On Being a First-Time Dog Owner in a Small NYC Apartment

Google advice about dogs. Go ahead.

Most of that advice will assume:

  1. That you have (or have access to) a backyard

  2. That you have (or have access to) a lot of money

  3. That you can modify your living space significantly

So, while we do have enough cash on hand, most of that isn’t really true of NYC renters. Frankly, dog owning advice is really written with suburban home-owners (or -dwellers) in mind, and I mostly find it off-putting. But regardless of my personal antipathy for the white flight that led to the expansion of suburbs and therefore my admitted lifelong bias, the point is it doesn’t actually help us raise this puppy, and that’s the important part.

You can specifically search for how to raise dogs in apartments, yes. But that also assumes people live in more permissive buildings, where dogs can roam free in common areas and the like. We live in a new shiny building that is very dog-friendly, but we can’t bring him into the lounge (which I understand, people could be allergic) or onto the roof, which he’d enjoy but, well, it’s probably not safe - he likes to jump.

So there’s also the fact that I, Justin, have never had a dog. I’ve never even really had a pet. We got cats in 2001 but I was only two years from college - and I don’t like cats - so that wasn’t much of my life. (Also, we mistakenly traumatized one of those poor cats by losing him for two weeks inside the house. After that he was skittish for the remaining ten years of his life.)

Alissa grew up with dogs, and that sure is a dog family. I have mostly experienced dogs barking at me or chasing me (particularly on beach vacations). I was nervous. But I did want the experience, and I think it could ultimately be good for our family, which will presumably grow in the next two years or so.

But I don’t know what I’m doing. We have a ton of books, literally all of which I find unpleasant to read because of their perspective and tone, so I mostly read dog sites and forums to seek experiences. And there just isn’t a lot that represents our lives.

We can’t create a doggy door - that would just put him in the hallway.

We can’t take him to a backyard. Even without considering that he doesn’t have all his shots yet, we don’t really live near a large park. There’s a tiny park across the street that our neighbors with dogs mostly use as a dog toilet, though.

Walking outside is fun for him, in the limited way we can. But it’s loud and there’s a lot to watch out for. Frankly I have to spend way too much time keeping cigarette butts out of his mouth.

“So why get a dog in NYC?” you might ask. Because we wanted a companion, and a friend, and he is becoming that to us. Neptune is happy and healthy (thus far), and though he barks whenever he’s impatient or confused, that’s mostly because he’s still only three months old. It requires a lot of moving our lives around, at least until month four when he can be alone for longer and longer stretches.

I just wish the dog internet wasn’t mostly Suburban Couples in Sweaters. Because, frankly, a lot of dogs in the city are raised poorly (or not raised at all), and the advice out there is much less applicable, especially if, like me, you’re new to the entire process.

This month we’ve had him has been hard, on us more than on him (he’s fine, really), but we’re figuring it out. We’re smart folks, and we’re lucky enough to indeed have the money to get the things he needs. Soon we’ll send him to classes, and he’ll be old enough to do everything he needs to do without us having to move everything around to make sure he’s okay.

But considering how common dogs are here, and how many are simply being raised poorly, the advice out there could stand to be diversified. All I knew about dogs growing up was the scary ones my neighbors had, and I thought that’s what all dogs were. That was incorrect, but so is the image presented by the information available at present.

We can do better, people!

But, well, I’ll write more about it as I learn more. And maybe someone will find what I have to say to be useful.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Running in 2018

(Note, I’ll add 6 miles tomorrow, so this is inclusive of that, which will definitely occur)

Miles for the Year: 2596.8, give or take.

Goal is always an average of 200 a month, and I handily beat that, even with some low months.

Lowest month: Oct - 142, because I had two tapers that month.

Highest: Aug - 290, the heat of marathon training.

PRs? Yeah, one, Bronx 10M.

Marathons: 2. Neither was great.

Taking stock of the whole year, it was great. Not the best race results, no, but I was consistently second on the team, and if I can figure out a couple things I can lead the team at times in the future.

