Thursday, September 29, 2011

Education Under Fire - If I lived in Iran...

If I lived in Iran .....
I would not be allowed to attend university. And if I tried to start/teach in an independent university I would be jailed.
I could not be a teacher, lawyer, dentist or many other professions
I would have to practice my religion (the Baha'i Faith) in fear and secret
I could be charged and jailed for "spreading corruption on earth"
I could be executed for teaching children's classes
I could be tortured for believing in Bahá'u'lláh

Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President (of East Timor) José Ramos-Horta, have written an open letter about these abuses addressed to the International Academic Community. To read and endorse this letter go to

President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta Defends the BIHE and the Baha’is in Iran from Education Under Fire on Vimeo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

running meditations

I realized something while running New York Road Runner's 18 mile race Sunday.....
Running on Playa Rincon

  •  The first 6 miles of a long run are really just a warm up. Your legs stretch out. If you're like me you are going 30+ sec faster than your goal pace, trying to create a net gain in time. Sure I'm passing people but I don't really care.
  •   Miles 6-12 are when the race actually begins. This is when I start to use the people in front of me to motivate me to keep going, to speed up, to pass them. I start to get tired and I need to re-fuel (ie gels and water).
  •   Miles 12-17 are where the magic happens. My mind takes over and I zone out/zen in. The hundreds of people around me seem to disappear. It's just about me and how far my legs can take me. I thank God for the ability to still be running 12+ miles in.  Mantras go through my head. I re-ask myself why I'm doing this. I stop myself from giving into that fearful/tired voice telling me to take a walking break.
  •   Mile 18 is pure/delicious insanity. I start to speed up again. I stop caring about the pain in my legs. I'm high on endorphins. Feeling accomplished and excited to finish strong. I feel pure joy. I find myself cheering "Come on! You can do it!" to the people who have started walking. As soon as I can see the finish line I sprint, forgetting how insane sprinting is after running 18 miles. 
I finished Sunday's race faster than my goal.... 2hr 36min, pacing 8:41 min/mile. I placed 770/ 3828 (top 20%).

2 weeks until Steamtown Marathon. Time to start tapering

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

18 days until Steamtown Marathon - $521 raised

~ I've reached my fundraising goal ($500) for The Olive Branch for the Children. $521 and counting....
~ This Sunday I'm running New York Road Runner's 18-mile race.
~ 18 days until Steamtown Marathon
~ The Olive Branch runs kindergartens in 22 communities in rural Mbeya, Tanzania. In this picture is a student learning how to count. I love the use of local resources ie soda caps.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

arrested while being Black

September 5 - Labor Day....City Councilman Jumaane Williams was, as the saying goes, “arrested while being Black”. This story, which was featured on the NY Times’ front page online along with tons of others, is even more personal because Jumaane is my cousin.

The son of a doctor from Grenada, Jumaane Williams, 35, was elected to the City Council from Central Brooklyn in 2009. He is well-educated, articulate and a rising star among black politicians.

Why was he arrested? Jumaane was walking through a police “frozen zone” after the West Indian Day Parade to get to an event at the Brooklyn Museum. He had permission from police supervisors to go through this area. However, when he came to the third checkpoint the police refused to let the Councilman pass. While trying to confirm his credentials the cops surrounded him and put him in handcuffs.

As Jumaane states in his official statement: “This was an incident involving a select number of police officers that quickly and unnecessary escalated itself. We believe that had Mr. Foy or I been white, this would not have happened. Plain and simple. It is a reflection of a culture which includes stop and frisk protocol that I hope after this incident will finally end, based on how unfairly it targets innocent black and Latino young men.”

I wanted to wait a week or two before writing about this….to calm my anger etc. When I first heard about this I was overwhelmed with the sense of injustice too many people have to live through every day. It reminds me of something a family member once said….”Never forget that you are Black. Don’t get too comfortable, finding yourself in a place of wealth or power. The moment you forget someone will be there to painfully remind you.”… I am still waiting and working towards the day when the color of one’s skin or where they live does not determine their life/how people view them. Sadly though, the US is very far from this.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

35 days to Steamtown Marathon!

35 days until the Steamtown Marathon. My first marathon.

I did a 20 mile run today in ~3 hours :)

The last 5 miles hurt.... went from 8+ min/mile pace to 9+ min/mile. The last mile I had to yell at myself (in my head).... "Finish This!"......"Push!".... "Think of your marathon goal"....."Remember who you are running for" (I've dedicated my run to kids in Tanzania. I'm also raising money for The Olive Branch for Children).

Remembering my favorite running heroes Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie also got me through it.

Amazingly though, 60 minutes after my run I feel awesome. High on endorphins and ready to start the rest of my Saturday :)