From Running to Rolling!

In the short time that I've been a runner, I have accomplished so much - my first half marathon, my first ultra on a trail, my first marathon, and countless other shorter races! I worked hard to become an athlete and was proud of myself and the incredible things I have achieved. However, in these short 19 months, I grew tired and lost the passion and drive for training.  

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Just the thought of HAVING to run one more mile drained me. My body could physically go on, but my mind was not having it. I didn’t want to wake up and HAVE to run that day, or any day for that matter. I needed a vacation … So I did the most logical thing I could think of: I bought a bike.

I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager, but I wanted a fresh activity to keep me active and to get me excited about movement and training again. I heard about the Five Boro Bike Tour that takes place in May so I decided to sign up and spend the beginning of the year training to ride 40 miles through the city, instead of running.

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After shopping for a bike, I was accepted into a free Group Bike Leader training program in East Harlem which was a tremendous boost to my confidence in my riding ability. In the course of five 3-hour training sessions, we learned about traffic laws, the rules of the road, riding with traffic, proper hand signaling, how to fix a flat, gear shifting, creating routes and cue cards, and public speaking tips. When it was over, I was definitely prepared to take on the road.

With the help of some lovely ladies in an informal Sunday Long Ride group that Alicia and I started, on Sundays we practiced riding long until we were up to 30 miles before the big day. The morning of the bike tour Alicia, Lisa, Nana & I set out on a new adventure proudly reppin’ Harlem Run. It was a well organized event, and perfect cloudy day for a ride.

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At the first big aide station in East Harlem around Mile 11, JD and Darresa came out to cheer for us. We got our hugs, smiles & mimosas but JD's speaker saved the day. From that point on we were rolling along the route, blasting tunes and just having fun. Somewhere on the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn, around mile 30, all of us were ready to be done.

Saddle-sore and hungry, we pushed ourselves up and over the Verrazano Bridge - a challenge I can’t believe I managed to do because running over it during the NYC marathon was hard enough ... but this was harder still. We finished strong in Strong Island (aka Staten Island) and got our medals with the bridge as a backdrop. What a day, but what a thrill! It was a great experience that I was glad to have shared with these girls.

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Now that the tour is over, these days I’m just riding for fun. We’re keeping our Girl Gang Group Ride going on Sundays and I’m putting my leader training to good use by leading and assisting with free community rides for all abilities out of East Harlem. I’ve grown to love biking and the electric feeling of the wind on my face when I go fast. I’m even trying to teach myself to ride with no hands , but my balance is work in progress lol.

The break from running reset my mind & it turns out that trying a new sport was just what I needed. I can finally say that now I’m ready to run!

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-Philippa

Philippa GodoyComment
Brooklyn Mile Memories

With one of our favorite running events coming up -- The Brooklyn Mile -- coming up on August 19th, we're flashing back this week to when Captain Amir and HR Regular/Run-Walk Queen, Cynthia, crushed it. Are you looking for a run, fast race to add to your calendar with good vibes? Read Cynthia & Amir's recaps below and SIGN UP HERE!

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Cynthia

At first, the idea of a race in the middle of August did not appeal. But when I saw that "Masters Women" (Me? A "Master" in my second race? I like that terminology!) would kick off at 9am, I decided I could brave the morning heat. Although I've gotten myself to the point where I thought "It's *only* a mile," or "*only* 10 minutes of running," we were in the middle of a heat wave and so I figured I would need to take walking breaks.

Well, I didn't need them. The sun was low in the sky at that hour, so almost the entire route was in the shade. I placed myself near the back of the pack, and as the race kicked off, lots of women passed me. But that was okay, because my game plan was just to stay upright and to breathe. I kind of felt like Tracy Morgan's SNL character, Brian Fellows, running in place in front of a green screen upon which they projected various jungle scenes-except I was running through Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Sort of the same, for a Manhattanite.)

