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On Your Mark, Get Set…. Go!!!
Last Sunday, I joined the CUNY School of Professional Studies “Race for the Cure” team comprised of students, faculty, and staff. Being with our team of over 20-strong was such an emotional high for me. All dressed in our CUNY SPS blue shirts, we (and our mascot, Lex the Lynx) made quite an impression! I was proud to be standing with our school and overwhelmed at the same time with the sea of pink supporters out to fight breast cancer with us.
So race day finally arrived and I was eager to attempt the personal (and fairly public) challenge I gave myself: to beat my best 5K time. Why did I go with the public part? Was I over-confident? Was it for accountability? Well, it’s accountability that forces me to report that not only did I #FAIL to beat my last time, I exceeded it by over 2 minutes.
First, my excuse! Well, it’s not an excuse—but it’s an observation and a lesson learned. The race was combined with walkers. As a result, the first portion of the race was like playing an intense game of Frogger. I was weaving in and out of people trying to run while large groups were blocking the route. The key take-away for me was understanding that large races can be slightly overwhelming and a rough start. Since I am new to races, I think setting a goal time is an “over-achiever” mentality and I should instead be focusing on my form, my stamina, and my mental game.
Speaking of my mental game, my slower time almost had an impact on me during the last few minutes of the run. I remember thinking, “Now that I am running over 10 miles, a 5K should be a like a walk in the park!” Thankfully, when my subconscious is beating me up; sound-bytes from my American Cancer Society coaches speak up. Specifically, this time around, they reminded me that less than 2% of the world’s population has ever completed a marathon. TWO PERCENT! They also kindly reminded me to stop being so hard on myself. I have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.
So by the time I crossed the 5K finish line, the sun was shining and so was my attitude. I celebrated with the team and relished in the excitement of everyone around me. Being a part of the finish line and celebration was a first for me. Usually, everyone is packed up and gone by the time I complete a race.
The Highs, the Lows and the HIGHS!
The Race for the Cure actually was the final act to a big running weekend for me. On Saturday, I ran for three hours and 6 minutes in extreme weather with my teammate and mentor from the American Cancer Society, Dawn. When the rain set in, we could have stopped and probably should have stopped (as we had no idea there was a tornado warning). Instead, we put our phones in ziplock bags and continued our long run. We made it fun even though we were literally drenched and sledging through puddles (that seemed like mini-rivers). We even sang some favorites (with minor modifications) together while running, keeping each other motivated through any discomfort.
We’re running in the rain,
Just running in the rain.
What a glorious feeling, we’re happy again!
Stride after stride, Mile after mile
Just singing and running in the rain!
Ultimately, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson this weekend. I can’t judge every running day against the last. There are so many factors that change how a run or race will go: extreme weather, health, crowded streets, or lack of energy—just to name a few. Every day is different and every time that I go out there is some victory to be had. As a runner, it’s my responsibility to find that victory and own it.
We are all winners!
I want to sincerely thank CUNY School of Professional Studies and our Susan G. Komen team. We raised over $800 toward community programs that will help run breast cancer out of town!
You can be a part of the excitement too. The American Cancer Society is looking for cheer station volunteers. Sign up to help cheer me and my team members on the 2012 ING NYC Marathon race day, November 4th! Cheer station volunteers get an American Cancer Society T-Shirt AND a cow bell. Who doesn’t need a little more cow bell in their life? More info at: http://bit.ly/CowBellCheer
Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.
Great news! Our BS in Health Information Management is now in the candidacy phase of the CAHIIM (www.cahiim.org) accreditation process. Our students can now register as students with AHIMA (www.ahima.org) using our SPS Educational Program Code (#159). This will allow students to reap the benefits of membership and get a member discount on books!
For questions, contact Academic Director, Ellen Shakespeare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us in welcoming our new Academic Director for the Health Information Management program, Ellen Shakespeare. Ellen joined CUNY School of Professional Studies in August from her last position as a faculty member and the program coordinator for the health information technology programs at Raritan Valley Community College.
