Ex-Smoker Finds Support in Runners

I am an ex-smoker
It’s hard to believe that just over 3 months ago, I was a heavy smoker. I used to love smoking. I smoked on and off from the time I was 17. I really didn’t want to quit. I believed that there was no hope for me to ever find the desire to quit.

That changed in January of this year. A colleague of mine was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It jarred me that this active and healthy young woman was facing such a scary illness and was now forced to fight for her life with every ounce of energy in her body. At the time that she was diagnosed, quite a few of my colleagues immediately joined Team in Training to run the NYC Half Marathon and raise funds in her honor. I contributed to the team, but completely shied away from participation. I was a smoker…

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More HILLS and New Shoes

Head Coach, Ramon, says BEHAVE!

Yesterday was FABULOUS! I pushed myself up hills, for strengthening instead of focusong on technique. It was amazing. My second time up the hill, my Coach Anthony ran along side me – helping motivate me to push even harder than I’ve ever done before. It was actually thrilling when I made it to the top.

A teammate and I were chatting – we love hills. We came up with a consensus – hills are really truly fun not only because they make us stronger; but there is a goal in site. The top of the hill is like an imaginary finish line. It’s a feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top.

Yesterday, Urban Athletics kindly gave American Cancer Society runners a 40% discount on the entire store. I used it as an opportunity to buy my second pair of Brooks running shoes, and another pair of red running shoes (Saucony) that will be very nice for me to use during the marathon. I also got a new water bottle and some “goo” and most importantly, BODY GLIDE to avoid the chafing.

It was a great day yesterday. I wish all training days were like that 🙂

I love these!

9 Miles

Yesterday I did 9 miles (or just a little over, I don’t 100% have faith in my mapmyrun app).

I ran from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to the Williamsburg Bridge (went about 1/3 of the way over) and then back again to Prospect Park. It was quite a run with hills and humidity. I actually felt great up until about 6.5 miles.

At 6.5 miles, I started feeling the chafing under my left arm (boo) and had to rest my arm on my hip to avoid further chafing. At that point, chafing was also beginning under my right arm. As a result, for quite some time – I was running with both my arms on my hips. That really made me incredibly tired. I learned, in a way I will never forget, how important arms are while running! Not being able to use them to help guide my stride really exhausted me.

My coach, Jen, joined me on the last portion of my run. God love her for dealing with my whining, moaning and my desire to quit the last miles back to the park. She really exercised great patience with me and kept encouraging me to work on my mental game. “Don’t say you can’t do it, tell yourself that you are doing it!” I really did have to hug that thought tightly in order to get back.

I was so grateful when this run was over… but now, I know I can do it… so the next 9 miles I run, there will be no excuses and no whining! Yesterday was great preparation for my 10 mile race next weekend….

Oh, and regarding the chafing. I have received recommendations for Body Glide and Aquaphor. You slather it on your “problem chafing” areas prior to a long run. I will be giving that a try before the long run next weekend.

Side bar!!! Tonight I am having a happy hour fundraiser in Brooklyn. I am hoping I have a turnout so I can boost my fundraising thermometer. For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/137033306437415/

Thanks for visiting my page. Until next time 🙂

SPS Joins the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

On Sunday, September 9th, we at CUNY School of Professional Studies will participate in our first Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure in Central Park. We are honored to run and walk among over 21,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters to build awareness for this very important cause.

To prepare the CUNY SPS team for Race Day, we’ve summoned the help of our marathon runner correspondent and current student, Alexandra Hertel. Throughout the next month, Alexandra will serve as our official Komen Race for the Cure blogger during which time she’ll share her personal experiences and tips about race training. Remember, you can join the CUNY SPS team at any time from now until September 6th by visiting www.komennyc.org/race.

We look forward to seeing you there!

I am grateful for my life.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have in my life. Because of opportunities like schooling…

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I spent 4 miles yesterday working on my “hill technique” with Cat Hill in Central Park. Even though my body was sore from the 8 miles I had done the day before, I loved every minute of it! Thanks American Cancer Society & Team DetermiNation. You’ve already given me more than I could ever give you!

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8 Miles

8 miles was hard, but I got it done yesterday at the gym… 8.03 miles, in fact. The only problem was that I didn’t eat enough or drink enough water before hand, so I got sick afterwards.

A couple of pointers I am going to remember before my next long run:
– It’s obviously time to start with some sort of boost (goo or whatever it’s called) during my running
– I ran out of water mid-run and didn’t want to stop to get more… Next time, I will stop to get more or bring more water to start with
– I didn’t eat anything after lunch and before my run at 6pm… so next time, I am going to have an afternoon meal at around 3:30 or 4.

Hopefully those adjustments will save me to trouble next time.

As far as the run goes, I really wanted to quit after 6 miles – BIG TIME! My coaches explained to me that a lot of running is a mental game. I finally figured that out to be extremely true last night. My body could handle the miles but my mind kept telling me how proud it was of me and how I would be fine if I stopped once I hit that 6 mile mark. I had to keep myself in check and keep mentally pushing myself so I wouldn’t stop.