I decided to take a year off the marathon in 2019 because I want to try and set some shorter distance PRs and marathon training is just plain hard to do while also trying to hit top speed. I want to see how fast I can truly be.

5k, eh. I’ll shoot for it but it’s not my priority.

I really want a PR in the 5 miler at Team Champs, at the 10k in Queens, and at the half, ideally in BK but if not then at (sigh) SI or Pelham.

I’m forcing myself to take it easy through January and will return to full speed workouts in February to prepare for the real season beginning in Washington Heights.

I lost a lot of excess fat this year and I look and feel good. I need to work on certain muscle groups and I have two years to do it.

Here’s hoping. I most likely won’t have much to say about running before my first race (pre-season) on Superbowl Sunday. Thanks for reading.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality


I hope this doesn’t come off as whining. I’ve been very fortunate to attend great schools and have supportive parents and relatives, even if folks were sometimes demanding. What I’ve come to learn, and what I know is true, is that to reach my absolute best, the motivation has to come from within me, and that I’ve only found that fire recently, with the results to show. So here’s an account of how I finally got to where I always wanted to be.

I’m in 19th grade now, technically. Due to take two more years of class after this one.

I was definitely told I was smart as a small child, and placed in schools where I could be around other smart kids. This, I’m sure, helped me a lot, but I also never really felt exceptional.

I did fine in school, excelled at math when I was 3 or 4, was apparently doing long division in kindergarten (even though I can’t really do it now), and eventually was skipped right over first grade. I was already small (and stood out in other ways), so that left me an undersized 6 year old amongst 7 year olds when I got to second grade, and I basically became deathly afraid of being myself because I got teased a lot. There’s more to it than that but I’ll leave it there.

I started struggling when I got to fourth grade. I, for some reason, didn’t really like my math teacher and also didn’t really understand what, at the time, seemed to be relatively abstract math (I believe it was “bases,” as in “base 2,” “base 5,” etc. It seemed dumb to me so I didn’t want to do it). So I started cutting class, by hiding in the bathroom during math. Eventually I got in trouble.

But I never really solved my issues with homework, and for the next 4 years or so, all the rest of middle school, I procrastinated and was only interested in class-clowning to become more popular (it didn’t work) more so than getting my work done and learning. I’m not sure I learned a whole lot from 1995 to 1998, but I was talented enough (and my school permissive enough) to skate by, barely, until it was almost too late, as college began to beckon. I was getting “See me” written on my science tests since my scores were so poor. And I think they all knew I was capable of the work but school just wasn’t clicking for me.

In retrospect, I was having some pretty significant emotional issues, but they were mostly internal so no one really figured it out. I don’t blame anyone for that. I kept up a brave face and told everyone I was fine. And I mostly was. For a black boy, I was going to school every day and was far from danger.

I cut a bunch more classes in 7th grade when I fell too far behind on homework one weekend. This time they caught me after three full days where I skipped school, and had I been at a public school, I am sure I would have been suspended and my whole story would be different. Indeed, the extra chances I got by virtue of being at a kind school were invaluable.

For whatever reason, I suddently got very anxious when I got to ninth grade. Maybe I was more mature, but by then I’d developed a reputation for never following through on anything, and it was something I believed of myself. I gave up easily when discouraged and certainly never went the extra mile, which is a funny thing for me to say now as a marathoner.

And then I started doing all of my homework early. As soon as it was assigned, I did as much of my homework as I could on the subway or right after getting home. My report cards at the time were narratives - and teachers were encouraged to include both good and bad things - so my mistakes were always harped on by… stakeholders, but I did improve. I still didn’t feel like I was very talented, though, since my peers were getting 4s and 5s on AP exams and I never got above a 3. When I finally got into Princeton, I was shocked, and convinced myself I was a combination of an affirmative action entry and a semi-legacy (my mother went there for a year). Considering how I ultimately performed, it took a long time for me to shake this opinion of myself.

