STRONGCAMP Lynbrook Style

I heard about STRONGCAMP events through Dacia Lucas, Ambassador & coordinator for STRONG camps. The events are backed by Strong Fitness Magazine , a ladies fitness magazine. The staff at the magazine is nothing but a ”positive vibe”. Circulated globally, the magazine has a strong presence in the US & Canada. I’ve been a subscriber for years.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m always looking for a laugh. A dose of laughs while getting the endorphins rolling is my kind of event. There were lotsa laughs to be had at the Lynbrook camp. I’m glad I was welcomed at the inaugural event. I invited girls from my work, but everyone had plans & could not attend.

The 2 day camp was led by Ambassador Esmin Feliciano, & started with a ”meet & greet” on Friday night at the Rockville Center Hotel. I’ve frequented the hotel when in town for my job, & the service is top notch. Georgetta, the hotel manager, really took care to see that campers & other hotel guests had everything they needed (there were also bar mitzvah & wedding guests at the hotel the same weekend). Van service is reliable exclusively to the JFK airport, too.

A fabulous spread of food was setup for the Friday night meet & greet. Esmin was there to greet, along with Dacia Lucas. I saw lotsa familiar faces from the Suffield camp last September, too. Chief photographer, Paul Buceta, was there as well. He’s a pro in his field, with a no-nonsense approach to business. I always learn something about the business from Paul, even if the “chatski” is only 5 minutes.

Selfie with Dacia, outside the hotel at the ”meet & greet”

The first girls I met on Friday night were Sarah & Georgia, ’The Alchemy Fitness Girls”. They’re New Yorkers from Staten Island, & they were excited to tell me about their concept in fitness. Georgia, mother of 2 & fluent in Greek, & Sarah is a WBFF Pro former fitness competitor & occupational therapist. They both enjoy motivating ladies to be the best they can be at whatever they’re doing.

Blessed with 2 days of sunny skies, it just couldn’t have been better weather for the weekend set of events. We all met the first day at Greis Park, & set up to do the Zumba class with Lynn.

Lynn set the tone for the weekend, & “flipped the switch” with a fun class. Her tunes were upbeat, & she was an excellent teacher. I hadn’t done a Zumba class before, & definitely needed the instructions. It was a blast!

Paul was on the sidelines at the 50 yard line of the football field, to snap a few pictures. We weren’t paid to be there. We were there to get out of the house & mingle with like-minded ladies with a passion for fitness. As one instructor, Maria Gonzalez, mentioned later, ”if you live alone & don’t have work or family obligations, why not come out for the camaraderie?” She had a great point, as when you live alone, the countertops aren’t going to care if they get cleaned again, (haha).

Lynn teaching Zumba

photo by Paul Buceta copyrighted

Georgia & Sarah, the Alchemy Fitness girls, led the second class on day one. Their workouts are revved, with upbeat music, & I loved the way they taught, by alternating counts with each other on what we would do next. You could go at your own pace, & they had class details written on a board they displayed for everyone to see. (A syllabus of your ”butt kick”, so-to-speak.). Check them out on Instagram at @Alchemy_Fitness.

Photo by Paul Buceta /copyrighted
(L to R)Georgia & Sarah working out in Zumba class

After lunch, we headed over to do a kickboxing class with Maria. She’s a great instructor, with lots of energy.

Later, Nicole would teach a class on stretching, & also gave tips to us on how to avoid incontinence when aging. Nicole was very down-to-earth, & could easily relate to any issue with positive advice.

Day 1 was capped off with a yoga class taught by Jaclyn, a recent covergirl on Strong Fitness Magazine. She would also give nutrition tips on day 2.

Photo by Paul Buceta copyrighted

The whole class on day 1, Greis Park.

Kobe on the move

Photo credit Paul Buceta copyrighted
Photo credit Paul Buceta copyrighted
Photo by Paul Buceta copyrighted
Betty, our ”powerhouse”, & at 70+ worked very hard
Photo credit Paul Buceta copyrighted

Maureen, ”mid-move” in Zumba

Photo credit Paul Buceta copyrighted

Brooks Adrenalines shoes

“Pyramid style”

On Sunday, we would all meet over at Proficient Sports Training ( gym. The gym is owned by retired NFL defensive back, Donny Brady. I took a Lyft ride over to his gym a scoche early to get a few pics, as i knew I was going to do a blog. I was greeted by Donny, & his wife (who had an angelic face & was just as sweet). They were glad to show me around, & i loved the positive quotes on his gym walls.

Donny’s wife, who was doing ab work & handstands when i walked in!

Donny mentioned his goal now is to train kids, & be a positive influence with his ”Body by Brady Bootcamp” concept. He is from Bellmore, Long Island, NY & went into the NFL at a young age. While we were there, 2 kids were training in the other area doing intervals.

Donny taught us a few drills, and brought back high school memories for me with the “six inch killers” (raising your legs six inches off the ground & holding the feet there a few minutes). We would do leg raises, scissor kicks, deadlifts & plank holds, too. I pretended I was in the NFL draft, & had a good time laughing.

I was hanging away from the gang, as I was sweating tons!

After Donny & his wife left, we spent another hour or 2 doing some more drill work led by Dacia. I enjoyed the class, & went down to train next to Betty. She was an animal. At over 70+, she was doing full pushups on a ladder sequence, mixed in with running back & forth to a cone, & 2 lunges each trip. I loved the energy, & came up ”a tad weak” on upper body strength. I decided I’m going to work on upper arm strength for the next camp in doing some pushups.

After the final workout, we chatted with Jaclyn on nutrition. She gave advice to get plenty of protein a day, as well as answered various questions.

We capped the day off with lunch at Valley Stream Park. Esmin thanked us all for attending her camp & passed out gifts to the Ambassadors who taught, & drew names for some other prizes.

Special thanks to, a camp sponsor. They have a fabulous whey protein supplement, ”Build”, which has 120 calories per scoop, & 25 grams of protein. Thanks too, to Proficient Sports Training, for lending their gym a few hours, & sponsor Grounds and Hounds Coffee, (, who sends a percentage of their profits to rescue pets.

