Monday, December 19, 2011

Ted Corbitt 15k Recap

This past Saturday with the Ted Corbitt 15k run in Central Park. The race was to honor former NYRR president Ted Corbitt. And 15k, for those who are metric-system challenged, is 9.3 miles.

A big reason I signed up for this distance race was because it was 2 weeks from the Vegas Half, meaning I was going to be well prepared for it.  I did find its challenges though, mainly how I was going to maintain in those 2 weeks. I really wanted to do another training run of 9 miles before this race, but I didnt like the timing of it. After the half, I took the next 4 days off to rest and recover. On that Friday, I did a 5 mile tempo run. Didnt want to do 9 miles that day, after having a 4 day lay off. The following monday, I did hills, totaling 5.5 miles. And Wed. was another 5 mile tempo. So going into the race, knowing how quickly I can lose my fitness, I was a little concerned that I'd have trouble covering the 15k distance.

Saturday morning arrives, I wake up before the sun even comes up, check the weather and its in the mid 30s. So I went with thermal long sleeve compression shirt, long sleeve tech-T, and a running vest on top. And it was the standard running tights with shorts over it on the bottom. Arrive at the park around 7:25am, giving me ample time to check my bag and empty my bladder.  Its 7:40 once I've done that, and head to the corrals, which was actually a bit of a walk from bag check and the port-o-potties. I get to my corral, and realize, I NEED TO PEE AGAIN......there wasn't enough time for me to go back to the port-o-potties and back to the start line, so I decided to forget it. Race starts....and all I can think about is that I need to empty my bladder. So here was the debate, since the course took me back right to where the port-o-potties are, do I take the hit on time and go? Or do I hold it for 9.3 miles? I went for the former, and lost a grand total of a minute!

Ok, now that I can concentrate on something other than my bladder, I'm on my way. It was a touch crowded in the beginning, but since my last race was Vegas, this couldnt even be considered crowded. Fall into a nice pace and all was well. Crowd started to thin about just enough after mile 2, and it looked like i was doing about a 10- 10:10 min mile (other than mile 1, which came out to 11:16 after potty break). With the sunny, cool, crisp morning on my side, I was doing well, took a Gu at around 4.8 miles and going strong and with little aches/pain as I approached mile 5. Pace was pretty consistent, even having to "conquer" Cat hill, twice! My splits seemed pretty consistent, with each passing mile. I see the mile 9 marker, and know we're in the final .3! I tried not to kick it too early, knowing how long that .2 is on a 10k. But I couldnt help myself, and kicked it in a little early. Fortunate for me, I was able to sustain it until the end, crossing the finish in 1:35:57 (for a 10:19 pace). I instantly thought back of losing that minute!! But whats done is done, and I was very happy with that time for this distance. Extrapolate that out to 13.1 miles, and I would have done VERY well....compared to my Vegas time, at least. One thing in my favor though, was course knowledge. There is just something about having a race in Central Park, and knowing every bend and every change in elevation, so you know just exactly when to give a little and when to pull back. All in all, a great way to end my 2011 races.

I'll be back in the next week or so to wrap up 2011 and preview what's in store for 2012!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Recap!

It's amazing how time flies. Not only has Dec 4th come and gone, its almost been a week since the Half!

We arrived in Vegas Thursday night (12/1) and of course had to make my customary stop at In-n-Out (this counts as carb-loading, right?). Friday was Expo day, as we stood in a tremendous line (a theme of the weekend...) to get in. Though once they actually opened the expo, we moved fairly quickly inside. Picked up our bibs, t-shirts and swag bag, and it was time to open up our wallets! Haha....I went in knowing I wanted the buy "The Stick", a self massager tool, those that arent aware. I have been using a rolling pin this whole time. As useful as that was, it was limited. Also on my wish list was another pair of sunglasses and I did make that purchase as well. So now I'll have separate specs for running and biking. Yay!

A pretty uneventful next couple days, and Sunday is upon us. Being my first evening race, it was going to be a little tricky getting nutrition down, even though I do almost all of my runs in the evening. I didnt have my usually long-run lunch available to me! So buffet brunch at 10am and a snack around 3pm is how I approached it, with a 5:30pm start time, and it seemed to work fine, hunger-wise.

So we met up at 4pm to meet up and shuttle it down to the start line....
Pre-race smiles!

This is where the "fun" began. Due to the congestion getting to the start, as a result of road closures, the shuttles provided by our hotel, Wynn/Encore, were delayed coming to pick us up. In fact, we were waiting until 4:40ish until we even boarded a bus. Now on the shuttle and on our way, and we were not going anywhere quick. It was bumper to bumper traffic, and we must have been moving 1 foot per minute. We could have gone out and walked to the start quicker, but of course that would have added an additional 2.5 miles to our legs/feet. Then to do 13.1 on top of that? No thanks.

We arrive to the start area shortly before 6pm- the race started at 5:30! Lucky for me, my corral hadnt left yet. Of course a pre-race potty break was in order. We couldnt locate the port-o-johns, so we decided to use the ones in the Panda Express nearby. There were TOTALLY cool about it. Line wasn't very long either. So, finally, with bladder emptied, we were able to join the march to the start line, with more "fun" to be had...

After handing off the bag I was originally going to check-in to my wife, I finally crossed the start. This is where my fears were realized. Knowing this race was going to be 44,000 people strong, I feared it would be somewhat crowded. And by somewhat crowded, I mean like JP Morgan Corporate Challenge crowded. And guess what? IT WAS. For about 12 out of the 13.1 miles!! The lack of crowd control and signage was a huge problem for this race. Crowds everywhere- before, during, and after the race. I'll just leave it at that and continue the actual recap of the run....

So I spend much of the first mile dodging walkers and slower runners, but my legs feel good. Having not run in 3 plus days, and doing a bit of walking the previous 2 days, did a decent job priming my legs for the run. I finished the first mile in 10:20, which was actually right where I wanted to be. Second mile did not prove to be the same, as I came in in 10:50. It just seemed to get more crowded from there, and the next few miles were 11+ minute miles.  It actually fluctuated, as the Strip would go from 3 lanes, to 5 lanes, back down to 3 in certain areas. We break off the Strip a little after the 4 mile marker, and head toward downtown. Though at the time it didnt seem TOO bad, looking back, it was a VERY sketchy part of town. I downed my first pack of Gu at this point. Still feeling very good, legs strong, not breathing hard yet. As we make our way through downtown and Freemont Street, and approach the Strip again, is where I first start to struggle. Got to mile 9, near the Stratosphere, and I told myself to at least get to mile 10, then I'd pull back a little. The constant weaving and dodging was starting to catch up to me. Finally got to 10, and there was an aid station, so I slowed down to grab a cup of water. Downed what I could and resumed my pace. I got to about 11.5 miles, and was pretty much gassed. From there until about a half mile remaining, I went into somewhat of a run-walk. 1 minute on, 1 minute off.  Half mile to go, and I told myself I had to run to the end, except there was a problem- my quad (right above the right knee) started to REALLY tighten up on me, like, about to cramp tight. I tried to push through, but couldnt. Stopped real quick to stretch it out, and continued on. That final tenth of a mile was so nerve wracking because I feared my quad would just seize up. Lucky for me, it didnt, and I crossed the finish with a time of 2:33:47. Nearly 14 minutes later than my goal of 2:20! I was pretty disappointed with the time, but I also know there was not much I could do about it, given the crowds. Regardless, I had my second Half Marathon under my belt, and another medal to add to my collection:
And it glows in the dark!

