To Bag Or Not To Bag?

There was a storm brewing today via twitter and Facebook. NYRR announced that they were eliminating baggage check  at this year’s marathon. WTH?! There are approximately 47000 runners who paid to run in one of the 5 majors this year Fees were increased : NYRR Members: US $216 Non-Members: US $255 and for international travelers $347 (not including airfare and hotel)

I questioned NYRR decision here. Why would they do this? Why wait until after everyone has paid their fees and made their travel arrangements? Is this not a breach of contract? NYRR specifically stated that the fee includes :

Included in the ING Entry Fee
● Entry to the ING New York City Marathon 2012 including hydration and fueling stations, medical
support, entertainment, baggage handling, security, etc.

NYRR reason was that this will eliminate overcrowding and bottlenecking at the finish. Did they bother to ask the runners who will be traveling from Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx and Brooklyn? What about the international runners? Many runners  store a change of clothes, shoes, food, phones, cash and metro cards for emergency What are they to do? What about the runners that have to travel more than 2 hours before they can take a hot shower and change?

I for one ran this race last year. I was pumped My first marathon and in my hometown of NYC It was a dream come true. The adrenaline rush awaiting the start of the wave, hearing New York New York sung at the start, the cannon shooting off, the Verrazano, the electrifying crowd I could go on and on but the experience came crashing down. I witnessed first hand that runners such as myself who run slow and those with disabilities were treated as the red headed child. They give us 7 hours to finish and I was well ahead of that time As I passed through Central Park I noticed that water stations were literally being dumped and the NYC police dept were  gathering the barricades along Central Park. It made me cry Was I that bad? Did I not pay the same fees as everyone else?

What I noticed with NYRR, not only with the marathon but their half marathon too is that they cater to the elite athletes and treat their members and non-members with such disregard. NYRR members are given the choice to run 9 races and volunteer for 1 to obtain guaranteed entry to the marathon for the following year. Do you know how much that costs? Close to $1000 Never mind if the runner needs to reserve a hotel and their transportation.

This is the thanks we get Pay more for less service without questioning those who are registered to run. The entrants paid to run with all the services that were provided. Now NYRR has taken that away. What are the runners to do with their clothes at the start? Some of their items are expensive Should they donate the items to Goodwill? While in the past there were throwaways at the start I do not see how you can force someone to give up a jacket that could have cost them $100 because they cannot place it on the bag. What if the runners have no one meeting them at the finish? NYRR states that the bags can be given  to a friend or family member so they can met you at the finish. How exactly are the runners going to give that bag? The runners village at the start is specifically for the runners No bib no entry.

Running for me is fun It gets me out of the house and it distresses me. I have noticed fees for races going up and the junk that is sold at the expos and I declared last year that I have a choice I can run in a big race or a smaller one depending on the fees. I have found that NYRR marathon fees are the most expensive and the medal is not that great folks.

The best races are the ones with less than 10,000 with amazing events after the race. The medals surpass NYRR  The goody bags contain more than an apple and Poland Spring water bottle These races provide a service  where you can actually check in your bag. I am treated with respect and encouraged to finish I feel as though I mean something and I am not just a runner with a high bib number

Shame on you NYRR for yet again dismissing your running community and treating them with such disrespect and disgrace. Its all about money plain and simple How are they to pay all the elite athletes I guess cutting corners with a dedicated running community is the way to go but rest assured there will come a time when your members  will choose another race besides your”s NYRR . I believe you have gotten too big and have missed the big picture The everyday runner The ones who get up at 4:00 to run before work, before we have to get the kids off to school before we begin our day. We are dedicated runners running to reach for our dream To complete our first marathon in the greatest city

I saw this picture today on Facebook and had to share. Fred Lebow the founder of NYRR was quoted as saying, “In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”  I would highly advise NYRR and their board members to read this quote again as a reminder to what your running community expected from NYRR

Image

 

Credit for photo Kevin Beganics who posted this on NYRR Facebook page today

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How much is too much $$$$$$

I just registered for the NYC Half Marathon. I ran this last year and I had such a blast!