Prior to her position at RVCC, she was a health information management department director and consultant at hospitals in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. Ms. Shakespeare recently achieved Fellowship with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), an honor only bestowed on 116 fellows out of over 60,000 members.
Ellen also serves as a panel reviewer for CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management), as past president of the New Jersey Health Information Management Association, and is a member of AHIMA’s Council for Excellence in Education and Health Information Exchange Practice Council.
She received her MBA with a concentration in health administration from the University of Miami, and a B.S. in health information management from the University of Central Florida.
The CUNY SPS Online B.S. in Health Information Management prepares students for careers in this dynamic and rapidly expanding field. Students learn to develop, implement, and manage health information and data systems for quality care, reimbursement, research, planning, and evaluation.
Find out more about this and other SPS programs by visiting our website, sps.cuny.edu, or by attending an in-person information session. The next Online Baccalaureate Info Session will be held Wednesday, September 12th 6-8pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Click here to register.
The Alumni Spotlight feature highlights one of SPS’s proud graduates. We asked Nelson Franco (B.A. Communication and Culture, Class of 2012) five questions about his experiences before, during, and after SPS.
1. What was your background prior to coming to SPS?
I had only taken one college course back in 1980. The second course was 24 years later (2004). I’ve had no change in career since 2004, but this was not my objective when going after a BA.
2. Why did you choose SPS and your program?
50% of my coursework was done at John Jay. The remaining courses needed to complete a political science degree were difficult to fit into my schedule. While searching for other CUNY colleges, I found SPS. Of course online courses worked perfectly for me, but I did change my major. This ended up being a closer fit to my current career so it turned out to be a double-bonus for me.
3. What is your favorite memory from your time at SPS?
Prior to being this year’s student speaker, my favorite memory was visiting the mosque at Ground Zero for a research project.
4. Are you currently working in your field of study? What are your current career and /or life goals?
My current career as Logistics Manager certainly exposes me to various business cultures around the globe. With my degree in Communications and Culture, this knowledge has certainly widened my tolerance of cultural differences with working others around the world. In addition, new technological tools experienced with my coursework have certainly helped in my current career.
5. Is there a message you want to share with your fellow SPS alumni?
I believe that I could have completed my degree without the help of fellow students’ encouragement and support. However, it certainly would not have been as inspirational and fun. Thanks and congratulations to all!
The CUNY SPS Online B.A. in Communication and Culture offers an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on critical issues related to communications, with special emphasis on new and traditional media. Students examine and evaluate social and organization culture, preparing them to launch or advance their careers in management, media and communications, social services, and international organizations.
Find out more about this and other SPS programs by visiting our website or by attending an in-person information session. The next Online Baccalaureate Info Session will be held Wednesday, September 12th 6-8pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Click here to register.
Before a run, I wake up—excited… Usually it’s about 4 a.m. and I begin forcing myself to eat some oatmeal and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am anxious to leave the house, but I take my time filling up my water bottle, eating my breakfast and dressing for my big run. My mind wonders over every laborious bite of food. Is today the day that I will fall in love?
Okay, I am going to be honest. Please forget what I am about to say after you read it. I am so embarrassed to admit, I do not like running, not one bit! Even so, every time I tie up my laces and head out; I am hanging on to a glimmer of hope. Today will be the day that I magically turn into a real runner!
I see real runners every time I go out for my runs. Real runners love to run. Real runners don’t feel the pain that I feel while running—especially the pain I feel after a run. Real runners enjoy the solitary moments of thought while running. At least, that is what I imagine it is like to be a real runner.