So what's next from here? I have the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon in DC in my sights. Its on March 17th, so I'll have another 3 months exactly to fine tune my fitness. Until next time!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Course

Here's the course for Sunday! Not sure why it came out to 13.2, chalk it up to round off error i guess.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Less Than a Month Until Vegas

Here we are, a little over 3 week's away from the big dance! I can actually confidently say the training is going pretty swimmingly, as evidenced by my 12 mile run last night. That's right TWELVE!! My body is still feeling it. That was my 6th run so far above 7 miles. Hoping to have 2 more before we get to Vegas. One thing that I realized though, is that I'm once again neglecting the cross training. Its been run, run, run, for the past 2 months. And its really too late to do anything about it at this point, but I did want to start doing Ab Ripper X every other day from now until the race. Definitely feel the lack of strength in my core as I get into the late miles of a long run. Hope that will make even a small difference.

Last week (after Urbanathlon) was 1 hill day, 2 EZ days and a long run. I did the shorter version of hill, for 9 repeats, which felt really good. I always seem to push hard on that last repeat, which causes me to get slightly woozy! But in all, a good training day and I'm glad that I am keeping up with the hill training. 2 EZ days of 3.5 and 2.5 miles. The 2.5 mile day was on a Sunday morning, and I must say, was probably one of the hardest runs of my life. Probably a combination of the fact that I dont usually run mornings, I didnt eat anything, and was still recovering from my 11 mile run Friday night. Ah, 11 miles. 11.2 to be exact. Was going to do the 6 mile loop then 5 mile loop in CP, but was detoured due to the NYC Marathon Festivities. So had to reverse course at 72nd and re-do the 6 mile loop from there. Harlem hills twice (once in each direction) was killer. Average pace ended up around 10:45, which I think I'm satisfied with. But that is still more than a 2:20 half marathon, and I was REALLY hoping to come in under that.

This week, so far, has only been 1 hill day and the long run. I did the extended hill again, this time for 6 repeats, then ran up to 90th and back down, totaling about 6 miles. This was a tougher run, probably a product of being the 4th run in 5 days. And the day before that was volleyball and one more before that was my previous hill day. So it was 6 days of work in a 7 day span. Then, last night was the almighty 12 (well, 12.16) mile run. Again, I think I was still slightly fatigued from all the activity from the past week, but all in all, it was a decent run. Averaged a 10:50 pace, so not too far off the 11 mile pace. It felt really good through 7 miles. Starting the 8th mile, I started to feel it on the uphills. I took a Gu at 4.75, and again at mile 9. I didnt feel its impact as greatly this run, I think because I was so fatigued. Perhaps I should have carried a THIRD packet with me. The bottom of my right foot started to really bother from all the pounding. My ankles and knees actually held up pretty well. Then in the final mile, I started to feel quite a stinger in my left hip. Luckily it wasnt a steady pain, but was pretty sharp. It came and went like an ocean wave, kinda strange, but thankful. So I'm going to take the next 2 days off to FULLY recover, and do either an EZ or tempo run on Saturday (crosses fingers). I need about another 6 miles to cover my weekly mileage.

So, I think I've reached my peak mileage for long runs. So next week I think I'll do either 10 or 11, then 8 or 9 the following week (thanksgiving), before I taper off. Much more pleased with my training this year, so far. I'm hoping it will translate into a good, no, GREAT finish this year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Urbanathlon Recap

Well it seems I'm a little past due on my Urbanathlon update...but of course it had to be the coldest, wettest and windiest days so far this fall, and not to mention the same day that somewhat of a "blizzard" went through the Northeast in October! The morning started around 6:30am, woke up and went through my usual pre-race routine. I knew it was going to be a cold one, but was just not sure HOW cold, but I went with long sleeve cold gear, a long sleeve T, leggings and shorts over them, running gloves (with lifting gloves underneath, for some of the obstacles), and a skull cap. I wore a hoodie to stay warm pre-race and eventually decided to check it at baggage. So with the 30 or so minutes between when I checked my bags and when the race started, I stood there freezing my butt off!! I dont think I've ever been that cold. And anyone that knows me is that I dont get cold very easily.

Being in the last wave (signed up as a Clydesdale, "naayyyy!"-- is that the sound a horse makes??...anyway....), I didnt get started until around 8:20am. The rain had started to come down pretty steadily at this point, but surprisingly, my sneakers were in decent shape. And thankfully, I warmed up pretty quickly once we got going. So, after almost 2 miles of an easy jog, I reach the first obstacle: the police and traffic barricades. Go over the traffic barricade and under the police ones. This one was not very difficult, but did require me to get on my hands and knees to get under, so therefore, I got muddied up real quick. As we got to the second obstacle about a 1.5 miles later, I realized things werent going to be in the order that was detailed on the website.  So along we go, and despite the rain and cold, its going well, and I dont hit my first real challenge of an obstacle until I reached the Marine hurdles. I underestimated how high they were. For a 6' guy, they were about chin high!! Though a challenge, I found myself getting over them without much trouble. the only issue would be that i ripped one corner of my bib. oops. I saw a lot of the females have trouble here, and actually were being helped by other competitors. What a nice showing camaraderie! Next obstacle would be the monkey bars and parallel bars, the monkey bars which were one of two obstacles that worried me. Got over the parallel bars pretty easily, and off to the monkey bars. and to my surprise, I did them pretty cleanly! Having the lifting gloves helped a ton, as many were slipping off them due to the weather conditions.

From here, it was a long run before we reached the next obstacle, which was the Aurthur Ashe Stadium stair climb. But to my surprise, it was only a climb to the top deck, then back down. So after that would be the "real" stairclimb in CitiField. Entered the stadium and had to get up to Promonade level. Once there, it was up and down the stairs of the Promonade level through about 6 or 7 sections. Since I was in the back of the pack, a lot of people were walking it. At this point, I didnt mind too much. So after the last stair climb, it was back down the stadium, all the way down to the clubhouse, into the visitor dugout, and get this: ON TO THE FIELD ITSELF!! I was a little "star" struck! Of course we had to stay on the dirt, from foul territory on the 3B side, onto the warning track, and onto the 1st base side. Back into the stands, up another flight of stairs, and back out of the stadium through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Only a little bit left to go.

So it was over a couple taxis, which was actually a lot of fun, under some jeeps (which should have been earlier- and really hurt my knees, since we were crawling on artificial turf which was laid out on the parking lot!), over a schoolbus on a cargo net, and finally, over an 8' wall and through the finish. I will sadly admit right now, at this point, I could not get over the wall. But from what I could tell, not many did or could. On my first attempt, I jump up, as able to get my elbows on top of the wall, tried to pull myself up, but slipped and dropped back down, nearly landing on one of the volunteers. On my second attempt, nearly the same, but as i hung there for a second, the volunteer pretty much took my legs and threw me over. Thank God for that! Otherwise I think I would still be there trying to get over.

All in all, it was a good, fun and challenging event, despite the weather. And I am totally in next year if it happens again. I will definitely strength train more for it so I can get over the wall on my own. And hopefully get some buddies on board so I wont have to do it alone again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Recap and Urbanathlon

Almost a month without an update? Rest assured the training has been going well! Since the last update, I've gone from about 13 total weekly miles to 20 last week. Long runs have accordingly gone from 8 to 10.4. The 9 miler was one of my best long runs, in terms of how I felt (still around an 11 min/mile!). But at the end, I almost felt like I could have kept on going, with minimal pain in my legs and feet. The 10 miler on the other hand, the pain set in around mile 6, and I had to fight through it till the end. Honestly my pace is not where I would like it to be, but I am glad that I was able to get to the 10 mile long runs with over a month left to go. So I will shift the focus a little to tempo runs and intervals to try to better the pace.

And just to throw out there, Urbanathlon is TOMORROW. Considering my lack of strength training in the past month, I am rather anxious about it. Actually, there are really only 2 obstacles that concern me: the monkey bars and the wall climb at the end. From what I can tell from the pictures, the wall looks to be about 8 feet. Although theres a rope to help you climb it (picture the old school batman tv show), I'm not sure I'm very good at that, or how I would release the rope and grab the wall. I think my best approach would be to leap, grab the top of the wall and pull myself over. Thats all fine and dandy, providing I have anything left in my legs to, LEAP.

