Get Your New York On

I assisted in the activation of Runner’s World‘s participation in the New York City Marathon Expo and race for the past two years. I experienced the devastating natural disaster that was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I watched the terrible disappointment and deep sadness that overcame participants, supporters, the entire community of New York City, and those who came from all over the world. Then, I experienced the revival of the 2013 New York City Marathon where runners came back even more passionate and fired up than in previous years.

This year, I left my job at Runner’s World and I will not be there as a Runner’s World representative. Instead, I will be there running as an individual – representing myself. There are a vast amount of reasons why this race means so much to me; reasons that specifically have to do with the fact that this is NEW YORK CITY. This race takes place in the city that shaped my post-college experiences and has made me the person I am now. New York City has beaten me down, discouraged me, brought me joy, and uplifted me over the course of the past three years. This year, in particular, has been overwhelming to say the least, so I couldn’t be more excited to run this race for those reasons.

I haven’t trained as long or hard as I have in prior races, but I will use every ounce of pain, sadness, and discouragement that has struck me this year.

I know that there are endless reasons for why people run marathons or even run at all. In the end, the finish line is what matters. Getting through something difficult, whether it be a marathon, a sickness, a loss, or any type of hardship is never easy. Sometimes, you want to just give up. Just trust me when I say that making it through is and will be the most rewarding feeling in the world. In the end, this is why we endure any pain at all – getting through it and coming out stronger than before.

Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to give everything I have to finish this race. Although I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be, I know that I can push through. Though it may seem cliche, life is like a marathon. You’re as prepared as you can be, but a lot can happen during the miles in between. You just have to get through it.

Hold Onto What You Love

This will be the first time that I’m writing about running in quite some time, so pardon me if I’m a bit rusty.

Somewhere along the journey of my path to “finding myself”, I lost my connection to running. I’ve had a disconnect from this part of my life ever since I got promoted to a new job within my company back in November of 2013.

I used to work directly with Runner’s World Magazine, where I had hands on experience working with the people who really made the magazine come to life. In my first year and a half of working at Runner’s World, I was fully immersed in all things running. I ran my first half marathon, my second half marathon, and eventually my first full marathon all within the very first year of working at my company. It was surreal. It was a dream come true.

However, somewhere along the way, my priorities shifted. After I got promoted, running became more of a sideline task. It became an “if I have time” item on my to-do list. Ever since that happened, I’ve felt more lost than I’ve ever been in my whole life.

Throughout my life, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing out a list of goals that I want to accomplish in the beginning of every new year. One of my goals for 2014 was to run another half marathon and full marathon. So far, I’ve gone through all of 2014 without running a single race, not even a 5K.

I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon back in January/February. By doing that, I planted the idea in my head that I was going to complete my goal of running a marathon this year.

Later in March, my friend and I decided to spontaneously book a trip to Australia (which was actually another goal on my 2014 list – to travel to a foreign country)

As the weeks went by and the San Francisco Marathon was getting closer and closer, I ended up backing out of running it. I had to sacrifice the race to save money for my trip to Australia. I had booked my flight to be exactly one week after the day of the marathon – A wonderful idea that was on my part…not.

Not running the San Francisco Marathon was devastating. I was heartbroken. I was completely disappointed with myself because I’ve never set my sights for a goal that I couldn’t eventually accomplish.

After a series of discouraging events prior to my trip to Australia, I was feeling defeated. I’ve always been a very lucky person. Things have always somehow worked out for me without ever having to put in too much effort.

This year did not follow that pattern.

But, in a bizarre turn of events, my year began looking up ever since I returned from my trip, reassuring me that things really do eventually work out…with time.

Therefore, I’m proud to announce that I will be running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on November 2nd, giving me hope that although I was down, I am not out.

I’ve began training again for the first time in over a year and I have never felt more alive. There’s something about running that makes me feel balanced. There’s something about it that makes me feel like I have meaning in my life. I may be wrong, but I think that’s called passion.

