Sunday, November 28, 2010

Give Youth a Running Start this Holiday

Young Runners of NYC need your help!

Above is a flyer for a program run by NYRR that needs your help! The holiday shoe drive provides running shoes for kids around the city who want to participate in youth running programs, but lack the funds to get a good pair of running shoes. I've been donating to this program for years, it takes very little effort on your part, but can make a huge difference to a child in need. If you can't get out to pick up shoes for a child (NYRR provides you with a child and their age, sex and shoe size) you can donate a gift card or $ at their website (

The program still has 44 children who need shoes this holiday season, please help if you can and spread the word! Thanks!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving alliteration

The wind in the winter whips in from the west.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saucony Bullet

In my neverending quest for cute but practical shoes for work and trekking around the city, I came across a new shoe that I couldn't stop thinking about. The Saucony Bullet. I spotted them the week after the marathon, did a little fishing around for reviews, and scored a brand new pair on ebay for 1/2 the retail price. How could I resist? Previous finds have included 2 pairs of Nike Free's and a pair of Puma Lillea's.
They arrived today and I have to say, I love them already. They're super lightweight, easy to get on and off which is important in my job because I work in socks most of the day, and really cute.
Saucony describes them in a way that should please even the most vehement of "chi running" advocates:

We took the original Bullet, a 1985 track shoe with spikes and all, and made it street legal. With a super low profile, these nylon/suede shoes with a rubber outsole maintain the original sleek silhouette.

I mean, what's not to love, they're from 1985. I was probably not even potty trained yet. While I'm not sold on the idea of barefoot running, I can appreciate a lighter, more flexible shoe for everyday use to let your feet do the work instead of your shoes. That said, I wont be running in these, they're too cute. Anyway, a few pics of my new toys.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New York Running Show

Lead pack at NYCM, photo taken by hubby.

I'd plug it myself, but Julie does it better, so check out a post about last week's New York Running Show and then download the show and check it out for yourself.

New York Running Show Site (download and subscribe for weekly updates)

The show is a great addition to the NYC area (not just the city) running community and I'm happy to promote it here and hope to become a part of it in the near future. You're probably familiar with a few of the voices on the show including Run Westchester, Steve from NYCRuns, TK from Pigtails Flying blog, Julie from Races Like a Girl and Houston Hopefuls, and Brenn from Turfcaster, and Karla from Run,Karla, Run!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting back into the groove, slowly.

The view from Inwood Hill Park last night of the Henry Hudson Bridge was beautiful.*

With many of the big fall marathons in the rearview mirror, a lot of people are tossing out their ideas about recovery and the best way to go about it. While everyone certainly takes a different approach, there are a lot of folks out there who (not-so) secretly believe that their way is "the best way" and will try to convince you that it will also work for you. Here's the thing: you may have run the exact same time or pace or slower/faster, but your legs are yours and only yours. Do what feels right for you, not what someone else is preaching.

That said, I decided that last night was the night to get back out there and get moving. I haven't run since the big day and have only been swimming and doing core work alongside my knee rehab strengthening. The mental and physical break has been great. At the end of last week I was jonesin' for a run, but I wasn't going to let myself back out too soon again. I got injured by running too soon after my last marathon and ended up sidelined for 6 weeks. Friday night I expressed my intent to run on Saturday morning and my husband promptly called me and said "no you're not going to run." I must have been one cranky bitch last time I got hurt. Instead I took a really (really) easy spin on the stationary bike and cranked out a solid swim before joining the Inwood runners for a celebratory pancake breakfast.

Last night, Tuesday, felt like the right time to try out the legs again though. Conditions were right, there was no rain and temps were warm so I headed out to meet my Inwood buddies for the first in a series of Tuesday night speed workouts. Obviously I had no intention of doing "speed" but I knew it would be great to see some familiar running faces. Captain T put up a few flyers around the neighborhood advertising the new Tuesday run and they attracted 2 new runners including a high school student looking for some way to keep herself active. We were stoked.

The workout consisted of a warmup, strides and intervals with a 200m recovery around a loop in Inwood Hill Park 560 meters in diameter. It's like having a large track with a small hill on one end. We consider it to be a topographical advantage. I of course trotted along at a super easy pace for the warmup and lagged way behind on the strides, but enjoyed the company. The nice thing was that J, the HS student I mentioned was running at my recovery pace for the intervals so I had company and so did she as we got lapped by the others. I tried my best to keep my Coach Amy hat off, but I hopefully provided insightful answers to her many questions, both running related and not.

