Posts tagged Harlem NYC

My knees were hurting after running a pretty fast 5k in early December. I had knee pain before but this time it felt different. No amount of icing and ibuprofen could take away the pain in my calves, quads, and knees. I had taken a break from running before but this time, my knees made that decision for me.  

I couldn't run. I really couldn't run. I had seen several doctors, had an MRI and X-rays, bought another knee brace and finally went to a couple of physical therapy sessions. I kept getting different diagnoses. Between the anticipation of a slow recovery process, not being able to run, and being told to just quit running altogether, I was devastated. All the copays, hours on the phone with my insurance, referrals, and needing to take time off from my already hectic schedule to get to a series of appointments was unbelievably frustrating.

Alison referred me to Finishline, a well-known physical therapy clinic in Manhattan. My therapist Alicia was also a runner, and so she understood why I needed to run again. Finally! We were figuring out all the different aspects of my injury that I had to work on rather than just thinking of quitting as the only solution!

As we started to address some form & technique issues, I learned a lot about what I was doing incorrectly. Our short term goal was to get me to run the Brooklyn Half in May (one week to go!). Long term: being the gray-haired old lady running miles on miles on miles.

For the next couple of months I took the time to do my physical therapy exercises/stretches 2 - 4 times/week before bed. I signed up with a gym and had my gym buddies lined up. I had my support system and my weekly PT sessions scheduled. I focused my time on meal prepping. It became like a new routine: PT at home and cheering my friends on from the sidelines. 

Sometimes I would feel defeated and sad because I was benched, but at the end of each day I knew something was paying off because my knee pain was slowly diminishing. The trick to feeling better about it mentally was keeping busy behind the scenes and visualizing myself joining ya'll on a run soon. I kept hearing April's voice in my head saying "you will come back faster and stronger". I had so many high hopes for myself post-injury and lots of supporters in Harlem Run rooting for me.

So even though it wasn't guaranteed that I would be able to run the BK Half, I still signed up when I got an email notifying me of my acceptance. Meanwhile, at Harlem Run, I was pacing the Walk It Out crew and feeling like my old self again. I even started running once a week for 10 min per my therapist's instructions... which, let's face it, really means I'm going to push 15 minutes. Eventually, I was able to run the Washington Heights 5k and got a huge rush of endorphins and motivation.

Even though I ran it successfully, the pain will still come back on occasion. I was so confused! How could I mess up again? And thats when the hard part really starts: the mental aspect. Self doubt fluttered around me. Will I be able to ever run again without pain? Can I do this? Will I have to give up my spot in the BK Half? Soon, the pain became consistent. No running at all, again. I took a step back, stopped PT and stopped going to the gym. I felt sad, defeated, and depressed.

I started running 2 years ago as a way to combat my anxiety and depression and now I was missing my most effective weapon. After a few weeks of soul searching, apathy, anger, and self loathing, I scheduled another PT session. I remember laying on the massage table and just crying while my PT worked out one of the many knots on my quads. I was embarrassed and my therapist was clearly concerned.

I opened up to her about my fears of not running, my brother's incarceration, my struggles to keep one of the last rent stabilized apartments left in Harlem and I made my way home feeling discouraged. But I went back the week after and the week after that. I went back to the gym too. I did my awkward but effective PT at home and went back to Bikram. The pain subsided again and soon after I was able to run 5 miles during a Monday night run. It was the motivation, the confidence, the push I needed to finally say it out loud: I will run the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half. But more importantly I will run.

What's Going on This Month?

Hey everyone! With the weather finally getting warmer (for the most part!) and race season upon us, we've got a whole lot going on. As always, we want to keep you in the loop so you don't miss any cool or exciting things going on #FOMO. So here's what should be on your radar for the next few weeks...


Marcus Garvey Park Cleanup
Saturday, May 14|  8:30-1pm

Every spot in Harlem is special to us, but MGP holds a pretty special piece of our hearts. Why? Cause we meet there every week!! It's also a beautiful and historic spot and it's the site of our Harlem One Miler! So, as a way to thank this park, we'll be volunteering as a group to clean-up the space.  Stay tuned for future community volunteer opportunities!

