Roga Reflection by Jenna Palermo For me, yoga was love at first practice, but I couldn’t say the same for running. When I first signed up for Roga two years ago, I had it in my head that I wasn’t a runner, but I felt comfortable with the 5Boro community so I joined, just to see if I could do it. Approaching running in small bites, with a group of people learning along side me, I got comfortable with running and by the end of the 6 weeks I can honestly say I enjoyed it! Lisa, Austin, and Elyse broke everything down, how to step, how to breath, the importance of well-fitting running shoes, and they were committed to creating a sense of community. Meeting fellow runners and getting to know them since then has kept my running consistent - we support each other on short run days, drizzly long-run mornings, and we cheer each other on. Signing up for races, especially with friends, has also helped me stick to running. Having something to train for really helps! The group of running friends I’ve made have been so supportive that I even decided to enter the lottery for the 2020 NYC Marathon, something I could not imagine doing before Roga! This Roga program will jumpstart my training, and I know that threading yoga into my running schedule will help me listen to my body which has been the key for avoiding injury. It also gives me the mental strength to keep going (it turns out pushing through those last long breaths of chair pose is not so different from pushing through that last mile).
Review by Lester Anne Celebre Hi everybody! Kudos to being a part of ROGA, you are in great hands... It is an honor to share with you my journey of being a runner. I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist, full time working mom of 2 girls ages 8 and 11. For years, I viewed runners as extremely untouchable athletes who have superpowers and I never thought I can be one. How do they do it when I don't even enjoy shopping at the outlet stores because I don't wanna be on my feet! My curiosity about running started when Lisa and Austin lead the Roga in the spring of 2017. I said to Lisa one day after class, "It surprises me that you can run, you look like a yogi and not a runner" she just smiled at me kindly. She ran the marathon that year, at 50, and she looks like she is 35.
My dear friend was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer later that year and it brought me to a depression that I felt so useless and negative to be of support to her. I needed a big transformation in my life and on January of 2018, I joined the 40-day program led by Lisa and signed up for a half marathon in April. Yes, I skipped ROGA (which I would later regret), I was bold, but I was determined. I started running at the indoor tracks of ocean breeze because I'm afraid of the cold and who starts a running journey in the winter??? I was doing a 2-minute walk, 30 seconds run for 30 minutes slowly progressing weekly. I figured starting my day really early doesn't take time away from the family so I'm usually training at 6am. I manifested running half marathons until I can run the marathon in 2020. I only did 2 runs outdoors, a 6 and 8 mile run before my first race which I learned later on that I did not train correctly missing a few long runs and just winging it.
It was that cold day of April 2018, I saw Lisa at the start line and I was planning in my head on how I can be picked up when I decide to stop. During the race, I followed a heavy set man who is running the same pace as me, if he can do it, so can I! It was a struggle, but full of excitement imagining how I will be seeing my family at the finish line really soon. I finished at 2:45 time! Lisa was there at the finish line to greet me, I still remember her saying "You are ready now!". I was limping as soon as I stopped running and I went straight to the Korean spa to recuperate (the contrast bath works like magic). The runner's high was so real that the next day, I signed up for 9 races and 1 volunteer job with the NYRR to gain a guaranteed entry for the TCS marathon of 2019, one year ahead of my manifest.
Running became a moving meditation, my alone time to organize my thoughts and figure out many important decisions in my life. I start my day in a great mood and it made me a more positive person to be with. I met my strong, powerful, like-minded running buddies from the 40-day program and 5 Boro. I didn't fully understand what I learned in PT school until I experienced being beaten up and injured myself. I played around many tricks like taping, changing body ergonomics, food diet, sleep, and workout schedule. Now, I'm following this formula: Eat well, complex carbs, protein (less red meat that is highly inflammatory) and lots of green leafy vegetables Custom Foot orthotics, Hoka shoes for my high arch small fat feet Compression calf support for long runs Short steps, land on forefoot to midfoot, tuck my chin in to keep my neck in line with my spine (if you know me I have a body of a duck), use the power of arm swing. Proper hydration and nutritional support as instructed on the label (tailwind works the best for me) Have more relationship with my foam roller than my husband Foam roll every inch of my body from head to foot and spend more time on the painful parts Equal or more yoga classes than running and incorporate weight training especially the abdominal area. No shortcuts on the recommended training schedule. Meditate and sleep well before a long run.
And the biggest day of my life arrived. November 3 2019. Everything was perfect that day, the weather was just right, I'm wearing a shirt my husband made saying "Lester running for Arlene" in front that spectators screamed our names and it fueled me up! The back of my shirt says "run for those who can't" to support runners behind me. Then my first and only fuck up happened... At mile 6, I lost my bib because I used a magnet bib holder I purchased from the expo instead of the old fashioned pin. Big rule in running races, do not try anything new on race day! I ran against the flow to find my bib until a volunteer told me it was hanging from the back of my shirt on its last magnet. So there goes my target time, I decided I'm just gonna have fun and people watch and finish the race with a bib in hand. The NYC marathon was so much fun, the crowd was so lively and I enjoyed every minute of it. I saw my family at mile 24, that was a phenomenal accomplishment to see my little girls look up to me. I had Arlene on video call at mile 25 and we crossed the finish line together! I was sobbing like a baby and a volunteer had to stop me from running telling me that it's over. My official time was 5:23, no bathroom breaks (my running buddies who knows my bathroom stories can't believe this part) and ran the whole way except for when I slow down to drink and stopped to make my drink one time. It's true what Lisa said, finishing a marathon is as good as meeting your child for the first time.
And then comes December 10, 2019. My dear friend Arlene lost her battle to cancer. My world crumbled and I stopped running. I just lost my drive and grieved so painfully that I decided to do the 40 day program again to help me recover. And then for the second time around, my 5 Boro family got me back on my feet. Life is such a roller coaster, you gotta appreciate the safety harness, enjoy the highs and ride through the bumps.
Sorry this is long, I wanna tell my journey as it unfolded. How people supported me in many ways from my family, to my running buddies that became my life long friends, my mentor Lisa and the positivity 5 Boro has brought into my life. It is not impossible to reach a goal when you put in the work and have fun with it. Numbers are just meant as a guide and not your definition. Happy Miles to all!
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