Last Saturday, I set out to run 12 miles. I arrived to Central Park; running for the first time with the Manhattan team instead of the Brooklyn team. At first, the run was going well. I enjoyed the company of a couple of runners I hadn’t met yet—both of which actually ran my pace. It was the first Saturday that I was running comfortably with others. The first 8 miles went so well. I was actually enjoying myself. My inner voice proclaimed, “This is the day! I am falling in love!!!!” Well, not so fast. It was so hot outside. I filled up my water bottle at every fountain and kept drinking. I felt tired. I had packed one packet of the Jelly Belly Sport Beans, but apparently that was not enough. I started to feel dizzy and, believe it or not, hungry!
After I hit 11 miles, I knew I had to stop. I ran back to our starting area (after 11.2 miles) and bought a Gatorade and a hot pretzel from a vendor. I knew if I didn’t get some energy right away I might have gotten sick. After stretching, my body felt as though I was hit by a car. Defeated, I made my way back to Brooklyn. Wouldn’t you know it, the trains were delayed and running slow!? Frankly, even though it was a hot and long commute home; it gave me time to think. The reflection on the train home helped me build the courage to admit it. I DO NOT “love” running right now, but I am falling out of hate with it. I am enjoying the fact that I am active. I love that I am now a non-smoker. I love that I am busy doing something healthy for myself.
So, I am courting “running” and eventually, I know that will grow into a very strong love of running. When I get discouraged, I will force myself to think about the days that I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes. I force myself to remember what it was like to race out of the subway so I could quickly light up a smoke before heading into the office. Instead, I am running up the subway steps for a little extra push in my fitness. I will cling to the excitement I feel every time someone tells me that they notice I’ve lost weight… Well those are the things I am hanging on to that push me to my runs.
This Sunday, I will be sharing my new habit with supporters for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I am excited to join our team of 20 (and counting) for this 5K run (or walk). My goal will be to beat my fastest time of 39 minutes and 12 seconds. I hope you will consider supporting your school’s team. You can support in a couple of ways. Click here to participate as a runner or walker. If you have a schedule conflict, you could donate and support the fight against breast cancer (at the same link). If those options don’t work, why not come out and cheer us on this Sunday? The cheers from the sidelines are so meaningful to runners in the race. I am so excited and can not wait for Sunday to arrive. Maybe this will be the day I fall in love!
Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Central Park at 9:00 am
The SPS Team will meet at Strawberry Fields at 8:oo am
Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.
ha1flosse “Illustration of Zebras” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz. 2012. Web
“Racers on A Starting Line” Image. Free Stock Photos.biz. 2012. Web
Recently, I a friend told me that we were moving into the ‘Age of Aquarius” and I should be on the lookout for major positive changes in my life. Only vaguely aware of the concepts behind astrology and the planetary sign under which I was born, I simply laughed her statement away and asked if she really believed in horoscopes and such “super-natural” seeming ideas. This question led to a lengthy debate regarding astrology and inspired me to conduct a bit of research and discover some of the ideas behind the “science of the stars.”
Astrology, or the “science of the stars,” is widely regarded as one of those pseudo-sciences, important in the old days but not nearly as relevant in today’s logical and linear-inclined scientific ideologies. Indeed, the basic principles of astrology are rooted far beyond what can be observed or measured physically; it builds instead on foundations of celestial thought, intuitiveness, and ancient philosophies. For example, as stated by Rob Tillet, published astrologer, “astrology seeks the meaning and application of the influences of the planets, stars and other celestial phenomena in our lives.” Yet, despite the somewhat mystical and spiritual doctrines of astrology, many people are drawn to astrology to determine the significance of various events or even attempt to predict what may next occur.
