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Wynton Marsalis interview Part ONE

the first of 2 videos i produced is now live on

there are some great sound bites and wisdom from Wynton here – and even more excited about the next one which should launch at the end of the month.

stay tuned… photo editor liz ronk interviewing wynton marsalis

career highlight…


it’s been ages since i updated my much to update.

in the meantime – above was a nice milestone/career highlight that i wanted to brag about a bit… interviewing wynton marsalis for a piece i’m working on at life (yes, i’m still there)..

more to come – but i will say, wynton was charming, thoughtful and very generous with his time being my first time out in the seat with questions… photo editor liz ronk interviewing wynton marsalis

that would be me… interviewing wynton marsalis

block prints and half marathons..

block print based on a photograph from Oahu, Hawaii... 1/2013

block print based on a photograph from Oahu, Hawaii… 1/2013

this winter has been killer… the polar vortex completely curtailed my training plans and i’m way behind. thankfully – running isn’t my only goal this year. there is so much more..

but, lets start with this damn half i signed up for. back in december, at the very last minute, day before it closed (to be  precise), i decided to throw my name in the lottery for the NYC Half – assuming i wouldn’t get in, but liked the idea of a short term goal. well.. i got in. it’s been a rough training season so far.. i finally gave in and put my gym membership back to good use.  but i hate it, for the most part. thankfully, the weather was nice today, and i got a nice 9 mile run in the park.. at this point, i know i can finish the half.. at least i better, i ran a marathon just a few months ago! but the question is, do i RACE it? or just run it? i hate the idea of having a miserable time – struggling to finish, etc. i have about a month to see where i end up. next year – i’ll remember to skip this race, and just wait for the brooklyn half – which i love – and sadly procrastinated too long to enter, and missed the boat on that.

here is what i accomplished today.. not a bad run, not a great run. i miss the days when 9 miles literally felt like a little jog in the park rather than a struggle…

Central Park Run Garmin GPS Tracking

9 easy miles in Central Park.. (well, not that easy).

beyond the crap weather – there is a lot of good art to be seen in museums and galleries – Capa at ICP, Carrie Mae Weems at the Guggenheim, Richard Serra down in Chelsea (x2!!!) etc.. (all good) – and if i can muster up the strength to sit in a theater for 5+ hours, i’ll be at BAM for Matthew Barney… hmm.

along with art to be seen, there is also a lot of art to be made (see above)… i’ve started a series of block prints, based on photographs from my travels.. not sure what i’ll do with them.. maybe start sewing them together, or not. it’s more or less just a release of creative energy.. fine art? probably not..

stay tuned for more art updates, and perhaps a note or two about my running adventures..

2013, the year that was…

Sunset in Oahu - November 2013

Sunset in Oahu – November 2013

i’m not sure where the year went, even though looking back, 2013 felt like an eternity – so much happened.

i declared it early on, the year of running and the marathon.. but sure got off to a rocky start. i probably had the worst case of the flu i’ve ever had starting January 2nd.. and followed that up with a broken heart a few months later… Once i got to April, though, my year took off and it turned out to be one of those monumental, important years. I guess all of them are though – but this one in particular was full of new achievements and milestones.

Where to start…

career-wise? i continued my tenure as the photo editor of the LIFE archives at Time Magazine. What an honor.. i get to look at some of the best photographs all day long and re-tell stories. i also had the good fortune of being asked to photo edit not one, but two books – JFK and Civil Rights. Sure is nice to see my name listed so high in the credits of a picture book. i made visual decisions for the general public – both in these books and somedays i realize that my 100k+ education/BFA/MFA were well worth it.

yesterday, i found out that one of the few surviving LIFE photographers passed away. at 92 years old, it’s not surprising. but still a note of somber and dose of reality on how short life is. a reminder to live in the moment and not the past.

Not only did i have these great career milestones – but i really did make the year about running.

i ran 10 races in total – included in there were multiple PR’s, a half marathon and my very first marathon – the ING NYC Marathon. if that isn’t an accomplishment, i don’t know what is!

i approached the marathon like a job. trained with the run s.m.a.r.t. coaches.. and put in over 1000 miles on my legs this year. i’m not sure if i’ll go there in 2014 – but who knows… i do have guaranteed entry to the 2014 marathon, and have the NYC Half to look forward to in March…

i have no idea what to expect out of 2014 – but i do plan on making it an epic year. full of new accomplishments and reaching new goals. i have a few things in mind..

until then, i’m going out for an easy loop of central park to close out the year.