I remember last year there was a big uproar with Tri-Sate runners and NYRR members who did not get into the lottery. If I was still living in NY and participated in NYRR races I would  feel the same. Many runners were chosen through the  lottery and the majority of the participates were living outside of the Tri-State area and were International runners. You could run through a charity or if you booked travel through the official travel partner you could gain entry in the race.

This year NYRR has been doing a great job by communicating to people interested in entering the lottery. They have been meticulous with how lottery will be conducted and they have even given a breakdown to the number of participants..50% Tri-State, 25% National and 25% International. From what I have seen on the NYRR Facebook page people have been happy that NYRR  has listened to everyone that complained last year and taken everything into consideration to improve and make this an even better experience for everyone.

Running it last year, I have to say that the volunteers and spectators were phenomenal.  The only incident that happened was when we were running through Central Park at the beginning at the race, a woman was shouting at us that she could run and would never walk a race. For those that do not know, we do the Galloway Program which is a run/walk. So yes I run but I do take walk breaks. We ignored her.

Now the issue this year is not the lottery, there has been a problem with people logging into their accounts and NYRR is on top of it to fix it as soon as possible. The number one complaint is the fees.  If you are a current member of NYRR the cost is  $117 a non member pays $128. Upon applying there is a fee of $5 which is non refundable if you are not chosen through the lottery. There were many people voicing their complaint about the rising costs to run the race. I remember reading an article in Runners World with a breakdown of where are fees go. It is not just NYRR but many races that have had to increase the fees due to rising costs. Is running now becoming a rich man’s sport?  In the past we all expected to pay around $100 for a good pair of running shoes. Clothing can always be purchased on sale and not unless you are a fanatic about tracking your training would you go out and spend $300 on a watch with a GPS, heart rate monitor and all the bell and whistles that come with it.

But it makes me think..how much do I really want to spend? Being a native New Yorker and having my family living up there, I miss it so much. I will search high and low to get the best rate to fly up and see everyone and to visit my city. I am lucky enough that I can stay with my family and not pay for a hotel and to eat out. It does start to add up.

Bart Yasso once said that the medal you are wearing around your neck actually costs on average about $1000. When you start to add up the entry fees, lodging, airline and so forth it sure does come up to that amount.

For the past 2 years, my sister and daughter along with me looked forward to running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. This year we will not be participating. The cost of the registration as of today is $150 so I would have to pay for 2 (my daughter) so that’s $300 right there.  Hotel for 4 nights at an average of $120 = $480 So now I am up to $780 and this doesn’t even include food and my daughter’a airline ticket. As I see it our little girls weekend would cost me close to $2000 when all is said and done.

I am doing the Disney marathon and again I am lucky that it is a little over an hours drive from where I live. We booked a hotel for one night, which I am sharing with a couple of girlfriends so that won’t hurt my wallet too much. My fee when I booked it in July was $160 plus processing fee of $10. You see how it adds up.

So we as runners have to really think about what races to do. Personally since the Space Coast Half last weekend (see my last post) was worth every penny and it is a race I will do again. I am veering towards smaller races that are more personable and not filled with thousands of runners. I have decided that Disney will more than likely be my last full marathon and I will concentrate more on half marathons since I enjoy them more.

If it is a race that you must do then by all means do it and enjoy it. I have no regrets with running the NYC Marathon last month and I would love to run the NYC Half next year.  I believe that our beloved sport has indeed become too expensive. Again and again I see how fees have continuously risen that we are not rushing to enter but instead contemplating if this is the race we want to do. How much do we love it? Are we still going to get the cheesy tech shirt or how about the lame goody bag if we are one of the lucky ones to actually get one with the one power bar, small water bottle and many items that we just throw away?