The science of astrology predates nearly every other science currently in existence today and has been traced as far back as 1645 BC to certain Babylonian civilizations. However, as noted by Astrology.com, “astrology’s origins can also be traced to several other locations and cultures, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome—civilizations whose people developed sophisticated sciences, authored influential astrological texts, or provided counsel based on the stars.” So how is “counsel based on the stars” rendered? Traditionally, astrologers relied on the premise that every human is a spiritual being born under a particular planet and as such is very likely to display certain personality traits, have specific encounters/experiences, or fulfill various obligations depending upon the alignment of their birth planet with the other planets. Astrologers defined which planet an individual was born under by reviewing their birth date and decoding what the position of the sun and the other planets were at that time. For example, as Rob Tillet tells us, “each planet is literally the body and expression of a spiritual being or entity whose job it is to guide the destinies of life-forms on this planet.” Each planet has its own physical representation (i.e. fish, justice scales, ram) which corresponds to a particular month. These symbols are recorded chronologically in a reference chart called the “Zodiac.”
The Zodiac is divided into twelve divisions—also known as houses—each of which corresponds to a planet and of course a sign. For example, the first sign of the Zodiac is Aries (the ram) which is ruled by the planet Mars, followed by Taurus (the bull) ruled by Venus, Gemini (the twins) rules by Mercury, Cancer (the crab) ruled by the Moon, Leo (the lion) ruled by the Sun, Virgo (the Virgin) ruled by Mercury, Libra (the scales) ruled by Venus, Scorpio (the scorpion) ruled by Pluto, Sagittarius (the Archer) ruled by Jupiter, Capricorn (the goat) ruled by Saturn, Aquarius (the Water-bearer) ruled by Uranus, and Pisces (the fish) ruled by Neptune.
Astrologers today rely on the Zodiac chart in much the same way as astrologers of old. For example, comparing a person’s birth date with the alignment of the planets on that particular day not only reveals their sign but it is also said to provide insight as to the person’s future—hence daily horoscopes.
As I conducted my research, I also began to read up on my sign and determine how closely my personality matches the attributes credited to individuals born under the planet Uranus. After learning Aquarians are thought to be, as stated by Michael Thiessen, creator of Astrology Online, “friendly, humanitarian, honest, loyal, original, inventive, independent, and intellectual with tendencies toward unpredictability and contrariness,” it is my thought that my personality traits do closely parallel the ideas of the astrologers. I now flip to the daily horoscope section in the paper to see what astrologers of today are advising me to look out for!
With that being said, I am looking forward to entering the “Age of Aquarius” and encourage everyone to look into their own astrological sign. If nothing else, it will be a fun pursuit and an educational journey!
Tillet, Rob. How Does Astrology Work? Astrology on the Web, 2012. Web. 7 August 2012.
Astrology.com. A History of Astrology. Astrology.com, 2010. Web. 7 August 2012.
Thiessen, Michael. The Water Carrier. Astrology Online, 2012. Web. 7 August 2012.
I know I could graduate two or more semesters early if only I would take summer classes. But I won’t. Two courses a semester on top of working full-time and trying to have a life (and have some fun!) is too stressful and I need the three-month break from formal education, tests, papers, discussion boards, wikis and required reading. I admire and applaud those that go to school year round and know that we all have different goals, restrictions and time frames.
I spent most of this summer on my self-help project. I realized that I needed to let go of some things, move on with others, change some behaviors, and learn why I keep making some of the same mistakes and how to make better choices. I also needed to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
I did a LOT of reading—blogs, articles, and books. Not all information is good information. In fact, some of it is garbage. However, a little discernment and fact checking can do wonders. A beauty magazine suggested a biotin supplement to improve my soft, splitting nails. Dr. Oz said it was OK. I have been taking it for several months and my nails have improved. Speaking of Dr. Oz, I work in the same complex and happened to be in the elevator with him one morning. He must have been experiencing a bad day, because he was not the same persona as on TV. Excuuuuuse me.
I read all kinds of relationship advice, ranging from carving my initials into the leather seats of someone’s car to reciting the following mantra over and over again: “I’m sorry; please forgive me; I love you; thank you.” Forgiveness of a behavior does not mean acceptance, and it allows the forgiver to find peace and move on. Acknowledging my part in a failed venture and seeking forgiveness for my failures is an important ingredient in recovery. Grudges and holding onto hurts destroy the soul.