I hope you find my blog inspirational, & remember, YOU are FABULOUS. 😀

#STRONGCAMPLynbrookNY #FitnessNewYork #FitnessCampLongIsland #WorkoutsForLadies #LadiesFitnessClasses #YogaStretchingBootCamp #ZumbaClassesNewYork #ProficientSportsTrainingGym #BrooksAdrenalinesRunningShoes #BrooksRunningFitnessShoes #CaliaPurpleFitnessTights #UnderArmourTurquoiseTights #OutworkNutrition #StrongFitnessMagazine #LadiesFitnessMagazine #GroundsAndHoundsCoffee #FitnessOver50 #FitnessAllAges #FitnessOver20 #FitnessOver30 #FitnessOver40 #FitnessOver60 #FitnessOver70 #GreisParkNewYork #ValleyStreamParkNY


STRONGCAMP Suffield Style

Photo credit Paul Buceta, copyrighted

Any fitness enthusiast would understand you might want to go check out a fitness camp on your vacation or off day. I’ve met so many enthusiastic people over the years, & I’m always up for a norepinephrine surge.

I had crossed paths with 2 ladies, Esmin Feliciano, & Dacia Lucas. I’d see occasional posts pop up on fitness or goals, and am always up for a good laugh. These two produce both a positive vibe and welcoming manner. When they invited me up to CT for the camp. I had to see if I could get my schedule to accommodate it. When I got my schedule swapped, I told some friends I was going, and invited a work friends, & a few others I’ve crossed paths with that I thought might like it.

Sometimes I feel I annoy people with my energy on fitness, so I didn’t ask every friend. (I just didn’t want to drive anyone up the wall). Unfortunately, everyone was tied up that weekend, & “the pack” in Suffield said they could come next year.

Photo by Paul Buceta, copyrighted

The camp itself was very well organized. The magazine that supports the project, Strong Fitness Magazine, is out of Canada. Ambassador for this project in CT is Dacia Lucas.

I was unsure if the issues around Covid were going to allow anyone from Canada (or the magazine) to be in Connecticut.

Gyms in Canada were shut down a whole year. Ireland was nailed to the wall, too, (with gym shutdowns and much more). If you’ve put your life savings into a gym, restaurant , bar or anything else, we all know that’s a “double heinous” storm to weather.. I am remaining hopeful the worst is behind us. I had already cut spending & was preparing for what could be darker times when Covid shutdowns hit.

The event in Suffield was nothing but “positive fabulous”. I walked into the lobby of the hotel right before the meet and greet. Dacia was there chatting with a few girls & such a scream that she thought I was going to be shorter in person ((I’m close to 5’7” without heels).

The meet and greet was great, with a spread of clean eats, eats to enjoy and hard & soft spirits to drink. I met so many fun ladies. A grandmother from Rhode Island, a border patrol officer from upstate NY, a CT police officer & grandmother (whose daughter runs a hair salon with friends), a yoga instructor & fitness trainer mom who runs her own studio in the Midwest ( & will be doing a upcoming Strong Camp ), a couple of nurses, a IBFF pro athlete & grandmother, and so many more. (I hope they’re all there next year).

Lunch for the entire group on day 1 was donated by retired USAF pilot, Chris Bigelow, widower to a STRONGCAMPER who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. We enjoyed having him there and were all very grateful for a nice lunch.

Photo by Paul Buceta, copyrighted

The camp on day 1 ran till 4:30, with breaks for water, lunch and the restroom. The gym, Suffield Fitness Factory, (@Suffieldfitnessfactory) was spotless. Not a speck of dirt on any mat, and restrooms were spotless, too. Hand sanitizers were all around each wall, I noticed fresh paint (or crisp appearance) on the walls, too. Digital clocks were around.

Photo by Paul Buceta , cooyrighted

Sponsors included J Dog Junk Removal, Westfield, MA (@Jdogwestfield), Beth Reale Foundation, (@thebethrealefoundation), Popover Bakery & Bistro, Simsbury, CT (@popoversimabury), Good Wipes @goodwipes, American Dream Nut Butter, @americandreamnutbutter, Froning Farms @froningfarms, Curves & Combat Boots @crvs.apparel, Shrewd Food @shrewdfoodco

Dacia was very creative in things to do at the camp She had use blindfolds on one exercise for the length of time that NY & NJ firemen were going up the towers. This would a simulate the conditions that were dark, & it was to commemorate 9/11. (This Strong Camp event was being held on 9/11). While we were blindfolded, we held the plank and held a contest to see who could go the longest. I was a tad “weak in the abs” and shut it down after about 5 minutes. Several ladies held it for 10 minutes and there were 2 girls who went over 20 minutes with the plank. (There we’re roughly 40 ladies in attendance). I was amazed and excited they did it (as well as the rest of the crew).

The next class we did was “Pound”. I had never tried a pound class, and had a ball. Everyone grabbed drumsticks and we headed outside to get a mat, and while “jamming” to rock, pop and R&B songs, we beat the mat with drumsticks while doing lunges or kicks. I was a tad worried on my coordination as I wanted to stay in line with the gang. It was a fabulous rehash & memory of my aerobics days at Exercise Studio South (in my teens) in Jacksonville, FL, or Bally Health & Fitness, (n my college days), in Orlando. (I did high impact aerobics in the 80’s & 90’s )

I hadn’t ever done a kickboxing class, either, so that was another first at the camp, too. (With such an energetic instructor, & well organized music). I was going “broad range” and tried not to mess up kicks.

Other forms of fitness included flipping tractor tires, pushing vehicles in pairs of 2 or 3, and handstands up against trucks. I was cracking up at 2 ladies who kept it going. I passed on doing the handstands, and maybe I’ll do that next year.

Paul Buceta, chief photographer Strong Fitness Magazine was there. I had met Paul and his wife Kim up in Toronto back in 2019. His studio there in Canada is amazing, with natural and studio lighting & it all comes with a sense of humor to go along with getting pics done well. I didn’t know he was going to be “shooting film” specifically with the camp, but was so happy we had a sunny day. If it had been raining, the pound class wouldn’t have happened outside and that’s the picture the mag used of me. It’s so very special. I’m extremely grateful to be in the magazine. It’ll be framed when I have time, and hung on my office next to pictures of NYC Marathon Founder, George Hirsch, The Gronkowski’s, & ‘68 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, & #IronStrength founder, Jordan Metzl, MD.