Marathon recovery…2 weeks later

Oahu, Hawaii - November 2013

Oahu, Hawaii – November 2013

hard to believe i ran the marathon just 2 short weeks ago. it’s one of those crazy things that wasn’t even on my radar of things i want to do in this lifetime.. not even within reach, so i didn’t think about. but then one day, i did. and i ran it.

now that i’ve had a few weeks to reflect on it – i have a few thoughts.

i’m of course disappointed that i did not run it in 4 hours. but at the same time, happy that i ran it, felt great the whole time, and only missed the mark by 15 minutes. not bad for a first time out.

andre sent me a hilarious screen grab after the race that showed my race and pamela andersons (and a few other unnamed athletes) – here you can see, that i was slow and steady, even picked up the pace at the very end. i clearly had a much better race than pamela.

the day after the race was fun (ha!) – i never knew walking down the 4 flights of stairs in my apt. building would be so painful. beyond that, the rest was cake.

by day 2 – i was on an airplane for 11 hours heading to Hawaii – to recoup, and visit my favorite old friends and their new baby. (which, by the way – i’m SO in love with this little guy).

it was a great couple of weeks, filled with days at the beach, pool, strong coffee on the lanai every morning – and lots of local beer and (not so local) wine well into the afternoon and evening.

i feasted on local fish, surfed for the first time at Diamond Head on a windy day and did my first few recovery runs around Diamond Head – which was warm and humid – and strangely, felt even harder than the marathon.

Diamond Head Loop - Hawaii

Diamond Head Loop – Hawaii

now i’m home – fully recovered, no residual pain (in fact, it was all gone a few days out – something to be said for good training)…

i headed out earlier today for my first post-marathon central park run. i started in my usual spot, the upper north west corner (aka harlem hills) – was greeted by a beautiful sea of yellow leaves, and a balmy mist. i ran the upper 5 mile loop… dismayed by the fact the east side water fountains are turned off – delighted by the west side water fountains still working! and as i ran down cat hill – i saluted the black cat, and remembered seeing him just 2 weeks ago, with only a few miles left for the finish.

i already have 2 races lined up – the turkey trot in saratoga, and jingle jog in prospect park a few weeks after. it’ll be my 9th race – which gives me guaranteed entry to the marathon next year. will i do it? i don’t know. one hard lesson i learned this year is that todays reality, is not guaranteed tomorrow. so we’ll see. but i have my safety net in place and looking forward to the next year.


Lizabeth Ronk with Finish Medal from the ING NYC Marathon November 3, 2013

me!! after the ING NYC MARATHON

All the hard work paid off. 18 weeks of training.. and here i am, successfully finished my first marathon – and not just any old marathon – the ING NYC Marathon!

just a few thoughts on this before i fall asleep.

it was epic.

i ran steady – never hit the wall, never felt spent, just kept on going.. and felt great. smiled at my friends along the way, and smiled at the finish line. like i said, an epic experience, more powerful than i ever anticipated.

i finished in 4 hours, 15 minutes, 43 seconds.

i’d be lying if i didn’t say a small part of me wasn’t disappointed just a tiny bit that i didn’t do this in 4 hours. but on the other hand, i had a great race, and finishing the race feeling SO good make me think maybe this isn’t a one and done kind of endeavor. it was do-able, and fun.

and before i sign off on my 18 weeks of training and the racing of the marathon. i just have a few thank-yous that must be said..

my mom, linda ronk – who is a huge champion and so very supportive in every crazy endeavor i take on. she was on the sidelines today watching me race, which was amazing. (not to mention that around mile 18 i was feeling pretty damn great, and was excited to see some friendly faces).

one of my very best friends, gail winiecki – who, without, i would never be running. 4 short years ago, she convinced me to give it a try – run/walking around the reservoir in central park – which turned into my first “race” – the midnight run in central park – (which we jogged as bandits) – to my very first race, the fathers day 5 miler – she jumped in and ran some of it with me, and i clocked in a proud 10:50 minute mile. today – she also watched me run her first marathon. (and i’d like to note, that last year, i watched her cross the finish line of the NYC Ironman..she truly is amazing).

my new friend and fellow run smart project running buddy – kristin manzolillo… we did some looong runs together in the heat – and even more so, wednesday eves in central park speed work. without knowing, she pushed me to be a better runner… oh, and congrats on your fantastic marathon time kristin!!

and how could i forget my fantastic coach andre laboy… i’ve never taken on this type of endeavor in my life, and it was great to have someone who was supportive, pushed me to be better without being too pushy – ie, made it fun. who would have thought i’d look forward to speed work every wednesday night, even when it was 90 degrees and humid. and that one time, i had the worst speed work, (lets blame it on CMJ) – and i couldn’t keep up with the group the way i usually do – he told me not to worry, i was running my race, not theirs, and quietly ran with me for about a a mile. i needed that, and it kept me going and remembered that not all runs are good ones.

so that’s all for now. i’m going to take a few weeks off, go to hawaii… maybe learn how to surf. go for a little jog around diamond head in a week..

and in case you’re wondering, i’ve already signed up for my next few races..

Marathon training…week SEVENTEEN (POINT FIVE)

Last speed work of the season at the Finish Line - ING NYC MARATHON 2013

Last speed work of the season at the Finish Line – ING NYC MARATHON 2013

last speed work = done

pasta dinner with the flyers = done

marathon outfit picked out = done

(is it clean? no.. laundry tonight).

and one last easy 3 mile jog in central park this evening.

above is a photo of the amazing group that met every Wednesday night for speed work. only 4 of “Team McCartney” were left in that last workout – kristin, oscar, karen and myself – and of course our super coach, andre.

i’ll miss these guys!