I know I wont be able to fully participate in the speed sessions for a few more weeks because I need my knee to heal entirely, but I think these workouts are going to be a great addition to my winter running. I do love the Central Park crew on Tuesday nights, but having this so close to home makes a huge difference on those frosty winter nights. I can simply run home and avoid getting chilled on the subway ride.

All in all, I felt great out there. Running felt smooth and easy and I just felt right at home being back on my feet. I have no idea what my pace or mileage was, and don't care. I still plan on keeping the mileage really low and easy for another 2 weeks or so, but I'll be sprinkling a little more running into my schedule as time goes by. For now, I'm on a 3x week swim schedule and it feels awesome even though I'm having trouble finding my 2nd gear right now. It'll take time to get my swim speed back, damn you unforgiving water.

*photo from

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Van Cortlandt Park 5K this Sunday benefits kids

I just heard about this 5K taking place in VCP this Sunday that benefits a program that serves underprivileged school children in NYC by introducing them to the healthy alternative of running. The race is only $15 and you get to run the famed VCP 5K course during the most beautiful time of the year. If I weren't recovering from the marathon myself (I'm taking an extended recovery to avoid re-injuring my nearly-healed knee) I'd be there racing too!

H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths First Annual 5K Run/Walk

Riverdale, N.Y. (October 25, 2010) —H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths Inc., a Riverdale, N.Y.-based 501c3 non-profit formed for the charitable and educational purposes of assisting at-risk youth, is hosting its first annual 5K Run/Walk at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y. on Sunday, November 14, 2010. All proceeds will go to the non-profit and is tax deductible. The New York Road Runners Foundation will be helping with the event.

This event is perfect for the avid runner. The short run/walk is a great opportunity for those who still want to participate in a post ING NYC Marathon run, those who weren’t able to run the marathon and those who are just looking for a leisure run in one of the city’s fourth largest park. Bring your friends, family and fellow runners.

Additionally, Cliff Sperber, Executive Director of the NYRR Youth and Community Services division, is going to help H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths kick-off the event.

Registration is only $15. If you are a student or a coach of a High School team you can register for free. Please see below for more information. Participants can also ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor your run. Contact us for a pledge sheet.

Here are examples of the impact of your gift:

$89 - Gift will purchase one monthly Metro card for students to get to and from internship sties, social/cultural events, community service projects and weekly workshops.

$500 - Gift will purchase a partial scholarship for our students or a partial SAT, LSAT, GRE prep program or graduate school preparation program.

$1000 - Gift will purchase a scholarship for a student that can be named in honor of the person of your choice.

Your gift will have a significant impact on our programming and students’ ability to maintain their studies and successfully graduate from college and go on to graduate/professional school.

On Sunday, November 14, 2010 registration for the run/walk begins at 9 a.m. Run/walk is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park is located at 242nd Street and Broadway in Bronx, N.Y. To register please visit:

H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths Inc. fills the gap left by after-school programs and other mentor organizations across the city by providing workshops in the areas of career development, physical health, mental health, social/cultural education, social media etiquette and life-skills. It also helps place students in appropriate internships and encourages students to give back to the community by getting them involved in different community service projects such New York Cares Day and tornado clean up. The non-profit strives to combat community deterioration, juvenile delinquency and improves the quality of education, health care and life-skills training.

To learn more about H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths Inc. visit the non-profit’s web site

If you would like to learn more about H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths Inc.’s First Annual 5K Run/Walk or the non-profit contact:

Heather Butts
Amanda Fung

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ahh the marathon...

It is sweetest when it is all over and done with. The soreness has peaked and is beginning to slowly recede, so it is time to share the story of a 26.2 mile journey that began on a windy bridge in Staten Island.

The day began on Staten Island with a few hours of relaxing and chatting while dressed in soccer mom-looking sweats and a NY Yankees poncho. In case you were living under a rock and missed it, the plan was for EG and I to run together this year, a decision we made many months ago. As we were cruelly locked out of Wave 1 by a not-well-advertised 8:55 closing time, we stood around for an extra half hour before the race as we waited for Wave 2 to start at 10:10am. Looking back, I blame that for all that went wrong during the race. Ha. If only.

