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The first long run back is always the hardest

Harlem Piers along the Hudson River Parkway

Harlem Piers along the Hudson River Parkway

This past weekend I went on my first long run in several months.  Saturday night I begrudgingly set the alarm and woke up early Sunday morning to gray clouds telling me to go back to bed and sleep in.  Had it been a month ago, had it been the weekend before, I would have heeded those clouds and snuggled back into my bed in my air conditioned bedroom.  But last month, the prior weekend even I was not in training and this weekend, I’m afraid I am.

For the last 8 months (wow! has it been that long?!) I have been running without a race on my horizon.  I usually run a half-marathon in the spring but frankly, after the NYC Marathon this past 2008, I was exhausted and wanted to try running without training.  This was the first time I’ve ever really run semi-regularly with out the promise of a race.

I must admit, I found it completely liberating!  I took off the watch and GPS and just ran! I stopped logging my runs and paid no attention to how long it took, how fast I was going, and I walked when I needed to walk.  Running became for the first time, a true stress relief.  I even brought my iPod along a few times! When I missed a run, I didn’t feel guilty for slacking on my training schedule, I just felt lousy.  My body started to crave the runs in a way it never had before! Running became my salvation, the time to truly decompress and work out anxiety.  Not that I didn’t have these benefits before while training, but when the sole purpose of the run was for stress relief and not because my training schedule said I had too, the benefits were all the more rewarding.  I was like a kid who decided to research something not for school but out of genuine interest.

The downfall of this type of free running was consistency.  Sure I wanted to run every day or every other day, but when days became full and projects piled up, running (along with sleep!) was the first to get cut.  As a freelance musician, my daily schedule varies.  I aim for structure but when a job comes in that requires everything to be dropped in order to meet the deadline, I drop everything, sit at the computer for unheard of hours in a row ignoring nutrition, sleep, and to some degree, hygiene (ew, gross!).  While the best thing for me very well would be to get out and run, I just can’t tear myself away from the work, unless of course, I am in training.  Then the running takes a higher priority (though I wholeheartedly feel it should always be given that high priority, I just have a hard time enforcing it.)

So now, in the midst of new projects, I am in training again, and my running is becoming consistent again.  The race? The Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon at VA Beach.  I, along with Races in Places co-founder and recent Spain runner JuliaHart have run this race every year since it’s inaugural race in 2001.  Admittingly, I am a little late to start training for a half, but this race has historically been more of a “fun run” than a competitive one.  The higher purpose being for me and JuliaHart to see each other and catch up (we live quite a distance apart) rather than beat a PR.  This race also serves as a great jump start to fall marathon training.  It basically announces the beginning of the fall and the return to training.  This is a fantastic race which we will definitely be posting about in the near future.  Which leads me to one final point…

Now that I’ve returned to focused running, I hope to return to maintaining this blog.  I feel very passionate about creating a place for ordinary runners to share their running stories, taking its readers on a virtual road trip around the world.  I truly believe that running, even more so than music, is a universal language that we can use to understand and appreciate each other’s various lifestyles and cultures, be it the difference between living and running in the southern vs. northern states of America, or far more reaching areas of our world.

And so encourage you readers to share your stories here, spread the word, and happy return to training!

Run hard but not too fast to enjoy the scenery!!


Call for Contributions!!!



Races in Places strives to be a community resource for runners all over the globe! We are interested in the people that run, why they run, where they run, and all the personal aspects of running.   We want to hear your stories, your interests, and all about the places where you run.

Running is certainly a solitary sport, but our solo runs form an undeniable community from which we can learn more about running, and about each other. We can also help each other out by sharing our experiences.

The idea is this, say you have to go to your cousin’s wedding in Dallas, but are in week 13 of your marathon training. You can’t afford to miss a weekend long run, but have no idea where in Dallas you run an 18 miler.  Rather than google “running groups Dallas” and hope to get in touch with some long distance runners, you could simply log on to, select “Texas” in the categories box, and read the Dallas entry of our “Passport to Run” column.  Hopefully, a Dallas based runner has filled out the form complete with links to the best routes, restaurants, and running clubs.  If that doesn’t give you enough information, you could then contact us and we will put you in contact with that Dallas runner, thus cultivating a new running contact and keeping you on your marathon training schedule!

Our mission statement explains further:

The Races in Places (RiP) blog is designed to be an interactive resource for runners looking for inspiration and information on running in new destinations. While topics concerning training and nutrition will not be avoided, this blog will focus more on the peripherals of running, including the comradery and overall experience of running, especially as it relates to different parts of the world. Regular columns will include:

  • Passport to Run A detailed account of how to navigate running in various large and small cities around the world.
  • Passport to Race A detailed account of various races around the world.
  • BackTrack A place to share your favorite, or worst, racing experiences.
  • Faces in Places A profiling of different runners from around the globe.
  • Mixtape Runners can share their favorite playlist to run to.
  • Race Fuel A recipe swap of favorite pre- or post- race meals & snacks.
  • Around the Waterstop An informal list of links or news bites relating to running.
  • Race Expo A highlighting and discussion of various pieces of running gear.

We hope to become a resource for travelers looking for great spots to run, eat, and sight see, but in order to do that, we need your help!  We are currently accepting contributions for all of our columns, listed above.  All you need to do is email us at, and we’ll tell you what you need to do.  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter!

We look forward to building this online community of runners and travelers!

Happy Running!


Welcome to the new Races In Places!

Out of winter hibernation, we decided to move to a new address, redo the blog format and start recruiting new contributors.  We hope all of our previous readers will follow us here and continue to contribute their running experiences to this community.

We are also expanding…

We are now on Twitter!  Please add us if you are too! You can also still find us on MySpace as well as Facebook where you can follow the blog courtesy of NetworkedBlogs (just click in the box to the right of this post).

As the sun thaws the northern hemisphere and the cold sets into the southern, we wish you happy running, and encourage you to share your experiences with us here.  This is meant to be a community blog, not just thoughts from one person, so please consider contributing by emailing us at

Happy running & world traveling!


A Call for Contributors

Races in Places wants to hear from you!

We are currently looking for readers interested in participating in the following columns:

Passport to Race- review your favorite local or out-of-town race
Passport to Run- promote your hometown, or write about a favorite far-way running destination
Mixtape- what’s on your iPod? Share your favorite running playlist

If you are interested in having your fav race, running destination (or hometown), or playlist featured, please email:


July 2018
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