You have to ask yourself,  “Is it worth it?” and when do we say enough is enough?

I have made a decision to support the smaller races in our community or even if it is a short drive to head on over and run. Running is my therapy. I have said it many times that with the stress of my job, being a full time mom, taking care of the house and everything else packed in my day, if I didn’t run I would become a raging alcoholic. So no I will not stop I refuse to stop I enjoy meeting up with my friends and through our tired and exhausting training runs, we vent about our kids, husbands, work. We laugh We cry and more importantly we are doing something good for our bodies and mind.

Go out and run Enjoy it and reach for your dream race I have 🙂

New York New York

I know I have been bad and it has taken me a while to post about my experience with the NYC Marathon so here it goes….

First off I have to tell you that I am very anal when it comes to checking everything is in order before I leave for a trip so you can imagine how surprised I was when my daughter called to let me know she needed some paper work for college and I started to place them along my plane tickets and entrant registration for the marathon, I come to find out that I am leaving on Wednesday not Thursday. Thank God I checked on Monday instead of Wednesday when my plane would have already landed at LaGuardia. I would have been so angry with myself after all that training and charity work to miss out on such an experience.

 

So with that said we were off to NY and filled with excitement to be back in my hometown. Thursday evening I met up with my cousin’s wife, who is an amazing runner and has even ran Boston! In the midst of rush hour traffic on the Long Island Expressway we managed to get to the expo with 20 minutes to spare. It was nerve racking. I wish the New York Road Runners would take into consideration that not all the runners work or are staying in NYC. The expo’s hours were from 10-8 on Thursday with the last bib pick up top be no later than 7! They should at least have kept it open until 9.  We were lucky that it went smoothly with no lines. Just look at what her corral was compared to mine LOL!!!

We walked around the expo and I was really disappointed. The majority of the expo was filled with items by ASICS one of the largest sponsors of the marathon. It was in a nutshell an overpriced running store and really nothing stood out that I really wanted  to buy. One jacket in particular was priced at an outstanding $120!! We continued on through and it seemed bare. I had expected more. Maybe  because NYC is considered one of the 5 major marathons and being NY we always do things in a big way. There was a kiosk where you could video tape a message to be played on a certain mile marker on the course to support your marathoner. With 47,000 runners you can see why this didn’t exactly work. The only items I purchased were Gu Gels and a car decal that says 26.2 (hey It was about time already!!)

Saturday evening, I went out to dinner with my family to Carmines in the theater district. For those of you who plan to visit NYC this is the best Italian restaurant. Love it and of course I filled myself up with pasta. If you would like to eat here you need to make reservations at least 2 months in advance and it is well worth it.

That night I bid my family goodnight and they wished me luck as I headed over to the Doubletree Hotel in Times Square to spend the night with my friends who were also running and we kind enough to let me stay with them. Just look at the view from our room..

Times Square all lit up below

I tried to sleep all night but you all know how we toss in turn all night worrying whether we will wake up in time and not miss the bus. Well I might have gotten a couple of hours of sleep but we did manage to get up at 4 with about 3 alarm clocks going off simultaneously and even a wake up call.

I was so excited to meet Dayna, who I met on our RunningJunkies facebook page. We met her downstairs in the lobby and we all walked over towards the Plaza hotel to catch the Galloway bus at 6:15. We were finally on our way to Fort Wadsworth, the starting line at the World Famous Verrazzano Bridge. The atmosphere was buzzing with runners from all around the world. Our Galloway rep Elvira,   held balloons all the way to our village so we can met up and speak to other Galloway runners from different states. She was so funny and made newbies like myself feel at ease.

As we were waiting for each wave to start we saw many celebrities being interviewed by CBS. Here is a picture of Ethan Zohn, the winner of Survivor below..

Dayna and I got to know each other and shared laughs and just rambled on about the race. She was just so sweet and I am so happy we finally met!