My teachers have since spoken to me and told me I was a better student than I remember, though I’m not exactly sure they aren’t just being nice. Ultimately, before college, I never got letter grades, but I was, at best, a frustrating and unfocused learner with no real academic goals aside from not getting in trouble, and at worst I just didn’t do my homework and wasted my parents’ money. In retrospect, though, I was at a very good school, and still received a great education, especially in writing. But I sure did feel like I was mediocre in every way when college started, and then I went out and confirmed my own suspicions.

Some people go to college knowing exactly what they want to be or do. I was not one of these people. I vaguely wanted to be a writer - I still do! - but I couldn’t figure out how to do that. So I filled my schedule with “distribution” requirements for my first two years to knock those classes out of the way and focused almost entirely on my social life, which was a… poor choice.

That said, I actually did well in my very first semester, just because I happened to be taking classes that weren’t exceptionally difficult for me, and were pretty interesting. I was definitely more focused on beer, but I did all my homework and did it well. And I set myself up for trouble.

The second semester, the classes were harder and they weren’t classes I really wanted, so, with no interest, I slacked off. Unlike my no-grades high school and middle school, that mess doesn’t fly at Princeton, and my grades plummeted. I was never in danger of fully failing, but whereas peers were excelling and building themselves into achievers who were set for big careers, I just tried to keep my head above water.

The following fall was the most difficult of my life for unrelated reasons, but I did okay, not great, but okay. And then I finally improved my social life the next spring and focused on parties I actually enjoyed and my grades cratered again.

That summer I was told in no uncertain terms I wouldn’t be fully supported if I didn’t get my act together. And I literally sat down one day and became the absurdly over-planned person I still am. It’s probably not best to make changes out of fear, but, that’s what I did.

After that, I never fell behind again, not once. I clearly had it in me to stay on top of my schooling and needed to unlock the skill of time management. But this didn’t mean I became a top student overnight. I had spent two years not really learning much and blowing off the great privilege I’d been given, mostly because of the same emotional issues I’d had for a decade by that point - I thought I was lazy and worthless, but I was in pain - so I had to work extremely hard to keep pace with the increasing workload. I did keep pace, but overall I finished as an okay student, grade-wise. And I certainly had no plans to get additional degrees without being intrinsically motivated.

So I went to Korea and continued to ignore how I felt, but by the end of that I knew I did want to teach, and I applied and was accepted into my MA program. Yay!

The program was online (even though I was in the same city), and I was very, very underemployed, so I did all my homework as early as possible and called it a day. I did fine in my classes, but I never challenged myself, and I never read anything extra. I had all the time in the world but I never applied myself fully.

My professor (and, eventually, a mentor to me) told me, in my final semester, that she wanted me to get an A, and I accepted that challenge and became determined to do so, especially after she implied I had an attitude problem (she was right). I had spent so long inside of a cocoon of my own issues that I often didn’t realize how I came off to people who cared about me, and, even though there wasn’t much time left in the program, I did finally sit down and do what was needed to excel, and I got that A. But I didn’t get an A in my other class, and a 4.0 semester continued to elude me.

I really never thought about a doctorate, for several years after getting my MA. I’m not sure why. I saw friends go for it. But I had no idea what I’d study or how to make it work financially or logistically. My dad was trying to nudge me into various programs I didn’t really want to do, and I was finally way too old to do what other people suggested because I knew it would lead to more apathetic academic performance.

When I got into this program, I was told that the minimum cumulative GPA was 3.3, and I was terrified, which elicited more than one (appropriate!) eye-roll from my wife when I told her I was worried. I’d barely beaten that number in my MA, but I figured doctoral work would be more challenging and time-consuming, and I really thought I might be in danger of falling off the pace. I knew that several students drop out of every doctoral program, and I figured I, long convinced I was just mediocre (indeed I’m sure I said so in the early years of this website), would be one of these students if I bothered to apply.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the classroom: I finally looked my issues in the face after running away for decades, and though they’ll probably always be with me to some extent, I finally got a handle on them to the point that I was able to focus on work that interests me. I’ve been living - and studying - in a fog since I was a child, and though it’s not a completely clear day just yet, I can see much better now than I used to, and, just this week, it was confirmed that, even without all-nighters or quitting my job or whatever I might have thought necessary, I got what is my very first 4.0 semester. It’s only the first semester out of many, and I’m sure it’ll get harder as we are expected to learn more and more, but I finally know how it feels to be the student I’ve always been expected to be.

