Running in NYC-Morningside Park

18 Jul

OMG! It is so hot in NYC. The humidity is crazy. I don’t know how people run in this heat but I am going to try.  I haven’t ran more than a mile since my last race in February. So, I decided to run in my neighborhood at the Morningside Park in Harlem. It felt like I was starting all over. My shirt, shorts, and socks felt like it was soaked with sweat by the end of my run/walk of 3 miles.

It was not easy to get back into running, but I kind of like the challenge and being able to start over. I think it is nice to have that feeling of excitement and nervousness of beginning something. Sometimes, I get unmotivated or bored with running because of the same routes or routine.  But, being somewhere new adds the extra sense of adventure in exploring new running spaces and retraining the body. It is still enjoyable for me even if it is hard.

Now, a little about my neighborhood park. Morningside Park is small, probably not more than 1-2 miles from one end to the other, but it has a lovely pond full of turtles, and endless stone stairways if you want an extra glut workout. :). I ran around the park twice and climbed up the stairs slowly but steadily. I definitely needed build back the endurance to run longer distance, but it felt great to feel the burn and the act of running. I’m trying to run once to twice a week in addition to my new CrossFit training routine. So, take out your running shoes folks, its never too late to start again!

Here’s some pictures from my run at my lovely neighborhood park. Enjoy!

Morningside Park

Morningside Park

Morningside Pond

Morningside Pond

Waterfall at the Morningside Pond

Waterfall at the Morningside Pond

A turtle going for a walk along the Morningside Pond

A turtle going for a walk along the Morningside Pond

A group of turtles swimming in the Morningside Pond

A group of turtles swimming in the Morningside Pond

Morningside Park Stairs

Morningside Park Stairs

Happy Running!

Midweek Motivation

5 Jun

We know it has been months since we posted, but starting today, we will be posting regularly now. Please stay tune for more exciting post of our runs, workouts, events, and other fun things we’ve been up to.

For now, here’s a little motivation for your Wednesday. :)

Start the day off by doing this!

Punch today in the face

…and …

Bad day Bad Life

…and…

Never

…so…

No regret

Have a great Wednesday!

Mid-week Motivation!

3 Apr

Hello Everyone! It’s Wednesday. I have been having a great week. I hope that you are too.

Here’s a little motivation just in case you are feeling a little blah:

So true! Healthy is way more important than a number on the scale.

Yep! You have to live your life to the fullest NOW.

Photo

BAM! You ARE the boss!

Mid-week Motivation

20 Mar

Time for some motivation! Since moving to New York, it has been about a month since I ran outside. Cold for a Californian like me, and it snowed a day ago! But, I try to stay active by starting a new exercise, Crossfit. Luckily for me, in today’s workout we had to run 1.5 miles. I was excited to run, but quickly realized that running in the cold on a crowded NY block is not that easy. But, I did it and finished, and that is what matters most. So, don’t box yourself in, break through and try something new!

Be Super! I feel like she’s inside all of us trying to break free.

Sterotype this

I encountered more awesomeness last weekend when I went to Washington D.C. to watch and support my friends, Luniya and Evelyn, do their first half marathon. They completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll U.S. Half Marathon Race with a great time and I am so proud of them. I wish I could’ve joined but I didn’t train enough but it’s always fun to watch people finish a race. The atmosphere is  so positive and full of unimaginable awe when people realize how strong they are when they complete something they thought they never could do. :)

Luniya and Evelyn

From left: Evelyn, Luniya’s coworkers- Osman and Mary, Luniya

So continue to amaze yourself with what you are capable of and don’t let your dreams be just dreams. :)

Dreams

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Relay Half Marathon 2/24/2013

1 Mar

Mary Ellen FinishEllen and Mary…We did it!

My sister, Ellen, and I finished the half marathon team relay in New Orleans despite the light rain, wind, and catching a cold!