Ok, I'll be back on Mon/Tue with a fuller recap of both Urbanathlon and training. Til then! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Training Recap Since 9/26

So I'll start this post with something I don't mention often, only because I'm not great at it: NUTRITION. The saddest part is I probably know all there is to know about how to eat and fuel properly, yet ignore it all (most of the time, at least). As more of an effort to save money, rather than being healthy, I had started to bring my lunch the past few weeks. Simple baked chicken breast, on whole wheat bread. Usually complimented with some raw veggies and fruit. This has been doing wonders on my training runs. I feel more energized and strong while running. And my legs and feet ache less (not actually sure if this is a product of the better eating). As stated earlier, its sad that this really comes as no surprise to me. I already knew if I fueled myself correctly, it'll be seen directly in my training. You really are what you eat.

So back on the training side of things, 2 runs only last week. 5.2 miles and a long run of 7.75, for a total of just about 13 miles for the week. The first was originally going to be just an EZ run of once or twice around the southern loop (1.7 miles). But, when I got out, it was actually a lot cooler than I had thought. And as I progressed in the run, I knew I could extend to do the 5 mile loop. So thats what I did. See, good eating takes you far. Though it was just under 70 degrees, but SUPER humid, the run still went surprisingly well. As did the 7.75 long run. Even having to contend with the crowds going to the Black Eyed Peas concert! Averaged a 10:43 pace through the run- which is about where I wanted to be on a long run. I did then entire park loop (6 miles) and then an extra southern loop, which is how I ended at 7.75 miles. Wanted to do 8, but to piece together 8 miles in Central Park gets a little complicated. I took a Gu gel around 4.75 miles into the run, and it proved wise. I was very surprised at how I felt toward the end of the run. Again, legs felt fatigued, yet strong, and conditioning was good. Lower temps and humidity I'm sure played a big role in that as well.

Monday (10/3) I actually went out in the rain and did some hills. I missed hills last week, so was partly why I decided to head out, even though it was raining. Did 6x the Cat Hill, and again, benefiting from the cooler temps- it went pretty well. Though I think I pushed it a LITTLE too hard on that last rep, because I felt like I was about to pass out.

So, this week's long run goal is 9 miles. Which I think I will do tomorrow. It'll be a 5 mile loop and a 4 mile loop in CP. If that gets done, I'll actually be one week ahead of my training plan. Lets hope I get it done!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Training Recap (Weeks of 9/12 and 9/19)

So here we are, half marathon training once again in full swing. It seems to be off to a rather slow start, but I think I'm doing okay. I just wish the weather would start getting cooler and LESS HUMID.  Been steadily building the weekly mileage and long runs, and have been on track there. Also being consistent in doing hills. Was up to 6x the Cat Hill, with no bonus up to 90th street. Last week I also included one short run (once around the small southern loop), but in the middle, I did the stairs near Bathesda Fountain. This of course is preparing for Urbanathlon, which I've registered for. My original plan was just to do 5 reps, but after the 5th one, it was still rather easy and I was nowhere near exhausted, so I did a few more for a total of 9. I'm not really sure why I ended at 9, but I did.

This past saturday (9/24) was the 5th Avenue Mile. A one mile sprint from 80th (the Met) to 60th (Grand Army Plaza) streets. My "swift" sprint took 7:32. That was actually better than I thought I'd do, especially considering the humidity. I was really shooting for around 8 minutes, since my best mile to date, ever, was 8:11. I must admit that I came out too hot out of the gate, and lost a bit of steam about half way through. But lucky for me, the last 800m was more downhill than anything, and was able to coast to the finish. They even called out my name as I approached the finish line!

So after that was over, since it was only a mile, I attempted to do a long run. Now about 10:45, temps starting to get into the mid to upper 70s, with humidity north of 75%, I knew it was going to be a struggle. My goal was around 5.5 miles (in addition to the 1 mile race earlier). Since the end of the race was close to where I normally enter the park, I started from the same spot. Was going to go clock-wise around the park, crossover at 104th and come down the east side, completing the loop and ending at 72nd on the West side.
Sadly, I only made it to about 4.4 miles, ending at 72nd on the East side, meaning I didnt even complete the loop. It was just TOO humid.

So, with about a month left until Urbanathlon, i should really start getting back into some resistance training again. Have definitely slacked off on that end. Looking for an 8 mile long run this week (as this weekend looks to be MUCH cooler and MUCH less humid!). We'll see how that goes. Until next time!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Birthdays..Oh MY!

Another month since the last update? Glancing over at my blog reading list, I'm glad I'm not the only one slacking!  Nothing notable since the last update though.  Maintained my two to three shorter runs per week since, except for the week I was in Virginia Beach. Only one run (for 4 miles) that week on the Va Beach boardwalk. That was a nice run, and nice change of scenery. Temp wise it was "cool", but the sun was pretty brutal, as there is no shade on a boardwalk, of course.  Had a really good training week last week, as it was going to kick off my half-marathon training, but was quickly derailed this week, with the rain and birthday festivities. Totaled about 10 miles last week, including a 5 miler last friday (haven't done a 5 miler since before the Tri!). I also learned that day that 75 degrees is my performance threshold. Once it exceeds that, my conditioning dramatically decreases. On top of the 3 runs last week, I also biked 2 days, for 7 and 11 miles each. So it had seemed like I was off to a great start to my training, but not so much anymore. After this week, I'll have 12 weeks remaining. Better get crackin.

On an events note, will soon sign up for Urbanathlon. They've released the obstacles, and everything seems do-able. Will require work, but definitely doable. Also eying 2 NYRR races, the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off (5M) on 10/30 and the Ted Corbitt Classic (15K) on 12/17, 2 weeks after the Half.

I'm also going to start my search for a road/racer bike, as my current city-bike will only take me so far- competitively speaking. Hoping to do 3 Tri's next year, 2 sprints and 1 olympic distance.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Coasting Right Along...

So its been pretty quiet, evidenced by the month between blog posts. What's been going on? I've been going out for a run about twice a week since the beginning of July, totaling no more than 7 miles per week. Just trying to maintain a bit, since the Tri, but now also trying to build the mileage back up. The weather has definitely been a force to contend with. Last week I did twice around the southern loop (3.44 miles), on Tues and Thurs. Hoping to get maybe a 5-miler in this week, as Thur and Fri are looking to be relatively cooler days. Again, I'm going to build up my mileage the right way this time to avoid any (further) injury. I must note that the plantar fasciitis has been better. Not sure if its just the decreased mileage or if its the Nike LunarEclipse, but hey, I'll take it.

I've also been doing a bit of biking. Trying to keep that up as to keep up on some cross training. Not sure how much I can do once it starts getting colder. But that does seem like light years away at this point. Perhaps I'll re-visit the pool....hmmmm.....Oh, and speaking of cross training, I've noticed I'm starting to get on do you say "flabby" side. I mean, lets be real, I've always been flabby, but theres always more flabby and less flabby....haha. So I started some simple push ups and pull ups on days in between runs. Simply doing 3 sets of each, with minimal rest in between.

And on an events note, I'm 75% sure I'll do the Urbanathlon at this point. They've posted the course, though nothing exciting, I think it would just be a fun thing to do, and actually will work well to keep me accountable in the cross-training side of things. I know simply running will not suffice to complete it, as the obstacles will require much more than just running endurance.

So thats about it for now. About 3 weeks away before I start to get cracking on hard core half marathon training for Vegas. Should be loads of fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Milestone...

So far for 2011, with last night's run, I've done a little over 210 miles. To put that into perspective, from NY, I'd be somewhere in between Washington, DC (209 miles) and Alexandria, VA (214 miles). Or if I were to head north to New England, I would be right around Concord, NH (211 miles). Crazy huh? And, since I started this whole running thing February of last year, I just broke the 500 mile mark. That would put me somewhere between Detroit, MI (488 miles) and Toledo, OH (508 miles)! I know for the more serious runners out there, this doesn't really amount to much, but for me, someone's who never really run before, and has had terrible conditioning all my life, its a pretty big deal!