We were both in Green Wave 3, which starts on the bottom of the bridge. I was filled with emotion when I heard the cannon go off and hear the song “New York New York” as we started on our long journey. I took my time running the Verrazzano which has the highest elevation on the course. It felt so surreal. I just couldn’t believe I was actually doing this and there were times when I said to myself “What the hell do you think you are doing!”

The transit workers under the bridge got us going with the words  of encouragement. Before I knew it I was in Brooklyn and was taking off my arm warmers. The day was beautiful and the weather perfection. The crowds in Brooklyn went wild. The music and signs along the course were so amazing. Brooklyn rocked the house . Entering Queens it got a little quieter. Maybe because the course is situated in the industrial part and not so much in a residential area like Brooklyn, could have been a factor. Ahead I could see the dreaded Queensbourough bridge. To be honest we you, I walked the entire span of the bridge. I knew I still had a way to go and as everyone says “The real marathon doesn’t begin until mile 20” so I was conserving my energy.

Now the big let down..everyone has told me that the biggest thrill is running down first avenue and listening to the roar of the  crowds.Well we got off the bridge and you could hear crickets. What a let down. Along first avenue I did pass a couple of pubs with inebriated college students who shouted at us along the way to keep going “You are doing great” I thought it was really funny and thank you college co0eds for sticking around for the slow pokes LOL!!!

Up to Harlem and the Bronx the madness begins! I loved the crowds and again the music was fantastic. Thank you to everyone for all your encouragement and for waiting around yet again for all the runners!

This is where it gets bad for me. It wasn’t the wall. I made sure I was hydrated and not hungry plus my pace was purposely kept slow. Being that this was my first full marathon my goal was to finish and not burn out. So along the course I saw many runners that had prosthetic legs, were blind, deaf, heart attack survivors and many others with disabilities. Many of these runners were aided with the help of the Achilles Club. I was so proud of them and gave them words of encouragement along the way. What bothered me was that as we hit mile 20-21 a U-Haul truck starting coming up along the course. I didn’t know what was happening until I saw a man exit the truck and started to take down the mile marker! I couldn’t believe it. We were still within the time limit. I felt so sad and felt so sorry for all the other runners that were behind me. I kept going and now I saw that water stations were being disassembled. Tables were overturned with cups filled with water and Gatorade. Now I was angry. I hit my wall alright..with both my fists!!

I was so determined to finish at this point. It was getting dark and now I was getting cold. I was tired and just wanted a hot shower and a warm bed. I was done.  I was now heading inside Central Park so I know I  was getting close I just wish I knew what mile I was at. I finally found some people from NYRR  and they told me I was at mile marker 25.  Out of the park I was now on my way around Central Park towards Columbus Circle. Now the police were taking down the barricades and we had to run on a cobblestone sidewalk!! Do you know what you feels like to run on that kind of a surface after 25 miles!!!?  I felt like crying but at that point I heard my name and saw my sister running towards me. I was so happy to see a familiar face. My sister along with my daughter held my hands  along with my  younger son and my brother-in-law. They ran with my down the finish line. With 20 yards left to go security told them that it was time to let go and let me finish. I ran as fast as I could to the finish..elated, exhausted and laughing with joy. I finished!!!

A sweet girl placed the medal around my neck and now I had to walk a good mile to find the UPS truck that had my bag. I finally found the bag and my family at 77th and Central Park West. My brother-in-law, who I love but can be a smart ass , suggested we walk to Penn Station which is a good 40 blocks away. I could have killed him! He kids with my all the time so I was so happy that we took the subway. At Penn Station there was a sea of mylar blankets and tired and weary marathoners proudly wearing their medals. It was surreal. Strangers were coming up and congratulating us. Our train finally arrived and I could not wait to sit down and pass out..which I did!

Would I do this race again? If you asked me that night or even the next day I would say no way. Now almost a month later I would say most definitely.  I wasn’t happy with my time so I would strive to beat it next time if I am lucky to be chosen in the lottery.