One thing that helped me keep going was my music. Yesterday, I posted a request to all my friends on facebook requesting their suggestions for “power” songs for running. I got some great input and I am going to be downloading those songs for my next race. Hopefully the playlist built by my friends will help me feel supported and motivated to keep going. This next race is called, “The Battle of Brooklyn” and it’s 10 miles.

Oh – more exciting news! I’ve signed up to do the Race for the Cure with my college, CUNY School of Professional Studies. They’ve asked me to be their weekly correspondent now through race time and I am thrilled! Follow me @xahndra if you would like to stay updated.

7 miles? CHECK!

I took this picture on my run!

Today I woke up late. There was no way I would be able to eat, let my stomach settle and make it to the group run with the American Cancer Society team. For a mili-second, I thought about how nice sleeping in would be. Ahhhhh *stretch*

NOPE! I got up and decided that TODAY would be the day that I hit 7 miles. On the training calendar today, for beginners, today is 6-7 miles. I’ve always done exactly the minimum that I am required to on the training calendar. But today, I had a different plan in mind 🙂

I ran in my own neighborhood, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn today. It was a beautiful run and really beautiful weather for a run. I ran on the promenade near the Verrazano Bridge. While running, I thought about what it might feel like to run OVER the Verrazano… Soon enough!

When I hit 6 miles, I was tired – ready to stop…. Ironically, as I hit 6 miles – I was passing my apartment. But I was determined! I passed my house and kept going and hit my 7 miles with a decent pace (considering parts of my run were up and down stairs).

Anyway, so there you have it… I hit 7 miles today. That’s something I never dreamed I would be able to accomplish. I feel as though I was just inducted into the crazy-running-hall-of-fame. In just 3 more miles, I will be in the double digits! Yipeeeee!

PS – during my run today, on the dock by the water, some guy flung his fishing line back and stuck my leg and then laughed about it. It was mile 4, so I was a little grumpy about it… But, he didn’t throw my game lol!!!

by Alexandra Hertel on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 @ 10:46 AM

Sometimes training STINKS!

Last night was a hard night for me, training-wise. It was hot, Central Park was crowded and my body was still exhausted from the 10K on Saturday. I actually broke down and was beating myself up over my slow pace and my exhaustion. Thank goodness one of my coaches ran with me at exactly the right time. She helped me realize a few things:

Getting ready for a group workout with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team in Central Park

– My training is my own, I don’t have to compare myself to others (this includes team mates and strangers in the park)

– Weather in general plays… in other words, if it’s bloody hot outside like it was yesterday, I may not be able to run as well.

– My health plays (i.e., the fact that I ran a race on Saturday and my body was tired). If I am tired or sick, I may not be able to run as well.

Most importantly, I learned that my training is my own and I will have a lot of little and big victories along the way. My coach encouraged me to put every victory – no matter how big or how small – in my pocket and carry them with me to the finish line at the NYC Marathon. I can do this! Even though I broke down yesterday, I have to say I am here to stay. There is not an ounce of quitter blood in me at this point. I am all in!!!

By the way, if you are in the NYC area, I have two happy hour “drinks for a cause” where 100% of the proceeds will go toward my fundraising. Please check out the events on facebook and come!

Brooklyn, August 12th:

Manhattan, August 23rd:

My first 10K and the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge just as I was about to run over…

Last week, I went to San Francisco for work. I was excited to go for a successful event with my business; but equally as excited to do a quick run while there. When I travel, I am always super anxious to map a run in a new place. While in San Francisco, I actually did a run over the Golden Gate Bridge. I woke up at 5am and got to the bridge just in time to run before I had to report to work. All went well, except for the fact I got lost in the Golden Gate National Park after exiting the bridge. I had to text pictures to my cab driver in order for him to find me. It was pretty funny and a “one-of-a-kind” experience.

This past Saturday (7/21), I did my first 10K. I effectively kicked my butt as a result. Watch this video at 0:32 seconds, this is how I felt after. Just imagine the sunburn is my muscles:

Seriously though, the good news is, I completed it! I wasn’t last either… I actually placed decently. In fact, my time was just about 7 minutes longer than it took me to do 5 miles less than a month ago! So, I’d say it’s a personal best and a milestone. I can’t wait to hit my next milestone.

I really hope that my fundraising picks up. I’ve stood at the same amount for the last month… What to do, what to do? Any suggestions?

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10 weeks? PSYCHE!

Today I was all excited when I woke up. After all, it’s my 10 week anniversary of quitting smoking…. Until the calendar set me straight. It’s been 11 weeks! Almost 3 months smoke-free!

I am so excited to hopefully run tomorrow. My ankle is still a little sore, but I am babying it today so that I can try to do 7 miles tomorrow. I really want to hit that magic number 7!

Ironic how my lull in running is matched with a lull in my fundraising. I haven’t had any movement since I hit the $1,000 mark. Any suggestions out there on how to rev it back up?