A little bit of whats been going on. As mentioned above, I went for a quick 1.72 miles around the small loop in CP last night. My first run since the Tri (over 2 weeks ago already!). It went alright, considering it was in the mid to high 80s, but low humidity. My legs felt strong, but could tell my conditioning has already started to decline. Actually, I noticed it last week when I attempted Plyo X, and had to extend the breaks in the second half to 60 seconds instead of 30, and that was on top of heavily modifying the moves already. The day before that I did Yoga, and boy did I need that. Everything was tight all over and I felt like I was going to tear my hip flexors, thats how tight they were.

So, a few things I'm considering on the horizon: 10/29- Urbanathlon! Not sure if I'll be ready for that. Its a little over 9 miles long I believe, which is where I should be in my training for the Half in December, if not further. But I'll need to be dedicated with my P90X workouts if I want any chance at those obstacles. I've all but tossed Warrior Dash out the window. And, I'm eyeing a couple Tri's in late Sept, early Oct, but worry about the timing with Urbanathlon. Not sure which my priority would be. The Tri's would of course be Sprint distance again, not going to try an Olympic distance until I have a couple Sprints under my belt.

So thats it for now. Will continue to take it easy through July, then start kicking up the training in Aug (once I decide on whether I'm going to do another Tri, Urbanathlon, or both).  And then somehow mix in the half-marathon training. Fun!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Few Final Tri Thoughts

I feel a little like Jerry Springer with his "Final Thoughts" or whatever it was he did at the end of his shows. Over a week removed from the event, I thought I'd weigh in on a couple thoughts and lessons learned in the Tri, perhaps to help some who may be looking to do one.  Overall, I had a lot of fun. I didn't shatter any records, nor did I even finish in the "average" time (which was 1:53, by the way, off by 7 minutes, darn!), but I had a lot of fun.  The biggest difference I found between something like this and say, a half-marathon, was just the sheer "logistics" involved, especially one that is out of town. With a normal run race, its your race outfit, shoes and yourself. That's it. Not so with a Tri, I must have double and triple checked that I had everything I needed, no matter how big (the bike) or small (goggles). Some things are more "forgivable" than others, if forgotten, but thankfully, my "anal-ness" paid off and I didn't forget anything. The other part would be dropping off the bike the day before, which obviously is not required of a run race.

With a race like the DC Tri where there's both Olympic and Sprint distances, that meant a really long delay between when transition closes and the start of your wave. For me, it was nearly 1.5 hours, and almost 2.5 hours from when I first arrived at transition. I could have still been sleeping! Though this time allowed me to use the port-a-potty 5 or so times (yes, FIVE), I also forgot to have some water with me. BIG lesson learned here. Have some drinking water (preferably in a disposable bottle, since you'll be discarding it before entering the water) with you when they close transition. I was REALLY thirsty while waiting for my wave. I was tempted to pick up some of the bottles that people left when leaving for their wave!

Don't let the craziness of the swim faze you. I certainly did, more in that I was annoyed that I had to keep breaking rhythm when I was interrupted, either by someone running into me or vice versa. Just weather through it, remember your training and all will be fine. I mean you go into it knowing that there will be a lot of contact and such, but theres really nothing that can prepare you for something like that. Another thing worth mentioning, SITE MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU SHOULD. In water that murky, it is impossible to swim in a straight line and you never know when you'll swim pass the buoy you're supposed to turn at (guilty, as charged).

No major issues with the bike and run, I actually enjoyed those 2 sections.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my only thing with the bike was the whole deal with "blocking" or "drafting". I was REALLY paranoid about it, since it did come with penalties for either violation.

So, going forward, I haven't done anything since the Tri. I'm looking to do Yoga X at least once in the next week (it'd be nice if it were twice), get a short run in to shake the rust off, and to do Chest & Back- either in part or in full- to regain some strength. And I hope to get some kind of regular workout schedule (based on P90X, of course) established for the next 2 months or so, before I go into full Half-marathon training mode (Las Vegas Half in Dec!). I'm also now debating whether I want to do the Sprint distance again next year, or attempt the Olympic distance. I guess that all depends on how hard I train! 'Till next time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DC Tri Recap!

800m swim? Check. 20k bike? Check. 7.5k run? CHECK! Completed my first (sprint) Triathlon and what an experience it was. Even now, two days removed, it feels sort of surreal. (and just as a warning, this will be a rather lengthy post....)

The day started at 3:50am, as I conveniently awoke before my alarm went off, which was set for 4am. Got up, downed about 20oz of water, ate a banana, got dressed, did a last minute check of all my gear, and it was out there door. The hotel was thankfully right across the street from the shuttle, so I was on the shuttle headed to transition right around 4:30am. I arrived at transition just before 5am, and there was already quite the hustle and bustle going on, with people getting body marked, picking up timing chips, doing last minute tuning to their bikes and setting up their gear. I arrived at my rack location (which fortunately was on the end, near the aisle, which made transitioning that much easier) also find out that the person who was supposed to rack next to me was a no show. I'm now going to spoiled for future Tri's, since not only do I have an end spot, I had double the room for all my stuff. I carefully lay out my gear, ensuring things are placed in the order I would need them. This took a whole 5 minutes. It's now a little after 5am, and I have nothing left to do. Transition closes at 5:55am, and the first Olympic distance wave goes at 6am. I wasn't set to go until 7am, at the earliest, not to mention I was in the second to last wave. So I spent probably the next 15 to 20 minutes just staring at my stuff, trying to visualize both transitions, the order I would do them in, and how. It's now 5:55am, transition is closed, and at least another hour for me to wait. So, I just popped a squat and waited until they called my wave. Onto each section, after the jump....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is it!! (and JPMCC Recap)

Last night I ran the annual JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and I was fully intent on giving a more detailed recap, but I think all I'll say is: It was hot. It was CROWDED. And I should have worn a different shirt. If I get into more detail, I fear I'll start whining too much about all the walkers that somehow started in front of me, thus being in my way when I had to go around them. I finished the 3.5 miles in 34:12 at a 9:46 pace. Expected better, but decent given the conditions. Now onto more important matters....

Less than 3 days remain until the Tri! I head out for DC tomorrow afternoon, so the anxiety is starting to creep in! (not like it hasn't been, as I numbingly stare at the course map that I printed and pinned to my cube wall all day long). I did some last minute stuff for the bike, like take off the kickstand (for some weight reduction, haha), and install my second bottle cage and prepared my emergency kit. I should also probably do a couple "dry" runs of the transitions some time. I keep trying to go over it in my head, and though I feel like its not much of an issue, I should really rehearse it to know what order I'm putting things on or taking them off, and how to lay it out on race morning. Main concern at this point is the bib and when/how I should pin it on. If I just relax and take my time, I should be okay. Dont' want to be like a rabid dog in transition....

So thats it. I'll be back probably Monday or Tuesday with a full report of the Tri. This should be exciting, wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My LAST Swim Workout!

This past Sunday, I did my final tune up for the swim before the Tri. Its good knowing I can sustain 800m, because at this point, thats all I'm looking to do. Should take me in the neighborhood of 25 minutes, which judging by last year's results, is pretty darn slow! But its okay, its my first Tri. Hopefully I'll be able to get behind some other "slower" swimmers and draft them to make it a bit easier.

Last night I ran the entire 6 mile loop in CP. And since it was cooler and low humidity, I did it rather comfortably, which thankfully was a confidence booster. Its amazing what the heat and humidity will do to me, and not only physically, but man, what a shot to the ego it is. Anyway, finished the 6 miles with a 9:44 pace, and a total time of just under 59 minutes, which actually, is the fastest I've done that route. So its a great second to last training run before the Tri. Tomorrow's JP Morgan Corporate Challenge will serve as my final tune up. And hopefully, I'll have time on Thur for a quick ride, if not, then the ride from the convention center down to transition will have to serve as my final ride.