I had no illusions of beating my Harlem 1-Miler time of 8:37-not in this heat and humidity-and I made no last-moment sprint in the last 100 yards. So I was pleasantly surprised when I approached the finish line and saw that the clock had not yet hit 9:00. "How the heck did that happen?" I yelled at the clock.

My official time was 8:56. Now, I think I want to run a mile in every borough. Is there a one-mile race in the Bronx? Somebody get on that for me, please...

 

Amir

It's always tough hosting the #Harlem1Miler when you really want to be out there with every else running your fastest mile. When we got wind of the Brooklyn Running Co. hosting their inaugural one mile race across town I jumped immediately at the opportunity and signed up to represent the movement!

The day of the race, it was so good to see so many familiar faces, take some pre-race photos and just chill. After warming up, the gun went off and it was off to the races! The first quarter was just us runners and the streets, and then slowly but surely more groups of cheer squads started to emerge. Seeing everyone was a great spark to push me further. As soon as I hit the 800m mark I went into over-drive!

Special thanks to all the cheer squads. All boroughs were represented and everyone crushed it!

From 50 to Half Marathon

Running, or in my case sexy pacing, started the spring after my 50th birthday (January Baby).  I had just passed a monumental birthday and was feeling stagnant in life. I had seen some incredible life transformations from several friends that took up running and had met Alison Desir several years earlier.

At that time, Alison was scheduled to have her first group run the following week, but I had chickened out and did not show.  Fast forward a few years, I gathered up a few of my friends and we stood in front of Harlem Shake waiting for people to arrive, and arrive they did!!!

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At 6:55PM, it seemed like the gates opened and runners came from all directions. I had never ran with a group, but with the "Sexy Pacers", I felt so welcomed. Soon after, I was hooked, and ran with the group every Monday into my 51st birthday. 

With running, new friends, and positive changes at work, all appeared great in the world.  Despite most of my work-related travels falling on a Monday, the HR family had become very important to me and I continued to run in all of their special events: the 1 Miler, Turkey Trot, Holiday Run and my favorite -- helping to bring Harlem Run pop ups to my second home, Detroit!

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Now, 52 ... not a great year for me.  Keeping it well-hidden from everyone, I had fallen into a negative place.  Travel was getting to me, diet was terrible, wine consumption up, sleep patterns off, and I was the heaviest I had been in life.

December 2, 2017 -- the day that changed it all. Sitting in LAX having a cheeseburger, fries and wine before boarding a red-eye back to NYC,  I see a drop of blood fall onto my plate. I picked up my napkin and realized that my nosebleed had gotten much worse. I ran out to find a restroom and after about 10 minutes, the sink counter and floor were covered in blood.  An incredible man stayed with me, radioed for help, and LAFP paramedics arrived.

On a side note, the man treating me had run the NYC Marathon a few weeks earlier. Me being me bent over and bleeding bragged about the HR cheer station and he remembered us!!!!  Now back to my story...

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It turns out that my blood pressure had been running at 240/180, which caused my nosebleed to intensify.  After an ER visit and talking with doctors, I headed back to NYC with new goals and things to make a priority. New diet, new relaxation methods, brand new outlook on life! 

Fast-forward to this past January and I had lost about 10 pounds and had started to get back into regular exercise, but was still feeling nervous about bleeding. I received an invite to a Harlem Run New Years Day Run.  I was in -- I needed a safe place with incredibly caring people to elevate my heart rate for the first time. There is no better group than the Harlem Run Leadership.  I ran one loop with Raydime along side me. I was OK!!!

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Today I am 30 pounds gone and feeling GREAT!  Many of you probably don't know me as Monday’s are sometimes difficult for me but I still run at least twice a week.  I still consider myself Harlem Run, this group will always continue to be my inspiration. I travel differently now, you can see in the photos I traveled to 6 cities in 4 weeks and ran in everyone!  Now here I am creeping in on 54 and I just registered for my 1st half marathon: The Detroit/Canada International Half!

I feel GREAT.  Thank you Harlem Run and everyone involved.  In the words of Alison Desir I now live by: “take control of your health”.

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- Frank

Frank DiBrinoComment