-fiving all the children. Suddenly, my finishing time seemed insignificant.  I quickly did a 180 degree turn and sprinted back to that little boy, not caring about the onslaught of runners coming at me.  This time, when I saw the little boy, I realized that he was too weak or in too much of a fog to give me a "high five."  So, I placed his hand in mine, smiled, and whispered, "thank you so much."

As the tears continued to roll down my face, I retraced my steps up First Avenue.  Suddenly, all those trophies on my bookcase shelves seemed irrelevant, absolutely meaningless.  Who cared about a PR?  I was simply grateful to be able to run and that my own child was okay.  My heart was heavy but my spirit was strong.  Now, I was running for that little boy.... I was running for every child that has endured pain and suffering....

It has been said that we are not the same people that we were one minute prior. With every experience that we have, we change.  In November of 2000, on that NYC Marathon Sunday, I went through a major metamorphosis.  I got the bigger picture.  I was changed for good. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


We all need sleep and lots of it!  The standard recommendation for all adults is seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep per night. Runners, especially those who are training for a marathon, really need at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Sleep is crucial to your recovery from the physical exertion of running.  You must get enough sleep to allow your body to repair itself.  If you are sleep deprived for many days, you will find that your running performance will suffer and you will become run down, making you more susceptible to the common cold and other ailments.

Here are some simple tips to help you get a good night's sleep:
  • Avoid running and other high intensity exercises late in the day.  All vigorous exercise should be completed at least three hours before your typical bedtime.
  • Try to go to bed the same time each and every night and get up the same time every morning -- this includes the weekends!
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods containing caffeine for at least six to eight hours prior to bedtime.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol intake -- it causes sleep disruption during the night.
  • Avoid heavy meals prior to bedtime, but conversely, do not go to sleep feeling hungry!
  • Develop a regular, relaxing routine prior to bedtime.  Some ideas include taking a warm bath, reading in bed, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Avoid watching the news in bed -- most people find the news to be disturbing.  
  • Keep your smart phone in another room when you go to bed -- you will avoid the temptation to read your emails, check your texts, or scan your social media accounts.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark.  Lights from lamps, computers, televisions, and digital clocks interfere with the normal rhythms of our body and will disrupt our sleep.
  • Invest in a high quality mattress and pillow.
  • Wake up when the alarm first goes off -- avoid repeatedly hitting the snooze button.
  • Avoid oversleeping -- this causes shallow, disturbed sleep.
You are probably investing a lot of time in your training, so why not also invest the time in doing everything possible to get sufficient and restful sleep?  You cannot grossly neglect your sleep and expect good results from your training program.  

Adequate, quality sleep is essential, not just for runners, but for everyone.  Many medical studies have shown that getting the proper amount of sleep reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Sleep deprivation can compromise you immune system and impair your endocrine (hormonal) system.  Sleeplessness can negatively impact your memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities.

So, my friends, rest up and sleep well tonight -- tomorrow, when you wake, you will be able to move mountains!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


image from:  www.quotebuddy.com

It is finally spring in Connecticut. Today was one of those days when I felt like I could conquer the world during my run -- or, at least deal with today's challenges. During my three mile run, the feeling of being one with nature was incredibly empowering. I felt so free as I pounded the pavement and listened to some great tunes --  I was omnipotent!

I listened to one of my all-time favorite running songs, Race to the End.  This song is a vocal version based on the Chariots of Fire main theme song, Titles, from Vangelis' album, Chariots of Fire.  Yes, my playlist actually includes some slow, but meaningful songs that I am able to really connect with -- these songs may be slow, but they do not slow me down at all.  If you have never seen the movie, Chariots of Fire, add it to your "to-do" list.  For those who have seen the movie or know the theme song from the movie, you will be familiar with Vangelis' instrumental version. Very few people seem to know the lycrics, however, to Race to the End.  I love this version and hope you find it inspirational.  

Please click on the following link to listen to a vocal performance of Race to the End, performed by Jane Olivor in concert:  Jane Olivor Singing RACE TO THE END and see lyrics below.


There is one freedom
Man running along
Each step that he's taking
A step to his soul

The passion and courage
It takes to be there
A man and his spirit
Alive in the air

And if he should stumble
as he goes
If he should fall
It won't really matter
If he knows
he gave it his all

The way becomes clearer
The way is complete
The need to be winning
Admit no defeat

The circles together
Hold hands to the sky
The freedom of running
The freedom to fly

And if he should stumble
as he goes
If he should fall
It won't really matter
If he knows
he gave it his all

Let no one surround himself with pain
But use it to free him
The game is to learn to live again
A race to the end
To try to the end
The game is to learn to live again
A race to the end

Lyrics by:  Jon Anderson 

Relish in the Freedom!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


When I go out for a run, I just take off, placing one foot in front of the other -- oh, how I truly enjoy this physical freedom.  Then, I realize how blessed I am!  

In my youth, I took my good health for granted.  As I have gotten older, I understand how fortunate I am.

My sister and I grew up in Brooklyn.  As tweens and teens, we played handball on our block every summer day.  My sister was the better athlete -- I was no slouch, but she was super coordinated and usually beat me in our daily handball games.  She also was a faster runner, especially over short distances.

Fast forward forty years to 2014... my sister has Multiple Sclerosis.  Even with her walker, she walks with great difficulty.  Her muscles constantly ache from uncontrollable spasms. She has tremors in both hands.  She cannot tolerate the heat.

My heart aches for my sister.  I constantly ask why... Why did my sister get MS?  Why my sister and not me?  There are many times that I wish I was the one with MS because it just seems so unfair.  I have no answers... I only know that I was given a gift - I can run forever and will do just that...

The more I run, the better I feel about myself.  And, the better I feel about myself, the more I can help others, especially my sister.  After a run, especially a long one, I am empowered. This feeling of empowerment gives me the confidence to tackle life's challenges head on.

I run for my sister and for all those who cannot.  Running is a precious gift.