Friday, July 12, 2013

Chariots of Tired

Here is my plan for the NYC Marathon in case I get tired.  The video is a little long, but worth watching if you didn't see it during the Olympics Opening Ceremonies in London!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not-So-Cool Runnings

Okay, so maybe I have too much time on my hands.

As I was trying to figure out how to "customize" this blog (I think I need help from my brother, so expect a call, Chris), I was going through my pictures and looking at the different ways people react to a camera during a run.  There are usually tons of people snapping pictures of the runners, whether official event photographers, people out to cheer on their family/friends, or just random spectators. I've noticed, depending on the type of runner, the response to the photographers vary.  

For instance, consider the fast runners, aka the "elites".  These runners, they just want to win, or break a record, or win in their age group.  They usually ignore the photographers, or don't see them because they are running way too fast.  They also generally look amazing in their photos.  Elites look like gazelles, their muscles are rippling, they barely look like they are sweating.  The facial expression on these runners is usually one of determination and valor.  They have their eyes on the prize.

                                     Elites. (All photos credit C. Livingston except my selfie)

Then, there are the rest of the runners, the other eleventy thousand, who are not going to win, or set a record, or even come close to winning.  In this group, I would say there are two categories of runners.  The first is what I think of as Serious Runners.  They look serious, act serious, and running is a very serious activity for them.  These are the people who run before the race to warm up, or maybe run the whole race in the opposite direction to the starting line to warm up. They ignore the camera because they are way too Serious about Running to bother with silly things like how they look while Running Seriously.  I know I am poking fun at them a little, but I have the utmost respect for them and their ability to be as dedicated as they are.  They train hard, race harder, set goals and achieve them.  They push themselves and race against the clock. 

                                          Serious Runners. I am not in this group.

However, I obviously do not belong to that group.  I can't be serious enough to belong to the Serious Runners.  They would never have me. I belong to the second subset of this group, which I will call  Non-Serious-Runners (NSRs).  I, like most of the people in this group, do not want to run before the race--there will be enough running during the race, thank you very much.  I put on headphones and dance while I am waiting for the start.  I have to stop to drink because if I try to drink out of a cup while running I choke. I try to find a garbage pail to toss my empty cup into, rather than drop it on the ground like a Serious Runner.  I sometimes sing words/phrases to songs on my ipod aloud as I am running, which may scare/startle/annoy people.  I will scream when I see people I know, whether they recognize me or not.  I like to acknowledge the people who are there cheering the runners on.  For instance, in some of the local races I've done, I like to give little kids high fives, run through the sprinklers that people in the neighborhood have going in the summer races, and occasionally give the "woo hoo" to groups of spectators.  In my first half marathon in Philadelphia, I high-fived a bunch of drag queens, waved at anyone who was waving as I went by (probably at their friend who was running next to me) and "woo-hooed" at people who were cheering or ringing cow bells or holding up silly signs.   I find that it gives me a huge lift of energy and makes me forget about the fact that I still have 7 miles, 2 miles, or 0.5 miles to go.   And if I lose time on my run while I give little kids high-fives, who really cares?  Not me, I am a NSR!  I am happy, the little kids are happy, the cheerers/sprinkler-spritzers/silly-sign-holders all know they are doing something that is helping me, and are well-appreciated. 

Now, that brings me back to my original thoughts on photographs.  Since I am not a Serious Runner, I am one of those people who notice the photographers.  And, I am vain enough to want to look good in a photograph so I can buy it and give it to my parents so they can display it on their mantel.  Not being married or having kids, having graduated too many years ago to comfortably count, and not going to win the Nobel Prize (at least not this year), I would like them to have a picture or two of me doing something and looking cool while doing it. 

So, how does one look cool in these race photos?    Some people flash the peace/victory sign.  This is cool.  Some people give a wave, but not like they are trying to achieve lift off or have just spotted the radio station award van. They are chill.

                          Despite the fact that this guy is dressed as a caveman (?) he looks cool. 

