Posts tagged Running

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.

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.


Captain Kai's NYC Half 2016

NYC Half 2016.

Running late was a good warmup. As I was approaching the entrance to the park, I felt like I was walking into airport security. After all that I still showed up to an almost completely empty corral. While I was warming up, I looked over and spotted my buddy Kevin who I always see running track on Facebook. We chatted about race strategies and complained about cold. It was definitely colder than what I am comfortable with on race day.


There goes the anthem, the horn sounds, and we are off. People were going for it. Lots of heavy breathing going up the first and second rolling hills. I had to keep telling myself that I am running my own race and I need to focus on me. I spent the entire time in the park listening to my breath, glancing at my watch every now and then to check on my pace.

I have to say, I was kind of disappointed when I didn't see the #HRCheerSquad at the FDB Circle. I was really looking forward to seeing the crew. But as I turned the corner on Harlem Hill, I saw them and got the best rush of energy! Alison on the megaphone and #WholeTeamHere. I think I caught them off guard haha, love those guys. But, who's the guy in the green morph suit though?

Photo Courtesy of @suniemi227 via Instagram

Photo Courtesy of @suniemi227 via Instagram

I exit the park, the worst part of the race is over. I'm now running in the shadows of the skyscrapers, so according to my research I should be about half way through. I'm a couple of seconds behind my goal pace, but I have time to catch up. It's go time! In Times Square, I see kids getting ready to earn their own medals in the kids races.

A guy was holding a sign that said "WORST PARADE EVER." Haha funny stuff. Westside highway, I'm still behind goal pace. I can't slow down now, gotta stay focus and drink Gatorade. The highway seems awfully quiet, where is everybody? Regardless, I still have to handle business.

Next stop, Freedom Tower. They were right, the tunnel was a tad longer than I anticipated. I almost ran out of gas and barely made it out. That hill exit though.. Ran by Gilbert from Frontrunners with about 600 meters to go and he said "Go Kai!" So I did. I broke 3 personal records today.