I’m retired from most of my modeling ventures and used to hate it when people would ask me what I was paid (when I did work on any paid campaigns). My response was always “I don’t discuss rates”. The last paid campaign I worked was back in 2019, in my hometown in FL. My agent, Vicki Foley, got me the job. I was not paid for the Suffield event in CT. I was there at the STRONGCAMP primarily to mingle & workout. It’s my pleasure to promote anything for this camp, free on gratis.

I was happy to see Paul working in the United States again. I still do photo shoots now and then to stay motivated to train in the gym. Fitness brings work to the US. Most people want to work with people who have positive energy,. Paul is a positive vibe. He flies to many states for photo shoot jobs, marketing at expos , & continues the “octane overdrive” legacy that the late Robert Kennedy (founder of Oxygen Magazine), set rolling years ago. Robert worked on projects with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and knew Jack Lalanne, too. . Robert had hysterical editorials (and a clear cut description to his way of fitness and running his magazine). I never met Robert in person, but I used to always read his editorials and laugh. Paul knew Robert when Robert ran events in LA & Vegas & said he brought lotsa work to the US.. The stories are a scream. Paul & I didn’t have enough time to chat at the CT camp, but I hope to at the next round.

Next years CT camp will be as much a blast as this years. I’m hoping a gym in FL will take interest in a STRONGCAMP.

May your skies be blue, your pastures stay green & your outlook stay positive. Come see a Strong Fitness camp someplace near you, or organize your own STRONGCAMP in your hometown with the magazine. (Contacts for this are listed in the magazine).

To buy a magazine at a retailer, check large chain grocery stores such as Publix (@Publix), Whole Foods, or Barnes & Noble bookstore. You can always check online, too.

#StrongCampSuffieldConnecticut #gymfitnesstraining #StrongFitnessMagazineCanada #workhardlaughharder #SuffieldFitnessFactory #JDogJunkRemoval #BethRealeFoundation #PopoverBakeryBistro #GoodWipesSuffieldConnecticut #AmericanDreamNutButter #FroningFarms #CurvesAndCombatBoots #ShrewdFood #kickboxingclasses #WeightAndFitnessTraining




Motto: Natural Hair Solutions for a healthy life style

Gus, in the blue jacket, founded Jumam.

Shampoos and conditioners, there are so many. It’s something that we use everyday, and what makes this one so special? It’s a product that’s paraben-free, alcohol-free, PEG-free, sulfate-free & fragrance free.

Key ingredients in Jumam hair products are: Nettle, Basil, Rosemary, Watercress, Culantrillo, Avocado Oil, Macademia Oil & MACA. All of these organic extracts are harvested in the mountains of the South American Andes, (average altitude of 2,500 meters = 8,202 feet). Extracts are from the Andes, where climatological/weather conditions in the high Andes (and in the Amazon region) and offer a very fertile, & rich soil filled with minerals, (not available in other parts of the world). As a result, these selected plant extracts contain a high concentration of vitamins, nutrients, & antioxidants. The vitamins are : A, B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, & K. The minerals in the product are: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphur, folic acid, protein, & phosphorus. Other trace natural elements include manganese, iron, zinc, copper & selenium.

All of the ingredients in all four formulations have been researched,, tested & designed in cooperation with the Laboratory JUMAM of Lima, Peru, & using the data base of the Environmental Work Group based in Seattle, WA. ( I have color treated hair, and have enjoyed having a product that is “putting oil back into my hair”. For long hair, you will need the size of a quarter for the shampoo & conditioner. For short hair, about the size of a dime for shampoo and a varied amount for conditioner.

I’ve been extremely happy with the products. I purchased all four products, with shampoo priced between euro 10,99- euro 14,99, and can be found online at Dutch website www.Jumam.NL or if you live in the Netherlands, on drugstore shelves at Da Drogist (@dadrogist on Instagram).

You’ll see a shine in your hair. You’ll love the product:-)

#HerbalHairCareProducts #DutchHerbalHairCare #ParabenFreeHairProducts #AlcoholFreeShampoo #fragranceFreeHairProduct #NettleBasilRosemaryShampoo #WatercressCulantrilloAvocadoOilHairCare #MacadamiaOilMACAHairCare #PeruvianHairProduct

Product Founder Gustavo (Gus) Seminario, find him on LinkedIn.


Your Health: Today and Every Day

guest article by: Jennifer McGregor

Summer is in full swing, and it’s the time of year when people suddenly begin to pay particular attention to their bodies. From heading to the tanning bed to crash dieting, we tend to get a little overzealous when it comes to our physical appearance come summer. The truth is, it is always in our best interest to stay on top of our health no matter the season. Doing so not only increases your lifespan but also ensures you look your best during the time of year when swimsuits are the outfit of choice.

Go to bed on time

It’s only natural to want to adjust your schedule to follow the sun. But you should still strive to get at least seven hours (minimum!) of sleep each night all year long. Many experts assert that sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is essentially your body’s time to reboot and repair all of the wear and tear you’ve experienced that day.

Don’t give up on vacation

If you don’t have a vacation planned, you should. Spending time with family is great for your mental health, and taking a break from work can actually help you return more prepared to tackle any issues that you’ve been struggling with. But, this is not the time to break the healthy habits you already have in place. 

One way to stay on track is to book a private vacation rental. This will give you a chance to cook your own meals and have better access to fitness and recreational opportunities (just be sure to book your stay accordingly).

Eat breakfast

According to Popular Science, the jury is out on when you should eat breakfast. However, the fact that you should eat a balanced meal to break your overnight fast is not up for debate. Pay close attention to your schedule and make a point to plan your dining habits in a way that best suit your personal needs and preferences. Keep in mind that if you are diabetic or need to manage your weight, breakfast should be your largest meal of the day.

Learn to relax

Summer tends to be all go and no slow, but being constantly on the move isn’t always in your best interest. Let yourself wind down every now and then. Spend a day each week lounging by the pool or, better yet, on the massage table. An hour of therapeutic massage can boost your mood, relieve muscle soreness, and even kick your immune system into high gear. A massage is the perfect gift for yourself. 