So my advice to you is this: If you have found something or someone that makes you feel completely alive, makes you feel completely lost if you don’t have it, makes you wake up in the morning feeling like you can conquer the world, then PLEASE by all means, hold onto it.

It’s very rare to find something or someone that you truly care about and life is just too short to roam the earth feeling lost.

Happy Anniversary, Big Sur Marathon

The 2014 Big Sur Marathon took place in Monterey, California today. Waves of nostalgia have been flowing in and out of my brain for the past few weeks. As I’ve watched the seasons change from the bitter Winter to the slow immersion of Spring, I’ve been trying to think of the things I’ve accomplished so far in 2014. My immediate response: “Nothing”

We already have 4 months of 2014 under our belt, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been on cruise control for the past few months. This past Fall, my life had undergone some drastic changes. I was in a very uncomfortable place between settling into a new apartment as well as a new job. Now, I’m on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I’m craving for some kind of chaos. Some kind of challenge.

With the 2013 Big Sur Marathon being my first marathon last year, I can’t help but look back and think about the training that I did last year in comparison to my training this year. My next marathon is the San Francisco Marathon coming up in July and I’ve been starting to worry about how calm I’ve been towards it. I feel less anxiety, less excitement, less seriousness, less motivation. I don’t know what happened between last year and this year, but my fire has been going out in terms of running; not even just running. I’ve also felt my steam running out in terms or writing as well.

Maybe all of the drastic changes that were happening to me in the Fall were actually a good thing. Maybe it’s exactly what I needed to keep me on my toes.

When we feel like we’re losing our fire, our motivation, our drive, how do we get it back?

I know I shouldn’t be complaining because this is the calmest I’ve been in quite some time. But as they say, there’s a calm before the storm.

I guess I’m just waiting for the next storm to come in my life…

Results

I’ve always taken pride in my ability to get things done quickly, but with efficiency. I always anticipate results to manifest as soon as possible. Call me a control freak, but I have to admit that I try to do everything in my power to make sure that the results that I want to happen will happen. Unfortunately, I never take into account the fact that things don’t always go the way you expect them to. You can’t control certain situations.

It’s actually counter-productive to be “too hands on”. I convince myself that constantly holding hands every step of the way actually drives me further away from the results that I want. I guess this is why I’m so consumed in running and training for races. I’m in complete control of how far and long I run. I can plan every week with how much I want to get done and if I fall short, then I have no one to blame myself.

Yet, even in running, you still can never predict what your results will be. Even after all of the hours, days, weeks, and months of training that I put into a race, things can still go wrong along the way. I don’t know why I can’t accept this truth when it comes to life.

After the countless number of races that I’ve ran ever since I first started running, I’ve come to understand that things happen outside of my control. Over the years, I’ve let go of beating myself up if I don’t get the time that I want. I used to be really hard on myself in cross country and track when I was in high school. Thankfully, I’ve matured since then. I just wish I could grasp this level of maturity for the rest of my life already. I can simply apply this understanding to relationships, work, etc…but I don’t. And I don’t know why.

I look back on every relationship I’ve ever been in and I’ve tried to control every single one of them. And where has this brought me? Nowhere.

I continue to drive people away with my continuous anxiety, impatience, and over-eagerness. I don’t know how to remove myself from the situation and just let things fall together (or apart) as they should.

It’s so easy for me to write about this, but applying my understandings to the other areas of my life seems like an impossible task.

It’s ironic that what I really need to do to progress is just slow down, not speed up. Results will always come in time.

RACE REPORT: Big Chill 5K

Distance: 5K (3.1 Miles)
Date: December 8th, 2013
Location: Rutgers University- New Brunswick, NJ

Yesterday, I ran my first race since August, when I ran the 5K leg of the St. Mary’s Triathlon in Huntington, West Virginia. (I still don’t count the Electric Run as a race and I never will)

I ran the Big Chill 5K for my 5th consecutive year which takes place at my Alma Matar, Rutgers University. It’s one of the largest 5K’s in the state of New Jersey, and personally, one of my favorites. Not only is it one of the more competitive races in the state, but it also contributes to a great cause. In it’s 11th year, it grows larger and larger as a well-known race where thousands of toys are collected upon race registration to donate to children during the holiday season on behalf of the charity organization, Toys for Tots. Each year since I’ve ran this race, I’ve never been disappointed with the turnout. The mixture between the sense of community, enthusiasm, and competitiveness makes this a race worth running.