Now, sure, some folks are nodding saying, “well, we knew you could, so that wasn’t that hard.” Living up to my potential took me until I was 32, and if you read all this you might be thinking I should have figured myself out a long time ago. But I didn’t.

I want to cherish this moment because it really does feel good to be learning and growing towards a bright future. I am glad for all of my teachers who saw I had talent in me and never really gave up on trying to drag it out from within, especially as an occasionally frustrated teacher myself. I’m glad for my relatives and friends, who probably always wondered why I sort of struggled through my teens and twenties, and for my wife, who saw me lying to myself that scuffling through life was okay with me. For my parents, who probably pushed too hard at some times but knew what they had and spent absurd amounts of time and money supporting. But most of all, for the bright and sensitive little boy I was, who went to hide when he got scared in second grade and is finally getting to skip in circles and dream whatever he wants and become the man he always hoped he could be. I know I’m lucky I got so many chances - what happens if I got physically ill at some point? Or we had less money? Or I had a child? - and that my struggles are a pittance compared to those of many others. But I also know now that pain is pain, and to no longer be subsumed by it is wonderful.

I’m proud of what feels like more of an achievement for me than it probably should, and I absoutely cannot wait to learn more.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Corbitt 2018

Ran it in 59:40. 2nd best. Better than 2016 and 2017, not as good as 2015. “Not as good as 2015” is a fine sentence.

My first 5k was hard. It ended up fairly fast but it took a lot of effort. My feet were frozen and I just couldn’t feel them to really get them under me.

Second 5k felt great. I took my gel and got into a groove without even really pushing. Frankly I wasn’t straining at all during this race. I took it easy but strong.

And then I was just tired after Cat Hill 2.

Led the team. Can’t complain about that.

I’ll wrap up the full year of running in a couple weeks. I’m very close to hitting 2500 for the year and that’s pretty cool, considering the injuries and struggles early in the year.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

On Accepting Imperfection

Been a while. Not marathon training (though staying in shape for my final race of the year), so I haven’t had much to say. Writing about my career/educational focus over on my other site (the-sector.com; you should go there). I’ve already paid for another year at justinpbg.com so I might as well use it, though I think I’ll let it lapse next fall.

I originally bought this site so I could say what I was thinking, and way back at the start, it was ultimately an outlet for deeply hidden thoughts. I don’t really need to write all that stuff online anymore.

But I wanted to write about something that has made 2018 interesting for me.

So, for the first time in my life, I am both a serious amateur runner and a student simultaneously. I finished my MA in May of 2012, right before my first summer training (poorly) for a marathon that didn’t end up happening. Now I’m a doctoral student and still clocking miles (60 this week despite marathon season being over). And, without being cocky, I’m finding school to be an ideal addition to my life. Of course, like anyone, I get bored after the 55th theoretical article about the concept of teacher leadership. But the writing, at least thus far, has flowed. Not in the clunky overwritten way I used to write in college, or the way I mostly struggled to grind out adequate assignments in grad school, but it connects, and it’s cohesive. Is it the best writing in the world? No, at least not yet. I have a lot to learn and at this early point I think all I’m showing is that I have the capacity to become a strong researcher and, just as important, an effective communicator about said research.

In 2018, I have made great strides on emotional challenges I don’t need to go into here. But for much of my life, I swung from my heels, always trying to hit a home run, and if it appeared I wouldn’t, I settled for mediocrity. This is how I ended up stubbornly pushing through marathons where I should have recognized I would miss my goal, and walking all the end to the end of Boston.