I read some excellent books, including one with simple yet creative ideas on how to handle money, a beautifully written but disturbing book about the spiritual, physical, and bureaucratic struggles of inhabitants of a Mumbai slum and a poorly written but “different” trilogy about alternate lifestyles. OK—it was the Fifty Shades of Grey books. The first one was riveting and thought provoking, but the experience became less interesting through book two and turned into a boring, eye-rolling page-turner by the third installment. Part of the problem may have been that I read all three books over a several day marathon. Even though I was number 1,000 something on the New York Public Library e-book list for each book, they happened to become available at the same time and I did not want to have to re-request them and become number 1,000 something again.
I tried some new recipes and made food I enjoy but usually buy prepared or in a restaurant. Hummus did not turn out as good as Sabra’s, but my gazpacho is very tasty (but not as good as Billy’s, the brother of a friend) and my sesame noodles are not bad. Since I had so much leftover fresh ginger from the sesame noodles, I chopped it and added it to boiling water for a few minutes. I ended up with ginger water that tastes great in a tall glass of ice or mixed with tea.
Besides cooking, I took time to enjoy crafts again. I made a few pieces of jewelry, picked up a needlepoint that I hadn’t touched in many years, and will finish (I will finish!) the sweater I started about 10 years ago and left more than half done.
One of the best suggestions I learned on the self-help journey is to expand my social group. Be open to new people, different types of people, other experiences and settings. Meetup.com has a meetup group for any and every interest. Joining a group is free and I now belong to several. I have been on walking tours of lower Manhattan, visited Coney Island and City Island, went out to dinner and brunch, explored my ancestry and did other really interesting things with people I did not know a few months ago. I have old and dear friends, but we don’t have the same interests in everything, the time or the resources. I have made some new friends and I am taking a trip with one of them through our travel meetup group.
I have learned so much through my informal education this summer. I am grateful for everything that has brought me to this point in my life (the good and the bad, because nothing is a mistake if you learn from it) and the sense of accomplishment and empowerment that comes with the ongoing and never ending self-discovery process. The journey is as important, if not more important, than the destination.
Mary Casey is a student in the MS in Business Leadership and Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is an alumna of Lehman College. She is an administrator for a university in NYC. She loves to travel and wants to see as much of the world as possible. Mary created and maintained a community/political blog from 2002 to 2004.
Recently, while browsing the CUNY SPS Community Blog, I noticed a post by Ms. Shannon Gallo in which she posed the oft-asked question of “What did you do this summer?” Although I have heard this question countless times before, just as I am sure most of us have, it never fails to catch my attention. Therefore, as I sit down to compose my latest post, I find myself searching my memory banks for what really happened throughout the months of June and July.
First off, the year 2012 was huge for me, primarily because I turned eighteen! And, as a result am now considered—at least, age-wise—to be an adult which—in my mind—meant I should begin taking control of my life in a more adult fashion. What better way to do that than by obtaining a job and attempting to exact some amount of control over my own finances? So, having set the objective of obtaining a job as my goal for the summer, I immediately started the long process of drafting cover letters, resumes, and introductory letters to companies everywhere. Yet, having little to no work experience was definitely a black mark against me and I found myself growing discouraged as weeks passed with no return calls. As the months of May, June, and July flew by, I had almost resigned myself to the fact that “Operation Get A Job” was probably not going to be fulfilled—at least not this summer…
So when a relative brought home an application from a community advertisement, I barely glanced at it. Why should I think this company would hire me when so many others had not, but under the gentle prodding of family and friends, I filled it out and sent in a resume. Imagine my surprise when the manager returned my call only a few short days later! And before I knew it, I was interviewing for my very first position and being asked about a start-date. Now approximately, two weeks later, I find that I am increasingly adapting to my work schedule, becoming acquainted with my coworkers, and attaining proficiency in carrying out my responsibilities.