So at this point, I'm actually kind of anxious and want to get to the Tri already! And perhaps the biggest concern on my mind now is that I hope I dont get a some kind of flat on the bike. I've been studying the course pretty diligently, last thing I'd want is to end up off course. Not sure it'd be that easy to do, but, you never know. The bike course is rather confusing. At least from the map.  I picked up some last minute stuff to make my "emergency" kit for the bike. Just need to familiarize myself with how to change the tube, if by chance some does happen. Otherwise, I think I'm set. Still can't believe its finally here!

I'll probably be back for a quick recap of the JPM CC, and then that'll be it. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 13, 2011

DC Tri Sprint Course

800m Swim

20K(12M) Bike

7.5k (4.66M) Run

Monday, June 6, 2011

Celebrate Israel Recap (with a BIG PR!)

Sunday (June 5) I ran the inaugural Celebrate Israel 4M race, a familiar 4-miler through Central Park.  Since I didn't have too much trouble driving in for the last couple races, I did so again for this one. This turned out to be a rough one, since I failed to realize there was a parade to Celebrate Israel as well, which shut down a bunch of streets near where I had been parking, which was also near the start of the race. After circling a bit and running into a handful of detours due to the parade, I decided to just garage it, and took the $25 hit.

I get to the start line around 8:30am, do my  usual warm ups and stretches and down a pack of Gu energy gel at around 8:45. Honestly, for a 4-miler, I probably didn't need one, but it has been working well for me in the previous races so I figured, why mess with a good thing?

After "enjoying" both the Israeli national anthem and the Star Spangled Banner, the starting horn finally goes off.  Though a smaller field this time, it was still a little more than 5 minutes to get to the start line.  A good start, legs felt good and strong, and I fall into what feels like my normal pace. Get to the mile 1 marker (which happened to sync up very well with Nike+), I realize I'm going at a pretty good pace, and Nike+ confirmed it saying I just did the first mile in 9:10. Whoa! My usual pace is never that fast, let along the first mile! But I'm confident at this point, and it still feels good, so I just plug along. A little after the 2 marker, I started to feel the faster pace start to catch up a bit. This part of the course also contains a couple rolling hills, so I backed off a little. Saw the mile 3 marker, and knew the end was near. It was also a bit of downhill. So I got back to what my pace was, and when I saw the turn onto 72nd, I kicked it up and finished strong. My time turned out to be 37:19, at a 9:20 pace! That was a pretty sizable PR! My best 4-miler was the NYRR-4, in which I finished in 38:48 at a 9:42 pace.  About a 1.5 minute improvement! Of course it was raining buckets that day, but still, I was very satisfied with my finish.

Onward from here, the Tri is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!  Still deciding how/when I should taper, or if I even really need it, since I haven't really been training THAT intensely. May try to get 2 swims and 2 runs in again this week (though the weather may be something to contend with this week). And try to do an extended training session (aka- run/bike/run) on Sunday (my only available day). Then 1 easy swim, bike and run the week of the 13th.  I will probably just use the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge as my easy run. Should be an exciting next 2 weeks!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Almost "Tri" Ready and Another Race Week

A pretty decent past few days, since my little stomach bug incident last week. Went for a quick 2 mile run last Thursday, just to be sure I had shaken the bug, and more importantly, to test out my brand new Nike Lunar Eclipse running shoes! I always seem to make the mistake of going faster on new shoes, because I know I'm keeping it short. Ended up with an 8:45 pace. I should really learn to take it easy, especially when the purpose of the run is to "ease" into the new shoes. All in all, the shoes felt good. Nice spring to them, good support and definitely not as mushy as the Lunar Glides. Why did I ever abandon Nike? Anyway, the Mizuno's have been relegated to just "casual" duty now. The plantar fasciitis seems to be at its worst the days after I train in them. So now the rotation will consist of the Lunars and Asics. But, probably will stick to just the Asics until the Tri.

Which "transitions" me very well to my next training session. On Saturday, on a warmer and rather humid day, I did a bike/run brick. Just simply did one transition to test my endurance. Completed 9.5 miles on the bike, then ran 3 miles. It was tough, but I was able to complete it and was definitely a confidence booster. The 9.5 mile bike took about 40 minutes, and actually was a little harder than I remember. I was really hoping for a better time than that.  I purposely pushed it for the majority of the bike to tire out my legs, as to see how I perform in the run with my legs fatigued.  So I get off the bike, lock it up, and down about half a pack of Gu Energy Gel, along with some water, and continue to the run. This was a little harder than I remember as well. Both knees were experiencing some pain from the start, along with my left heel. But as I got into my run rhythm, everything was okay. I got to the halfway point and briefly took a breather (30-60 seconds) and quickly continued the run. Though I was pretty beat from the session, it felt good knowing that I was able to do that, and was not completely gassed (like I was from mile 10 of the half!). Knowing that I only had another 2.5 mile bike and 1 mile run on top of that, I had a rough idea of how I'd feel and do on raceday. Of course, I didn't have the swim to start. So I'm now going to put my money on that I'll finish in around 2 hours. 

It was back into the pool on Sunday. Did 800m, took a short break, then another 200m, as a bonus. Did the 800m in about 24 minutes. Still hard to say how that will translate in an open water swim, but I'll take it for now, since it does not seem likely I'll get any open water time, except for the day before during swim practice. It was good to know that the 200m bonus felt strong, even after the initial 800m. So long as I don't gulp a bunch of water on raceday, I think I'll be okay. And just okay....

It will be the Celebrate Israel Run (4m) this coming Sunday. So it'll be 2 more training runs for the rest of this week, either 5 and 6 miles or 5 and 5.  I plan on hitting the pool on the off days and then take Saturday as recovery.  Lots going on and lots to come. Less than 3 weeks left.....*whoooaaaaa....*

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

After having a completely crap of a training run on monday, turns out I came down with somewhat of a bug that night into Tuesday. And still feeling the after-effects of it today, Wednesday.  What's funny, is that I was kicking myself for having such a bad training day, especially since Friday's hill training went exceptionally well, but then today, I stumbled on Nike Running's Training Blog:
Turning around early on a run when something hurts just plain stinks. You feel like a failure, you question your toughness and the running you did do feels pointless. But there are times where you get out on a run and something feels bad or wrong and you need to flip around. A funky ankle, a tight IT-band, a sore achilles, a balky knee. Whatever it is, continuing to run on it probably isn't going to make it better. But most people continue to run when they feel weird pains, thinking "I should just keep going" or "it's not that bad" or "if I can't be tough through this little issue how am I going to be tough in my next race?" Wrong. You need to flip around, go back and call it a day and then figure out what you're going to do. Do you need to simply take a day or two off from running? Can you afford to go see a medical professional and get an opinion on what is wrong? Should you be cross training and if so, what modality is best? You've got lots to think about, but what you don't want to do is continue to run on something that hurts because it's just not worth it. By flipping on a run the first day something hurts, you greatly increase your chance of healing and getting back to running quickly; if you hobble through a run when something is obviously wrong, you run the risk of missing weeks (months?) of running rather than days. I'd argue it takes the same amount of guts to turn around on a run and head back home than it takes to push through the discomfort of your original run. So have the guts to turn around when something hurts.
Wow. Just what I needed to hear! Though the blog post is geared more towards what seems to be an injury, I feel its applicable here, when you just dont feel right, and your energy is just WAY down.  Since I had been doing well training and race wise, my plan for Monday was to just roll at my normal pace for 6 miles. Within a mile into it, I already felt sluggish, but thought to myself, "I've felt this before, it'll go away by mile 2". It didnt. In fact, I got to the top of Cat Hill and had to take a breather. I regrouped and continued. Same thing. Got up to 90th and kinda threw in the towel.  As to not make the run a complete waste, I decided to throw in some speedwork, basically using the lampposts as my markers. Alternating sprinting and walking as I passed each one. Totaled about 3.5 miles for the run.