The race began on what has been called "The greatest start in sports" on the Verrazano bridge which was windy and chilly and strewn with discarded clothes from runners who went before us. Don't they know your clothes cant be donated if you toss them on the bridge? The gall. So off we went on the uphill climb with incredible people all around us. There was a blind runner to our right, a double amputee in front of us and just the buzz of adrenaline and excitement all around. Despite the chill we tackled the uphill and the crowds in 8:45 and whizzed down towards Brooklyn in 7:29. A lil quick, but we quickly settled down, cranking out the next few miles all around 8:10 despite the urge to surge ahead in the excitement of the wonderful and amazing Brooklyn. I swear it, half a million folks in Brooklyn yelled out my name as I ran by, I wish I could have hugged them all, but there was work to be done. Mile 5 brought a glimpse of my hubby and Mom cheering us on. They snapped this awesome pic:

Brooklyn continued on in the same fashion, I was in awe of the support and excitement there and I frequently commented on how great the crowds were. We trekked along 4th, Lafayette and Bedford Aves with ease, spotting EG's parents at mile 8. We knew our next "fan" was TK at mile 14. As we schlepped through the quiet parts of Williamsburg (actually welcomed silence after the continuous crowds of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill that made us want to speed up) I began to make a connection between my beloved chewy snacks and the nausea I was starting to feel. Boo. I tossed them off to the side (sorry environment) at mile 12 or so to prevent any temptation to try them again. Bummer, I trained so well with those too.

As we made our way into Queens we were hit with more great cheers and excitement and even more folks screaming my name. I joked at one point that they'd probably seen my article on and that's why they were cheering. It had nothing to do with the giant letters across my chest, definitely not. After one particularly long string of "Go Amy" cheers, I goofed around and said, "I'd like to thank my many fans..." The miles were getting to my brain and making me goofy. In Queens my eyes were peeled for TK and also for Josh who we expected to see, and thank goodness we saw them- it was a nice boost before the big bridge. As we neared the bridge I remember hoping that there wouldn't be a huge pile of shit on the divider in the center of the bridge this year like there was in '08. Tragically, that is one of my most vivid memories from my first marathon. Yep, gross. Luckily there was no poo this time and the bridge felt great, it felt like we breezed over and down into Manhattan. I suggested a quick pee break at the bottom of the bridge and EG let me keep my promise of not peeing on myself.

Manhattan offered up everything it had on Sunday, the people were out in full force cheering, screaming, waving funny signs and just going nuts. We held it together and kept the pace close to 8:20 for a few miles, knowing that my Mom and Hubby were waiting at mile 18 at 95th st. They nearly missed us because they weren't expecting us so soon, but hubby managed to snap our still smiling, though strained, faces. It was shortly after seeing them, heading into the Bronx that things started to come undone. I'd stopped checking my watch at mile markers around mile 19 because I was running as hard as I could, so why bother peeking if it was going to make me feel bad? (I should have looked- 18 and 19 were 8:24, I'd have been happy.) As we crossed the Willis Ave bridge into the Bronx a very sad thing happened: we were passed by the 3:40 pace group. I was in some sort of denial and was trying to convince myself that they were going too fast and we'd be able to catch them in a bit. If only I could make the nausea was getting really bad at this point.

Crossing back into Manhattan and beginning the schlep through Harlem was where things got hard. Not like "hitting the wall" hard, but "I'm going to barf all over" hard. I was torn between barfing and hoping it would make me feel better and sucking it up. In the end I didn't barf, but it was very touch and go there for a bit. Sipping water helped for a few minutes, but it always came back. We made a pit stop for EG somewhere along the way in the W100's and my legs tightened up immediately as I focused on not puking on the sidewalk. Damn, this point in the race was so much better in '08. Most of the UES is a blur as we made our way down 5th Ave towards my family and the Inwood Hill Runners and ultimately Central Park.

As hubby and Mom waited for us along 5th Ave at 95th, they captured a few fun shots including a few celebs. While he missed Bobby Flay (who was apparently just ahead of us the whole time) he managed to spot and capture Jennifer Carpenter who was running with a fellow Dexter character from this season, Jonny Lee Miller. We LOVE that show, so it was awesome to see the pics afterwards. They ran a 3:34.
Jonny on the left in the Team Continuum jersey, JC in grey
Jennifer working hard at mile 23, aka Debra Morgan from Dexter

Also: Assman walking

After we snagged some tangerine slices from my Mom at mile 23.25 we passed an enthusiastic Inwood Hill Runners crew just before entering Central Park. I was hurting. My legs didn't want to keep going, neither did my head. Can you see the anguish as I snag the tangerine from Mom's hand?