Even better, I find that my position is building on many of the lessons I have learned as a student of City University of New York. For example, having a work schedule which I must adhere to is honing my time management skills—it is critical I prioritize so everything which must be done gets accomplished in the time allotted for that particular task. Further, because I work for and in conjunction with many diverse peoples—all of whom with their own ideas, expectations, and behavioral standards—I must use my knowledge of communication to interact successfully, tactfully, and efficiently with everyone.
As of today, the summer has officially ended for me and yet I remain excited because I am on track to graduate at the end of the Fall 2012 semester. Since I have secured employment, the next logical step(s) on the path I am following is to…prep for a Graduate Program and…buy a car!
Wish me luck as I embark on a journey to fulfill these endeavors and I wish you a Very Successful Fall Semester!
Ricci, I.”Summer.” Image. WordPress Blog. 2012.Web
The Central Dallas Ministries Educational Dept. “The Audacity to Learn.” Image. GoogleBlogs. 2012. Web
10 MINUTES AND 10 MILES
In early June, on my very first group run with the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team, I ran for 10 minutes and wanted to cry. Not even 3 months later, through practice and DetermiNation, 10 minutes turned into 10 miles.
Last Sunday, I ran for 10 straight miles for the first time through my participation in the Jack Rabbit Battle of Brooklyn race in Prospect Park. The course consisted of three laps around Prospect Park. Each loop was just a little over 3 miles making the total course 10 miles. It was generally a nice course, mostly in the shade with only one doozy of a hill.
While the change “on paper” seems miraculous, there is no miracle about this great accomplishment. Getting here took practice, persistence and preparation.*
*Please note: This is a personal account of my experience and would like to recommend that anyone wishing to make drastic life changes first consult with a physician on the best course of action.
Currently, my practice consists of long runs, short runs and cross training. I adhere to the following schedule, religiously:
Long Runs, Saturdays
Long runs are all about time on your feet. It’s not about the distance, but more about how long you are running for. When thinking about completing a marathon, it’s not about getting to a 10 minute mile… it’s about conserving energy and practicing running for long periods of time.
Short Runs, Sundays & Tuesdays
Short runs, for me, are about getting in a good workout that strengthens me as a runner. Currently, my short runs are anywhere from 3-6 miles. Initially, they were 1-3 miles. My Tuesday short runs are with the American Cancer Society team. As a group, our coaches teach us running techniques, such as correctly running up and down hills. It’s amazing the amount of detail that goes into a runner’s form!
Cross-Training, Mondays (at a minimum)
I spend time doing yoga, swimming , free weights or sit-ups during my cross-training. Monday is a requirement, but I add more days when my schedule permits.
In the beginning, I practiced running twice a week and cross-trained once a week. Since I never ran before, I needed to start slow. Through the excellent guidance of my volunteer coach from the American Cancer Society, I learned how to set mini-goals for myself while running. Whenever I felt I must stop, I picked a landmark. I would say to myself, “I will only walk to that lamp post, and then I will start running again.” I would allow myself that amount of time to recover and then begin running again as far as I could. When I would feel like quitting again, I would pick a stretch goal and say to myself, “I can stop when I hit the top of that hill.” As soon as I stopped, I would immediately pick my landmark to make myself start running again. That’s really how I got through the first two weeks of running and that practice helped me with my stamina, and truthfully my mental game as well.
Your mind plays tricks on you while you run. I am always having to talk myself through and encourage myself to keep going, even when my mind is tricking me into believing it’s time to stop; or that I can’t go any longer. This is the “mental game” that a runner must win.
My mental game was definitely a “battle” during the Battle of Brooklyn. I hated myself during miles one and two. The entire time I was fighting with myself and telling myself that my plan to run a marathon was ridiculous. I seriously felt angry. A runner accidentally brushed past me, grazing my arm and I wanted to scream. I realized that there was no way I would get through the race if I kept up the bad attitude. Fortunately, just as that thought was crossing my mind, I saw a friend on the sidelines cheering me on. I was so grateful for that external aid which helped me snap right out of that bad attitude and run strong…for a few more miles at least.
