Monday, September 27, 2010

Calling all Divas!

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published this article about men who enter women's road races, in some cases to finish closer to or at the front of the pack, in some cases to run with a female loved one, and in other cases to try to get a date somewhere along the course.

This coming weekend is the Divas Half Marathon on Long Island, New York, which features a half marathon and a 5K race. It is part of the Women's National Running Series that encourages women to celebrate their strengths, both on the road and in life. The Divas Half Marathon does not forbid men from entering it's events, but deeply discourages men from entering the half marathon. This day will be all about the women! Their mantra? "You know who you are: you are beautiful, strong, inspiring, and you can do anything you set your mind to do."

The Women's Running Series, and races like the Divas Half Marathon, remind me of how important programs like Girls on the Run are to the development of self-confidence, self-respect, and a sense of ambition in young girls. In fact, that mantra from the Women's National Running Series is very similar to the overarching lesson we teach the girls who participate in Girls on the Run. The fall season of GOTR starts this week, and I can't wait to start showing my girls that they are capable of meeting whatever goals they set for themselves, regardless of the pressures or obstacles they face.

As a tribute to the new GOTR coaching season, I'll be running in the Divas Half Marathon on Sunday morning wearing a race bib proclaiming that I'm a "Diva on the Run". (And as always, I'm running to support the GOTR programs through my participation in SoleMates.) There's still time to sign up, if you'd like to run with me! Or just come and cheer for me and the other 5,000 amazing women entrants as we take to the streets of Long Island to show off how proud we are to be both women and runners.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall is off and running - Almost!

On Monday, September 27 - one week from today - my fellow coaches and I will be kicking off the first coaching session for the Girls on the Run fall season at Harlem Village Academy of Leadership, a charter school in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. We'll be meeting with the GOTR participants twice a week to coach them through running workouts and lessons on healthy lifestyles, self respect and respect for others, teamwork, and community values.

As you may know from prior posts, I'm also running on the GOTR SoleMates charity team. I've already raised nearly $1,500! But, of course, every bit helps towards ensuring that the GOTR program is able to reach as many young girls as possible without having to turn any away. If you haven't yet supported GOTR and would like to, you can do so using this link.

Here are some photos from the spring season's 5K fun run and season-ending party. Enjoy! And stay tuned for updates about our season in the coming weeks!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Ok, so I finished my 20 mile run, heading south on Chicago's lake front path for a bit of a change. I accidentally ended up running 20.4 because I couldn't see the street sign where I planned on turning around from the lakefront path because of the Chicago Half Marathon that was going on at the same time. Oops!

I will admit it may have not been such a great idea to run down past Solider Field since it was the Bears' opener yesterday (Bears win!) and the smell of tailgaters cooking made it really hard to not stop and beg them for a hot dog or burger. (Note to self, eat before running 3+ hours). Not to worry, though! I made up for it afterward by engaging in what many refer to as "Sunday Funday" with my roommate and friends. I did reward myself by eating some poutine fries from a place called the Rocking Horse. If you're unfamiliar with them, basically, as you can see from the photo, they are fries covered in cheese and gravy. I'm pretty sure I ended up adding back on every calorie I burned and then some. If you've ever had them, while you feel disgusting after you eat them, you know it is completely worth ever bit of food-guilt. But after working hard running those 20 miles, I ate them guilt-free. Well, almost.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tough as Manicured Nails

Yesterday, I ran the Fitness Mind, Body + Spirit Games 4-mile women's run in Central Park. The event featured a 4-mile men's race, 4-mile women's race and kids' races for kids of all ages. We had beautiful weather in NY yesterday - sunny, but not too hot - a perfect day for a road race!

Rocco DiSpirito kicked us off with a pep talk about the importance of fitting fitness into his, and our, daily routines. Until he spoke, I had no idea that he competes in triathlons! We also got to hear great words of motivation from my friend, Queens run buddy, and Fitness Editor-in-chief Betty Wong Ortiz: no matter what our fitness goals are, we should strive to achieve them fearlessly, but we should also never forget to have fun along the way. And she also reminded us that "sweat is sexy!" Oh yeah! We were all ready to work up a sexy sweat racing through the roads of Central Park!