Dreams and Hidden Messages

I am a 46 year old mother of three children who also happened to beat cancer, breast cancer. I am happy to say that it has been over 11 years and I am cancer free. This is just not a story of survival but what happens after. You get diagnosed, have surgery, receive chemo and numerous radiation treatments but what does it all mean? I thought many times that there was a reason I beat it. It didn’t scare me because my purpose in life was not finished. The most important thing was, I  had to be there for my kids and raise them. They could not be left without a mother and I was not going to let it happen.

You see, after you receive horrible news  or you have obstacles or troubles in your life, you start to think. You say to yourself. “Now what?” I was searching for a long time to find out what I needed to do for myself. It was frustrating.

Many years later, after a friend of mine ran the NYC Marathon through a charity. I was inspired. I thought to myself, “How could anybody run 26.2 miles” It was duanting. I was a sprinter in High School and the 100 yard dash was the longest I had ever run. That was almost 30 years ago. I decided to start with a half marathon and fell in love with running again. Since completing 4 half marathons and even getting into the NYC Half this year, I decided to strive for my ultimate dream, to run the NYC Marathon.
My first half marathon with my friend Ann She ran the NYC Marathon
Since I did not get in through the lottery I joined a charity that would help students like my boys continue with their passion for music. I have been training with our local Galloway group (who are gearing up for the Disney Marathon). What a surprise when I was accepted to run in early August with the charity. My dream was actually coming true. There were signs everywhere telling me to do it. I won a Timex GPS watch with a heart rate monitor (I never win anything so why now?)  I was in our local library with my children viewing used books to buy and I bought two books written by the NYRR (Complete Book of Running and Fitness and NYRR Complete Book of Running)
I truly believe that these hidden little messages were telling me to do it. To go out and conquer  the NYC Marathon. If I could beat cancer I was going to battle all the bridges and miles along the way and I was going to have the time of my life.
Thank you for such a spectacular event. I may not be as fast as I was but I will cross that finish line and get my medal I may be in pain and exhausted but I will gladly accept it with a big smile on my face. The best part..my children and family will see that I also survived the marathon.
There have been remarks that I may be a little crazy and why am I doing this but you know what? Its my life and I will do anything I want to do, without justification because maybe I am crazy. Crazy for life:)

Frustrated and Disgusted

Well folks I am at my half way point with my training and I have hit the dreaded wall and it has nothing to do with the marathon itself at mile 20. When I started training in June for the Disney World Marathon, I would get up before the alarm went off , walk over to my perfectly placed clothes which I laid out the night before , put on my watch, eat a light snack and literally run out the door. This past couple of weeks I have been dragging my feet. Having to change our meeting time an hour earlier in the morning due to school starting, that hour has depleted me.

While out on my runs I am constantly checking the time, mileage and pace instead of enjoying the company of my friends. In my mind I kept repeating to myself , “When is this run going to be over” or “Only 2 more miles and then I am off to Starbucks”. I was not motivating myself with powerful  thoughts but  thoughts of when will this run be over.

Mind you this had nothing to do with the company of my friends, my amazing running buddies. In fact I love their company. It was me..period. I have lost my passion. How do I bring it back and stop complaining? What do I do to get going?

I decided to not only look at the end result of the excitement of being in the corral at the Disney Marathon but to take baby steps. I viewed it as one would view being at a diet.  Let me explain. Years ago after the birth of my daughter, I joined Weight Watchers and I remember specifically our group leader telling us to reward ourselves for a weight loss. “Set a goal and reward yourself”,  she said. So with each 5 pounds I lost I would buy a little something for myself. It wasn’t clothes because I didn’t want to really splurge until I achieved my goal weight. It was little things such as a favorite perfume,  a girls night out to celebrate, or a little something to cheer me up and tell me that I was doing a good job. So I have decided to take the advice and apply it to my running.