The course takes you through the College Avenue Campus at Rutgers University and enters into Buccleuch Park, which is a prime running course for many local high school cross country teams as well as the training grounds for Rutgers University athletes. The final stretch of the course brings you back down College Avenue, ending in front of the College Avenue Gymnasium where the course begins. This course is quick and fairly flat, which makes it great for setting a PR (personal record) There is a slight incline in the first mile, but it’s smooth sailing once you get into the park and are nearing the finish line.

I hardly trained for the race this year, and to be honest, I typically never do because I like to run this race for fun. It has become a tradition for me and although I’m usually hard on myself with my finishing time, I always have to remind myself that ‘you reap what you sow’.

The Big Chill 5K holds a special place in my heart with great sentimental meaning because I regard this race as the milestone race that got me back into running, post-high school.

(For those of you who have been following my blog, I was very serious about running throughout high school. It has always grounded me and it still grounds me. I’ve written many times about how unbalanced I become when I don’t run)

When I first entered college, I had a hard time dealing with the many transitions that came my way. Running was a significant remedy for me to cope with these periods of change. It continues to remedy me to this day.

Running the Big Chill 5K has become a constant these past few years. It reminds me that no matter how busy I get, I can always make time to run. To clear my head. To motivate myself. To challenge myself. To heal myself.

Although I hardly trained for this race, I’m still amazed at how strong I still am. It just goes to show how mental strength can so greatly surpass physical strength. Where the mind leads, the body follows.

Overall, I had another great year at this race and I plan on continuing to run this race no matter how un-prepared I may be.

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RACE REPORT: Electric Run

I’d like to preface this race report by saying that I should hardly be calling it a “race report”.

This past Saturday, I participated in the newly trending fun run called the Electric Run in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a 5K evening race that took place at Floyd Bennett Field at the Aviator Sports & Events Center at 8PM on both Friday night and Saturday night.

I signed up for this race several months ago after being convinced by someone that I met from Nike Run Club to join with her group. I didn’t know what to expect and I always like to try something new, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve never ran a race without being competitive or training before, so this was definitely an experience for me. At first, I couldn’t even comprehend the idea of running “for fun” To me, every race that I’ve ever signed up for, I was aiming to set a PR (personal record).

When I picked up my race packet at the Sports Authority on Third Avenue on Wednesday, the line wrapped around the entire store. I went during my lunch break at work because I figured it would be easier to get it over with earlier on in the day. Apparently, everyone had the same idea as me. Once I was on line to pick up my race packet, I finally started getting excited as I saw the herds of people coming in. This seemed like a pretty big deal. Up until a week before the event, I had completely forgotten that I was even signed up for the Electric Run; although, I don’t know how I possibly could because it was the most expensive 5K that I’ve ever signed up for.

The total cost was around $65 and that was only because I signed up with a group. The cost to sign up as an individual was approximately $5 more ($70 total). I had anticipated that it would be worth what I paid for and just hoped for the best.

On Saturday afternoon, I headed to Brooklyn from Manhattan to meet up with my group at the Buffalo Wild Wings near the Barclays Center. I wasn’t quite sure why we were were meeting at Buffalo Wild Wings before a race. Typically, I’m very conscious of what I eat or drink before running. Once I got there, everyone ordered beers and baskets full of fried wings. I was in absolute shock. Everyone kept reassuring me that it wasn’t a big deal to drink and eat unhealthy prior to a race like this. I still didn’t understand. In my mind, I was still thinking that I was going to run the entire thing.

