Sunday, June 3, 2018

New Jersey's Montclair 10K, A Must Run

If you live in Northern New Jersey, the Montclair 10K is an absolute must run.  I run it last year for the first time, and I was as excited today as I was last year. I remember being so thrilled to discover it; I didn't bother the look at the race route. As I had anticipated, the route channeled and sneaked through the beautiful Victorian homes, and showed of nice ambience of Montclair, NJ.

Last year, I enjoyed the run very much, and even though I started of too fast as I imprudently estimated a flat race, the snakingly friendly hills intermittently reminded me of the high demands of oxygenation that my body will have to endure to overcome them. 

Amidst all, I finished at a good pace and met my goal in less than 60 minutes. I learned to pace myself, and not to be too intimidated when a 99-year old man/woman who has been running all her life passes me.

This morning, I said to myself, "self pace and enjoy the run". At 60 degrees, well deprived of rain, and blessed with a friendly cool breeze, one couldn't ask for a better Spring-Summer weather to run. Compared to last year, this year’s race was not as packed with many runners, and in a way was advantageous to-me. I arrived early, shortly before 9am, as it took me 0.7 miles to jog to the YMCA.

The kids’ race/2mile race had started and I was childishly so excited to see the kid’s race, I enjoyed every bit of it. Seeing other parents run with their infants in strollers, and people from all age groups run the two-mile was both inspiring and entertaining.

The time set for the 36th annual Montclair10K start(930am) is very convenient for those traveling far, and allows for enough time to arrive. The race finishes early enough for one to still soak in some daylight on a Sunday. In my case, I was able to run this year 10K today, and go work afterwards. Not too shabby!

The organizers also offered same day registration at a decent price. This I believe endorses the fluidity and convenience for runners who find out about this race at last minute. 

Most importantly, this is a must run race because the proceeds goes towards a charitable cause: Montclair YMCA and the Montclair Recreation Scholarships.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What I Learned About The Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon

If you follow my personal account (theafrikanking) on instagram, you'd see all my early mornings and late evenings runs. My journey routinely began as I want to be a positive role model for my brothers, peers and anyone who looks up to me. Also, as a healthcare provider, it is part of health promotion, therefore, I embraced and embarked on this ordeal since the winter of 2017 to present. I forgot to add that running is also stress relieving personally.

I'd admit that I haven't been consistent as I would like, but this running journey has been filled of great personal lessons of knowing what my body is capable of, and I'm amazed at the power of grit and positive mindset in accomplishing goals.

Each run is challenging in a special way, and every mile I earn teaches me to push harder and solidifies the fact that every purposeful goal comes with hard work and dedication; and that nothing comes easy. Sometimes waking up in the morning for a run after going to bed late takes a lot of give, positive self-talk and discipline. There're times when I lazily turn over and over in bed and do not go for a run, and other times I imagine how cold it could outside. But as time would go on, my level of discipline has positively inclined due to a couple of reasons. Before I get into that, allow me to tell you the most important advise I would give to anyone who plan to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon, as I had the opportunity to run with New York Road Runners (NYRR) Team for Kids.

Preparation is Key
Be prepared mentally and physically.
I prepared mentally and physically, but I must admit, I was more prepared physically upbeat than mentally, let me tell you why. I had run 2 half marathons prior to the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon and I felt pretty good going into this race; I anticipated to run under 2 hours as I familiarized myself with the course map a couple of times, and I remember saying to myself "I got this". I say this with every challenge I go through, I guess to pump me up!

I did underestimated the impact of the the 40 degree rainy and moderately chilly weather. I arrived from New Jersey to Brooklyn, NY onetime to check in before 6am as the race was scheduled for 7am. It was cold and gingerly sprinkling rain with less threatening winds, and I was so underdressed. I didn't even have no poncho like most runners, and I depended on nearby trees to umbrella the rain from me.  What was I thinking? Other runner had garbage bags to cover themselves, and I said "how come I didn't think of that?". To make matters worse, I didn't run in a group and talked to a few people and this made to me to keep looking at my watch as the time gingerly moved.

This part wore me out mentally to the point where I was so eager to start, as I thought that would ease the weather in some miraculous way. Wrong! In spite of all of this, I was so pumped up when the race started, and  I wanted to get my well anticipated highly oxygenated blood flowing. I started well, and enjoyed the cheering of the crowds, and soon the rain became a norm.

At 5 miles, I had to take of my adidas sweater and throw it away. I miss it already. I can't believe I did that. I really liked that sweater, but doing this lightened my load, and I ran more enthusiastically, and a better pace.

