A voice from the past

This time eight years ago, my man and I were winging our way north for me to run my first marathon in NYC. So far it’s a one and done, but who knows what the future holds.

I’m always nostalgic as the first Sunday of November looms, so I went back to read some of the posts that were the reason I started this blog to begin with. This one felt appropriate to reblog this week as runners begin filing into NYC in the thousands. Sure wish I was there.

THE VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE PACK

It’s been almost a week, I’m walking normally again, and the last glow of finishing has faded from my cheeks.  It was a back to reality type of week, I hit the ground running mid-week to make up for time away from the studio at this busy, busy time.  But, I couldn’t resist one last post about the race.  I wanted you to know how it feels to run at the back of the pack.  I had a bird’s eye view from there, so I’ll fill you in.

The view from Staten Island before the race

Starting in the third wave of a 47,000+ racing field allows you to know that you’re among friends.  The third wavers are mostly running enthusiasts who race to enjoy the experience, not to set land speed records.  The race announcer noticed the difference immediately as we crowded together at the bottom of the Verrazano Narrows bridge.  He commented that we were definitely the rowdiest group to start.  There was lots of laughter, shouts of joy, singing, even dancing around with glee.  We sang along with “God Bless America,” even the runner beside me who spoke little English and asked me twice what the song was.  She hummed along and raised her hands just as the rest of us did.  There were lots of older runners, groups of women run/walking together, a husband and wife team dressed alike in running bras and skirts (yes, really), fun costumes, and joy abundant.  Off we went.

I mentioned in the previous post how much I liked Brooklyn, and I just want to re-emphasize that here.  It was still early enough that thousands of people lined the streets.  Kids, parents, grandparents, maintenance workers, all manner of people were out, shouting for us, calling our names, high fiving us, encouraging us. Many brought signs to encourage, some for specific runners, others for general encouragement.  One of my favorites was “Black toenails are sexy”, held aloft by an NYPD fireman.  Made me laugh.  And, for those of you who are keeping count, I lost my third toenail after the race.  No matter, it was worth it.  Brooklyn was amazing.  I would run that section of the race over again tomorrow if I could.

On into Queens, and then that wicked, wicked bridge.  I won’t whine about it, but it did take the wind out of my sails.  I was really looking forward to rounding into Manhattan onto First Avenue, I had heard stories about the solid wall of people who would be there to give us fresh legs with their yells.  Alas, I had not counted on it being so late in the race, and many of the merry makers had left their posts to get on with their days (or head into the pub).  There were still a fair number there, and that was when I realized one of the benefits to being a back of the packer.  The people who were left cheering knew that we were the ones who would struggle to the finish line, and their encouragement became very personal.  I had not put my name on my shirt as many racers did, because my name is not pronounced the way it is spelled and I didn’t want to hear people yelling for “Jane” the entire race.  (It’s spelled Jayne, pronounced Janie,  not a big deal, but it is my name, after all.)  However, I began to wish that I had put it on my shirt, anyway.  The encouragers yelled to me, some of the bands sang for me and yelled encouragement into their mikes, and made me feel like they were truly rooting for me.  And, the fun thing about this race is that they really were.  One guy even ran into the road, picked me up, and hugged me!

Through Manhattan, into the Bronx, then that long, seemingly endless 5k with legs made of lead, through Central Park, out onto Central Park South, then across the finish line.  I’ve read comments posted by some of the earlier finishers that there was a lot of congestion at the chute leading away from the finish.  Another advantage to being a back of the packer is that there was no congestion by the time I got there.

I share this back of the pack experience because I want anyone who has a desire to run to realize there’s no shame in being there.  Do I wish I was faster?  Of course.  But,  another advantage to my race is that I remember every single step, each mile, many of the faces.  It was a fantastic, bucket list experience that I wouldn’t change in any way.  

Added bonus: when you run at the back of the pack, there are no lines at the port-a-lets!  😉

Central Park Monday after the race

If this was my one and done, I’m really glad it was NYC.

A few of my favorite things

It’s been a tough week.  Some weeks are like that, bad news on the business front, days when you don’t feel well, worries over trivial and not so trivial things.  Some days a diamond, some days a stone. You know, you have those days/weeks, too.  Everybody does.

But, today I woke up refreshed and renewed, light hearted and free from worry, ready to face life.   Love how God works; allowing the storms of life, then reminding you through people, events, Bible study, even dreams that He’s walking with you through the storm, holding your hand the entire way.

I’m a believer in rejoicing in simple pleasures.  Living a life of gratitude, always looking for the good.  I sometimes fall down on that, but usually manage to pull myself up and choose joy.  As I was reminded by Joyce Meyer this week, misery is an option.  We can choose to be happy, even in the most trying of circumstances.

So, I started making a mental list of some of my favorite things.  Reminders of God’s blessings, large and small, and I thought I would share some of them with you.

The first ones are favorite running things, the stuff I never run without.  There are other things that fade in and out of my runs, but these things go with me every time.  Keep in mind, I’m not sponsored by any of these companies (although I’m open to that 🙂 ).  Well, except the first company, which doesn’t really sponsor me, but offers me lots of perks.

Fleur de Vie lipstick

Fleur de Vie lipstick

I hate dry lips when I run, and I used to carry Carmex or chapstick with me. That is, until I fell in love with this stuff. I’m not a woman who runs in make-up, but you’ll never see me on a run anymore without this lipstick on. It’s like coating my lips with silk. I don’t coordinate with my outfit, just pull out the one that’s on top in my purse. LOVE it! You can check out their website here. And, yes, my sister is one of the co-founders. Believe me, I wouldn’t endorse a product that I don’t love, even though I love my sister. Their entire line of skin care is second to none, but the lipstick is one of my favorite products. At least for running.

I never run in anything but a skirt

I never run in anything but a skirt

I love running skirts. That came about for me after running in shorts over compression shorts and having to continuously pull and tug to keep them in place.  Compression shorts are essential for me to avoid chafing (or chub rub), but I’m kind of into keeping my assets covered, so skirts have become just the thing.  My favorite skirts come from Skirt Sports, with the skirt and the shorts all in one. I have other brands, but the Skirt Sports skirts stay in place, hold up to long runs, many washings, and come in really loud & splashy colors. Which I love. If I can’t be fast, I’ll just be loud.

Support your girls

Support your girls

Love my girls. But, they need big girl support. My go to bra for years has been Moving Comfort’s Fiona bra. Even if you don’t have big girls, a good running bra is essential. I HATE to see women running without support. It’s painful to watch. For me, anyway. The guys may like it. Notice I didn’t offer a picture of me in my running bra, but gave you their product photography.  You’re welcome.  Just protecting my assets. 😉

The final must have in my line up involves my feet. I have funky toes. If you’ve been a runner any length of time, you probably do, too. Mine are extra funky in that they touch each other in weird ways. TMI, I know. Anyway, to prevent toenail blisters and toenail loss, my secret weapon is Injinji toe socks .

Happy feet

Happy feet

Other non-running things I love:

Getting my hour back when daylight savings time ends; my Tempurpedic mattress and 1600 thread count sheets; a good hamburger; a glass of red wine savored on my deck at sunset; the way my coffee tastes in the morning; the smell of cinnamon; fresh flowers on my dining table each week; spending time with my daughters; coffee with an old friend; being on a boat (any boat) with my man; the beach any time of year; the color of autumn; Seinfeld and Big Bang reruns; a good book on a lazy afternoon; Marvel comic book movies; seeing the sunrise at the end of a run; waking up next to the same amazing man for almost 33 years.

Focus on what you love this week.