While you do need to relax, you also need to move with purpose. But, you don’t have to hit the gym for hours each day to make physical activity a habit. Although your body expends energy even when you’re at rest, it’s much more efficient at burning calories when you are not. But even more important than burning calories, physical activity is good for your heart, lungs, and brain. When you move, you strengthen yourself from the inside out, which is important if you plan to live a long and healthy life

Plan to do something each day that gets your heart rate up. This could be dancing, playing with the kids, or even cleaning your house. If none of those activities pique your interests, has 40 more ideas that might. Even less strenuous activities, such as yoga, have many health benefits. As an added bonus, yoga can help you relax and destress, which will have an amazing effect on your overall mental wellness.

Protect Your Mental Health

Believe it or not, your mental health has a significant impact on your physical health. And for overall wellness, your mental health should also be a priority. This is where self-care comes in. While the points listed above all count as self-care methods, there are other ways to ensure you get the care you need inside and out. This can be in the form of meditating, journaling, practicing yoga or working on your spiritual health. From an external perspective, self-care can include removing negative energy from your home, keeping your living space clean and uncluttered, and surrounding yourself with decor and lighting that makes your home a serene environment. 

In general, the point is that a knee-jerk reaction to summer is not what you need. If you want to be truly healthy, you have to make yourself a priority the entire year, and recommit to yourself every morning. So get a good night’s sleep, eat well, exercise and practice self-care.


Wigs And Wishes


Attending the “Wigs & Wishes” event in Berlin, NJ last Sunday was just plain fabulous. The event, put on by salon owner & hair product @HSN marketer, Martino Cartier, was packed with laughs & a positive vibe.

I first became acquainted with Martino’s salon through a guy I used to date. I fly standby and was unable to make a flight last year to get home in FL (due to weather). My hair appointment was scheduled in FL and I had “serious root issues”. No woman, including myself, wants to have hair or  roots resembling a raccoon’s.  That week, I just wasn’t interested in that look.   I would’ve waited for my own hairdresser, but she was booked solid for two weeks at Zimmiz in FL.  I had to be at work in less than 3 days.

At the salon, the stylist explained they put on an event every year and to keep it in mind. Her boss, Martino, wasn’t in, but to put it in the back of my mind & made a note of the date.  I later researched it online.

Fast forward 10 months or so, and I’m pulling into Lucien’s manor in a rented Toyota ready to mingle.  I noticed a Lamborghini parked outside, so I got a picture on the way out.

The last charity event I had attended prior to this one was a March, The Jay Fund Event put on by Tom Coughlin, in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL.  (I wrote a blog on that one too,

Martino’s event started with a fab pack of ladies that assigned me a table number and sent me to coat check. From there, I entered an amazing room with chandelier’s, live band & tons of hors douvres. There was also a fun camera screen with several hats, glasses and wigs to take pictures in. I went ahead and gave it a whirl and asked the girls if they’d use my phone too, so I could post it to my social pages. They were glad to help.



I walked up to a table and started chatting with a sweet couple from Delaware. Gina, and her husband had come over to the event and she was proud to tell me she had on a wig designed by Martino.  She said she had been fighting an uphill battle with lymphoma & that she was almost done with her treatmemts.  She had three kids at home and she & her husband were a scream.   We tooled the rooms set up for auction.

Gina modeling her wig.


While we were trekking around, Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, introduced herself and modeled necklaces she was asking for bids on. The monies would benefit the event. We snapped pictures.

Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, @GialloretoJaime

From there, we met Martino’s son, Brigade, and I got a pic and later with Martino. I could see the resemblance . Both men were full of energy and friendly in approaching everyone in attendance.

Myself with Brigade & Martino

Sponsors of the event included Lancôme cosmetics, HSN, Brazilian Blowout, Viviscal, Abbott Florist, Mike’s Hardscapes, Platinum House Streets.  I noticed too, items for auction included a donated @cj_wentz helmet who plays QB for the @Eagles.  The event had lots of local support.  I had flown into Philadelphia, as it was a closer drive than flying into Newark.

Calvin Klein Dress, size 2

After some bids were put in for auction, we went to a separate room for dinner.  Everything was first class, from the venue, to the staff working the event, to the food.  A three course meal offering  fish & steak as the main entree.  Coffee & cake were offered afterwards.   A cash bar was available .

Celebrities included NJ local @DanielleStaub , of the New Jersey Housewives, & celebrity stylist @CarsonKressley .  Carson was also on one of the boards in Philadelphia (unfortunately, I cannot recall which).    They were both a scream.  Both Danielle, (who at mid-50’s looks at least 10 years younger), & Carson, (who was equally as youthful in appearance), kept the crowd laughing.  Later, Martino would introduce cancer patients who would receive Wigs & wishes.


Back in 1997, i raised a few thousand dollars for a child with Leukemia w/the GA chapter of Leukemia team & training.  I ran my 1st NYC marathon for him at the same time.   I found it very emotionally taxing to be around a child who knew how sick he was, and hearing the expense of  treatments was equally as tough.   It was easier to run a marathon.   With this event, the amount of money raised brought a lot of smiles.  The terminally ill child receiving a dog from Martino, smiled too.

I had to leave around 9:30-10 pm as I had to make a 6 AM departure from Philadelphia the next morning. My table mates, (Mark Margu & his Dad both ran Henry Margu Wigs), had just gotten word of a gas explosion near their homes & wanted to get back to check on their house.

With rental car return the next morning, the drive and etc., I knew I’d be lucky to get 4 hours of sleep. I had been in NYC two days prior to this event working on volunteering with the NYC marathon (which was a total blast),  Beth  I took a day off travel in between & my vacation has been just the kickstart I wanted to get back in work mode.

I’m a flight attendant and work international trips, but like to work fun projects on the side.  I was grateful for a week of positive vibe with the peeps at the NYC marathon & at the gala in NJ with Wigs & Wishes.  I hope next years event is equally as fun.  If you would like to support this event, contact online.



NYC Style Volunteering

Most anyone that knows me, knows I love to be around anything with positive energy. I enjoy motivating others to their goals, & I enjoy laughing. Of course,  like anyone else, I’m occasionally faced with challenges, but who isn’t.

Earlier this year, I was trying to think of fun ways to get motivated to work a little harder on some personal projects in fitness. Nothing spells serious motivation & a positive vibe better than being around a pack of runners who have voluntarily opted to take on a marathon, and travel to get there.

