For Lola

That smile

That smile

Tomorrow morning Esther and I are running this season’s first race, a 5K in Prospect Park.  Despite running over 200 races between us, this one was different.  It’s not about goal times or PRs this one is for a cause, to honor my late mother-in-law’s memory.

Two years ago, Maria Hernandez, or Lola, as she was known to her friends lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer causing a loss that hasn’t been replaced.  This ugly disease with an extremely low survival rate took Robert, Lucas and Justin’s grandmother and Cristin will never know her because of it.

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Last year running became a family event as Lola’s children Esther, Bobby and Rose Marie, joined by friends and teammates signed up for the PanCan Purple Stride 5K Run/Walk to honor her memory. I paced Bobby while Rose Marie and a pregnant Esther walked the 5K.  We had a great time on a beautiful Saturday morning raising money for a good cause.

We’re back in Prospect Park tomorrow morning with a bigger group of friends and family to keep Lola’s memory alive once more.  Last year we got off to a slow start but Rose Marie, our Team Captain, took charge printing up T-Shirts and heading up the fundraising effort.

Although Esther is a little nervous running her first race in 16 months, she’ll be fine.  Mami will be looking down with a smile on her face.

If you know anyone suffering or lost someone to Pancreatic Cancer or are interested in donating to a good cause click here.  Thanks in advance.

This entry is being posted to both of my blogs North Queens Runner and I’m Not Grandpa.

Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby after last year's PanCan PurpleStride 5K Race

Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby after last year’s PanCan PurpleStride 5K Race

 

Back to Square One

Three weeks ago I started posting about my attempts to lose weight and be healthier.  The pressure of the stepping on the scale every week and blogging about it are what keeps me accountable.  I lost 0.2 over the first two weeks.  Last week I decided it was time for new tactics.

Last Sunday Esther and I signed up for Weight Watchers again.  In an era with so many weight-loss plans the program seems antiquated but to be honest, it’s the one I’ve had the most success with.

Before weighing in last Sunday I weighed myself on my bathroom scale and it said 221.4 Lbs., and about 20 minutes later I stepped on Weight Watchers scale which said I weighed 218.4.  How about that I thought, I lost three pounds just by signing up.

After a week of making better food choices and getting a in a few runs with Cristian I weighed in earlier today.  The scale said 215.4, three pounds less than last week.  It was a good start but I know I could do more.

The end goal is a healthier me, not about a specific number of daily points consumed or running X number of miles at a specific pace.  Last week was a good week, but I still have work to do, day by day, and mile after mile.  I’ll get there.

Scale

The United Airlines New York City Half

Tomorrow Morning 20,000 runners will be taking a unique tour of New York City.  The unique course starts in Central Park, taking runners downtown through Times Square, down the West Side Highway before finishing at Wall Street.

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The NYC Half has become one of New York Road Runner marquee races, serving as a both a training race for those running spring marathons and others looking for a unique running experience—it’s rare that Times Square gets closed down, ask Dick Clark.

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Although I won’t be running tomorrow, about 20 of my teammates will be.  So like last year I’ll be supporting my Fellow Q’s where their legs may be fading, Mile 9.

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The NYC Half, like the New York City Marathon and the Brooklyn Half bring out the best of what is running, a diverse field of both elite and recreational runners and large numbers of supporters cheering them along the course.

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So although I won’t be running I wish my fellow runners good luck.  I be out there cheering for you.

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Week Two – Slight Change

I’m back again, for the second week it was me and the scale.  Although the weather was warmer and the snow is melting my schedule was all over the place this week.  Running only once and taking Cristian for a few good walks in his jog stroller was my activity for the week.  Not good.

This week generating material for two blogs and taking care of Cristian dominated my time.  I also didn’t make the best food choices.  Despite that when I stepped on the scale this morning it said 220.4, down 0.2 pounds.

I’m happy that I didn’t gain weight this week; I know I can do better.  One week at a time.  Let’s see what happens next week.