I have been in enough "official"  race photographs to know I have to really work in order to look good.  I am not a pretty runner.  My face turns all shades of pink and red . My muscles do not ripple.  The look on my face is more like desperation than determination.   I have had more than one picture where I look like I am about to lie down on the ground and die.  If I am feeling good,  I might give the "two thumbs up" sign which is dorky, not cool, or a huge, toothy, Jim Carey-like grin which makes me look insane.  In three out of four of the most recent set of race photos, my eyes are closed.  However,  I am smiling, which means I had a fun enough race to actually have enough wherewithal that I wanted to look decent in a finish photo.  So I guess that is progress.     

What is your suggestion for taking a good race photograph?

                                         Not so cool!  Maybe a little insane. But happy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Here's The Link to My Fundraising Page!

I am very excited to have set up my fundraising page for the NYC Marathon!  I have chosen Pets for Vets as the organization I am fundraising for!  It trains shelter pets, mainly dogs, to become companion animals to service men and women who have returned to civilian life with physical or emotional injuries. 

Here is the link to my page:

Here is the link to Pets for Vets:

I have set this up through an organization called Running on Love, which allows you to raise money for any charity you choose!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Top Eleven List

Those of you who don't run are smart.  Because in the midst of the long humidity and heat wave we are having in the East, running isn't a whole lot of fun for me.  It is actually a lot less than a lot of fun.  It pretty much sucks.  To someone who claims to love running in this weather, I say, "YOU LIE!".  Or else, good for you, but secretly, you make me want to never speak to you again.  This weather really makes me want to never come out of my house again, and I don't even have central air, just two crappy window units that make an awful racket (if anyone help me out with this a/c noise issue, let me know).
However, a poor attitude about running won't get me very far, in fact, it won't get me out of bed.  And if I am indeed going to make it through the NYC Marathon Training, and the event itself, I need to, at a minimum, get out of bed.  So, I am trying to be more positive.  It isn't easy, especially because negative feelings are natural and it is important to be able to express them from time to time.  I am not sure that it is possible, or even really healthy, to be all-positive, all the time.  However, it does seem to help to have positive thoughts when you have to get up at the crack of dawn to run in weather that is so hot and steamy you feel like you are the Wicked Witch of the West.  Instead of thinking, "Oh my gosh, why the feck am I doing this?" or,  "This is just cray-cray!" or, "Am I running in Hell?",  I've been trying to replace those kind of thoughts with more positive, or at least more humorous thoughts.   It is actually amusing to try to think up things to post on facebook (or now on my little old blog) that might be funny or mildly amusing to others.  So in that vein, I present you with my Top Eleven List*:  THINGS I APPRECIATED ABOUT TODAY'S HOT AND HUMID LONG RUN.  

Please read it in the style of David Letterman:

11. - Chirping birdies (they are so cheerful even in the heat, those little buggers).
10.  - Shade.  From trees, buildings, passing garbage trucks, faster runners, etc.
9.  - Sprinklers (and I especially thank the guy who didn't yell at me for running across his lawn so I could go through it as he was setting it up).
8. - Cute doggies out for their morning walks, aww.  Cute doggies, anytime are appreciated.  Aww.
7. - That I did not have the need to use any porta-potties.  I know that day will come, but I am glad it wasn't today. 
6. - Several attractive male runners without shirts passing me ("How YOU doin'?").
5. - Water fountains, even the one that the cute doggy used right before I did, no lie.  A big poodle mix with his front paws up on the fountain.  But I used it anyway.  Probably no worse than any human germs. 
4. - The Sunscreen Song (Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann).  Look it up, it gives some good advice, and you can try to memorize it and recite it as you run, possibly to annoy other runners or make them think you are yelling random words at them, or that you are crazy!
3. - The slight breeze that kicked up on the way back to my house.  I did appreciate that.
2. - That the last eighth of a mile was downhill.  I REALLY appreciated that. 
And the number one Top Eleven "Thing I Appreciated About Today's Hot and Humid Long Run":
1. - That I did it and I finished and that I don't have to do another long run til next weekend! Woo hoo!
* Did not want to totally rip off  David Letterman, because I am sure he will eventually hear about my blog and want to interview me.  