I registered to volunteer with the New York City marathon & requested to work at race number pickup. I was assigned two days from 9-2pm, & told I could stay longer,  if I wanted.

Fast forward to the first day of the expo & I was greeted by so many people who were happy to see me and one man, Glenn, wanted me to tell my coworkers about the app to find anyone in the race. After all, the CEO of my employer, Ed Bastian, was running the race.   One of my managers from the New York City base, Edwin Avelar, volunteered at the expo too.  He was a complete scream in stopping by between greeter jobs.  I hope everyone running the marathon has a blast.

After checking in, I was given a volunteer t-shirt & told which room to report to. I was about the 3rd person to arrive there.   The lady running orientation, Barbara Alpert, was a complete scream & very “no nonsense”. She told us with a lot of humor that she’d been volunteering with the race (on her vacation time from her job) for the last 30 years. She loved the energy of the runners & found it rewarding.  She gave solid direction, and summed up customer service in a matter of minutes.  It went like this, “Greet everyone with a smile, welcome them to our city, and stay off of your phones & devices when runners are around”.  I thoroughly enjoyed her cut and dry approach to the rules of the marathon.

I knew right off the bat, I was in the right room. I was looking for a “restart button” to my own work energy level & fitness training that had been stuck in “stagnant mode”. A mode similar to driving a manual transmission with a four cylinder engine (when you’re used to an 8 cylinder).

I’ve learned over the last few months that I’m not ready to retire anytime soon, with any work projects.  No sense either in taking on anything without my usual style of “Gung Ho”. I’m grateful I was permitted to work at the expo.

After orientation, I followed behind other volunteers and everyone settled in a number bracket, two by two. On day one, my coworker was Kevin Vargas, who worked for Adidas, lived in Brooklyn & was planning to run on Sunday. He was equally as motivated to check in runners & we were both waiting with bells on.  We decided we’d wish everyone a personal best.  I was especially glad he was fluent in Spanish as we had runners from Spain & Mexico.

One thing I’ve learned in my own experience as a runner (going either abroad, or within the US), is to thank runners for making the trip to the race.  They worked the trip and race into their budgets.  I asked 95% of everyone I helped if it was their first race, or first NYC.

Language barriers were seldom a problem. Kevin was fluent in Spanish & on my other side (in the next booth). a man & his son were from Poland, & spoke Polish fluently. This was a blast with all three runners I checked in from Poland.  I turned them right over to my Polish friends so they could have a “homeland chatski”. It brought a lot of laughs.

Day one of my volunteer efforts included helping Ultramarathoner Mariano Ontanon get film (along with Kevin) for ESPN Run (@EspnRun) TV.  We did 4 takes and Mariano’s photographer, Alvaro Stocker,  was a scream.  I got a lot of laughs with this.  We had time to do different angles between other runners who were checking in.  Kevin knew Mariano’s  race experience & clued ne in.  Mariano won an Ultramarathon, totally out of my comprehension,  and a gift also possessed by Brian Ankers,’15 Connemara 100 winner .  (I met Brian and his family several years ago, great people).

Between runners, there were gaps and time to talk, and on day two my coworker was Celebrity  Fitness trainer Amber Rees, who helped co-found @bravebodyscape fitness.  I told her about Jordan Metzl, my friend who she didn’t know.   I had no idea how many different concepts there were in fitness before I met Amber.  The city was packed with them and it sounded so fun.  I shared my latest project with a photo shoot on the horizon & Amber was nothing but positive in encouraging anything.

I left on day one and chatted with runners in the expo on the Gate River Run (mostly with people in the United States), and on day two, I chatted with some workers of some of the booths.

The most common question I got was if I had done a NYC marathon.  I was glad I could say “Yes, 3, but I’m not running this year”.  The energy was so positive and I left motivated to work harder.

I encourage anyone to either run the marathon or volunteer to work the expo.  You’ll meet energetic people and get new ideas.



Carpe Viam

Anyone in the running community will tell you, to get to the Boston Marathon is no easy feat and this year was extra special. It marked the 50th anniversary of Amby Burfoot’s @bostonmarathon win.  It was fun too, to invite locals down to FL for the GateRiverRun15K.

I met Amby back in 2012. I had talked my good friend Marge into joining me for a “girls trip” weekend in Pennsylvania and running a 10K at the festival. She agreed to leave her family at home and take off “Thelma and Louise style” to PA.. I knew we’d see members of a magazine staff, & I knew elite runners would be there. What I didn’t know, was how much fun & how humble it would be to meet Amby.

Back then, Amby was selling one of his books, and chatting with runner’s from all over. We were talking with him about Florida and he had mentioned he and his wife were going to be moving to CT and had been looking at real estate. They had planned to set up one of their retirement homes in CT.

Over the course of the last 6 years, Amby has written two more books, traveled to Boise a couple of times with George Hirsch (former worldwide publisher, Chairman of the NYRR, & founder of Onward Shay marathon- which would later be called Boise Marathon), gotten settled in CT, and also traveled a few times to Mexico (where his wife Cristina is from).

Amby knows everybody, and I’ve even joked, “if you’re a runner, and Amby didn’t meet you, you didn’t exist”. If you ask me, he is just that hooked up with the running community.

Once I landed, got checked in to the hotel, and “Uber-ed” over, I walked right in and the first person I noticed was Deena Kastor. She was signing books, getting photos with fans and had George not come over to say goodbye to her, I would have missed him and Amby! I quickly got a picture with everyone and was able to later chat with Amby on his current training and goals for the Boston Marathon this year.

At the conference, I asked what kept him going and what his best advice was for anyone his age or near his age in keeping fit. He said to just “keep moving” and recommended walking. For the race on Monday, he said he’d be doing a 4:1 ratio of running to walking and said he was going to start training for shorter distances. Over the last many years, he’s completed the Manchester Road race over 50 times, been healed from depression caused by a C-diff infection (and was the most challenging health issue he’s dealt with ever) and has enjoyed training in CT and Mexico, “snowbird style”. He and his wife spend winters in Mexico.