We arrived on Friday night and the hotel was fully booked by a cheerleading competition and the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon participants. It was crazy! Luckily, we called to make sure our room was guaranteed.

We went to the health expo on Saturday and it was huge! The Brooks shoe brand had a carnival theme show, gave out free prizes, and free gait analysis. I even won a free t-shirt from Brooks!

Mary and Ellen ExpoEllen and Mary @Health Expo

Brooks Truck StoreBrooks Truck Store

Brooks Carnival ShowBrooks Carnival Show

Funny PicMary being silly

I was excited for this race since it was on my birthday and I wanted to do something healthy on my birthday. But my throat was beginning to feel sore and my nose was congested on Saturday…Ellen offered to run the first leg (8 miles), but I decided to do it myself. The course of the race was pretty flat and very well organized. There were cheer stations with people dressed up as the “Kiss” rock band, actual bands playing music, water and gatorade at every other mile, and snacks at the relay transition zone. I would highly recommend the half marathon relay to anyone who wants to just get their feet wet with running a race. The race ended at a park where there was a lived band, The Dirty Dozens, local food stands, merchandise for sale, and of course beer. It was a really fun event. Here’s some photos recounting our race. Enjoy!

Mary StartMary about to start

Start LineStart Line

Band 1First Band

Smile!Smile! You’re doing Great!

Kiss Cheerleaders“Kiss” Cheerleaders

newspaper skirted cheerleadersNewspaper Skirt Cheerleaders

Relay Transition ZoneRelay Transition Zone

Mary FinishedMary Finished

Passing BatonMary passes the “baton” to Ellen

Ellen startsEllen about to start

Blown up RockerEllen Route 2Mile 13Sites along Ellen’s Route

Ellen FinishHalf Marathon Finish

BeerBeers

JambalayaJambalaya

Dirty DozenThe Dirty Dozens

After the race, we went crazy and ate a lot. The local cuisine there includes fried seafood of all kinds. My sister and my favorite was the charbroiled oysters. MMMmm. For a photo journal of our food adventures in NOLA, please check out my sister’s blog, Eats With Ellen.

I think I might start doing a different race for each of my birthdays…..

Happy Running and Take Care Always!

How do you run in the cold?

20 Feb

Snow in NYCHow do you dress to run when there’s snow outside?

So, I recently relocated to NYC for a change of pace from sunny California. There was a bit of snow when I arrived last week, and in retrospect it probably isn’t that cold compared to the December-January months. But moving from a place where it is 50-60 degrees in the winter to a place that is 30-40 degrees takes some getting used to.

I’ve been in the city for a week now and this Friday, I will be going to New Orleans for about 5 days to participate in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Team Relay and celebrate my Birthday!!! I am meeting my sister, Ellen, in New Orleans to run this race with her. But, I haven’t been able to do much training in the last 2 weeks with preparing to move and settling in here.

As I’m just getting used to this coldness, I just don’t know how to gear up to run in it. I see people on their runs when I walk to the train stations, and I wonder what kind of gear are they wearing to stay warm and not get frost bitten. Given my lack of running in the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling less prepared for this race. But, I thought it can’t be that bad since I am only running 7.5 miles compared to the 13.1 miles I have done in the past. So, I’m going to try and make the best of it. Stay tuned and follow my whereabouts for my birthday run in NOLA via Twitter/Facebook or check back for a recap here.

P.S. Any suggestions on cold weather running gear in the comments below are much appreciated. Thank you!

New year, New shoes!

5 Feb

I knew it was time for a new pair of running shoes when my big toes were almost peaking out of my sneakers. Being a plus size runner, I wanted to be thoughtful in finding the right pair of running shoes for the type of terrain and mileage coupled with style and trend. So, here’s my journey to finding the perfect pair of running shoes.