This year, however, I had muscle cramps during both of my marathons - and now have a long, slow plan to correct these issues by the fall of 2020 - and, although I had brief moments of annoyance and wished they’d gone better, I accepted the imperfect result both times and focused on enjoying the experience. Sure, it was more fun to achieve goals and I will again at some point, but something not going the way you want can’t be devastating to me the way it once was, or else I’ll end up fencing myself in.

It’s a strange concept, but the lack of moderation in almost all of my decision-making prevented me from success. Now, I run a race that doesn’t go well, I know I worked hard and that there will be more races. I write a paper, I could be a perfectionist and make each word perfect, but there will still always be room for improvement.

This is not laziness, to be clear. This is not mediocrity. This is knowing and valuing the hard work you’ve done and being proud of your imperfect result, since all results are imperfect. In accepting imperfection, I feel I will grow much closer to perfection than I ever would have before.

Because, look, when it comes to my best races, those three BQ races in 6 weeks, those were great times. Great times. But I was basically immobile for seven hours after each race. That’s not “perfect,” sacrificing bodily health. There will always be something you would rather change.

Accepting imperfection also helps when weather is a factor. Yes, you plan accordingly, but your results will be the best that the conditions allow, and trying to pretend you’re immune to heat or sun or wind or whatever is folly.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all my assigments will be graded horribly and I will need to stress myself out much more than I currently am. Maybe this will just lead to my becoming slower and slower in my races since I’ve accepted imperfection.

But imperfection is human. Pretending otherwise is what led to so many of my internal struggles for much of my life. And I can find a way to excel in my own imperfect way.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Five Years of Racing

With last week’s marathon, I’ve officially completed five full years of racing consistently. I technically ran two races before the 2013 marathon, but they were the Empire State Building thing and the Corporate Challenge and those are… barely races.

So here are some things.

Races run: I’m not sure. NYRR has me at 59, but I’ve also run Chicago, Boston (sigh), Hartford, Philly marathons, 3 QueensDistance tuneup races, a charity race in RI, and a race on Roosevelt island. Which is nice more, for 68. Which means my next race will be my 69th. Nice.

And my PRs?

5k: 17:55 (2016)

4m: 23:23 (2016)

5m: 29:37 (2016)

10k: 37:46 (2017)

15k: 58:18 (2015)

10m: 1:00:52 (2018, yay!)

Half: 1:20:16 (2016)

Full: 2:56:24 (2015)

So, yeah, of these 8 main distances I have run a few times (though the 15k is just Corbitt repeatedly and the 4m is mostly the superbowl race), 50% were in 2016 (from March to July), and 25% more were Oct-Dec 2015. So, really, Oct 2015-July 2016 was my best. I am taking next year off from the full distance to focus on trying to get really comfortable running at or below 6:00/mile without needing to go full effort. Someday, all of these will fall.

But yeah, 69 is next, lol.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Nine thoughts after my ninth marathon finish

  1. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. My hip is damaged in some way. I think it’s clear now that my old, old injury from college, when I jacked up my back playing rugby poorly (and I only joined to follow some friends… sigh…), never really healed. It was really deeply painful for most of my junior and senior years, and I got painkillers prescribed, Oxycodone. I could have ended up with a problem, but they were way too strong. I took two and was like, nah, I can’t function. Got rid of them. Eventually, I went to masseuses and a chiropractor and that finally got the pain to subside. And they were helpful and great. But apparently the damage was never resolved, and then, after I ran nearly 9 miles a day for nearly 2 years, the impact brought it back out, but the discomfort is in my hip instead of my back. I first noticed this during the 2016 marathon, and of course haven’t been able to last the whole way in any marathons since. Yesterday, like Hartford, I subconsciously ran higher on my toes, and I can do that for up to two hours (it works in 10 milers and halves), but my calves, strong as they are, can’t do it for three hours. So, between the Corbitt race and the Superbowl race, I will consult a medical professional for information and between now and the fall of 2020, I will either solve the hip problems or learn to run on my calves for longer, as that might actually be a good way to run. We’ll see.