As time would go on, I had allowed the surprising weather and the long wait time to get to me, so I didn't enjoy the middle of the race as much. Every now and then, I would have a non-pleasing thought about that, and I fought to stay positive as I ran.

Towards the last 4 miles, my mind was at the right place, each step was more purposeful, more like me, striding along, cheering with the crowd intermittently; but, I began to cramp in my right thigh, and sought to gatorade at each mile, and this was very helpful.

Giving up is not in my vocal, so I was there to meet my goal, I didn't quit or stop to walk. Pushed, and ran with each heartbeat, I inhaled and exhaled, and focused on crossing the finish line. I didn't doubt myself so I finished the race at 2 hours and 6 minutes.

With all this said, be prepared for whatever nature throws at you if you plan to run the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon, and ultimately, enjoy the race. Enjoy your ability to challenge yourself in a race where others have not dared to try, enjoy your strength to meet your goal, and the passion to do something healthy for yourself. And if you run for charity, thats a positive attribute for you enjoy the race be it rain or shine.

I'll do it again next year, and next time, I will run to enjoy the moments of the race, and I plan to me more mentally prepared.

Hope You Enjoyed My Post.

Friday, March 16, 2018

2 Years Ago Today, God Blessed Us With 2

We are so thankful to God for another blessed year. The support of our families, friends and loved ones has fueled our resilience. Everyday we learn something new. Each day our babies have grown and are filling into their presence into this lifetime. It has been quite a journey, and watching them meet their milestones is so heartwarming. We cherish every single thing they do, for we know how tough this journey has been as new parents, and also premies. The joys, the stress, the anxieties, the novice mentality of not knowing what to expect have all solidified  our so called parenting skills. 

Nonetheless, we do have a long way to go, however, each day comes with its blessings and challenges, and these pulsatile moments toughens us to be better each day. Now they sleep through the night, and we always anticipate seeing them in the mornings.

Same time last year, we had met our goal by surviving a first year of parenthood, and by far the most challenging. We remember being so sleep deprived and so tired during the day, and still managed to have full-time jobs. It took a while for us to have a smooth rhythm, and once we fell in sync with chores, sleep patterns and feeding cycles, life became a little easier.  The sleepless nights alone took a while to get used to, and not being able to have a sound sleep because of how fragile our babies were sends a rush of adrenaline through our veins as we talk about it. 

Most importantly our babies are two today, and thats so joyful. They're so silly in every aspect. The funny sounds they make as they chase each other during playtimes, come to think of it, everytime is playtime, as they challenge themselves running, or repeatedly call "mama" dada" grandma" over and over again. 

This love in our life is awesome, we want to share our journey with you, and most importantly for for this love for everyone. We hear two is challenging, but we love being here, and we love every second of us growing in harmony, love and God's glory. 

Our Love 
Dennis & Lilian 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Creating Our Baby Registry

It's fair and hones to say that we were clueless initially when we decided to create a baby registry. In excitement, and eager the have a registry, for the sake of the people who asked, we created registries at pottery barn kids, target, baby's r us, and the list goes on. We chose bibs, colorful socks, lots of blue items, and lots of yellow items too. 

Honestly, most of the items we had listed on our registry we chose out of excitement of becoming parents, and what we assumed we would need. We totally went overboard initially, and narrowed down gradually as sheepishly came to our senses. However, before we narrowed down, we did what we had always done best, to consult with our friends who had been through parenting, and their suggestions compared to ours, was night, and day. We later learned differences in the simple items such as glass bottle and plastic bottle, why diapers would be our best-possessed item. 

So, we settled for target and babies "r" us because of the quality of their products, affordability, and convenience in close proximity to where we live. Also, we centered more on the later as they offered price matching, 1 year returns, mobile access, 15% discount, free shipping, and expert consultation (free) as needed. Furthermore, we resulted to a lot of product reviews from various website platforms, but the most handy advice came from new parents, in the same age group as us, and of African decent. We don't want to sound too ethnocentric, but culture is everything. 

To date, we are so grateful for everyone who chipped in to support us, either in buying the simple items or the highly priced items, because every effort counts. Our parents and the Godparents to our babies bared the costs for the highly priced items and we are forever grateful. Doing the math now, money cannot replace the generosity, encouragement, and motivation as we planned to become new parents. 

We're getting somewhere with all of these posts, hang in there, let's talk about the Baby Shower next. 

Dennis & Lilian