I knew I’d be getting a unique gift for Amby to celebrate his 50th Boston Marathon. I had a trip to London, and while tooling around shopping, I was in Harrod’s and saw these great chocolate bars that resembled bars of gold. They were solid chocolate and a signature line to the Harrod’s brand packaged in gold packaging. I bought 5 (one bar for every 10 years) and gave them to Amby and his wife, as well as gave George Hirsch pictures when I saw him with friends last October, (my employer running team was in Boise at Onward Shay). For many people like myself, it’s more fun to give gifts than get them, and gag gifts are even more fun.

After Marge and I attended the conference and met some fun followers, like John Young (@dwarfparatri), and met writers, Jonathan Beverly (@jbevrun), @DeenaKastor, & Scott Douglas. I got pics and had some laughs. Probably the most comical of the day was when Deena Kastor asked what race I attended to qualify for Boston. I answered, “well, I’m not exactly running, and haven’t qualified yet”. She laughed and made a few motivating comments as to how I’d do it later. Truth be known, I tried three times in the @nycmarathon, and I decided after the last one I completed in ’03, that I’m not going for it again until I’m 70. It’s a long way off, but till then, I’m crosstraining hard in the weight room and enjoying other forms of cardio in addition to my running.

The rest of the weekend was a riot, we checked out a few pubs, hit up a workout at @PlanetFitness in Revere and went shopping.  We stopped by the @BrooksRunning expo booth too, at Seaport to see some of the staff.   Marge got her daughter & husband a few things, too.

Marge is a business woman in the New York City area.  I’m grateful for such a fabulous friend!  I tend to surround myself with people who will motivate me to work harder and in turn, I try to motivate others.  I’m be know her and her family since 1992.  

I have a photo shoot with Paul Buceta up in Toronto in late May that I’m excited to do. I shared this with most everyone I chatted with this weekend. It will just be a blast! It’s for my “fitness over 50″  plan.  Funny too, I was sitting at the pub @theblackroseboston and a man who missed his Boston qual by 20 seconds (and a touch miffed about it), was asking my opinions on his startup concept. It was a treat to offer advice &  contacting a few peeps I had information on in Australia (who are related to his business fitness concept)  and also to mention (since he and his girlfriend were from Toronto), to check out all of the Canadian magazine  issues of the last year. I recommended too, he start writing a blog once a week (the new advice I was just given).  And, also, to check out any ladies fitness magazines.  

I don’t believe in a whole lot of coincidence, so it was great that I met this couple, and even if I never see them again, my “two beer stop in” to a pub in Fanueil Hall might’ve flipped a switch to motivate more health and wellness. It was funny too, the aggravation the man had with his “near-qual miss”, and the couple was entertained I showed up in a “no qual zone” just to see friends.  (No qual zone being my fun way of bypassing I hadn’t tried in a few years and have no plans for another 20).

I got the short phrase, and name of this blog post, “Carpe Viam”,  from an article Amby wrote on Ryan Shay. It means “seize the road” and when you are in Boston on marathon weekend, even if you can’t “seize the road”, you’ll “seize the vibe” and get motivated to get moving on a project. You might even motivate others to get projects going, too.

Until my next post, remember to work hard and laugh harder. I know I will be.

Amby answering questions at the RW popup.
Marge & I with Amby.
I stopped by the Brooks booth at the expo.
Amby Burfoot, myself, George Hirsch
George co-founded the New York Marathon
Deena Kastor chats it up with fans.
There I was with 3 amazing writers!

The Jay Fund Event

This year I got invited to attend the Jay Fund event hosted by the Coughlin’s. It’s no secret I’m a football fan, and in the fall, I check out more than just NFL football. I love watching SEC and occasional high school, too.

The event was held in Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown.   It is in the  category for one of the largest cities area wise in the United States.   It’s been home to the Jacksonville Jaguars since November of 1993. It’s no secret either that the team made it all the way to the Championship. I was more than psyched. I’m a fan, win or lose, and last season was especially fabulous to watch.

I hoped to meet as many Jags players as I could, see friends and of course, see Tom Coughlin. When I got to the event, I parked across the street and walked over. The wait time on getting in was easy, as the organizers were going through the line and scanning the bar codes for each entry. I forgot my printed entry and it was nice that all I had to do was pull it all up on my email and scan the code from there.

Right after I walked in I was greeted with wine tasting glasses and many tables full of exciting memorabilia to bid on throughout the night. All along each hall were tables of incredible hors d’oeuvres, and each table had two different kinds of red or white. I started with Chardonnay and that would be it, as I’d switch to water after half a glass and a few tasties from B.B.’s.  I’m not a heavy drinker, but do appreciate an occasional “taste”.

Onward to the escalator (and the photo ops) were lines of people everywhere. The first person I recognized was Sam Kouvaris. He is the sportscaster over at WJXT. I met his wife Linda and chatted a bit on their four grandkids. It’s always fun to see Sam. He’s worked hard for Jacksonville. I forgot to ask him if he’d seen Lex and Terry lately. Those two were a scream on local radio. I used to listen to them and had heard a show with Sam talking about the Gate River Run several years ago.

Later I saw some friends from the gym, Gregg Gosch, a LSU alum and former football player for their team. We couldn’t help but have a small chatski on Leonard Fournette. It was soon after, that I pretended to be catching the ball that Leonard had signed for the auction.  I also saw Jaguars memorabilia signed by QB Blake Bortles, who founded The Blake Bortles Foundation (@BB5Foundation).

Up the escalator I ran into some staff from Jacksonville Magazine, who couldn’t have been nicer. I got a few pictures and headed over to the second camera where I’d try on a Viking hat.

I circulated the room several times looking for any familiar faces and there he was, Tom Coughlin himself. Surrounded by many getting pictures and with a friendly member from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. I got in line, too. There was no time to “talk football”, but everyone was in positive vibe and rest assured, ready for this season.

After that, walking over by another food table I ran into Doug Marrone. I hadn’t met him, but since I’m not shy, I just asked if I could get a picture real quick. He was a scream, said “sure”, and I started the trend to at least 4 more photo ops with different people, for him. (They were all laughing, too). There was a girl next to me who was so funny, and said, “they need me to be his photographer, I know how to get good pictures”.