White Scale

Throwback Thursday – Solo Runs vs Group Runs, Which do you Prefer?

For Throwback Thursday I’m revisiting a post from January 17, 2014

When I started running one of its appeals was its solitary nature.  Morning runs allowed me work PP (3)through issues and plan the day while bathed in golden light.  A good run often set the tone for the day.  I often use post-work runs to de-stress.  Knocking off a few miles after a rough day is cheaper than therapy.

I’ve tailored runs to my work schedule, a late-morning start time allowed me squeeze in five or six miles.  Finishing up early meant a twilight run, and more than once I’ve headed out for a few miles in light-falling snow when a blizzard was in the forecast.

Upon joining a team most of my runs were still solo, or maybe with Esther.  I showed up for on race day, posted my times, scored a few team points when I could, and went home.  That changed at last year’s Cherry Tree 10 Miler.

Showing up unprepared with pre-race butterflies swirling more than usual, I spotted another blue and silver singlet with a big Q on the back — just like mine.  It was Myrian. Myrian and I knew each other on a quick hello and goodbye basis.  Since we both were equally unprepared, we ran the rolling 10 mile course together dragging each other up Prospect Park’s hill three times.

Last season I decided to become a more social teammate, joining weekend long runs, track workouts and hill repeats.  Socialization took time — group running is about compromise.  What route, what pace, and what time are we starting?

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I quickly learned who was chatty — running 10K tempo runs while maintaining a non-stop dialogue.  I learned the teammates who ran a twenty milers barely uttering two words.  We also learned we were chasing Esther during recovery runs if she stopped at Starbucks for a Chai Latte first.

While I still run solo, group runs have made me stronger.  It’s hard to bail on a run after you said you would be there or posted it on the team Facebook page.  It’s harder to sneak in a walk break or two as part of a group.

This week served as reinforcement, with a calendar full of upcoming races I met Reggie, a teammate, at the track for a tempo run Wednesday night.  On a damp and ugly night, where I might have bailed for an evening of channel surfing we clicked off seven miles.  Turning laps in a rolling fog, and getting stronger as we went, we put up negative splits.  Yes I can get used to this team running.

got miles

 

My New Blog

I’ve started a new blog.  Unlike North Queens Runner or its previous incarnation Run Ride Walk Repeat (what was I thinking with that name) this one is different.

So this is my announcement, or shameless plug for my other blog, I’m Not Grandpa — The Adventures of a 50-Year Old First Time Father.  Unlike North Queen Runner, this one is written in the past as well as the present and is written with a mix of sarcasm and sentiment.

Although it’s still a work in progress some posts may be about running and may even be written for both blogs.  If you’re curious you can check it out here, let me know what you think.

bassonet

 

First Week Down – No Change

Two weeks ago, I woke this blog up from its extended nap.  It was time to lose weight, get running and blog about it.  A week ago I made my first post in the Motive Me section to keep me accountable on the scale and in my food choices.

A week later, I’m back at the keyboard keeping my word.  It was a tough, the weather has been all over the place and I’ve been working on my other blog.

I got off lucky.  After a week of sitting in front of a keyboard, staying inside sequestered like a jury member during a high-profile trial and making questionable food choices my weight stayed the same.

Although I dodged a bullet this week, I know that won’t continue so with that in mind I know what needs to be done.  It’s up to me to make it so.

Scale

Setting the Race Calandar—A Work in Progress

24 Miles into last year's Sybil Ludington50K

24 Miles into last year’s Sybil Ludington50K

Hours are spent pouring over the race calendars on New York Road Runners, NYC Runs, GLIRC, and Rockland Road Runners webpages.   More are spent talking to Coach Maria—we’re both chatty—looking for races not my radar.  Last year it was The Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon and the Sybil Ludington 50K.

