The city is eerily empty ahead of Irene, but it doesn't stop Jennifer from keeping on with her training for the New York City Marathon.
Following Sid's guidance this week, I ran three times with more focus and specific training. I did one hill workout on the treadmill. On a different day, I did a speed workout that Sid prescribed.
Then on Saturday, the day of reckoning with Hurricane Irene, I planned to run the NYRR Percy Sutton 5K in Harlem with Sid and a friend. We were going to do extra miles before and after the race. The event was canceled, which was a bummer because it was going to be my friend's first 5K, a real milestone. (She doesn't know it yet but I'm determined to make sure she immediately signs up for another race. She did the hard training and I know crossing the finish line will be a transformative experience. Let's hit it, Karyn!)
Taking the storm seriously but determined not to be paralyzed by it, Sid and I decided to meet in the park Saturday morning to stay the course and do our long run. As we eased on down the marathon road, we met Yuki, who is also training with NYRR Team for Kids and is training for her first marathon. She ran with us for a bit and was even kind of enough to shoot a little video (see above). Go Yuki! You're going to kick that marathon's butt and pop your collar when you cross the finish line.
One of the things I love about running, and especially running in Central Park, is the energy of the park. Everybody runs there and you never know who you're going to run into and what cool impromptu interaction you're going to have, especially when you're running with a cool cat like Sid.
And Sid is cool. Sid runs his own delivery service called -- what else? -- Super Fast Deliveries. He runs with his cell phone and ear piece and transacts business along the way. When the phone rings, he answers without missing a breath: "Super Fast, this is Sid." Super cool. You handle your business, man, you handle your bid-ness.
We finished the run with a crazy but fun sprint. Sid told me to do a "recovery lap," but I got too excited: I was listening to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" (she's my soul sister), so he made me do more, slowly. Sid's wife, Asteria, met us. She's also a runner and equally as impressive. They train NYRR Team for Kids together. I have to say, it's so wonderful to see such a beautiful couple really touching and inspiring people; their work and the example they set really matter.
Asteria is a running technician. At the end of the workout she broke down my stride. I thought I was doing big things, but apparently I shuffle like James Brown.
Sid said to me, "You're making too much noise with your feet, girl. Need to pick them up." Asteria showed me how to lift and extend my legs to open up my stride. I naturally open up when I'm sprinting at the end of a run but I'm scared to take longer strides during a run. This goes back to when I was training for my first marathon. I was not a runner -- I had never run outside, and four and a half months later, I did the Dublin Marathon with Team in Training. I think because I feared, well, death, and not knowing if I could actually finish, "shuffling" through it with shorter strides was the more cautious way to go. I guess it's time to let Jimmy go and graduate to a stride that can make me go faster. Totally terrifying!
But fear is truly the root of all evil. You gotta do what you gotta do. Sid and Asteria are going to turn me into a legit runner yet and I can't wait to pop my collar on that one.
Jennifer Turner is a veteran television executive in New York City. A certified group fitness instructor and self-proclaimed "fitness activator," she believes that everyone has ability, with the right tools, social support, and inspiration to be able to connect to fitness in an emotional way. Her mission is to activate that ability and to inspire communities across the country. Jennifer blogs at madcoolfitness.com.