So, its going to be another rest day today to hopefully shake this bug. Since the weather looks nice tomorrow (and the Mets will be in town Friday), I'll go for a run tomorrow and swim on Friday. Health dependent, of course. 'Till next time....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One More Month!!

This post is pretty much here to state:


That is all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wall Street Run Recap

Last night was the American Heart Association's Wall Street Run. A 3-mile race through the heart of NYC's financial district. And man, what an interesting race. First, it was nice to do a race outside of Central Park, even if it meant giving up the familiarity of the course.  It seemed like people were more frantic in this race more than anything.  It comically resembled the running of the bulls! I mean, you're there running a race, and it is amusing to see various runners dodging things like cones, cars, garbage and even some pedestrians. What makes this race different also is that its not corralled. Meaning normally, you're placed in corrals with people who are running at a similar pace as you, and logically, the faster runners are in the front, the slower in the back.  Not this race, which is what gives it that "running of the bulls" feel. Most of all, the weather forecast was all but bleak for this one, and I though it'd be a repeat of the wet and wild NYRR4, but as luck would have it, the rain held, and that big glowing ball in the sky we know as, the sun, even made an appearance.

So I arrived with about 15 minutes before the start, and as usual, I need to empty my bladder. Only thing was, there were no port-a-potties in site!  There was a Barnes and Noble, but I didnt think I'd make it back in time. So, I sucked it up and held it. The gun goes off and the crowd is off. I cross the start within minutes (if not seconds), which is quite unfamiliar to me. But about 100 ft. after the start was a right turn. And where was I? All the way to the inside, so as I reach the corner, traffic screeches to a halt, and I'm walking. Lovely. Make the turn and I'm back off.  I was being very vigilant for pot holes, last thing I want is a sprained/twisted ankle a month before the Tri. The course took you down various streets downtown, passing many eating establishments. As you're running, you get a nice whiff of delicious smelling food, where you almost want to stop and sit down for a bite! I guess I was being TOO vigilant for potholes, cuz, though I saw the first mile marker, I completely missed the second one. Felt good most of the way through, though somewhere in that last mile, I must admit I struggled a little bit. Slowed down just a touch, and as I reach the promenade, I hear someone say "you can see the finish!". I look up, and well, I could! So I turned it up for that last stretch and that was it. Finished in 28:50 (9:36 pace), which would technically be a PR, since I've never done a 3-mile race before (as I stated in my previous post). This was my fastest pace for a race so far, but again, it is the shortest race I've ever done.

Overall fun and entertaining race, not to mention only 3 miles for a marathon-qualifier. What I'm most upset about? I MISSED OUT ON THE FREEBIES! Apparently they were giving away goodie bags, which I guess I missed because I didn't head over to the "festival" area. I mean c'mon, this is the reason I do these races! Next year. Grrr...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wall Street Run

Tomorrow's Course!

UAE Healthy Kidney 10k Recap

Just a quick background for those wondering what the UAE and Healthy kidneys have to do with one another. The race itself was to support the National Kidney Foundation, and was sponsored by the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who was a beneficiary of a kidney transplant. With that, onward to the recap....

First thing first, another PR! Finishing about 34 seconds faster than the Scotland Run 10k, with a final time of 1:01:14, translating to a 9:52 minute mile pace.  It was a nice 60 degrees (though 78% humidity), mostly cloudy, and winds were calm, making it a pretty nice running day. This was a fairly crowded race, with over 7500 runners.  Again, being in the last corral, it took nearly 14 minutes to reach the start line. To think, the winner (who also set a new course and world record) had already completed 3 miles, since his splits were: 4:17, 4:23, 4:17 for the first 3 miles. Crazy. Anyway, its such a slow march to the start, I actually darted over to the port-a-potty for a quick potty break before the start! Jumped back into the march and finally got on my way.

First half of the race felt good. Legs were strong and was keeping a decent pace. Only problem, as stated earlier, was the crowd. I expended a lot of energy trying to get around people. This most likely caused by many who do not line up in the correct corrals. Its quite irritating! I was trying to find someone to pace with, but sadly could not. I usually am able to find someone to pace with at least for a while, but not this time I guess. Get to mile 4, back on the east side and I'm really starting to lumber a bit, the only thing keeping going at this point is knowing that I have Cat Hill (going DOWN!) coming up and that I'd get to recover there.  Turns out it didnt help too much, and I had to push through the last stretch on the east side, south of 72nd.  I reach the south end and see the "800m to go" sign. I kick it up a little. Then the "400m to go". I kick it up a little more. "200m to go" and I turn it up more. I feared that I may have turned it up too early and am really running on fumes at this point, had to really dig deep to keep it up until the finish.  Looking back though, this is probably where I gained most of the 34 seconds when compared to the Scotland Run, so I'm glad I kicked it up where I did.

So tomorrow will be the Wall Street Run (3 Mile), and it looks like it'll be another rainy one. I'm not looking for any kind of PR, since all that I've heard and read says its ultra crowded. Then again, whatever time I finish with will technically be a PR, since I've never done a 3 mile race before, HAH! Will catch a couple week break [from racing] after that, then the Celebrate Israel Run on June 5th. Will be back Wed. for a recap of the Wall Street Run.

Here is a map of the course (same course as the Scotland Run 10k, which is why it says "Scotland Run")

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Third Swim Workout!

Ok, this will be my last "My whichever-number-it-is Swim Workout" post, promise! Went for another swim last night, with a goal of going for 30-35 minutes. To my surprise, I completed a whole 850m in about 26-27 minutes!  I completely surprised myself!  I mean, unless I totally mis-counted how many laps I did, I'm very, very encouraged with last night's workout, especially since I'm just a little more than a month out.  I started out taking it easy, and just tried to keep that easy pace and cadence for the entire workout.  I'm slowly starting to learn how it feels to try to keep my legs near the surface of the water, but am still having a heck of a time keeping them there.  My one concern now is when I reach the end of the pool to turn around, since I dont do flip turns (I dont know how...), I'll just touch the wall, turn around and gently push off. But in that time, my head is above the water for a few seconds, which actually allows me to catch a few breaths.  I realize I will not have this "luxury" in open water, so will have to see if I can avoid it next time.

Looks to be a good training week. Another 6 miles tonight in preparation for the Healthy Kidney 10k. And plan on another swim tomorrow. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Second Swim Workout

So its been a couple weeks since my last post, so a quick rundown: This Saturday will be the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k in Central Park. Hoping for yet another PR.  Then the following Tuesday, 5/17, will be the American Heart Association's Wall Street Run (3 miler). After that, along with the 4 mile "virtual" run for Japan (due by 5/22), I will have completed 6 of my 9 for guaranteed entry to the 2012 NYC Marathon. I've also registered for the Celebrate Israel run (4 miler) on June 5 and the Fifth Ave. Mile in Sept.; which will bring my total up to 8.

On the training side- I did my second swim workout last week. Happy to report that it went better than the first one. Was not quite as dizzy afterwards, and I think I was a bit faster. My goal was to do 550-600m, and I ended up doing 550. But though honestly, since one length is 25m, I tend to lose count. I may have very well done 600m. In any case, I completed the workout in 25 min! Which is better than my first one, which I did 400m in about 30 min.  I was actively trying to be mindful of my form and trying to be as efficient as I can. My biggest problem at this point is trying to prevent my legs from sinking too much into the water, which I believe is what is slowing me down the most. I try to kick to counter it, but I also need to keep in mind that I need to save my legs for bike and run. Dilemma.

