Abra Goes

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Mind your step in Coney Island

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45 minutes of the past three sunny days is the total duration my skin was exposed to the sun without protection. Unfortunately, those 45 minutes involved running on the boardwalk in Coney Island during late morning with the sun doing double time bouncing off of the Ocean.

To compensate, I slathered layer upon layer of sunscreen on after. After my shoulders were red and cheeks a burning. Why don’t they make retroactive sunscreen? Why?

Oh well. I pray that RA will have mercy on me this one time.

And note to self: invent running shoes with a little drawer in the heal for storing sunscreen, and keys. And a banana.

And Dear Coney Island,

Why don’t you take better care of the boards on your walk? A Brooklynite for 6 years, I love Coney Island. But the boardwalk along Coney and Brighton Beach just don’t compare to Jersey’s. I felt like I was running hurdles again, boards were loose, sometimes missing, sometimes replaced with cardboard that’s been bolted down, nails were popping out…Then again, the runners on Coney’s boardwalk were tough and could probably step on a nail without much grief. One fellow, older, Russian and running shirtless with sunglasses materialized just as I was starting to walk because the heat was beating me.

‘Don’t stop. Keep going.’ He said so matter-of-factly, no judgement, no sympathy. It’s simple after all: running hurts. It hurts when you run in the heat with the sun in your eyes, but were it not for running, I wouldn’t have been on the boardwalk by the Ocean on a quiet Monday morning as Coney Island rose for another Memorial Day and little boys from the upper West Side got off at the end of the F line and laid eyes on the classy ‘Shoot the Freak’ for the first time and stared in first awe then fear at the wooden Cyclone coaster when grandpa said through a mouth full of Nathan’s hot dog, “We’re gonna ride that later.”

I’ll post the route later today. If you run the whole boardwalk from one end to the other and back, it’s about 5 miles – not a bad run if you hit it early.



Hit my 42 miles, and I’m on track to do 500 in 2008. No major injuries yet!


Written by abragoes

May 27, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in running

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200 Miles

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Cheers to me. I broke 200 miles recently. That’s 200+ miles ran thus far in 2008.

To put it in perspective:

The Earth’s diameter is 8000 miles. So if I run what I’ve already ran this year 40 more times, I’ll have run the earth’s diameter.

Since January, I’ve logged as many miles as two Ultra-marathoners. But I prefer to equate my strides to about 64.5 5ks.

Is it a runner-thing to count miles? Cyclists I know pat themselves on the back when they do 40 miles here, 20 miles there…but I don’t know any who keep a running tally. Perhaps it’s a runner/writer thing? Counting words, counting miles- it means something to the do-er. Assuring there is substance to the ground beneath my feet.

The sum may not reflect the ultimate question of craft that never really stops tapping behind the eyeballs: Am I getting any better?

The sum does report effort. Gives you marks to celebrate and numbers to rattle off when family wonders why you never call.

I was running 200 miles. Hello?

All but 6 of these miles were ran in NYC – Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the handy, boring treadmill. Very little hill training so far, but I am mastering running along the Hudson River without falling in.

Written by abragoes

May 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm

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The list goes on

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There’s something quite satisfying in creating lists, perhaps because it helps you pull all of those fragments, those ‘note to selves’ & scribbles on napkins, into one place. Title your list and print it out and every bullet of intention becomes final – something you are committed to doing if for no better reason than to cross it off the list.

My almost-daily runs afford me the time and patience to massage problems. Even when I’m not consciously trying to come up with a solution, running puts things in perspective so worries get to breathe.

Because of running I: breathe better, eat healthier, get sick less … and write more. The obsessive tendencies of writing are also driving my running. When running, I’m thinking about running- conditioning, finishing marathons, seeing the world on foot- and putting this all into lists.

New-ish runners focused on building endurance ought to try making lists while running. It forces your mind into repetition. I find that my breathing syncs with my body best when my mind is preoccupied. Just don’t fool yourself into delusions of multi-tasking. At the end of the run, most of these lists are useless. The 25 Worst Books I ever read, for instance, did nothing for me.

My list of the moment is vague and open to suggestions. (Hoping to find some great runs mentioned in First Marathons):

Favorite Places To-Run

  1. Pacific North West (Haven’t been yet, but I want to run every inch of this region)
  2. Grand Canyon (Haven’t been yet, but I will. Oh yes)
  3. Jersey Shore (I’ve only ran Ocean City’s so far)
  4. Manhattan Waterfront (My favorite paths so far include 125th down the west side, along the southern tip, and up to the Brooklyn Bridge)
  5. Boston through Charles River Park (been here, but haven’t ran it yet)

Written by abragoes

May 19, 2008 at 7:33 pm

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Get out of my head, you

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In less than a month I’m off into a void… losing sleep watching the clock. And it seems like everyone else in the world knows where they’re going.