Trust me, I was in a BAD place. Luckily for me, I had EG by my side. She knew I was struggling without my saying a word and she started talking to me, encouraging me and just helping me push through the "I want to STOP" that was going through my head. I'm not sure what I would have done without her there, honestly. I mean it, I didn't care that I'd come 24 miles already and only had 2 to go, I had no desire to keep going. There was a small voice in the back of my head battling that louder voice, but without E's help, I may not have made it. I got an awful pain in my upper chest during mile 24 and I pictured myself keeling over with a heart attack (Don't worry, I knew the pain was not actually "chest pains" or I would have stopped.) Somehow she knew just what I needed to hear and she leaned close and just simply said "fight". Something snapped in my head and I began to see a little more clearly- we only had a mile to go!!! Mile 25 was relatively strong, we brought it back down to an 8:50 (from an embarrassing 9:32 mile 24) and passed quite a few people.

Entering the park was bittersweet, but looking back I think it was mostly sweet at the time, just bitter thinking about it now. I said "oh my god, I can't believe we made it here" and I meant it. As we ran along Central Park south I remember thinking that I was giving 100% with every CELL in my body. It was taking everything I had to finish. We crossed the line together at 3:46:54 and despite missing my goal by 11 minutes, I was elated. I got a huge 17 minute PR and I FINISHED without puking. Win, win, win.

While tons of folks have asked me "how did it go?!" the last few days my answer has varied. The runners I am close to know that I missed my A and B goals (3:35 and sub 3:40) but they know what it can be like to have a shitty day. Others hear my time and are out of their minds with excitement because they don't know anyone who has ever run that fast (or maybe far) before. Yesterday our building Super asked how it was and all I could think of was "it was long", what a lame answer. He was happy for me when he heard my time though. My own feelings about the 3:46 are mixed. Most of the time I'm happy with it, other times I'm bummed because I missed my goal, but that usually passes quickly. I do know that I received tons of really supportive emails, texts, phone calls, facebook messages and tweets over the last few days. Thank you all. I plan on relaxing this week and next (and the next) with my feet up, red wine in hand and a good book and cat in my lap. I'm no longer training for a marathon. Wahoo!

Good luck to my brother, Todd and his wife Heather who are running their first marathon in the Outer Banks this coming weekend! I'm really excited for them, they've been training hard and I'm sure it is going to pay off on Sunday. Congrats to all of the other 44,000 NYC marathon finishers, you rock! A special thanks, of course, to my awesome friend E who stuck by my side and made great company for the 26.2 mile journey. I couldn't have done it without you (nor would I have wanted to!)

The numbers:

First NameLast NameAgeTeamState/
5 km10 km15 km20 km13.1 mi

9530168933716708AMYC27F NYUSA03:46:5400:25:2000:50:5101:16:4701:42:4701:48:36

25 km30 km35 km40 kmMinutes
per Mile
___02:09:30_______02:36:27 _____03:05:18_____03:34:15____08:40

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NYC Marathon Article

Earlier this week a local journalist from Inwood asked if she could interview me for an article about the upcoming NYC marathon and I gladly agreed. Having followed Carla's blog, The Streets Where we Live, for years I knew I could count on her for a great article. She has also been writing for, a NYC-centric news site where you can get specific news for your neighborhood or the city in general. Since she began writing for DNA, I've been using it as a daily source of info for what's going on around the neighborhood. On Wednesday I met up with the lovely Carla (you can follow her on twitter @CarlaZanoni) and we talked and took some photos in nearby Fort Tryon Park where I do a lot of my training. I have to thank her because the article is really sweet and honest and it has already brought a ton of traffic to my little blog. Please check out her blog and DNAinfo as well, they're both great reads especially for those in our little community of Northern Manhattan.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Expo Goodies

I stopped by the NYC Marathon expo yesterday after work before most of the crowds arrived so I had plenty of time to walk around and stare at all of the goodies. I thought I'd share some of my goodies with you including the bib # in case you're planning on tracking athletes and want to add me to the list. It really helps to know that people are rooting for you when you're out there on the course. You can sort of hear them in your head yelling at you to keep it up or (god forbid) pick it up and you can always be sure that no one is yelling "You're almost there!"

First, a frame that lives on my nightstand and has been there for 2 years- the damn cat knocked it over this morning and made a loud clatter as it crashed to the floor. Maybe he was trying to to tell me something?
My plan going into the expo was to make sure I didn't spend too much on unnecessary "stuff" but I wanted to buy a new sweatshirt and some more of my favorite Asics marathon gloves. Despite finding about 5 shirts that I could swear I "neeeeed", I escaped with what I went in for. There was only ONE style of sweatshirt being sold at the expo, luckily I liked it. Matisse seems to like it too...

