Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It Only Rains on Your Toes

Or so this shoe style would imply.

Can anyone explain how these are practical in the rain?

Perhaps living in NYC (okay, Jersey City is only technically "near" NYC, but I go to the city almost every day, so I'm just going to say "in") has jaded me. Rain clogs (i.e. "Wellies," according to L.L. Bean) would not cut it for wading through 6" deep puddles of backed-up sewer water. But maybe other cities don't have that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mentality of a Half Marathon

Starting Line
Cold. Don't want to take my sweatshirt off, but the volunteers policing the corrals insist that they need to be able to see my running bib and my silly orange bracelet at all times. I humor them and bare myself to the elements (i.e. a dark, windy, sub-40 spring morning), tossing the sweatshirt over the railing of the corral. I hope a nice homeless person finds it!

Gun Goes Off
It's actually more of a buzzer, and the sound is awfully anticlimactic. But shoot, if my heart isn't racing a mile-a-minute! We surge forward in fits and starts toward the actual starting line, where our D tags will start clocking our own personal race times. Even while other people jog around me, I walk, focusing on the perfect first song to get me going. I am not running one step until I get over that starting line!

5k Into the Race
I think I'm finally running at the right speed, with the right-paced people. I almost stepped on at least 5 people's shoes and have been cut off by barely-clad and overly-clad runners at every water station, but after I finally gave up trying to stay in the inside lane and moved to the outside, a bit more space opened up, and I expect the runners will thin out even more as the course continues.

10k Into the Race
Look at all these spectators! I am so lucky to be running this race in NYC, because even if only 1/10th of the people running convinced just one person to come cheer for them, we'd have 1,000 spectators. Plus, reading all the signs and seeing the little kids dressed up is so fun. I cannot believe I am halfway done already! Have definitely hit my stride.

15k Into the Race
Oh my god, is it over yet? Why does my body feel like it has used up all its reserves? I cannot possibly feel this depleted already; I have at least 4 miles left to run. And they're all flat! The hills are over. So why does this feel so much worse than the first 9 miles felt?
I have to be in good form, because all my friends are cheering for me at the
end of the race. I cannot look like I am about to die! Run strong, Goldstein--come on!

20k Into the Race
Pick it up. I don't care if you just ran that last mile too fast; if you don't leave it all out here on the course, you are going to be mad at yourself, and you know it. So let's go. Pace with this guy on the right, in the blue. You and he have been playing chicken the whole race, so now is not the time to let him blow by you. And look, you can catch that lady up ahead. Look how short her legs are! Don't go all-out yet, though. Save something for the last 800.

Last 800 Meters
It's burning! It's burning so bad. My legs are going to collapse into a pile of jelly. And where is R___? I should have told him what I was wearing before I left this morning. And A___!!! Why didn't I tell her how to find me? What if I cannot find them after I finish? Crap, that Spandex girl just turned it on. It's now or never. There's the 400 sign. That's one lap of a track! And is someone calling my name? There's R___! And A___! And the finish line, so make it count....

Results for this race:

Race Length Finishing Time 5/10/15/20k Splits Average PaceOverall Place Gender Place (All Women) Age Group Place (F18-24)
13.1 miles 1:35:08 23:43/ 46:26/ 1:08:54/ 1:30:51 7:16/mile 1,147/10,186 248/5,429 83/1,329

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I am going to be one of those people who does not age well.

I don’t necessarily mean this in terms of appearance—there’s no real knowing how I’ll look five, ten, twenty years down the line, and if current compliments are any indication, I should manage to stay looking several years younger than I am, which is always an advantage for a woman.

No, what I am talking about is performance. Up until about a year ago, I thought when people claimed, “I’m old,” as a reason they couldn’t or wouldn’t do something, they were lying. These people were obviously just lazy or didn’t have strong enough mental discipline. Of course they could walk/run/swim/bike/lift/etc.—they were just using their age as an excuse.

Suddenly, however, after suffering two running injuries and undergoing multiple bouts of physical therapy, I am starting to become aware of every twinge, ache, cramp, and throb that occurs in my body. I am starting to notice that touching my toes—a feat I achieved only near the end of high school as a result of stretching for the sports I played—is getting more and more difficult, and that after a workout, I no longer recover by the next morning.

I am starting to worry about what sitting slumped in an office chair, squinting at a screen, and typing on a keyboard for eight hours-a-day, five days-a-week is going to do to my shoulders and back and eyes and wrists. (And, of course, this is ignoring the evening and weekend hours I spend at home on my laptop.) I am suddenly more afraid to do anything remotely risky with my body, for fear of getting hurt. And a whole new category of words has started to scare me: carpal tunnel, arthritis, tendonitis, osteoporosis.

This being said, I now admire people like my parents even more: they never complain about their bodies or their age. Growing up, I barely knew they were human, they complained so little. I see parents zooming around Central Park with jogging strollers and shake my head in admiration—I can only hope to be that fit and motivated by the time I have kids (if I have kids). And while I would say that I was impressed when I first heard about Dara Torres, a 41-year-old five-time Olympian who won the 100m freestyle at the U.S. Nationals fifteen months after giving birth to her first child, I would now say that I am in awe.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another ShopRite Curiosity

Back in December, I wrote about witnessing an Asian couple buying an entire shopping cart full of white bread. This past Saturday, I witnessed yet another bulk-purchasing phenomenon: a middle-aged Filipino man in front of me in line unloaded his cart, which consisted of four 64-ounce jugs of Welch's grape juice, a box of frozen breaded chicken patties, a pack of pencils, and eighteen--that's right 18 (I counted them)--bottles of multicolored dishwashing soap: 8 green, 5 orange, 3 purple, and 2 yellow. What could he possibly be doing with all of this soap?


  • Washing all of the floors in his house. (I've used dish soap before!)
  • Preparing a taste testing experiment: can people tell the difference between a $5 bottle of wine and grape juice mixed with dish soap?
  • Making homemade bubble solution for an entire preschool.
  • Bathing all of the animals at the humane society shelters...and maybe some of the caretakers, too.