On the day of the last post, I did some hills. Temps were in the mid-70s and humid, making it a little more difficult. Did 8 repeats of the Cat Hill, which I think is the same as the last time I did hills. I let a week go by without training, a combo of both needing a break, being lazy, and my stomach not feeling 100%. So last tue, went out for one of my "shake off the rust" 5 milers.  Friday was a tempo run, which totaled 6 miles. Warmed up for 1 mile, then wanted to do 2 miles and 2 miles at tempo pace, but I ran out of gas in the first leg at around 1.7 miles, because it was the top of the hill up at 106th (going clockwise). Averaged about a 9 min mile pace, which is about what I was aiming for. Did another 2 miles, but not much better than my usual pace. Then did a final cool down of a mile. Was hoping to do a little better, but its been a while since I did any kind of tempo run, so I'll consider it a "success".  Last night I went out and just rolled for 6 miles, and completed it in my best time yet of 59:06 for a 9:44 pace. Not sure I've done this distance before at that pace. So very encouraging and meaning I most likely will PR again at the 10k distance.

So, one more 6 miler tomorrow, then the race. And hope to get in 2 swim workouts this week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3+1 Down, 6 To Go, and another PR!

I awoke Saturday morning, around 6:45am, to the sound of raindrops. Thats how quickly my hopes were dashed that the weather people were wrong about rain that day. I proceeded to get ready for the race, somewhere in the back of my mind hoping that the rain would stop by 9am. But just in case it didnt, I decided I would run in my Bar Harbor wind breaker and left the house. I drove out to the race this time, rather than take the train, and it was a pretty good decision, otherwise, I would have been hanging out in Central Park for over an hour in the rain. I arrived at the start line around 8:30am and the rain was coming down pretty steadily. My shoes were doing pretty well given the conditions, until of course, I decided to step in a pretty deep puddle.

The race starts and as customary, being in one of the last few corrals, it takes some time to actually get to the start line. This one, though less crowded than the Scotland Run, seemed to take longer than normal. So much so that I forgot to glance up at the clock as I crossed the start line (it ended up being about 5-6 minutes only). So the race is under way and the rain actually was not feeling too bad. Other than my sneakers, it wasn't bad at all. My hat helped a lot as well, to keep the rain out of my face and eyes.

I get to the first mile marker and see the clock at around 16:00. At this point I'm hoping it was 6:00 when I crossed the start meaning I just did the first mile in 10 minutes. I had no idea how I was pacing, as I wasnt using Nike+ due to the rain. But I get to mile 2 and see that I'm doing sub 10min-mile. Feeling pretty decently despite my now sloshing shoes, I decide to kick it up a little as I reach the west side. At this point, I know there are a couple mini-uphills, and then its pretty much downhill from there. I get near the finish line, and want to sprint to the end as I normally do, but it was pretty crowded! It was hard to do so. What made it even more difficult were the people who stop as SOON as they cross the finish line! I was trying to hard not to mow someone over that I again forgot to look up at the clock. I quickly glanced back and lucky for me, they had a clock facing that way, and it was 44 minutes and change. Without knowing what the time was when I crossed the start, I had no idea if I PR-ed or not, but I knew it was close.

So it turns out, I did PR! Whoo-hoo! Final time was 38:48 (9:42 pace), meaning I PR-ed by barely 20 seconds, but hey, a PR is a PR! My previous PR at 4 miles was the Gridiron 4M in February with 39:05 (9:46 pace).  And this same race last year I finished in 42:10. So pretty nice progress all around. To think how I would have done had it not been raining.

So with this, I've now completed 3 of the 9 races towards my guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon. Next up will be the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k on May 14th.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprise, its Plantar Fasciitis

So I saw the podiatrist on Monday, 4/18, and he basically confirmed what I had already somewhat self diagnosed. Plantar-fasciitis. He did take an x-ray, just to make sure there were no heel spurs, and there weren't, thankfully. He recommended that I get heel cups to put into my shoes. Since I have a multitude of heel inserts, I'm going to try one of the bunch that I have and go with that for now. In fact, since I started using them, though they still hurt after the run, they're not quite as painful the day after, today, for instance. That was it, he pretty much told me that in order for the pain to completely go away, I'd have to stop running. Something I may think about after DC. Not completely, just enough to let it heal a little!

Tomorrow is the NYRR 4, so got 2 pretty good training runs in this week. Did the 5-mile loop on Monday and Thursday. I had wanted to do a race simulation, but since the 4-mile course is pretty much included into the 5-mile loop route, thats what I decided to do. The two runs ended up being pretty good, Monday's run I think it was the fastest I have done that route, finishing in 50:36 (9:43 pace), and then bested that on Thursday, finishing in 49:55 (9:35 pace). Since that was for 5 miles, I'd really like to average a 9:30 for the race. Only problem is that it looks like rain all day. Not really sure how that'll effect me. I want to say it wont, but stranger things have happened! I should mention that was both in the counter-clockwise direction, which is clearly becoming my preferred direction.

No swim training this week. That'll resume next week, as there seems to be a lot of rain in the forecast.

Oh, and I've ordered and received my Tri gear! I always say, if I dont do well, at least look good doing it! 'Till next time....

Friday, April 15, 2011

My First Swim Workout!

...And what a doozy it was! I finally made my way to the aquatic center (which membership I signed up for a couple weeks ago) to start my training for the swim portion of the DC Tri, which is 2 months away from this coming Tuesday (yikes!).  It was....interesting.  I went into the session having a goal of going for just 30 minutes, regardless of the distance, and that actually ended up totaling 400 meters (pool length was 25m, so 8 laps, 16 lengths of the pool).  I tried to take it easy, but I apparently don't know how.  I took a brief breather after 200 meters, then completed another 200, which coincidently took the 30 minutes I had intended to spend on training that day. I must say that at my first break after 200m, I was rather dizzy, presumably from the frequency in which I was breathing. So I tried to make that movement less jerky and more fluid for the second 200m, and it eased the dizziness. Though I think it was too late, as I changed and left, I felt rather queezy and maybe even a bit nauseous. All I could keep thinking to myself was, "what have I gotten myself into?!" But looking back, thats what I thought when I went for my first run last year, after having signed up for the Half.

Yesterday was another run in the park. Temps were in the high 60s and was just a beautiful spring day. I took the opportunity to do some hill training.  Again doing the hill by the boathouse (or the "Cat Hill"), for 8 repeats. I was thinking of doing 6, but it went by quickly so I added an extra 2. I didnt go up to 90th like I usually do this time though. I just finished the 8 repeats and returned back to where I entered. Entire workout was about 3.5 miles. The hill felt pretty good, and I tried to really push toward the top.  Strangely, it seems I would get up to the same point of the hill, and completely have nothing left in the tank. It didnt seem like it mattered how hard I was pushing at the bottom of the hill.

My heel is in some serious pain today, from the plantar facsiitis. I did make an appointment to see a podiatrist on Monday.  I fear he may give me bad news. I guess we'll see.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scotland Run Recap (another PR!)

It was a calm, clear 52 deg in Central Park for this race. Pretty good conditions for me. The race reached capacity, so it was no surprise that it was going to be a crowded race. Not to mention my 10041 race number! I checked my bag and trotted all the way to the back of the corrals, and to my amusement, they technically didnt even have a corral for my number! So in full celebration of Scotland, they had guys playing bagpipes at each mile marker, and a handful of runners wore kilts! Still wondering if the guys who wore them were wearing them the "proper" way (read: nothing on underneath!).

Anyway, another big PR for me! Finishing in 1:01:48 with a pace of 9:58. Which was also about 2.5 minutes faster than my race simulation the other night.  The race felt good overall, and I probably could have done just a touch better had it not been so crowded. There were definitely several instances where I felt a little slowed down by the runner in front of me, and I had trouble trying to get around them. I'm glad I did those hills in the northern loop a few time in the past couple of weeks, so I knew exactly what to expect, and exactly how much to push and when. Its interesting to note that I could feel myself hitting a wall right around the 5 mile mark, since thats where the bulk of my training has been. That final .2 miles was probably the worst after you pass the 6 mile marker. Must be longest .2 mile, ever.

