Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Now it can be told: How Subway Squawkers invaded Citi Field in February for a magazine article!

This looks like a bright summer day, but it was
 actually 13 degrees in February! 
Big news: I wrote a first-person article for Guideposts magazine that is being featured in the May issue! The magazine, which runs true stories of hope and inspiration, has around two million subscribers, so this is a big deal for me! Click here to read the article. Go here to guideposts.org/lisaswan -- love the URL name! -- to see me being interviewed about the piece. And read on to see how this all ties in with baseball,

In case you are not familiar with Guideposts, they are a faith-based publication founded by Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Every other year, Guideposts has a writers' contest, in which they choose 12 people to send to an all-expenses-paid writers' workshop for a week in October, where they learn how to write for their magazines. Previous winners of this contest include best-selling author Debbie Macomber and New York Times columnist Rosie Schaap.

Here I am at Citi Field after the Spartan Race.
Last summer, over 4000 people entered the contest. I did so, too, submitting a story on how I finished a Spartan Race. It tells the story about how I was a mess physically, but I decided to ramp up working out after getting free admission to compete in last year's Spartan Race in Citi Field. While I had already started on the road to fitness, the Spartan Race spurred me to make more signifcant hanges in my life, with working out and watching what I ate. And I ended up finishing the race, despite being much older and much less fit than the buff twentysomethings doing the competition. I really left it on the field, so to speak, in the article.

I am not sure if it was hubris or wishful thinking or what, but after I submitted my article, I marked the week of the workshop in my calendar. I just had a good feeling about it. Then I found out that I was one of the 12 winners. When I got the call telling me that, I somehow knew what it was before answering the phone, even though my caller ID didn't show who the number was from. I just had a good feeling about it!

Since then, I have written a slew of stories for the Guideposts website, on everything from an interview with career expert Jon Acuff to a review of Laura Ingalls Wilder's previously unpublished book Pioneer Girl. Of course, I have written on sports-related topics as well.  (Click here to see all the articles I have written so far.) This opportunity has really expanded my world and brought a lot of joy to my life. Now my revised Spartan Race article is running in the May issue.

Here I am with my fellow 2014 Guideposts Workshoppers,
 along with some of the magazine's staffers.
Since I did the Spartan Sprint, I have run in over 40 road races, and I just completed a half-marathon this Sunday for the first time! I am thinner and more fit than when I started, but I realize I still have a ways to go. However, instead of waiting until I was the perfect weight or at the perfect physical condition to get out there and do stuff, I decided to get out there now. I joined a local running club -- the Staten Island Athletic Club -- and learned a lot. I even won their Female Rookie of the Year award last year -- I think they appreciated the effort I have put into trying to change my life. I am slow and steady, like a turtle! Running is another new joy in my life that I never had before, and I pretty much spend every weekend doing at least one race!

So how does this tie into being in Citi Field in February, as per the title of this article? Well, I was somehow able to talk the Mets into letting us do a photo shoot at their ballpark for the piece, since the article takes place at Citi Field. Squawker Jon would be in the photos as well, as he is a part of my story. We did the photo shoot in February (you can see the Shea Bridge in the video below) when it was 13 degrees out. A Met PR person escorted us to the outfield. I had to demonstrate how to do a burpee -- a critical part of my article -- so there I was, running around in the freezing cold like a maniac, doing burpees on the very cold concrete. Meanwhile, Squawker Jon stayed warm and snickered while I did all the work. We then posed for photos on the Shea Bridge, as well as outside, with me wearing a Yankee cap, and Jon a Mets cap.

Thanks to the Mets staff for putting up with us -- they went above and beyond, which was great. Even though I am a lifelong Yankee fan, I know that the Yanks would never have allowed us to do such a photo shoot there!

We kept our photo shoot day a secret from most people -- and completely off the Internet -- for two months. Now that the magazine is out, I can tell you how it came about that we were in Citi Field for this photo shoot!

Anyhow, click here to read the article. If you don't, you may have to do some burpees!

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