2018 NYC Marathon: 158 Days

PHASE 2 of Tanya Velardo's Marathon Training program has now officially begun!

PHASE 2 is that moment when you get outside and actually start running! I've been visualizing it, talking about it, thinking about it, preparing for it and now it's time to do it! 

My friend Cidra has been one of my biggest supporters, inspirations and cheerleaders for believing nothing less than I can do this. Every time even the smallest amount of fear or 'I can't' enters into our conversation she quickly uses words that help me transform how I speak about the marathon and the results of what will happen on that day. So, when I received an email from her about a 3-mile run on Memorial Day I knew it was time. Time to enter PHASE 2!

Yesterday 5 of us met at the Frederick Douglas Memorial Circle at the NW corner of Central Park and there it began, my feet hit the pavement and I'm off...158 days until Marathon Sunday.

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We started at the NW corner of Central Park, ran to 96th Street, turned around, ran back to Malcom X Blvd and ended at Sugar Hill Creamery for a celebratory scoop of ice cream. I highly recommend the Honey Lavendar! It's like a scoop of Spring in a cone.

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In the spirit of the historical question, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" I would like to ask, "If there is no post-run photograph where you're covered with sweat, did you REALLY run the 3 miles?"

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PHASE 1 of Marathon Training has been incredibly insightful for me personally, life giving, challenging and life changing along the way. I wanted to share some highlights of what the last two months have given to me.

HOME COOKING | Cooking at home is incredibly therapeutic to me. I've made grocery shopping a priority and make sure that fruits and vegetables are at the top of my shopping list. For 15+ years I've made shopping lists based on what I've thought about cooking but last week I took it a step further and now have a visual meal plan on my fridge. I found a meal plan template on line, filled in what I'll make each day and what snacks I'll have on hand. It has been a big help to keep me on plan with Weight Watchers, to keep on budget, to not waste food in my fridge and to keep myself from buying food on a whim. 

I don't take a NYC kitchen this size for granted. 

I don't take a NYC kitchen this size for granted. 

I've discovered a couple of new recipes that have quickly become staples in my meal planning. Today I'll be making a large batch of the ground turkey bolognese sauce pictured below to have on hand for pasta and other dishes. Pulling out my spiralizer for zucchini noodles are an added bonus to the bolognese sauce.

Ground Turkey Bolognese

Ground Turkey Bolognese

Breakfast pocket | Some of my favorite fillings to choose from have been scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, feta cheese, boiled ham and turkey bacon 

Breakfast pocket | Some of my favorite fillings to choose from have been scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, feta cheese, boiled ham and turkey bacon 

Shaved cauliflower, grilled chicken, vegetables seasoning of choice and a drizzle of honey. Two medium flour tortillas warmed up. Corn on the cob with a cup of grapes on the side (7 WW points)

Shaved cauliflower, grilled chicken, vegetables seasoning of choice and a drizzle of honey. Two medium flour tortillas warmed up. Corn on the cob with a cup of grapes on the side (7 WW points)

My favorite budget friendly breakfast that stretches the ingredients, is filling and helps keep me on track:

  • Peanut Butter Overnight Oats (5 WW points) (1/2 mashed or cut up banana on the bottom of a bowl, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 serving of peanut butter powder prepared according to directions. Garnish with other half of banana or blueberries)

MOMENTS EXPLORING | Over the last three months I've had the opportunity to be in new places, take in moments across NYC and to capture the images that have surrounded me. Here are a few highlights of what I've seen along the journey.

Ventura | CA

Ventura | CA

Malibu | CA | Learning to be active wherever I am. I kicked off my shoes and took the hard route through the sandy beaches

Malibu | CA | Learning to be active wherever I am. I kicked off my shoes and took the hard route through the sandy beaches

Santa Barbara | CA

Santa Barbara | CA

Santa Barbara | CA | Court House

Santa Barbara | CA | Court House

Roosevelt Island Tram | NYC | At Sunset

Roosevelt Island Tram | NYC | At Sunset

Harlem | NYC | There's nothing more life giving than walking through my Harlem neighborhood and beyond in all different directions! Walking 3-5 miles a day in NYC isn't enough for me most days. When you walk, you get to see sights as beautiful as this!

Harlem | NYC | There's nothing more life giving than walking through my Harlem neighborhood and beyond in all different directions! Walking 3-5 miles a day in NYC isn't enough for me most days. When you walk, you get to see sights as beautiful as this!

Harlem | NYC | Walking allowed me to see the evidence of 'spring has sprung' 

Harlem | NYC | Walking allowed me to see the evidence of 'spring has sprung' 

Harlem | NYC | Walking allows me to be present in my community and to have unexpected moments of running into the people that I love including these little people

Harlem | NYC | Walking allows me to be present in my community and to have unexpected moments of running into the people that I love including these little people

February 1 I started this journey. I've realized that training healthy habits, seeing evidences of self-discipline and learning to say no to the things that are not beneficial to me and yes to the things that are beneficial but not always what I want to do. I've begun to feel the changes and experience the impact the changes are having on my life. Recently I started to compare some photos and I'm grateful for the physical changes I'm seeing as well. 21 pounds down with a 30 pound weight loss goal by the end of June.