Running is keeping me sane. It’s not getting me anywhere, but it’s keeping me sane. I’m burning off the nervous energy, which replenishes itself in full each morning. My distance has plateau-ed at about 15-20 miles/ week, for now. Once I get past the turbulence of going from full time employment to freelance, I plan to step up my training and actually follow a program. I’m not sure when it happened, but running is essential.

Pictures from Ocean City are on their way. You know how unreliable these digital cameras are- always late on delivery.

Written by abragoes

May 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Posted in freelance life, running

Have a wonderful weekend

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Don’t let a little rain stop you from running.

Written by abragoes

May 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Posted in running

My first 5k

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I ran my first 5k through Riverside park this morning.

Though misty near the Hudson river, it didn’t rain on us, for which I’m thankful. But I was way under-dressed for the chilly morning. We arrived at registration right on time, an hour before the race. It took all of one minute to give our names and get our numbers, leaving an hour to jump up and down and try to stay warm.

Who knew you can check a bag and coat at registration? I arrived in thin pants and a thin hoodie over my running top, holding my metro card and questioning how anyone does these races without bringing any stuff. Now you and I know their dirty check-in secret. Next time I’m checking two bags. And a coat.

Unfortunately, no pictures because none of my bums friends came to run along side me, documenting each stride, frame by frame. My running partner, RC, ran, too. But apparently he’s too uncoordinated to run and photograph me. I’ll have him work on that.

It feels silly to talk about running a 5k, especially as I’m reading First Marathons, edited by Gail Kislevitz, and just finishing Ben Cheever’s Strides. After reading about grueling, exhilarating, lengthy 26.2 mile marathons, 5ks go by fast. I couldn’t believe how quickly the whole 5k shibang I’ve been obsessing about was over.

The fastest man was 18+ minutes and fastest woman was 19+ minutes.

I had energy to burn after so I know I could have gone way faster. When the race started, about a hundred people charged and I thought ‘They’re gonna pay for it in the last mile when I pass them!’, pacing myself more for 6 miles instead of 3. The chargers never slowed…and I never passed them.

However, I ran my fastest 3.1 miles yet so I can only get fierce from here. Right?

The most difficult and unexpected aspect of running a 5k was pacing myself and breathing. I run with myself all the time so I just assumed I’d naturally find my race pace – slightly faster than my usual. But everyone else seemed to be going so much faster! While I wanted to keep up with that first wave of starting run charger, and I don’t think I could have, I didn’t even try because I was pacing. Pacing.

It wasn’t as hard as I though it would be to let people pass me. They just did.

Next time, my pretties. Next time, I’ll do a few training runs at faster than usual/ not quite race pace in order to get my breathing up to speed.

Everyone there was in great shape, and it was nice to be around a large number of runners who all woke up around 5am.There were many smiles before the miles and plenty after as the organizers quickly announced winners and prizes while we all inched away to the warmth of bus exhaust on our faces.

I can’t wait to do another 5k now that I get:

  • When they say ‘GO’ You really ‘GO’ – with kick.
  • 3 miles is not much so if you run regularly, you really can push yourself.
  • There’s always going to be handfuls and handfuls of runners who can just run faster than you. It’s fun to be in the same race with them, and maybe one day I’ll be in a handful of someone else’s un-catchables.
  • Find out if you can check bags and if so bring a camera and something warm.
  • bananas and cashewnut butter are our best friends

Here’s the course we ran, south of the George Washington bridge, through Riverside Park. I did my best to

map it, but it’s about .02k short. Jersey’s on the left.:

Written by abragoes

May 3, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Posted in NYC, running, Uncategorized

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Not gonna talk about

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Sorry, but I can’t talk about the 5k I’m going to run tomorrow because it’s my first and if I talk about it I’ll jinx it and probably loose my Mizunos or my lucky laces. I don’t really have lucky laces.

I do have a lucky pin I use to carry around – not wear. Running’s not conducive to wearing this pin and I wouldn’t want to carry it because it’s in the funny shape of a rabbit. And I lost it a long time ago.

But now I’m paranoid, should I have a lucky something for running? Superstition is prevalent in sports. It hints to that magical element that brings mystique to the moment. Because no matter how hard you train or bad you want to either reach your goal or squash your opponent, there’s an unpredictable nature to sports. And here luck comes in to play.

They’ve already changed the course, which I ran last weekend. More people are registered than I thought would be. If it rains. If I don’t eat because I’m nervous and therefore don’t have any energy. If I do eat too much and can’t put one foot in front of the other. If someone steps on my feet on the subway. If my cat accidentally cuts my throat with his well intentioned claws. If I’m just unfocused or having a bad breathing day…

That’s what I get for not having a lucky something to divert pre-race misfortunes.

That I’m not concerned with my speed is helping. But if you see something easy like a lucky paper clip lying around, send it my way please.

Tell me – Do you have a lucky something?


42+ miles in April

Total for 2008 —180 / 500 miles ran

Written by abragoes

May 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm

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