Meeting AJ Cann sure was fun, too. He was there with his girlfriend and I asked which number he was, and what his Twitter name was (@AJCann_60).  I could tag pictures later. I could tell he’d been raised in the South. Everything was “yes m’am, and “no m’am” on any question I’d asked. I had forgotten (when I was meeting him) he had played for the Gamecocks. My aunt Celia is a retired math professor from USC/Spartanburg and Gamecock football is talked about at the dinner table in her house (and my Dad’s) over every Sunday dinner during football season. It’s really quite entertaining.

Onward before I left, I saw Todd Philcox and his wife Katie. It was great catching up. I see him on occasion in the gym and he’s always talking about his kids, Lindsey and Tyler. I never walk off without a laugh when I talk to Todd. Todd played QB for a few NFL teams, played with the Jags in ’96 and retired with the Patriots in ’98.

Thanks for stopping by my site and reading my blog.  I’m having a lot of fun these days.  Remember to work hard, and laugh harder, I know I will be.



The Cliffs of Moher

It was the second day of my Ireland  trip and though I have been to Ireland many times before, I have never ventured to see the Cliffs of Moher, or much of the West Coast. I would either get side tracked with seeing other things, visting with friends, or wanting to wait until it was a sunny day.  The day I went it was crystalline clear.

I wanted to get more experience driving on the other side of the road, tooling to the outskirts of Shannon, Limerick, Westport and Clifden. This trip didn’t disappoint. This trip was a solo ride over the hill and through the farms to see water, ancient school houses, cows, horses, donkeys and sheep roaming freely.

I got up around 9 or so and looked out the window and noticed it was another sunny day. My phone was finally working and in the US it was 3 am. Too early to call anyone there, except maybe the local rooster.

I grabbed my GPS, a jacket and drove to the Cliffs. On my way, I took into account that it was a good thing that the car I rented was small and able to weasel through skinny streets. Most of the time this trip, there weren’t many cars coming in the opposite direction. It was a crystal clear day, most everyone was at the beach and everyone kept saying that it was their summer. I suppose I take summer for granted being at the beach most of the time at home, but was so grateful my vacation was getting sunny days.

The drive was full of scenery. I opted to jam to Spin FM most of my stay in Ireland, with an occasional flip to another station when I got bored. I did spend a lot of time in the car, and was glad to do it. It was the only way I was going to see parts of Ireland and venture to places unseen by a bus. I also was glad to be back in a manual transmission, though on the other side of the car, but not a boring automatic.

On the way down the N67 from the hotel it was Usher with Ludacris, and later on another station it was the Eagles. I’m a bad singer, any roommate I ever had growing up said it, so I know better than to make a bet I’ll win karaoke or think I might make money singing.. I still have a good time singing though, solo car jams, running on the beach (when no one is around) and anywhere else I can get away with it is where I’ll sing. I’ve often said that I doubt I could’ve gotten through a marathon without tunes.

When I first started running, I wanted to get to thirty minutes nonstop. This was when I was a teenager.   I had read somewhere you needed to be at a full thirty minutes of running before you could even deal with speedwork.   I alternated running and walking to songs with a headset to the local radio stations (back then it was a FM stereo and the radio stations were usually WAPE or Rock 105 in Jacksonville, FL.) One song on running and one song off by walking. I’m always looking for a good beat. These days, good beats get me through eighty reps of ab work on the Captain’s chair (per set) or a good 9 mile run in humidity where when I’m done, it’s nothing but nirvana. The goal is to keep this up and not slow down, merely stay “status quo”.

When I got to the Cliffs of Moher, I parked for about 6 Euro. I was excited to see what was up on the horizon. It was crowded, with buses pulling in and lotsa people all around. The walkway went all the way up to the middle of each of the two cliffs.  The pathway went right up the middle and once at the top it was a dichotomy of picturesque beauty that I doubt man could recreate.

I decided facing the water that I’d go to the right up the hill, and see the cliff with the castle on it. I looked over the cliff and there was a boat and a plane flying over. Behind me there were cows and horses. I did a quick video which I enjoyed.  

The view from the top of the first cliff had some cows on the way to the cliff to the other side.   On my way there, I decided  I’d stop by and see Elsie & company. (The cows who were all relaxed).   It was a scream. I decided I’d have a quick video there, too.  The best way I knew how to make it funny in the video,  was to say they hadn’t had their coffee yet. All five of them were laying down. I was hoping for a “moo”, but didn’t get one so I left the scene and walked up the hill. A section of the hill was fenced off and you were allowed to go past the point, but not without a warning that you were headed to a dangerous area & to be cautious. The other signage was encouraging anyone depressed to stop and get help. It never occurred to me much that peeps might go there to jump off. There was a suicide in my family and anyone that’s been through it knows it’s heinous. I didn’t want to put a somber mood to my fun day, so I kept the momentum going and hopped the wall everyone else was hopping and got pictures of the gulls down below and a 360 view of the trip to that side of the hill. They were just incredible.

I didn’t get to chat much with anyone there. I heard a lot of different languages, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. The most entertaining bunch was the pack of ladies were headed up the hill together and chatting on days of their teens. I imagined they must’ve been in their 70’s.

It was around 1 or so and at that point I still had a good bit of the daylight left. I had to take advantage of the good driving conditions. Had it been raining or dark, I doubt I would’ve done all that I did.

The next stop was a solo car jam up to West Port. I had been there the previous year, under worse weather, but still as cool.

I don’t regret my decision to go on the backroads one bit.   I will say though, it’s not my recommendation to drive at night on unfamiliar roads.  There are no street lights in some areas.  The drop off on some cliffs near Westport are 60 stories high, & there are no railings around some areas.  

Remember to laugh every day or make someone else do it.  And remember, YOU are FABULOUS.


The Alien is Gone

Only my good friends and family knew I went through hernia surgery on 12/22. I won’t say that surgery was something that I looked forward to, but it was necessary to fix an epigastric hernia. My first question for the doctor was how I got it. He said it was a ligament that gave way, congenital defect likely. I don’t lift heavy weights, 10 lb for upper body and not much heavier for lower body so I couldn’t point the finger to that. Sometimes I’ll lift a bag at work or strain on occasion. You take all of that together and there you have an quarter sized alien coming out of your stomach that won’t go away without a surgery fix. Mine was slightly noticeable in a bikini and I was sick of it. It was located 4 inches above my belly button. And, by the way, babies are born with this same affliction, so I can’t pull the “age card”

I had asked around, and did some research on what surgeon to see. I even asked my attorney exhusband who he saw to get his lower hernia fixed. I didn’t go with his surgeon because his doctor had a few revision surgeries under her belt and some complaints online, too. I don’ t have time for a revision, or patience either for it. I did look at the education of the doctor and asked how many surgeries he had done.