Again.  Again.  And again. 

May 29, 2013.  I had tossed my running shoes, so to speak, into the lottery for the 2013 NYC Marathon and was waiting to hear if I had gotten in. I had only told a few people because I didn't want to have to  tell everyone if I didn't get in.  This from a girl who always insisted that marathoners were crazy, that she could never do it, why would anyone do that to their body, that running that far really isn't good for you.

However, I had run two half marathons in the past year and done a lot of other shorter races.  I had a wonderful training program through Fleet Feet in Montclair.  I had a lot of supportive runner friends.  And the races---I loved the energy of the races.  I loved seeing the spectators cheering for their friends and family members, and a whole lot of other people they didn't know.  I loved the funny signs and costumes I saw in some races.  In the first half I ran, I didn't feel like I was even running for the first 8 or 9 miles.  Of course when I hit Mile 11 I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  Those last two miles were unbelievably long and hard.  But when I was done, boy was I proud of myself.  While I didn't do so well in the second half, I knew it was more the fact that I had just returned from an overseas trip two days previously and made the mistake of eating too close to the start time of the race.  I felt physically ill most of the race, and ended up doing a run-walk.  I still made it, and my time wasn't horrible, but it was definitely not a happy run.  But still, I finished.  And somehow, I wanted to do it again, if only to prove to myself that I could have a better race.


I had started playing around with the idea of entering the marathon lottery a couple of months ago.  If I was going to to do a marathon it was going to have to be the NYC Marathon, because I didn't know if I would or could ever do more than one.  I have been to it as a spectator several times, once to see a boyfriend run, 15 years or more ago.  It was so inspiring.  All those people running through the greatest city in the world.  The spectators and the support they gave were amazing.  I'm sure there are many other cities where people feel the same way.  But, for me, it was NYC.  For me, this would have to be THE marathon.  Perhaps the ONLY marathon.  Perhaps not.  But I didn't want to risk perhaps my only marathon on any other city. 


Over and over I clicked on the refresh button on my email, willing one from NYRR to appear.  I had been told that sometimes you would see the charge on your credit card first, but I couldn't remember which credit card I had used, plus, I didn't have a computer at work so I only had my phone, and it wasn't easy to check three different cards. 

Email from the one friend I had told:  "Did you hear anything yet?"
It was about two pm.
"No," I replied.  "I am assuming if I haven't heard by now I haven't gotten in."
"Their website says that they are still picking numbers.  So keep an eye out, there is still hope!"


I ended up getting busy with some things after work and kind of forgot about it until I got home at about 8pm. 
I sat down to eat dinner and checked my email on the computer.

There it was, the email from NYRR.

Of course the subject line just said, "NYC Marathon."  Not "Congratulations!" or "Better Luck Next Time."
Deep breath.
Email opens.

"Dear Nancy Livingston:
"Congratulations!  You are IN!"


I have to run a marathon in November!  Oh my.  Oh my.  HOLY SH*T.  What have I gotten myself into?

However scared I was, however daunting the task of training for the Marathon, however clueless I am about what I would have to go through, I couldn't lie to myself:


I later found out that over 33,000 people applied to the lottery and only 4,500 were picked.  I think that is all the luck I have ever had in my life, all going into this one win.  I felt a little guilty that people who had been trying to get in for a few years hadn't been picked.  Some amazing runners didn't get in.  Someone I knew who had time-qualified last year didn't get in this year because they upped the time by 5 minutes. 

I felt a little guilty.  Not very guilty.  I deserved this chance just as much as anyone else. 
And whatever happens, I will be successful.  I may not be able to run the whole time.  I may have to walk.  I may have to crawl.  But barring any unforeseen injuries or uncontrollable bodily functions (I will spare you the name of the actual functions) that prevent me from being able to even crawl, I will make it.   I have family and friends and coaches who will support and encourage me.  I have this goal-oriented grit down deep inside of me that will get me there.  I will make it.

NYC, I will see you in November.  Looking forward to it.