The Marathon Diaries: One Month to Go

I finally got back home from traveling and went right back to work. Last week was a bit of a fitness bust, but the dynamic duo of running are in full force this week. 

Flanked by Sid and Asteria, we did a warm-up jog in Central Park.

Then it was time for drills. These drills are not intuitive to me -- I have not practiced them enough. At worst, left to my own devices, they don't get done or certainly not done well. At best, under the tutelage of Sid, I feel like a goofus. I now know when it comes to drills, Sid is comparatively easier. This week, Asteria the technician ran the drills like Captain von Trapp.
Asteria would have me start. I would take two steps, thinking I was doing great things, and Asteria would say, "Stop, stop, stop. You have to go like this, like that, like this, like that, and that; go again." There was a lot of "this and that" and I wasn't getting most of it. I'm a very visual person. So, I watched the technician and tried to repeat.
Most of these drills focused on opening up my stride and making less noise with my feet by picking them up. One drill helped me strike more on my heel and roll forward versus running on my toes. I tend to run on the balls on my feet. We also did high knee drills to help me lift my knees and extend out, taking longer steps.
Sid and Asteria complement each other. I'm grateful to have the benefit of their experience. Although I didn't know it growing up, I am a natural runner.

Sid and Asteria are giving me the tools to help take my running to the next level. I can see the changes but this transformation will happen gradually and will continue post-marathon.
After drills, Asteria told Sid and me to run up a hill, a little more than a molehill. The point of this exercise, which I felt in my hamstrings, was to show me how to have a shorter stride on a hill, increase speed, push through over the top, and open up my stride. Sid and I ran it together.

After the second one, we both looked totally exhausted.

As we both wanted to collapse in the dirt, Sid quoted Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there can be no progress." Through wheezing and heaving, the sage words sounded more like a bad fortune cookie to me. But Sid and I recovered and repeated the drill three more times.
On Saturday, I volunteered with Sid and Asteria at a children’s fitness event in Harlem, but I ran on my own.

After my demonstrations ended, Sid said, "That was great, just great, but you've still got to run. Take it easy but you've got to run two hours."

Ugh. It was late afternoon by the time I got to the park, raining and desolate. As I trudged through the muddy path, I thought "This sucks."

I ran an hour and 45 minutes.My brain was shutting down and my right hip was a little tweaked. I hope that time was good enough. Sorry Sid – will make it up next week.
We are four weeks away from Marathon Day, Nov. 6. I am definitely struggling though I also am progressing.

Stay tuned.


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

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