I also asked questions to the surgeon on when he thought I’d be back to work and to full strength on fitness training. His advice was back to work in 10 days, and not to attend a gym for 2-3 weeks. I followed his advice. I could walk outside or what, but advised to stay out of a gym,  and also since my incisions were fairly deep, no jacuzzi or ocean swimming for a full three or so weeks.

I also consulted with Bart Yasso. Bart is on staff as a senior editor (he’s now retired) at Runner’s World Magazine,  and he said he was back to work in a few days and back to full strength training in a few months after his surgery. He had mentioned his hernia on a post somewhere online. I could deal with a few months. The only other runner I knew that had one fixed was Dathan Ritzenhein and I never got to ask him via email how his recovery went. He’s elite, finished top 10 in Boston.  That’s wicked fast. To be that fast is out of my comprehension.

My family didn’t think it was too wise to do the surgery near Christmas, but I kinda just wanted to get it over with while I’d satisfied my deductibles for insurance. No sense in racking up a new set of bills in the new year.

I did a few things for myself to keep my mind busy and to not gain weight during the holidays before this surgery. One being a photo shoot a week before the surgery. Nothing says don’t go “hogwild” on cookies better than getting in front of a camera with a bare mid-drift in mid-December. I still ate cookies, but didn’t bake in 2016. No big deal. There’s always next year.

My abs weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be for the shoot, ripped, but for being mid-December and still some what flat, I was happy. My weight the day of the shoot was about 127 or so, I can’t remember. Normal photo shoot weight is 125. I’m 5’6.5″ and that’s good enough for me.  This attached picture of me in the green shirt was taken just before surgery.  The cute green tie hides the “alien”.

The day of the surgery, I checked in at 0500. I had a friend take me. Something I was very grateful for, and much better than paying a nurse I didn’t know to come help me. At check in it was pretty routine, change into a gown and roll down the hall after a shot before you see another pack of doctors to get anesthesia to knock you out.

It went well. I saw the doctor, Dr. John Koppman, MD, beforehand (in between seeing the anesthesiologist and a couple of others).  I confirmed with him just one more time that no incisions would be made directly down the middle of my abs. I work in the gym enough and spend time trying to get some sort of results out of my abs and didn’t want a surgery to put scars right between the abs. My surgery was done laparascopically with two 1 centimeter incisions made on the lateral sides and one 1 inch incision made right near the hip bone. (The larger incision was for the camera).  The surgery was in St. Augustine.  

I got out of there and wokeup in a row of beds with a few other people next to me. One lady was about two beds down and coughing a lot, another man didn’t say much and I was ready to go ahead and get on out.

I had another friend pick me up. She and her husband are retired and I know them from the gym. Rita is probably the fittest “70 something” and can train harder than most women in their forties. It’s amazing. I surround myself with people like this on purpose. The funniest thing she said, “come on Beth, get dressed. Sheldon is waiting in the car”. I rolled over sideways and the pain was so ridiculous that I really got a touch worried. I expected pain, but had never had any gut surgery and it was definitely “gut wrenching”. It was worse than the gum surgery I had before and the knee surgery I had to fix a meniscus tear a few years back.

The day of the surgery I knew I’d need pain killers. I hate taking them, but did. (Pain medications scare me, and also back me up, which I didn’t want to fool with). It hurt to cough, laugh, raise my head, roll sideways or even get up. I never knew how much abs were involved in just basically getting around. I knew running or most things would be out of the question. I was instructed to wear a elasticized belt around my waist (I called my girdle) and this would be in place for about 3 weeks. I hated it. It was uncomfortable and even at work I had to wear a lot of clothes to hide it.

Days 2-4- I got increasingly better. I could walk without pain, managed to attend a Sunday Jaguars football game and could take small walks around my neighborhood. It was great! I had to ask friends (and my Dad) to tone it down on anything funny. Laughing was just that painful. A total first for me. The only pain killer I used was 200-400 mg of extra strength Tylenol.

Day 4-6 I was better everyday. Rolling over didn’t hurt. I could sleep on my side (instead of my back) and I attempted a walk on day 6. It was about an hour long and outside. I loved being outside and about half way through the beach walk, I decided I would not be working out again for days.

Day 7 I went to South Carolina. I drove instead of flying for a lot of reasons. Being in the car that long wasn’t bad, and I had to get up there to watch football on TV with my family. It still hurt to laugh. I had to ask my Dad more than once not to make me laugh.

Day 11 I walked an hour

Day 12 I did the eliptical without using the arms.

Day 13 I did 50 minutes on the eliptical, no arms.

Day 14 I did a short walk.

Days 15-19 I did nothing fitness wise and saw the doctor for followup. I was cleared to train full strength in a gym and advised to listen to my body.

I enjoyed being back to weights and cardio. I did register a total of a 6 pound weight gain after it was all said and done, but it was off before too long. I cleaned up my diet & expected it gone by April. (The holidays have never been a good time to “clean it up”).  

I ran 5-7miles nonstop several times at about a normal training pace of 8.5 minute miles.  I did that mostly on a treadmill.  

I did miss one trip at work for doing something a bit overly “gung ho”. I did an hour of weights, ran 7 miles and then took an evening walk with a friend all the same day (about 5-6 weeks after surgery). The next day (the day of my trip) I felt a pain I hadn’t felt in a good month. It was gone two days later and I was back to work next trip and have felt fine since. I  decided to be conservative for another two months.

My next race is the Gate River Run 15K and if I can’t run all of it, who cares, but I at least want to run 3/4 of it. I’m more looking forward to mingling and seeing friends than doing the mileage. I hope to see all of you there and if you’ve got an “alien”, don’t be afraid to get it fixed or that your training will be over.


(The blog was written just after the procedure. I finished in the top 10% at the race,  1:23:08.  I was thrilled, & it was a happy day).