Tag Archives: race

But Did you Die?

27 Mar

People are different. They respond differently to various forms of stimuli. What tickles one person could just annoy another. Some people love cilantro and others would rather eat a bar of soap that eat something that tastes like a bar of soap. Still there are those who need gentle words of encouragement while others need a good swift kick to the butt.

I’m the latter. I respond better to harsh truths than beating around the bush. Which is why a text from my friend a few weeks ago helped put things into perspective.

The Climb to the Top was not easy. I didn’t train for it (my fault), and I didn’t  research it (my fault again). I was dreading that day. But I’d signed up and paid my registration (plus plopped down quite a bit of cash for the donation requirement), so I had to do it. Once I got to the top and was able to breathe non-recirculated air, I started to feel more like myself. I posted finish photos to FB and the ‘gram and got quite a few likes (thanks peeps).

Later that day, I texted my friend who is a marathoner. She congratulated me, but I tried to shrug off the achievement with how bad I was feeling. This was her response.


“But did you die?”

Well, no. I guess I didn’t. I was able to breathe properly again after the race was over. I was able to do more activities, like Cycle for Survival and a solidarity run for the NYC half. I’ve been working out consistently for the past few weeks as well as making my own meals.

So as hard as the task seemed at the time, and even afterward when I couldn’t believe that I’d climbed 66 flights of stairs, it was over. I lived another day to try something else new.

Fear is a constant on your weight-loss journey. You’ll second-guess yourself a lot, especially when trying something new. Going vegetarian for a while, hitting up the pool or even signing up for a race will all give you a bad case of the dreads.

“What was I thinking?”

“Will I be able to finish?”

“Am I strong enough to commit to this?”

Once the newness wears off and you get to the other side of it, it’s not uncommon to short-change your achievement. You can become complacent with what you’ve done. The shock has worn off. The worst part is over, but all you can do is focus on the worst part.

When I neared goal weight, I got a lot of compliments and pats on the back for what I’d done. But it seemed off to me because I wasn’t doing this for anyone’s approval but my own. I’d stress over and over how hard it was, how there were so many times I wanted to give up and with a pack of donuts and a glass of wine.

That’s all true, but I didn’t die. I did your best, came out the other side having accomplished your goals, and now it’s on to the next challenge. The same goes for you, too.

Don’t let the agony of the activity cloud the joy you should feel for finishing it. You did it. And you didn’t die.

I Did It: Climb to the Top

2 Mar

climb-1Editor’s note: “I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet for a week and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

Before the Race

A couple of months ago, my workout nanny sent me an email about a race to the top of Rockefeller Center benefiting multiple sclerosis research. All I saw was “stairs, lots and lots of stairs.” Sixty-six flights of stairs, to be exact. She got super excited about it and kept sending me discounts for registration. The details on whether she said she actually signed up are muddy (I say she did, she says she didn’t), but eventually I signed up. She did not.


How does one prepare for a stair-climbing challenge? Had I taken the race more seriously, I would have gone here, here or even here. I didn’t. The winter doldrums got to me. I’d half-ass some workouts at the gyms with 20-30 minutes of cardio and some squats. Or I’d make full use of my workout DVDs so I wouldn’t have to deal with this.


As the date for the race neared, my training remained non-existent. When I told my boss about the race, he snapped me back into my senses with a couple of questions.

Boss: Have you trained at all?

Me: I run. I work out at the gym and do squats.

Boss: But have you tried like going up 20 flights of stairs?

Me:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The day before the race, like all races, nerves started to settle in. I climbed the stairs from a very deep subway platform and got winded. That’s just a subway platform! I’d be climbing 66 freaking flights of steps! What the hell did I get myself into?

Race day

I get to Rockefeller center nervous and pissy—nervous because race day; pissy because I had to get up at 5:45 a.m. and I’m not a morning person. As with any race, there’s an overexcited guy on a mic trying to get the racers at least a tenth as excited as he is. I wanted to throw my shoe at him. My workout nanny came for support and also tried to allay my nerves. I just wanted it to be over. As my 7:20 heat line filled, the nerves started to dissipate. When we got to the third floor to begin the race, I barely felt a flutter in my stomach. When I got the cue to go, the nerves were gone.

I ran up the first six flights…like a BOSS! Then I hit the wall. For those unfamiliar, a wall is when you’ve exhausted your extra energy and are forced to move at a passable pace. By floor 13, my thighs were burning. By floor 18, I was grateful for the water station because my chest was feeling tight. By 35, I was praying that my 15-year streak sans asthma attack would continue. By 45, I’d accepted my fate as woman taking sips of air with supertight thigh muscles. By 53, the only sound you could hear were people trying to breathe. By 60, I knew we only had nine more flights. Then all of a sudden I was on top of Rockefeller Center looking at downtown Manhattan. I finished in 18 minutes, 42 seconds.