Rocco and Betty, left, ready to welcome us across the finish line! (This photo and others from the event are available at New York Road Runners)

Taking advantage of the fantastic conditions in the park and the energy through the crowd of women around me (the men ran their race separately an hour before us), I had an awesome run - my fastest race in years. Finishing 4 miles in 31:34, I averaged 7:53 per mile. I could barely believe it when I saw the results, but I also knew I had run a fast run. How exciting!

My next race will be October 3 in Eisenhower Park, Long Island, NY. It's the Divas Half Marathon and 5K. I'm looking forward to tackling that course for a new personal best in the half marathon. Come cheer me on! Or, show off your inner Diva by running the half marathon or 5K, too! (The half marathon is open only to women; the 5K is co-ed.)

After the Divas Half Marathon, my next race will be my official New York event for Race Within US: the ING New York City Marathon.
Me, right, proudly showing off my first-time accomplishment at the finish line of the 2009 NYC Marathon. I can't wait to take on the course as a seasoned second-timer!

At this very moment, the Timex Countdown clock on the marathon website says we're just 55 days, 18 hours, 15 minutes and 51, 50, 49... seconds away from the start line! RUSer Mark is coming in town to run, too, as is my friend Heather, who chose NYC as her first ever long distance road race. Way to go, Heather! As a Girls on the Run SoleMates team member, you'll find me on the course in support of the programs of GOTR. I'll also have already kicked off the fall season of GOTR coaching by then, so I hope to show the girls I'll be coaching that it is possible to achieve a significant fitness goal with some dedication, training and enthusiasm. The support you've all given me while I strive to reach my goals is truly appreciated! And if you would like to support GOTR's work, they would so appreciate the assistance as well!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wendy Whiner takes on 20 miles.

Ok, it's been a while since I've posted something here on the blog, so I'm taking this urge to whine as an opportunity. : ) So I'm supposed to run 20 miles this Sunday in preparation for my next marathon in Bar Harbor, Maine on October 17, 2010. But I don't wanna! I wish I were looking forward to it more than I am, but to be honest, I'm a little bored with the scenery around here. I do love the lakefront, which covering 20 miles allows me to run through lots of neighborhoods, like Logan Square, Roscoe Village, Uptown, Ravenswood as well as hit the lakefront path for several miles. But after running 17 and 18 mile runs in the past few weeks, I just want to run somewhere different. I cannot wait to run in Maine though, where everything will be beautiful, scenic and most importantly, different! I hear the foliage is great in October. (And I will be accompanied by my favorite running partner, my dog Dean. I hope there are lots of squirrels to entertain him!)

I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for a good cause, i.e. to raise money for Hospitals for Humanity and Don't Bully my Breed. However, I need your help in actually raising those funds! HFH is still taking monthly trips to Haiti to help those who are left without medical care due to January's earthquake. And DBMB is always in need of donations to help provide food and vet care to the sweet dogs that just can't seem to find permanent homes. Every little bit helps, even if you can only donate $5. Please check out the links to make your donation.

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement! Also, if anyone is interested in joining me in Indianapolis, I've registered for the Monumental Marathon in Indy on November 6th. There is also a 1/2 marathon and 5K option to suit all levels of runners. I hate to travel alone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Nice Long Weekend for a Good Long Run

The coming month is pretty quiet for me, race-wise. I actually don't have any races planned for the first time in perhaps this entire year!

But I do have a lot planned for October and November, including running the Divas Half Marathon in Long Island, NY on October 3, the ING New York City Marathon on November 7, and the Philadelphia Half Marathon on November 21. I also might add in the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in South Carolina on October 24, if my schedule allows. Fellow RUS-er Mark is coming in from Chicago to check off NY alongside me in the NYC Marathon. And my great friends from the Red Dress Run for Women in Hartford, Connecticut (read about our fun run here) are joining me at the Divas Half Marathon. They're running in the 5K event that morning, so if you'd like to join a strong, energetic group of women for 3.1 miles of fun, send us a note and meet us there... you can join us for a post-race party, too!

But with no races planned for the next 4 weeks, I'm looking forward to focusing on training, rather than racing. How refreshing! I do need to step up the miles now as I get ready for the NYC Marathon. This weekend, I'll take advantage of the three-day Labor Day weekend to fit in a 15 mile run. Anyone want to join me?

If high mileage runs aren't your way of enjoying a holiday weekend, try to do something else outside. In a few weeks as the weather turns colder, you'll be glad you took the time to enjoy some outdoor activities!