Some of the other free stuff I walked away with along with my gloves. I was picking out my gloves when a man came up and started asking me questions about running with gloves. He said he was from Texas and had no idea what to look for in a pair of gloves. I assured him that I run in the Asics gloves all of the time and love them. I think he got a blue pair in the end, but I'm almost certain that he'll freeze to death on Sunday morning.
My bib and blue D-tag. I like the blue, it's a nice change of pace from the usual orange. As for the bib, I will snag some saftey pins from bibs that I have here from some of my better races this past yr. I did the same thing last time I ran the marathon, it was a little touch that made me smile when I thought of it during the race. I think I'll use pins from my NYC Tri bib, my Harriman tri bib (#2), my PR 4 miler and from my Shamrock half bib. They all have good vibes attached. Am I the only person this OCD? Surely you have superstitions of your own..
The official shirt this year is a nice, subdued dark grey color which I'm happy with but it is a bit dull compared to the '08 shirt which boldly asks "What Does It Take? Heart Pounding Dedication." It sort of looks to me like people running from a fire.
I also bumped into a booth with some running books that caught my eye so I browsed for a second before realizing that the man sitting behind the booth was the famed John L. Parker, Jr. author of one of the most popular running books of all time- Once a Runner. The book ran me through the gamut of emotions and left me exhausted and exhilarated at the end. It has been re-released and no longer sells for $800 like it did just a few years ago. I discussed this with John at the expo and he laughed, telling me that it wasn't something he intended to happen. Anyhow, he has a new book, Again to Carthage that is the sequel to Once a Runner. I decided to snag a copy and he signed it for me. I'll review it when I finish, I plan to read it in my free time post-marathon. Also, if you'd like to borrow my copy of Once a Runner just let me know.

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting Magdalena Lewy Boulet at Paragon Sports. I walked in (again, beat the crowds!) and saw her sitting at a table. I was so starstruck that I was unable to congratulate her on any of her specific accomplishments, but I told her I was a big fan and followed her career. She signed a card for me which says "Dream Big", she's so cute. She's a tiny little thing, but full of spunk with intense blue eyes. Next time I'll prepare for my star sightings by checking to see who will be there so I don't stand and stare with my mouth open.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What lies ahead...

Looking beyond New York marathon, I entered the lottery for a race that takes place in June every year down in Maryland called the Great Bay Swim. It is a 4.4 mile swim in the Chesapeake Bay and it is exactly what I was looking for in terms of a "big" swim in the early summer of 2011. The first round lottery pick is tomorrow, Nov 4th and I'll be anxiously waiting for an email to find out if I am one of the chosen 700 or so. If chosen, the swimmers have 48 hours to submit proof of an open water swim of at least 1 mile or a signed certificate by a lifeguard verifying that you swam 3 miles in the pool in under 2.5 hours (or around there). I had a small panic attack last week when I realized that my tri swim was 1500m which is the metric equivalent of a swim mile, but actually only 0.9mi. I was losing my mind for a minute when I literally looked up and spotted my medal from the Lavallette 1 mile Ocean Swim that I did this summer. WHEW.

Keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow!

Google searches, the special ones

A few people stumbled upon my blog last month by searching for these special keywords:

-Barefoot bike (btw, that sounds like a horrible and painful idea.)
-"Wright Brothers Playground" new construction (I have no idea)
-Marathon boobies (what?! I get why it brought them here, but who was searching for that?!)
-Runner boobies (again, WHAT?!)
-Skunks in Harriman (yuck)

Keep searching folks, I doubt that I'm what you were looking for.

Explaining myself.

With the marathon just a few days away I find myself fielding lots of questions from interested friends, co-workers and family about all aspects of the race and race day. A common question this week has been along these lines: So, what do you do this week? Do you run/not run? Are you resting all week? How many more times do you run before the big day? As many of you know, the answer varies so much between people and depends on how you are feeling at this point in the game. 2 yrs ago when I ran NYC I had a bad sinus infection the week before and didn't run all week, no biggie. This time I'm feeling good and am going with however I feel, in fact I played soccer last night.

I came up with a good answer today to the variety of questions mentioned above, I told a co-worker this: Nothing you do this week will make any difference on race day, at this point any running is to stay sane. She thought that was a good answer and offered the analogy that it is "like trying to cram for an exam the morning of, it's too late- you either know it or you don't." Excellent analogy for the taper if you ask me. I used the same line about sanity a few more times today and it worked like magic. People understood, even if they couldn't grasp exactly why running keeps you sane in the first place. They get that it probably helps with nerves and staying loose- mentally and physically.

Here we are, 5 days til the starting cannons blast into the sky at Fort Wadsworth. To answer some other questions I've gotten this week: No I am not nervous, Yes I am ready, No I will not pee on myself while running, Yes I'm carbo-loading, Yes I am running for time, and best of all- yes I am EXCITED!