Cold weather and a lingering sinus infection have thrown my training way off, so has my newest challenge—Cristian.  Esther and I both run and although we don’t run every racing together that will be tougher this year.  NYRR is not running the dual 4 mile/15 K Colon Cancer Challenge races this year.

 

Setting this year’s calendar reminded me of the NFL Draft.   This morning Esther signed up for five NYRR races after checking for conflicts.  Right now only The Hook Half Marathon, the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K and a Spring Marathon in early May are on my radar.

With out friends Leo and Linda Perales after the 2013 Colon Cancer Challenge.  Esther ran the 4 Mile race and I ran the 15K

With out friends Leo and Linda Perales after the 2013 Colon Cancer Challenge. Esther ran the 4 Mile race and I ran the 15K

I’m considering running Pan Can Purple Stride New York City 5K and the Ralph Kaplan Memorial Run with pushing Cristian in his jog stroller so Esther can run it as well.  Like my training planning this year’s races is a work in progress, but don’t worry I’ll get there.  I always do.

Rekindling My Love Affair

Pre-Run Selfie

Pre-Run Selfie

Starting up after a long layoff is always tough.  Sandblasting off the rust and ignoring the excuses are part of the process.  “I’m not feeling it, it’s cold, I’ll go later,” I’ve made them all and more.  Getting out for a run is so easy when you’re in the zone and so difficult when you’re out of it.

A few weeks ago when NYRR’s Washington Heights’ Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k race aka Coogan’s capped before I could sign up for, I felt relieved.  I wasn’t ready to put up a decent time in a 5K but knowing my teammates were running through Upper Manhattan’s narrow streets

I wasn't the only one on Cunningham Park's loop.

I wasn’t the only one on Cunningham Park’s loop.

motivated me to get out for a run.

The conditions were as good as they get, it wasn’t cold, the roads were empty, Esther was watching the baby, and a light snow was falling—I love running in falling snow.  Dressed in a hoodie and compression gear I hit the streets anxious to find my rhythm.

Starting slow and keeping it simple I wanted a few slow miles hoping to find my lost rhythm.  Heading up Midland Parkway I didn’t look at my Garmin until it beeped as I passed the first mile.  Climbing 188th Street’s hill, I hate that hill, I headed towards Cunningham Park.

Covered in a blanket of snow the park looked great.  I gave a smile and a thumbs up to a team of football players who shouted, “Don’t stop” when I stopped for a quick picture.  “Keep going Frank,” I chuckled as I chugged along the loop.

Cunningham Park looked great under a blanket of snow.

Cunningham Park looked great under a blanket of snow.

Leaving Cunningham my legs good when I heard a car horn, looking up I heard one of the football players shouting, “Keep going.”  I gave a quick wave and headed back to Midland

Red-faced and covered in snow I felt great

Red-faced and covered in snow I felt great

Parkway.  As my Garmin beeped thee miles I notice the swirling snow covered the cars with a light layer of snow.   Looking down and my hoodie I noticed the snow covered me too.

Finishing up in front of my building, I ran just over four-easy miles.  Covered in snow I felt great.  It wasn’t my fastest or the smoothest, it didn’t have to be.  Searching for my lost rhythm I wanted something to build on.  Only time will tell if it was.

 

Time to be Accountable

White Scale Last Friday I returned to the keyboard and woke this blog up from its extended nap.  Tuesday I posted my 2014 Recap/2015 Goals post.  Yesterday was Throwback Thursday.  Today it’s back to the scale.

I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs this morning.

I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs this morning.

One of my goals for this year, and beyond, is to be healthier.  My biggest issue is staying focused.  During training I’m eating right, and easily maintaining a healthy weight.  My problem has always been losing focus when I’m not.  A big part of this is accountability.

I was really good about staying on whatever plan I was following (Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach) when I knew a weigh-in was around the corner.  So to stay accountable, Friday is now my weigh-in/Blog post day.

These blog posts are my accountability to me and whoever reads it.  This morning I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs.  Let’s see how this goes.