Last January, I purchased my first pair of running sneakers when I decided to train for my first half-marathon. I went to the See Jane Run store in Oakland, CA, which specializes in women’s running shoes and gear. The store was comfortable and not intimidating. The salesperson was knowledgeable, and asked me to walk barefoot for her to see how my feet landed when I walked. She asked me questions on the mileage I plan on running and any pains I may have. She suggested a shoe for high stability with firm midsoles that controls the overpronation of my feet. I chose the Saucony Progrid Stabil CS2 wide, and ran on the treadmill at the store and they felt super comfortable. After the first week of running, the arches of my feet were hurting. A friend said, it may be due to weak arches because I just started running. After a month of running, the shoes felt amazing! Seriously, my feet, calves, and shins never hurt from running with my first pair of shoes. I got through my first and second half marathon, running from San Francisco to Puerto Rico (not literally of course) with them. But, my knees still ached a bit when I ran.  Alas, my journey to finding my perfect pair of shoes continues…

My lovelies, Saucony Progrid Stabil CS2
Mary Running ShoesJanuary 2012

First PairJanuary 2013

In the beginning of 2013, I decided to check out the Road Runner Sports store in Concord, CA.  This store offers custom inserts, and exchange/returns on shoes within 90 days even if I ran outside with their VIP membership. This was appealing to me. I had a free consultation to find the perfect fit for my feet.  The salesperson asked me step on a sensor pad which read how much pressure I placed on each foot while standing still, and digitally recorded my feet while I ran on a treadmill. It was a very through consultation. He showed me photos of my feet on the foot sensor, and it read that I put more pressure on my right heel compared to my left foot. Also, he said that I have normal arched feet, not flat feet (like I always thought). From the video, it showed that my feet pointed outward when I ran which may be the cause of knee and hip pains due to form. He suggested custom inserts that are molded against the bottom of my feet which can support, aid form, and may reduce pain.

Me standing on feet sensor pad @Road Runner Sports store

M on sensor pad

Watching a video of my feet on treadmill
DV of Mary feet

Custom inserts getting warmed up to be molded
Inserts getting warmed up

Inserts molded against bottom of my feet

It was interesting and very informative. He brought out a few pairs of shoes with the inserts for me to try on. I purchased the inserts and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes that day.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Brooks Shoes

I ran in the Brooks shoes with the inserts for 1 month, and found that my knees still ached and it felt too hard. So, I went back to the store and returned the inserts for a full refund (as long as it’s within 30 days), and got a different pair of shoes. The salesperson, Tiffany, who helped me on my second visit at Road Runner was extremely helpful and a fellow plus size runner.  She understood some of the things I was going through, and recommended the Saucony which offers more flexibility with the same stability. She said that the Brooks shoes may have been too rigid with the inserts and didn’t offer enough flexibility whereas the Saucony brand runs a bit bigger and maybe better for wide feet.

Saucony Progrid Guide 5

Saucony pink

So, I was kind of sold on the color as well as the feel of these shoes. It has only been 2 weeks since I got these shoes and so far the running has been good. My arches ache a bit from them, but I’m going to give it another 2 weeks before giving my final verdict.

All in all, I learned a lot about my feet, shoes, and running styles. Going to both See Jane Run and the Road Runner stores helped me better understand what type of shoes work for me. I think both stores offer very knowledgeable and friendly customer service. See Jane Run offered a women centered space that was welcoming and non-intimidating to the average runner with a good selection of shoes. The con of See Jane Run was that once you wear the shoes outside, then there’s no returns or exchanges. Road Runner Sports Store offered a very through consultation with advance technological tools to find your perfect fit. The VIP membership benefits offer the ability to exchange/return item within 90 days even after use. The con of Road Runner was that it is typically more expensive than See Jane Run.

Also, an article that was helpful to me during this process, Choosing a Shoe: The very basics. So, go out, check out running stores, try on shoes, and don’t ever feel obligated to buy or settle on just okay for your feet.

Good luck on your search for your perfect fit.

Happy Running.

Mary

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