158 days until Marathon Sunday (11.04.18) and 139 days until my 40th Birthday (10.16.18). 

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As I look to the next phase of the journey this coffee mug continues to motivate me and drive me:

Do Something You Don't Have to Do

Do Something You Don't Have to Do

I don't have to spend two hours making bolognese sauce today. I don't have to run 26.2 miles. I don't have to adjust my schedule to get 7 hours of sleep per night. I don't have to write down my meal plans. I don't have to start creating a bed time routine. I don't have to pour so much effort into my finances. I don't have to do any of it. But I do it because of the character it builds in me and the transformation that only comes through doing what I don't have to do or that which I don't want to do either.

158 days.....

2018 TCS New York City Marathon Bound

When I was in the 5th grade I ran for class President. I had a strong campaign slogan, "It's Time for Tanya at the Taylor." I made campaign pencils, I gave a strong speech and in the end I won and had a great one-year Presidency! We accomplished many things during the school year of 1988-1989 which even included being the first class at the Charles H Taylor (Boston, MA) to take a field trip out of state. My dad reminded me yesterday of my campaign when he tweaked it a little bit for 2018. He said, "It's Time for Tanya on the Tar." 

You see, in September a friend wrote this on a calendar and this is why it's "Time for Tanya on the Tar."

In 2017 I experienced loss over the span of many months. In the midst of those difficulties I found myself praying the same words over and over again, "Lord, I know you can create beauty from ashes. Please, take my ashes and transform them!" 

As I took moments of physically putting one foot in front of the other to work through the sorrow, I found myself walking 100+ miles in a month all over my Harlem neighborhood and just north to The High Bridge in Washington Heights. 

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This was the view I looked forward to. 

I never would have imagined that the many miles walked would lead to a conversation that would then lead to me becoming a runner in the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. 16 years ago I used to be a runner. In 2012 I met a friend every weekday morning for a 4.5 mile run on Staten Island and we ran three 5Ks together in just a few months before I moved to Eastern Europe. After not running for years, foot surgery and working a retail job, my feet were in pretty bad shape but now...now is the time to change all of that!

As I think about running the marathon I think about my 2017 journey and how it was a marathon. There was no quick fix, quick finish or quick solution. It took endurance, commitment, longevity and training. There was a need to train the thoughts of my mind, the emotions of my heart and my responses.

26.2 miles. I've NEVER run 26.2 miles. It's been 8 years since I even ran 3 miles. But, 26.2 is coming in 6.5 months and in order to complete it, I'm going to need endurance, commitment, longevity and training. In mid-June my running training will begin but now, there's another type of training I'm working on as I work through 'The Tanya Velardo Phase 1 of Marathon Training.' 

  • TRAINING DISCIPLINE is about doing what needs to be done even when you don't want to do it. When I'm tired at the end of the day, discipline is cooking healthy food at home. For me, discipline is going to bed before 11pm and being up by 7am. Discipline is getting up at a decent hour, walking down my 64 stairs, exercising, running the marathon schedule (even when it means 12 miles) and then walking back up my 64 stairs after leg day at the gym! Training Discipline is acknowledging my tendencies to procrastinate & not giving in. 
  • FOOD CHOICES will fuel my body well and will positively affect the way I feel and my energy levels. There is tempting food EVERYWHERE in NYC and it's easy to tell myself that I deserve special treats each day.

So, here I am in Phase 1. I've been working each day at training discipline in my life and being mindful of my food choices. As a result and thanks to Weight Watchers, I've lost 18 pounds of my 40 pound weight loss goal by the time that Marathon training starts in mid-June. 

I'm facing a new week and my Discipline Training focus this week is sleep habits. It's so hard to go to bed at the end of the day. It’s going to take an intentional effort to be in bed by 11pm and up by 7am. That snooze button is so tempting.

One of the tools I'm using in my Marathon journey during Tanya's Phase 1 is the book Finish by Jon Acuff. When perfect stops so does working towards the goal that was set. When I met Jon Acuff at a conference for a book signing he gave out this poster and the top middle square jumped out to me. I wrote in that 'perfect race' that I'm working towards. Soon after I received the poster my perfect stopped happening. I had a strange accident and was now recovering from a brain injury/concussion. It was no longer perfect and it was 10+ weeks until I could do any sort of intense exercise. I was just trying to walk at a normal pace without my head hurting, never mind running. 

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But here I am, Phase 1 of the Marathon journey. 

Training Discipline. It's through this journey that I'm seeing the Lord answer yes to my 2017 prayer. The ashes are no longer scattered all around. The beauty is growing.