I do not look at how many days I have until I run the marathon but I take it day by day, week by week and month by month. So after a day’s run I still go to my local Starbucks and reward myself with my iced quad espresso. Each week on my rest days I may take an hour or two and do something for myself. It might be a facial, getting an amazing message, watching one of my favorite old films in peace and quiet before the kids get home after school.

Every month I will purchase an item just for me. It might be my favorite perfume, new Saucony’s, new shorts or  top. It may even be a new dress, a book I have been dying to read or my favorite chocolate bar.  I do not spend a lot of money. Some items can cost as little as $5.00. A friend of mine once told me when she orders an item online she  tells them it is a gift and has it wrapped. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a book from a site like Amazon., it could be anything. You may even tell a store clerk from your local department store,  that you would like the item wrapped.  Now when you have these “presents” to yourself , place them in a drawer or closet. After each accomplishment take a gift from yourself as a thank you..you did it.

Happy Running:)

Please donate to my charity. You may read all about it here: https://runningjunkies.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/nyc-marathon-and-crowdrise-contest/

You know you are a runner when…….

– Your long runs start at 3 in the morning

– You run around cars (for your warm up)

– You have packed your entire race day outfit two weeks prior to the race

– In Florida hill repeats are actually bridge repeats (if you could find one) There are no hills in Florida with exception of Space Mountain at Disney

– Drivers yell at you to get out of the way even when you are running on the sidewalk

– You’ve been trampled/ almost trampled by another runner

– You come back after a race and rest week to find out you can run your routes with your eyes closed.

– You’ve been to Starbucks at least once

– You’ve run with the pain of chafing

– A dog has either bitten you or followed you back to your home or car 

– You register for a race even after you swore you were never to run it again

-You’ve forgotten what its like not to run 

– You can get in an ice bath with your running clothes on and  launder them at the same time 

– You get a severe case of shin splints  at least once a week

– Body Glide can also be utilized as Butt Glide

– You think its funny when runners from the northeast can’t handle the heat and they think its funny you find 75 to be too cold to run 

– You know where to find the best running stores and what is in each aisle

– You have tried every flavor of GU gels and still love Espresso Love

– An easy run is an oxymoron 

Feel free to add on…..

Please read our previous post and help us raise money for the VH1SaveTheMusicFund We will be giving away a jogging stroller and if you donate $28 or more Crowdrise will be entering you in their giveaway of an iPad 2. Please help and tell your freinds and family

http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamVH1SaveTheMusicNYCMarathon/fundraiser/DawnMoraites

Jogging Stroller Giveaway Re: NYC Marathon and Crowdrise Contest

Hello Everyone! For those of you that have been following us on Facebook and Twitter you know that I have been accepted to run the NYC Marathon this November through a great charity http://vh1savethemusic.com/. Both of my boys have a great passion for music and would love to pursue a career in this field. My 15 year old would love to be a music producer and my 13 year old is already composing music and his dream is to attend Julliard.

When I didn’t get into the NYC Marathon in April I looked for a charity that would benefit students to fulfill their dreams of playing an instrument. VH1 donates new instruments to schools throughout 100 cities (for more info please click on the link above).

As a breast cancer survivor I always ran or walked for the American Cancer Society but this year I wanted to do something different.

I need to raise $2500 by September 30th to achieve my dream also, which has been in my bucket list, to run the NYC Marathon. Please help me raise these funds to meet my goal.

http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamVH1SaveTheMusicNYCMarathon/fundraiser/DawnMoraites

Starting today up to September 30th if you donate at least $5 you will be entered to win this fabulous jogging stroller http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HO586Q (see picture and specs below)

In addition to my contest,  Crowdrise is having their own contest. For those you donate $28 towards my fundraiser, you will be entered for a chance to win an iPad through Crowdrise http://www.crowdrise.com/give/promotions.

Thank you so much everyone for helping the students and me 🙂 Happy Running!

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