Three beers and many wings later, we finally left Buffalo Wild Wings around 7:30PM. The event started at 8:00PM and I was starting to get anxious. Another thing that I’ve never done before was be late to a race. As we were in the cab, I was panicking, thinking that we were going to miss the start of it.

Once we finally arrived at Floyd Bennett Field, it was a few minutes past 8:00PM and we still had to find the rest of our group because they took a separate cab. At this point, my nerves were spinning out of control. I looked around and saw crowds of people who were still mosey-ing their way through the parking lot. Once our group was reunited, we walked over to the start line. No one seemed to be in any immediate rush. I, then, remembered that this wasn’t a timed race.

This was single-handedly one of the weirdest experiences of my life.

We walked almost the entire course which took upwards of about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. The entire time, we just admired the flashing lights, elaborate costumes, and glowing golf cart that was driving around blasting electronic music. We stopped about every 5 minutes to take pictures.The only reason for running was to get it over with quicker.

As an experienced and competitive runner, this was not an ideal situation for me. I must admit that I did have fun, but the cost and reward that I felt I received after participating, I’d like to inform people who are contemplating doing this, that it is definitely more of an experience to enjoy and not take seriously at all, instead of a “race”.

If you have the same mindset that I have, it would also be difficult for you to comprehend the meaning of a “fun run”.

Although it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m glad to say that I tried it for myself. After all, if you never try, you never know.

Running and Chasing

Whenever I get into my over-analytical, over-philosophical, over-exaggerated mindset of trying to find the meaning of life, I always somehow relate everything to running. I’ve always attributed my reasons for running to the problems that I’m usually running away from. To me, running is just one big metaphor for life. Whether it be figurative or literal, I’m always running to or from something or someone.

I’m inside my head a lot. I tend to constantly read too much into things and repeatedly go over it in my mind. Whenever I find it too overwhelming being inside my head, I run. I run because it’s the only thing that can suppress my thoughts. At first, when I start to run, a million thoughts are also running inside my head. Eventually, my thoughts dissipate and my mind goes blank. Then, I’m at peace.

I wish it was that easy for me to be at peace without having to physically go for a run.

I’ve been running for my entire life. I should really say chasing.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been impatient. I still am. I’ve always wanted things to happen right away. I’ve always wanted fast results. I guess that’s what drew me to running. The concept of time and being in control of your time.

I’ve always chased after the things I wanted because I figured that if you wanted something bad enough, you have to go after it yourself. Having that mindset has definitely helped my success in life. Being a “go-getter” is typically a good thing. However, my Mother always told me that I need to learn patience. As I’m getting older, I’ve found that to be more and more true.

There are some things that you can’t chase after. There are some things that you can’t control. There are some things that just come in time. This is a concept that has been difficult for me to wrap my head around because I’ve always attained the things I wanted by going after it. However, some of the things worth having come to you by being patient.

I don’t know how or when it’s going to happen, but I need to learn to stop running so much. And when I say running, I mean it figuratively. I need to stop chasing after the things that can’t be chased.

My First Medium Post: Food and Happiness

The day has come

Two days ago, I finally received my invitation to write on Medium.

A friend of mine had told me about this new writing platform several months ago, and ever since then, I have been striving towards being able to write for them.

Yesterday, I posted my very first entry titled, “Food and Happiness, How our food choices affect our mind and body”

Below is the full text. I hope that you all enjoy this read!

Link: “Food and Happiness”

Growing up as a kid, I’ve always had a hearty appetite. I come from a Filipino ethnic background, which played a significant role in my eating habits. The Filipino food culture revolves around two main food groups: Protein and Carbohydrates (and to be more specific: Meat and Rice)

My parents raised me to never be picky. I always finished the food that was put on my plate and was immediately encouraged to take second servings afterwards. Unfortunately, this transformed into a habit that has translated into my early adulthood, up to present day.

As a runner, the nutrients that I consume are detrimental towards my performance. The food choices I make before and after a race, or even just a light workout, is a tremendous factor in the results that I both see and feel in my body.