By mile four, I started seeing people pass me who were likely on their final loop of the race. It depressed me. I think that’s the hardest part of being in a race. I am so slow, and I know by the time I finish the party at the finish line is over. It was right then and there that I saw one of my volunteer coaches who had come out to cheer me and my teammate on from the sidelines. Amazing how things like that happen to make you feel strong again!
So, I remembered coach’s words of encouragement during training: “This is YOUR training, this is YOUR race. Don’t worry about their training and their race.” I hung onto those thoughts until I hit mile five, the halfway point. I was so excited. I basically kept thinking how every step I took was closer to the finish line, more than halfway closer. That’s how I got to mile eight.
At mile eight, I was convinced I wanted to quit. I was tired and every step was laborious. I remembered my coach again, “Don’t say you can’t do it, say you are doing it!” And that’s how I made it through miles nine and ten. Because I was running in my American Cancer Society t-shirt, strangers in the park would call out at me, “Go ACS!” and “Stay Determined!” This also helped me a great deal.
While it’s so great to have strangers or friends cheering me on from the sidelines, I have to be prepared for the times when they are not there. Running can be very solitary at times. Staying positive and persistent is the only way to get through those times. Practice is not only for physical strengthening, but for mental strengthening as well.
It’s so important to stay hydrated and get proper nutrition prior to and during a run. Some marathon runners actually seek the advice of a sports nutritionist in order to put together a personalized plan. It’s important to try these plans out while training instead of surprising your body on race day.
I prepped the night before this latest race by being sure to hydrate and have a nice big dinner. I woke up at 4:00 AM for the 8:00 AM race and ate a big breakfast: potatoes, oatmeal and a banana. I brought with me some Jelly Belly Sport Beans, Gu Energy Gel, and some EFS powder for my water.
Overkill? Yes, I think so! I definitely did not need all of that; and in fact, I regretted putting the entire EFS packet in my bottle of water. I use Nathan’s Quickdraw Elite which is a handheld water bottle that holds 22 oz of water. I think because I wasn’t used to it, it was way too sweet and too salty and I was just craving real water. I ended up mostly drinking the water from the water stations and hardly drinking any of my 22 oz of EFS water…maybe 4 oz total. I didn’t really care for the Gu, so I ditched that and stuck with the Jelly Belly beans. Even though I plan to continue to modify the fueling plans for myself, the way I fueled this time worked. I didn’t feel nauseous after running I had plenty of energy and was completely hydrated after the race. The only discomfort after race was the muscle fatigue (and soreness).
THE FINISH LINE:
Whether or not there are bystanders cheering you on at the finish line, it’s so rewarding to make it to the finish line of a race. I am always overwhelmed with a great sense of accomplishment; that often emotionally moves me. Whether a part of a race or part of a practice; every run is a milestone and something to celebrate. I constantly congratulate myself, and that’s how I make it to the next practice or run.
When you are part of a community, it’s impossible not to have others jump in to celebrate with you. For example, when I finished this latest race, I was 100% certain there would be no one at the finish line when I got there. What a huge surprise when I arrived, I saw two people still at the finish line cheering. It was my teammate, Rachel (who ran the race as well) and her roommate. After Rachel finished the race, they stayed and waited for me at the finish line until I got there. Their wait was at least 45 minutes, yet they still stayed.
Out of 739 finishers, I came in 737th place running the 10 miles in 2 hours 22 minutes and 2 seconds. Perhaps that’s not the most impressive finish, but for me it’s a huge victory that I am putting in my pocket. I plan on putting another victory in my pocket very soon, the 2012 Komen Greater New York City Race for the Cure on September 9th in Central Park. Please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS to sign up, see who is on your team and learn more about the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.