Marathon training…week SEVENTEEN

2013 ING NYC Marathon Flags near the finish line at Tavern on the Green in Central Park

2013 ING NYC Marathon Flags near the finish line at Tavern on the Green in Central Park

well, this is it.

i keep hearing cliche sayings like “the hay is in the barn” – and well, i guess it is.

i admit, i didn’t cross-train (unless you call a few laps in the pool back in september, or a few loops of central park on my bike back in august cross-training).

i didn’t stretch enough.

i didn’t work on my core, lift weights.

i didn’t. i didn’t i didn’t.

but you know what-  i really did train my ass off the past 17 weeks. i never missed a work-out. i followed my calendar to a tee. i let go of any preconceived ideas of training and trusted jack daniels, his coaches and the VO2 Max. i know i’m a better runner, that’s for sure. my going out for a “jog” pace is now faster than my 10K race pace from back in may! i did something right, that’s for sure. and i feel ready, prepared and great. my tendinitis has even eased up in the past week as i’ve “enjoyed” the taper.

26.2 miles, New York City Marathon? i got you.

regardless of my final time – i’ll be proud of myself for just crossing that finish line. truthfully though, like most athletes, i do have that magic number i want to hit – for me, it’s 4 hours. realistically? 4.15 hours.

to recap. i start at 10:30am – Green corral – #49326

i’m still a little bummed about running the lower level of the verrazano – and the fact that a possibility exists that i may get peed on from the runners on the upper level less than thrills me. so i’ll run in the center, take it nice and slow, soak it in (atmosphere, not pee!).. all the way through brooklyn… not let the crowd “scramble my eggs” on first ave.. and finish strong. that’s the plan. and as my coach andre has warned us – go out slow otherwise risk being “carnage” at the end. i do not want to be carnage. i will not be carnage. perhaps that will be my mantra.

i can’t promise a quick recap next sunday – i imagine smiles at the finish line, copious amounts of food, and perhaps an ice bath. after that, i promise a full recap on my first marathon…

wish me luck!!

Marathon training…week SIXTEEN

2013 ING NYC Marathon Flags in Central Park

2013 ING NYC Marathon Flags in Central Park – the finish line is within reach!!

week SIXTEEN – !!!!

the work is done.. now to taper and maintain, and not get sick in the next two weeks.

this weekend was the last of my long runs – 8 miles yesterday, 10 today.

the 10 miles today was kind of special, i guess.. the last 10 miles of the marathon. my team (ny flyers) met at 7:45am at the queensboro bridge on 1st ave – and we took off to the bronx and back again finishing right about where the finish line is in central park. it was a tough run. maybe because i did 8 miles yesterday, maybe because i’ve run over 600 miles in the past 16 weeks, and my body is tired. i’m ready for the “dreaded” taper!!!

one thing that i didn’t realize (and now i’m wondering if in this case, knowledge is NOT power) – is that those last 10 miles are hilly. especially the evil 5th ave up along central park.. i had no idea. such a cruel joke making us finish on these hills!

i’m going to enjoy a massage tomorrow – a much deserved one.. and try not to let the taper get to my head in the next 2 weeks. one thing that is great is the fact that my coach has us running the same amount of days, just a greatly reduced amount of volume (ie – one more 60 minute run, and no more than 3 mile runs on easy days)..

and in case you’re wondering – and want to follow me to the finish line. below is my bib number. i go out in the third wave.. 10:30am (ie – it’s going to be one long ass morning in staten island before i start running!).. and i’m in the green zone. i’m actually a little bummed about this, because it means i run the lower level of the verrazano bridge – i’ve never run it, so maybe it’s not a big deal.. but somehow i’m imagining feeling like i’m closed in without being able to take in the sun and sky and beautiful bridge architecture.. time will tell…

49326 ING Marathon Bib Number

by the way.. i have no baggage!

until next sunday. i’m be tapering…

Marathon training…week FIFTEEN

used up mizuno and saucony running sneakers

3 weeks to go!!

43 miles this week – and now begins the very slow taper down to 26.2 miles.. thankfully my coach still has me running 5 days a week right up to the end, the milage just slowly reduces.. i believe 30+ miles this upcoming week, than about 20 per week the last 2… i keep hearing about anxiety during the taper.. i’m hoping that i can just enjoy the easy taper.

a few thoughts on this week?

tendonitis still in my ankle/foot. crap. today i actually said “ouch” to myself as i rounded the corner towards the end of my easy 8.. ice. advil. ice… and i guess i need to toss in some rest in there.

marathon flags are up in central park!!!! so exciting. maybe i’ll get a shot for next weeks post.

todays picture, you ask?

that would be my shoe graveyard.. aka, almost 4 years of running. – minus 2 pairs of sneakers – the ones i’m wearing now, and a pair i keep at work just in case.. both mizunos.