What past events have you run with Team for Kids and are you running any this year?
I ran the marathon last year and am running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon this year with Team for Kids!
What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
I ran my first marathon in NYC last year. I still think it was the best day of my life so far! The energy of the participants and the crowds was so high that I seriously had no other option than to finish that race! It was amazing to see my family and friends at various points of the route who came out to support me despite the cold and windy day. I’m still so thankful to my mom who actually made it to 4 different points of the course to waive at me, take pictures and to make sure I was ok. Running through all the different neighborhoods of NYC, each bringing up different memories in my head was like running through different times of my life. From the start in Staten Island a few blocks away from my parents’ house to passing by my alma mater Brooklyn Tech High School to the quick and easy trek up 1st avenue and the less quick and definitely much more difficult journey down 5th avenue, it was amazing to have a chance to run through the streets of my home town. Given my amazing experience in 2013, I can’t wait to do it all again this year and to have another best day of my life!
Where is your favorite place to run and why?
As long as there is a running path and a pretty view, I’m willing to run anywhere. However, when you define the criteria this way, there is a myriad of places to choose from in NYC! I often run on the running path along the West Side Highway/ Henry Hudson Parkway. It’s convenient for me to get to from my apartment in Chelsea and it has amazing views of the Hudson and the GW Bridge, especially at sunset. However, I also love running on the boardwalk in Staten Island with a gorgeous view of the Verrazano Bridge when I visit my parents or in Jersey City with the mesmerizing view of the skyline of Manhattan when I run right after work or at lunch.
If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I don’t run with music. During the first TFK practice I attended, Coaches Sid and Asteria were very clear that they would prefer it if I didn’t listen to music and their demand stuck with me ever since.
What is your favorite post-run meal?
Right after finishing my run, I celebrate with a cup or two of Gatorade. On the way home after the run, I usually stop by Jamba Juice and get myself an Apples ‘n Greens smoothie. Finally, when I make it home, I follow up all of this with a huge bowl of pasta with some veggies on the side or lasagna.
When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I only picked up running in 2013. After Hurricane Sandy hit, my parents’ house in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island was very badly damaged, as the water rose to 9 feet in the area where it’s located. While it was definitely hard to come back after that disaster, the running community was an immense help! When the marathon was canceled after Hurricane Sandy, there were a number of runners who chose to come to Staten Island to help out the affected people. I was astonished by that the sense of altruism and desire to help people in need that pervaded the running community. After my initial shock and admiration, I realized that I wanted to join. Hence, I made the decision to come to TFK and to train for my first race (which happened to be the marathon 🙂
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Like a lot of runners, I’m very organized. That extends to my pre-race routine. I love to lay out all the clothes and gear that I will need for the race the night before to make sure I’m ready. I always stay in the night before the race. I usually order a bowl of pasta and watch some romantic comedy while eating it before going to sleep.
Because 27.0 seemed too long!
But in all seriousness, I signed up to run my first marathon last year, without ever running more than a continuous mile in my life. I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to start big, hence the decision to run a full marathon. I’m definitely so grateful to TFK for getting me ready for it! While I was determined to try hard and persevere, having the amazing TFK coaches and mentors by my side throughout the training season made it so much easier for me to become a runner and to get me ready for my first marathon!
After completing my first marathon, I absolutely loved the sense of achievement that I felt and right away decided that I wanted to do it again! Of course, it helped that because of my great training, I wasn’t in too much pain right after the race! My goal right now is to try to run marathons in the cities that I decide to travel to. My first such experience was in Paris in April 2014. I’m now trying to run in London and/or Berlin in 2015. However, nothing feels as awesome as running in your home town – hence, I want to keep running the NYC marathon every year as well. I can’t even express how excited I am about this year’s TCS NYC marathon – I can’t wait to experience that energy again and to hopefully achieve a new PR!
Tell us a little more about yourself
While I was born in Minsk, Belarus, I spent most of my life in New York and love the fact that I get to run my second marathon in my home town! It’s awesome that the marathon course goes right by the high school that I attended – Brooklyn Tech! And while the route doesn’t go by my college Alma mater, it’s great that there are so many fellow Columbia graduates that run the race!
I work as an actuary for an insurance consulting company, so yes, I can probably calculate the probability of any one of you finishing the marathon (of course it’s going to be 100% for all of you – you trained with TFK!).
I love to travel! I spent half a year studying in France while in college and I love to go back to that country any chance I get. I ran my second marathon in Paris last April and it was amazing to be back in that city to run a race!
I love soccer and hockey. This year, I got a chance to travel to Brazil to support Team USA during the World Cup. What an incredible experience that was! Everyone in Brazil is obsessed with soccer, so watching the games was a lot of fun! I also had a chance to travel to Sochi to support Team USA in the hockey tournament (and other sports) during the Olympics in February. Watching all these events live was definitely really special!
Finally, this year, I got a puppy Cocker Spaniel named Teddy. I’m sure he can’t wait for me to complete the NYC marathon so that he could proudly wear my/ to-be-his new medal!