  2. No marathons in 2019 for the first time since the 2012 one was cancelled. It’ll be weird. But I need not to spend more than 2 hours running at full speed for a few seasons. I will still get up to 60 miles as I train for the halves (Brooklyn. SI, Pelham) next year, and as my fitness is strong, I can get back under 1:21 to qualify for the 2020 marathon by time, hopefully under 1:20 for my own personal goal (why shoot for 1:20:59 and not go for 1:19:59, right?).

  3. I am excited to cheer for the NYC Half and NYC marathon for the first time ever. I’ll bring my puppy, too.

  4. You know, it SEEMED like perfect weather, but the sun was kinda blinding after all that time. Sun jacks me up after a while. Didn’t really slow me down. Just something to note.

  5. My timing plan was good! My fueling plan was… excessive! Four gels is plenty, three is probably ideal.

  6. I saw more signs about voting than anything else. I think it’s gonna happen tomorrow for us. Though baby Trump without the House is gonna be pretty terrible.

  7. I wasn’t the only one who cramped up. But I came up with a good plan. I made a deal with myself, that walking for a long time didn’t do more than just walking for a short time to calm my painfully spasming calves. So once I cramped up for the second time (I was just going to fight through it in my left calf but once my right calf fell apart too it was over), I said, okay, this is Manhattan, all the blocks are numbered. I knew I had to get to 59th street and we entered at 138th. I figured, that’s about 80 blocks. So I said, 8 blocks running, 1 block walking. And I made sure not to be walking when I knew I had people waiting for me (116th, 102nd). This helped a lot, and although those walking spots added a minute to each mile, I felt good enough. And I managed to run up the whole fifth avenue hill.

  8. I have seriously never seen a crowd like that, and I’ve never felt the love as strongly. I’m being less personal online, but suffice it to say, my sessions with good professionals have helped me see and believe in how much people care about me, and I really and truly felt and believed it yesterday. I hope I can always believe it, and when I doubt it, I’ll look back to this day.

  9. Finally, let’s rank my 9 marathons by how much I enjoyed them.

    9. Boston 2017 - We don’t talk about Boston.

    8. NYC 2016 - This is where my injuries came to life, so I had to rank this lowly.

    7. Philly 2015 - It was cool to run past my mom’s place twice but this course was really dull and quiet, comparatively.

    6. Hartfod 2017 - Similarly, it was, uh, cornfields. Which is fine, but once I struggled, having a crowd aside from my wonderful wife would have helped.

    5. NYC 2014 - My god that wind.

    4. NYC 2013 - My first! It was great because I’d never experienced anything like it. But there are better ones because, well, I know what I’m doing.

    3. Chicago 2015 - My PR, perhaps forever. I did not appreciate it as it happened, which is dumb, dumb, dumb. But I have never otherwise felt so strong for, like, 20 miles of a marathon (and then it was sunny).

    2. NYC 2018 - You know about this one.

    1. And finally - NYC 2015 - The happy feelings and improved mental health made yesterday truly special! But, you know, being actually fast was fun, too. I weighed them against each other, and combine the home crowd, the speed, and leading the team, and my first marathon with Alissa at the finish, it still wins, for now. Hopefully 2020 will end up at the top, and then I can take myself back to Boston in 2022 (god, I’ll be old and perhaps finishing a dissertation).

Thanks so much to all for their support. I have never appreciated it more.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Reflections after Marathon #8 didn't go according to plan

  1. The fitness is there. It will remain there. And it can return if I train any year I’m off my game. Good.

  2. I felt my muscles tighten from almost the beginning. This was not a good sign.

  3. I held a sub-7 through mile 19 and then the wheels came off. Lots of walking breaks etc.

  4. Still, my “bad” pace was better than most folks’ best, and after three awful marathons in my last four, will take a finish with tight muscles over puking.