Humans, and animals alike, need specific nutrients to fuel their daily activities. A lion’s diet is completely different from that of a squirrel. In turn, a long distance runner’s diet is completely different from that of a competitive bodybuilder’s.

The similarity, however, lies within the affects that these diets have on us.

You may have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”

Well, it’s true.

We are a product of the food that we consume. Our body and mind reacts a certain way to these nutrients . When you eat things that are unhealthy, your performance is going to dwindle and your level of happiness is going to decline. This is a constant struggle for me.

You would naturally assume that someone who exercises frequently is also a relatively healthy eater.

This is not true.

For a lot of people, running or exercising frequently is motivated by their food choices. For example, when I binge on a large dinner consisting primarily of carbohydrates such as rice or pasta, I know that I need to run an excessive amount of miles the next day in order to counterbalance. However, the root of the problem stems from the predisposition that I think I can eat whatever I want because I run so much.

This is a distorted mindset.

It’s a constant struggle for me between the foods that I want to eat and the foods that I should eat. Sometimes after a run, I just want to eat everything, but the kitchen sink. Whenever that happens though, I just end up feeling worse about myself and having the urge to make up for it the next day. There’s no balance. And in life, balance is the key to happiness.

We (especially me) need to keep that in mind for the next time we decide to go on an eating rampage. In the long run, what we eat affects how we feel, both in the mind and the body.

By: Lindsey Lazarte

Iron Strength Workout Recap

I’ve been expanding my horizons lately and trying different types of workouts in the past few weeks other than running. For example, last Thursday, I went to a Hip-Hop dance class with my sister for the first time.

As much as I love running, I also love other variations of exercise that challenge me to utilize different muscles in my body.

Earlier this morning, I participated in an Iron Strength Workout that was held in Central Park at 6AM by the well-known Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Jordan Metzl. This event was held in conjunction with my team at Runner’s World due to the high demand of participation for this type of workout.

I have never done a workout like this before, so I was curious as to what was in store for me. A colleague of mine had warned us, prior, that it was not to be taken lightly, and for him to say that definitely rattled my bones a bit.

I woke up this morning at 5AM on the dot. My first thoughts were, “I can’t believe I’m waking up this early for a workout” (I’m more of night owl when it comes to exercising) I got ready in only a few short minutes and headed over to Central Park.

When I got there, the sky was still dark and my eyes were still heavy. As the sun began to rise, more people started coming in waves and I was finally waking up. Once it turned 6:15AM, Dr. Metzl made an announcement, introducing my colleagues from Runner’s World and myself. Shortly after, we dove right into running.

I had no time to loosen up, so I just had to shake it out during the run.

Below was the structure of the entire workout:

  • Hill Sprints

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up two (2) times, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up three (3) times, jog down

  • Plyometrics

– 6 sets of 15 jumping squats, rotating abs in between

– 3 sets of 15 hill climbers, rotating push ups in between

– 3 sets of 10 burpees, rotating one-legged toe touches across (5 on each leg)

– 3 minutes of planks (1 minute plank on the left forearm, 1 minute plank on your the forearm, 1 minute on both forearms)

(Iron Strength Video Feature on the Runner’s World website)

I’d say that I was feeling the burn right after the 3rd set of jumping squats.

My overall assessment of the workout is an A+ rating. This workout incorporated all parts of the body with enough rest in between for recovery. It included cardio as well weight training, balance, and flexibility.

I was extremely satisfied with how I felt afterwards because my muscles were in pain (which is a good thing) I always love testing my limits and breaking new barriers. I was able to evaluate my current fitness level through this workout and I know now what I need to work on to become a better runner and overall athlete.

What I have taken away from this is the following:

Never be afraid to try new things. You never know if it might be something you fall in love with. And if it’s not, at least you learned something new. Knowledge is power. Expanding our horizons helps us grow.

The Runner's World Team in New York City
The Runner’s World Team in New York City
Group Photo
Group Photo