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What I learned

  1. I can climb 66 flights of stairs in 18 minutes and 42 seconds! What?!?! On the registration site, it says the average participant makes it up in about 30-45 minutes. I was shocked.
  2. Being short of breath is the pits. I haven’t had an asthma attack since college, but the familiar sensation that comes before one hits isn’t pleasant. The water stations helped, but I would have appreciated a few more of them. I talked with a coworker who reminded me that stairwell runs aren’t the same as regular races. There’s dust, lack of air circulation and a confined space. When running outside, those factors are minimal. He said I’ll be a little wheezy for a couple days. Great.
  3. Read the fine print. I’ve done a few charity races before, but this was the first time where I had to raise a minimum to participate. I was nearly turned away at the check-in counter because I was short. I made up the difference, but it didn’t help my sour mood seeing as how it wasn’t 7 a.m. yet.
  4. Size means nothing. There was a big, fit guy in front of me whom I ended up lapping. I was proud of myself for lapping a quite few people. Nothing boosts the ego quite like passing up some of your fellow racers.
  5. The only good thing about an early morning race is the post-race pancakes. Yum!



You really never know what you’re capable of until you try. Sixty-six flights is A LOT. It’s not something a logical person would consider for a Sunday morning activity. But when challenged to do so, it’s amazing to me how willing and ready I was to accept. I would definitely do it again. However, I’ll read the fine print next time so as not to harass friends and family to donate at the last minute. Speaking of, thanks to Ingrid, Willa, Quiana and Beth for helping a sister out! If you’d like, you can still donate here.

I Did It: Your Own Way Race

29 Sep
It was like the decline of man.

It was like the decline of man.

“I Did It” is a feature on I’m Skinny, Now What? where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

I subscribe to the Well+Good email newsletters. It’s a great site that gives me tips on what new fitness studios are opening up, what’s in my favorite celebs fridge, etc. Last week, one of the newsletters pointed to a race happening the upcoming Saturday. It’s called Race the City (Your Own Way). Runners, roller bladers, cyclists, even drivers can participate.

It’s set up like a scavenger hunt. Instead of picking up clues at each location, you’re snapping selfies and posting them on Twitter or Instagram with a hashtag so the organizers can follow you. Nine locations were designated between 110th Street and Lower Manhattan. Participants didn’t find out the locations until race day. For those of you unfamiliar with New York, trust that it’s a pretty big distance, especially by foot.

So, race day comes and I get my map. It looked a little something like this.

Double-you Tee Eff!

What did I just get myself into? Still, I told myself I’d give it a shot, and it would make an interesting blog post. (I don’t just do this for me, I do it for you, too!)

At 8 a.m., the race started. My strategy was to head west to the Intrepid, go north, loop around and come back to Paragon Sports, which was the start and finish line. The beginning was fine because I was back in my element on the West Side. Getting to Strawberry Fields in Central Park wasn’t too bad, either. Traversing Central Park was a little tricky because the Global Citizen Festival would be held there that night, so barricades were everywhere.

Running to the the East Side was where things started going downhill. I’m a West Side girl. The East Side is foreign territory. That’s when Google Maps became my friend. I got to Gracie Mansion and thought, “This could be the end.” The city was starting to wake up, I’d been running for 2 hours and was in desperate need of hydration.

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#yow #graciemansion @paragonsports

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I’ve never run longer than an hour and a half. From that point on, it was a trudge to the finish. All along, I questioned my sanity. It was getting hotter. Every 17-ounce bottle of water seemed to disappear with the quickness. Every hill looked like a monster; every bus looked like an angel.

“Just hop on the bus, no one will know,” my subconscious whispered to me. But I’m no cheater, so onward I trudged.

After South Ferry, things got a little easier. I couldn’t run anymore because my knee was not prepared for the day’s mileage. But, walking from South Ferry to City Hall to the Arch and back to the store went by faster than anything else. Five and a half hours later, I was done. Yay?

What I learned

1. Bottles of water are much more expensive on the Upper East Side. I paid almost $2 for a 17-ounce bottle. It costs 75 cents at the bodega on the corner from me.
2. I have got to work on my hills. I’ve been running for a while, but I have been lax in doing hills. This race showed me I’ve got work to do.
3. Because I’ve been running for so long, certain injuries shouldn’t surprise me. No one warned me about the damage a sports bra can do. Ow!!
4. Last but not least: Read instructions carefully. And when you’re still confused, ask questions. I have a problem in that I’m kind of a know-it-all. If instructions seem simple enough, I’ll figure out the hard stuff. I didn’t understand how there was only one prize for all participants, especially if cyclists and roller bladers were in the same pool as the foot racers. Turns out you’re supposed to take “Your Own Way” literally. I could have taken the subway or the bus to all over the city. I could have even hailed a cab. Son of a …!

I ran/walked about 20 miles in five-and-a-half hours! I wasn’t so much angry when I found that out as I was upset that I didn’t know the rules. Plus, I was exhausted and in desperate need of an ice bath. So I just took my smelly behind, my $25 gift card and my new cup home.


I’d do it again, because I got to see parts of the city I’d never seen before. But if I decide to participate next year, I’m riding a bike because this year’s winner was a cyclist.