Tag Archives: races

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.

Run, Cicely! Run!

8 Nov

I am not an athlete. The marathons I love best involve my Netflix queue.

Somewhere in this weight-loss cycle, however, I began to enjoy running. I have no clue how that happened.

I know why it appealed to me: I’m ridiculously cheap. I come from a family of thrifty people. Savings accounts are things of beauty among my people. I’ve had three jobs in the past 10 years and my dad hates it because I’m ruining my chances for a pension. Daddy, much like his daughter, likes to think of the long-term savings.

This was my first 5K that I ran with friends in Long Island. I can't remember my time (think it was a little less than 40 minutes), but I do remember I was impressed with myself.

My first 5K in Long Island. I think my time was a little less than 40 minutes. This was also midway through my weight-loss cycle.

That’s where running comes in. It’s so damn cheap! If you’re mindful about it, all you need are shoes. Just about everyone has old sweats and T-shirts around. And if not, head to a thrift store. My only suggestion is don’t skimp on the shoes. You’re going to have to walk on these feet and with these legs for the rest of your life. Your choice of shoe will make a world of difference.

One of the other benefits about running is that it’s a great use of time. All you have to do is go outside your door. I live in New York where there are always people on the streets. But here, pedestrians have a little respect for runners and will step aside when you say, “Excuse me.” And despite the notion of New York being the concrete jungle, there are plenty of dirt paths and tracks to run here. You can run from your door to any number of parks like Central Park, Riverside Park (my personal fave) or Prospect Park (for my Brooklyn folks).

Then there’s the community of people you find when running. It’s the best way to people watch. Sure, sitting in the park and watching the world go by can be informative. But try being the world that goes by. You’ll see a variety of people on any kind of run. And watching people run can be entertaining. Later I’ll do a posting the different kinds of runners you’ll see. They’re outstanding.

These are the added benefits of burning hundreds of calories the cheap way, but it’s not easygoing the beginning. You’ll start off slow. I began only doing three miles an hour (walking). Then I started added a little jog between laps around the park. Before I knew it, I was running the entire time. I began without any training (unless you count elementary school gym classes). I was in my mid 20s and in generally good health besides being overweight.

The day I ran six miles in an hour, I almost cried. It had been a longtime goal to be able to hit the 10-minute mile. Now I’m running 5Ks and 10Ks with no problem. I always say, “I run a 10K on a Tuesday.”

I’m at the point where I want to run a half marathon. I’ve got the endurance for about eight miles, but 13 seems daunting. It’s all about setting goals for yourself and doing your damnedest to achieve them.

What goals have you set for yourself doing your favorite workout?

Also, check out these yoga poses, courtesy of Self magazine, to help you keep from putting too much strain on the body.

I Did It: Asics Treadmill Challenge

4 Nov

“I Did It” is a feature post running 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.

The ING New York City Marathon was this weekend and the entire city was abuzz with action. One of the marathon’s sponsors is sportswear maker Asics, which also sponsors runner Ryan Hall. Ryan take about 4.8 minutes per mile, or about 12.5 miles per hour. I’ve never even thought of going that fast. I average at about 10 minutes per mile, or about 6 mph.

For the past week, Asics had a treadmill truck roaming about the city, challenging New Yorkers to keep pace. I knew I couldn’t keep up for long, but what really drew me in what the harness and bungee cord attached to the truck. When you run out of steam, you just sit back in the harness and kind of float off the treadmill. If anything it would just be fun to do.

So, I did it. I found the truck on its last day before the race and signed up. I was the first woman to participate. The announcer kept saying they needed more women, but I was the one who took the bait. The first guy to try it stayed in the treadmill for more than three minutes, the longest of anyone Asics had seen all week. The following guys all stayed on for about a minute.

A minute? Psssh, I can do that. Right?

Um, not so much. While I had the distinction of being the first woman, I had honor finishing in 22 seconds 😦

treadmill challenge

What I learned

I’ve never seen myself run; I’m usually outside when I do it. Imagine my surprise to see I run like a velociraptor. Also, I might want to start looking up. But the guy who strapped me in was super nice and supportive. He kept telling me to just keep running. He was like my Jenny. And, like I suspected, floating off the treadmill was all kinds of fun. If it comes back next year, I’ll definitely try it.