Additionally, Harlem Routes, a fun and unique scavenger hunt will be taking place right after that. Some participants will be heading over to that afterwards. Click Here to read more.

Photo Courtesy of Javie Gomez

Photo Courtesy of Javie Gomez

NYRR AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon
Saturday, May 21|  7am-Finish Line!

It's that time of year again! Brooklyn Half! We've got a huge group of people running this year's race. If you're one of them, you're in for an awesome day. If you're not running this year, we hope to see you at our Harlem Run Cheer Station. We will follow up with more details as the weeks go on, but definitely be prepared for lots of excitement, cheering, signage, and all around good times!

Memorial Day Picnic + Run
Monday, May 30|  2-7pm

What better way to celebrate the unofficial beginning of summer than with a picnic, #HarlemRun style?! We'll be holding our annual picnic on the Great Hill inside Central Park (roughly 110th street, in the middle of east & west) and if you've been to one in the past, you know it's an event you can't miss out on! All are welcome, so bring friends, family, coworkers, you name it.

Please bring some food, drink, or game (and let's not overload on fruit this year!) to share with everyone. Click Here to RSVP to the Facebook event and write what you will be bringing so that we can coordinate.

Run will take place at 7pm as always!

We're so excited for all of the fun stuff coming up in May and early June, not to mention our Harlem One Miler on June 19th (Father's Day!). As always, we hope that you will all participate in all of our fun events and continue to spread the word about the movement. If you have ayn questions about anything that will be going on, feel free to drop them in the comments.

<3 Harlem Run Captains



7 Weeks Til Harlem One Miler

Hey everyone! If you follow us on ANY form of social media or make it out to our Monday & Thursday runs, you have definitely heard about our favorite event of the year, the Harlem One MilerThis year, we will be co-hosting the 2nd Annual Harlem One Miler in conjunction with Harlem United. This race is awesome because you run around the perimeter of the beautiful Marcus Garvey Park and get a chance to see all of your favorite running partners, HR Captains/Pacers, and members of the Harlem community. What more could you possibly ask for?!

One of the things that makes this race unique is the Family Heat. Bring out your little ones, your furry friends, or whoever else you consider family, and run/walk/skip/shuffle it together! If you're feeling a bit more competitive, there will be a Men's and Women's Heat... And if you're going for the gold, what's waiting for you at the finish line (besides our smiling faces)? A $200 prize, a trophy, other goodies, and of course Harlem One Miler Bragging Rights! 

For those of you who participated last year, you know just how awesome the day was. We had Captains Raydime, Alison, and Amir share their favorite parts of the 2015 Harlem One Miler and what they're looking forward to for this year.

My favorite thing about the 2015 Harlem 1 Miler was being a part of a race that celebrated Harlem families. From the moms and dads to the tiny humans and furry runners, everyone was welcome and had a great time. Prior to this race, I had participated in several races which were always fun, but sometimes too competitive and a bit nerve-wracking. The Harlem One Miler has the competitive heats but seeing the community represented in all its glory is very satisfying. It made it less intimidating to people who don't necessarily run consistently or at all and introduced them to this fun, health-conscious, and supportive community. It made my new life accessible to my non-running friends and family.

This year it is going to be epic simply because the message of #TheMovement has touched so many lives since then. To see this growing community represented now, is really an amazing. And that means more tiny humans and furry friends running through Harlem.


When I think about what I loved most last year, it was watching the family heat; however, what's so unique about our event is that we also have very fast men and women running the course as well. To witness sub 5min racers along the Marcus Garvey Park route followed up by babies taking some of their very first, precious steps along the course is what makes our race  unlike any other race in New York. 


For the first annual #Harlem1Miler the initial task of spreading the word was so much fun. We went from person to person, business to business informing everyone. When the day arrived, setting up and having everyone show up and get ready wasn't a chore but a true joy. The experience was captured effortlessly by Da Ping Luo. This year, we will continue to grow on the foundation we laid last year. Continuous growth and impact to the community we serve, Harlem.