  5. Speaking of puking, I’m just not taking in enough gel. I stopped trying to take in a lot of gel when I got sick in Philly in 2015, but I think now it’s the mixture of the gel and the sweet, sweet gatorade that makes me feel ill. I felt off drinking gatorade during the great 10 miler two weeks ago, even. I’m going to try taking gels at (or near) each 5k and see if I can keep them down and they finally unlock my best performance.

  6. I thought the cool weather was a blessing. It was nice but with the rain I eventually got cold and stiff. So, the opposite of Boston, where it was suddenly hot, basically. Just a little too cold after it was 77 the other day.

  7. This is exactly why I signed up for two races (and probably will do so in any future fall season), because if this had been just one race I would have pushed through, and felt way worse at the end, and still missed my goals.

  8. Night before nutrition was way better. Didn’t feel overly full. I’m slowly figuring out a perfect system for me.

  9. I think in 2015 at my fastest, I was just youthfully energetic, and didn’t need to really take care of myself. I was sick after each race for the whole day and there’s no need for that. I ran to, and through, depletion. No more.

  10. Two days off, back on the horse Tuesday. I know what I need to do now. And I’m going to do it. Now watch it be awful weather in NYC. But I’ll have all my friends and family.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 14 (the end of training)

Well. All that’s left is the two marathons. And today I can say I’m as fast as I was during my fastest period, May 2015-April 2016. I had all of my most impressive races during that period, then my stomach fought me, then my legs gave out, then my back gave out, then I got a facial fracture, then my back got hurt again and then I finally started to feel better this May and have improved to my old speed and strength through this well-managed summer of training.

Today, I ran the Bronx 10 miler in 1:00:51, 7 seconds faster than my best, 2015. I never felt bad or ill, and when I wanted to speed up I did. I never felt it in my lungs or stomach, just my legs, where I should feel it.

Didn’t lead the team, but that’s okay. The only person I’m chasing is my best racing self, one who didn’t know his time would be brief. I took my speed for granted back then, and ran unsustainably, nearly 9 miles a day for nearly two years. Now I eat better, drink less, sleep more, stretch more. I’m still older, so all these changes didn’t make me even faster. But my endurance and speed are back to their best.

No more posts in this series. Just marathon 1 on Oct 13th and marathon 2 on Nov 4th. Hoping beyond hope for good weather like today.

Miles this week: 44.39

Miles in September: 264.17

Miles in training (since June 19th): 945.21

Miles in 2018 (why not): 2110.49

Miles until the finish line of marathon 2: 184

(I’ll get to 2500 for the year)


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 13

No qualifications to say this was my best week of training, which is good since I’m pretty much done.

Yes, it was cooler, but that wasn’t really the factor.

I’ve been working on my form, as we all should be, and like many I tend to hunch after I’ve been running a long time. I know this, and I try to fight it but it still happens.

I didn’t pay much attention to my form at the start of races/long runs. I figured you start with better form, and it can gradually slide.

But lately, on the advice of my wife (who is usually right about these things), I focused on staying ram-rod straight from step one of each run. And wow, I bashed through lots of goal paces and records and, best of all, wasn’t really putting any strain on my lungs and heart.

Tuesday, my usual run up by the factories, suddenly was able to do faster than I ever had before, by about 8 seconds a mile.

Wednesday, ran over the bridge, not the fastest time ever but far ahead of my goal pace and again, without feeling strain.

Thursday, same thing, fastest I’ve ever done on that route to the Navy Yard.

Then yesterday, I closed out my solo-20-mile-run, my 4th of this training season, with my best one yet.

It was still pretty warm, 70 degrees and sunny, which was not ideal. But I focused on form from step one, and it is much easier to maintain than to retain. I ran a smooth MP+60 for the entire first 18ish miles, then took it easy over the bridge home.

20 days until marathon #1. Just the Bronx (which, barring heat, should go well) next week.

And, I hit 900 miles in training today, in 3 months and 4 days. I won’t hit 1000 until I’m ten miles into my first marathon of the year, so it’s definitely taper time.

Miles this week: 61.26

Miles in training: 900.82 (80% of the way to the second and final finish line)


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality