Friday, August 8, 2014

Moon Walking

I recently completed my first, walking half marathon, which was a fund raiser for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's  Breast Examination Center of Harlem. Below are brief thoughts I jotted down along the journey.

Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 1:31 PM

I am psyched to be taking this journey to improve my health and fitness and, at the same time, to be able to help raise funds to support people living with cancer, right here in New York City. I've never walked a half marathon before, but I am excited. I will be sure to keep you posted on my progress over the next few months. Ready ... set ... go!

Sun, Apr 27, 2014 @ 5:51 PM 

Today marks the end of my third week of training & I'm still excited. My regimen includes walking (of course), strength training, and cross training. For part of the cross training, I decided to try Zumba since I've heard such good things about it. The first time I went, I thought I was going to pass out, but I survived and decided to go back. After this week, I think I'm actually getting some of the moves down and not feeling as uncoordinated as when I began. Wepa!

As far as my walking is concerned, these early weeks are geared toward building endurance; the later weeks I will be focusing on my timing. Yesterday, the weather was very accommodating so I took a scenic, 5.5 mile walk along the Belt Parkway. 

Until the next update, please keep me, the other walkers and the patients of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Breast Examination Center of Harlem in your prayers.

Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 9:14 AM 

I always knew I could do this, but after my walk along the Belt Parkway last Saturday, I am even more confident. My pedometer is acting up, so I am now using the cool Walk the Walk app to track my distance and speed. Saturday's goal was to walk 7 miles and I did at least 7.5. I have been concentrating on my power walking form and I am glad to say that I am improving every day. In a couple of weeks I will start to focus on increasing my speed. 

Here is an interesting fact I learned over the weekend: one of my dear friends was the first patient to be served at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Breast Examination Center of Harlem when they opened their doors in 1979. She still receives care there and highly recommends the center to everyone. 

I'll keep posting updates on my training progress and look forward to working together with you to make a difference.

Tue, Jun 24, 2014 @ 10:12 AM 

On Sunday I completed 11 weeks of training. It seems like I just started, yet the big day is almost here. 

I am grateful for all of my friends and family who donated and helped me surpass my fundraising goal. Don't worry; if you have not made a contribution, it's not too late! Every dollar counts in the effort to assist the patients of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Breast Examination Center of Harlem.

My goal last Saturday was to walk 11 miles. I actually covered a total of 12.7 miles. I am in pretty good shape for the half marathon. My average pace is 3.3 mph which puts me right on target for finishing in four hours. Less than four is my goal, so over the next few weeks I have to work on slightly increasing my speed.

If you see me, I'm still my regular soft and fluffy self, so one may wonder how all of this walking is benefiting me. I actually feel stronger than when I started; power walking with the proper form strengthens my core. Another benefit is that working toward a goal and seeing it come to fruition is an ego boost. Although I do walk in the rain sometimes, most of my walks are in the sunshine and that helps increase my vitamin D intake. Finally, my walks nourish my spirit. I always walk outdoors where I am surrounded by nature. I do not wear headphones; therefore I am not distracted by music or text, email, FB, and class notifications. It's just me, my thoughts, prayers and praise.

Thanks for taking the time out to read about my journey.

Mon, Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:46 AM 

It is over ... and of course, I have some stories to share.

When I started the half marathon journey, I knew that I would be venturing outside of a few comfort zones. I had to be disciplined with my training, I had to fundraise (& I really hate begging for money), I would be doing this walk while wearing only a bra on top, and I would have to actually decorate this bra. The training wasn't so bad, because I'm really, still, not that disciplined and I don't let it get to me. I did have a regimen that I mainly stuck to & I pushed through various weather conditions that would normally have stopped me. (Yeah, me!) I had a modest fundraising goal and my awesome family and friends made surpassing it a breeze. (Thanks, y'all!)

As far as decorating, I was not planning on buying any supplies other than what the event coordinators offered from Darby Smart. (I'm cheap like that.) I received a package that contained fabric dye, tubes of paint that dried to look like beads, glue, and some ribbon. Let me just state, I'm not a crafty chick. I looked at my dye options (what I thought was purple and green) & opted for the purple. It turned out pink. With streaks. But that's OK. Then I asked my daughter to come help me decorate. We had family night; I ordered pizza, the children looked at my supplies & laughed at me. After much questioning and some google searches, we decided on a theme. The princess decorated one cup & left me to finish the job. I did make a trip to the fabric store to purchase tulle and some other crap. So, here I am sewing stuff to cover my cleavage (it looked crazy), contemplating adding sparkling, dangly things to hide my jelly belly and my son, the prophet speaks. He basically said I was being ridiculous. He asked why I registered for an event that stipulated walking in a bra and then tried to add on things to cover up.(Was I body shaming myself?) That was the end of that. I remembered why I was walking & put an end to the decorating stress.

I finally made it to the night of the event which started on Randall's Island. I took the train uptown & waited on 125th Street for the bus across the bridge. I planned to walk alone since I couldn't convince anyone else to take this leap with me. However, I had the feeling that it would be better to walk with a group. Spirit is such a guide that I was led to approach two sisters who were also waiting for the bus. They were not with a team either & welcomed me to walk with them. Best trio ever! It so happened that we were three Brooklyn girls whose names all begin with "Sha". (I can't make this stuff up.) After a short but interesting bus ride which encouraged me to look up the history of the island (in addition to the park and Icahn stadium, the island houses a homeless shelter and psychiatric facility), we arrived. 

Walkers were greeted with a band upon entering the arena. There was a pre-show that included a gospel choir, dancers, Broadway actors, and women on stilts. Food was available (but I ate at home). If you got there early enough one could have had a massage or had their picture taken at the booth. What made this a truly great experience were the people. I don't know how many walkers there were, but I was amazed by the creativity exhibited. There were feathers, rhinestones, tutus, lights, adinkra symbols, fishnets, wigs, hats, wings, Wonder Twins, Harry Potterish costumes, super heroes, a rainbow of colors, chiffon, furry leggings, and so much more. The diversity of participants also impressed me because there were people of all ages, genders, races, and physical abilities represented. Along the route, walkers expressed concern for each other; nobody was left behind. The volunteers, and even some of the cops, were encouraging and upbeat throughout the entire event. Some of the evening highlights included the following:

- The route itself was beautiful (mostly). The island was scenic. We walked across a bridge and down the East River Esplanade. We got to window shop when we cut across 57th Street. We also skirted Central Park for a while and strolled up Park Avenue. 
- We were mad hype coming along the FDR drive. Drivers were honking & we were waving and screaming. 
- The young dudes walking with us were hilarious. (I don't think they had water in their water bottles.)
- The Dominican girls had music. (Yes!)
- When we were starting to drag, the rats came out to cheer us on. That translated into a huge burst of energy as we ran down the block.

All in all, it was a great adventure. I'm proud of myself and all the other walkers. I can't wait for next year!