So not much time before the next one, the NYRR 4 miler on 4/23, which is now in just under 2 weeks. Will try to better my time from the Gridiron, for another PR. Should be good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Missed it by a swimcap!

It's hard to believe both the NYC Half (March 20) and the 13.1 World Vision Half (Apr 2) have both passed, both of which I had thought about doing, but did not. And I also just recently let go of hopes of doing the LI Half, simply because I'm not ready, and I do not want to attempt something like this without proper training. Which really turns my attention to the DC Tri in June. I have about two and a half months remaining to train. I know I have the run part down, so its just a matter of the other TWO sports.

First, due to the piss poor forecasting at, I failed to do a second run last week after the awesome 8 miles on Monday. And due to my laziness, did not do Yoga (or any other workout) in its place. Ugh.

So on Saturday, I set out to finally sign up at the Flushing-Corona Park Rec/Aquatic Center. I park, walk about 2 blocks to the Rec Center, wait in line for 20 min to register. Finally register, only to find out the pool is in another building. Walk back to my car, drive about 10 min over to the pool, park, and hike into the building. Go up to the second floor, where the pool is, only to realize that swimcaps are MANDATORY. Now, they sold them there, and I was more than willing to purchase one of theirs, the only thing was, I left my wallet IN THE CAR. I wasn't parked too far away, but it also wasn't like, just outside. So I thanked the lady, turned around, got in the car, and drove home.

Later on in the day, I told myself I'd make up for missing out on swimming, so I'd go take the bike out. I got all suited up, went to grab the bike, only to find that my tires HAD NO AIR IN THEM! Not a huge deal, one would think to oneself, thing was, I dont have a pump! Dejected, I changed out of my workout gear, and trotted back in the house and ploppled myself in front of the TV. I did head out shortly after to buy the pump, but by the time I got back, and given the track record for the day, I simply gave in and called it a day.

So on Sunday, I finally got something done. I did my first brick workout. I did 3 repeats of bike to run. First repeat was about a 2 mile bike, got off, locked the bike up, and ran for a quarter mile. Not bad. Got back on the bike, went about 3 miles, got off, but this time, since locking up the bike was a serious hassle, I just ran with the bike, for another quarter mile. Third repeat, another 2 miles on the bike, going hard this time, then got off and did another quarter mile run. All in all, not a bad workout for my first brick! I actually kind of enjoyed it, and felt I ran better after the bike. But it was only a quarter mile. We'll see what happens when that gets upped to 1, 2, 3 and eventually 4 miles.

Plan for the week, as long as the weather is what they say it is, is simply a race simulation tomorrow (wednesday), and then the Scotland Run 10k on Sunday. Let the race season begin!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

8 miles

Completed the planned 8 miles, and thought since it was kind of a milestone, it deserved its own update. I mean, its certainly not the first time I've done this distance, but it surely has been a very long time. The stats:

Distance: 8.07
Time: 1:23:05
Pace: 10:21
Weather (at start): 45 degF, sunny and breezy

Thats actually better than the 10:30 I was shooting for. This also included 2 walk breaks of about 1-2 min each. To think if I didnt have to walk?? I think what was most killer was doing the upper portion (from 102nd to 110th) of the loop, twice. Ironically though, one of my better splits included the second time around that loop. Perhaps it was a result of the uber generous couple who were handing out bottles of water! I re-fueled with Jelly Belly's Sport Beans around mile 4, near Lasker Pool. I went against my better judgment getting a fuel source that wasnt liquid (or at least a gel), and I paid for it. I should also mention that my quest to find some Gu energy packs was unsuccessful, which is why I ended up with the jelly beans.  The note on the package even said to take it with water, which is what made that couple handing out water even more of a Godsend. But asides from the slight cramping and other gastric issues from the beans, it did help me push through the final 2 miles of the run, which were basically unchartered territory.

I felt myself struggling just shy of mile 6. Heck, I want to even say in the beginning of mile 5, and I thought to myself, "whats going on?! I do 5 miles all the time, and I did 6 last week at a sub 10 pace!" Thats when I realized it was doing the upper loop twice that took a toll. I also thought I took a wrong turn, and ended up doing less than 8 miles, and was a bit dismayed when I finished in the time that I did. But a quick recalculation in my head, and I realized I DID do the full 8 I had planned, and my night was much better.

All I can say was, I was TIRED. Tired and sore. My legs are incredibly sore, especially in the lower calf on both legs. Hip flexors, hammies are both sore as well, but tolerable.

Looking to do a hill or interval run on Thur, maybe a bike/run combo over the weekend, and then tackle 9 miles next week. 'Till next time!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where did the warmth go?

As quickly as it came, the nice warmer weather has disappeared. So, back in the brisk 40s (10 or so degrees lower than normal) we are, for the remainder of this week at least. Only got in one run this past week, but did get in another Yoga X session in lieu of a run.

Last Tue (3/22) was a quick 5 miler going in the clockwise direction. I think its was my best pace for that distance, clocking in at a 9:42 mile. It was tough going from the start, probably from Yoga two days prior, but was pleasantly surprised when I realized what my pace was at the end. The plan was to hit 7 miles on friday, but that was put on hold due to extenuating circumstances. I did Yoga X in its place, and thankfully can say it was a touch easier than the previous session. Hope I can keep Yoga in the rotation.

The plan tonight is 8, since I missed out on the 7 last week, and my previous long run was 6 miles, I figure its not too crazy of a jump. Hoping I'm not upping it too quickly, lest I injure myself again, or, further injure myself.  I'm going to take it easy, maybe look to do around 10:30 miles. I did 7 miles back in January, at a 10:51 pace. And lets hope I'm in better shape than I was back then! The planned route: Enter CP at 59th, heading north on the east side. Cross over to go west at 72nd, continue north on the west side, all the way up and wrap around on 110th, repeat that upper loop (from 102 to 110th), then come down the east side to 72nd, cross over again to the west side, then head south on the west side, and complete the loop at the 59th street entrance. I think the exact distance is around 8.04 miles. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 21, 2011

T-Shirt Time!

First, another quick events update: Registered for the American Heart Association's Wall Street Run (3M) on 5/17 as well as the annual JP Morgan Corporate Challenge (not a NYRR race) on 6/15. This will be my third year doing the JPM CC. Very disappointed with last year's time, even given the crowds. So, hoping it'll be better this year (time that is, it'll be crowded regardless).

So the last 3 weeks have been very consistent. Since the beginning of March, I've been able to get out twice/week, and have now re-established my base at 5 miles. So this past Tue I upped it to 6 (outer park loop). Finished in just under an hour, for an average pace of 9:53, which would be the first time I've done a sub-10 min/mile for that distance. Felt good doing it too. Funny thing now is, I used to prefer doing the loop clockwise (the "wrong" direction), but now, I think I actually prefer going counter clockwise, or the "right" direction. And my stats do show that I'm faster going counter clockwise. I should mention the Scotland Run (10k), will be in the clockwise direction. Hmmm...

My second run of last week was on Friday, when the temps soared into the upper 70s! It was such a welcome surprise, but the biggest thing was actually going out for the run in just shorts and a t-shirt. On my way out of the building, I almost felt underdressed without the under armour, running tights/pants, gloves, hat, hand warmers, etc. So on this fine day I tackled hills, doing 6x the hill by the Boathouse. I think it went pretty well, as the 6 repeats went by pretty quickly. I think the most challenging part of the run was trying to dodge all the people in my way, as the warmer temps drew out everyone and anyone. On the last repeat, I continued up to 90th street, took a quick breather there, and then head back down to where I usually enter on 59th. Overall, good run.

Was going to go out for another run yesterday, though not as warm, was still a very nice and sunny day. Laziness got the better of me, so I ended up staying in, but, I did do Yoga X in place of it. And it was a good thing I did.  It was TOUGH. I even had a hard time doing all the push ups in the routine. My hip flexors and groin were super tight, and it felt really good stretching them out through yoga. Moderately sore in my legs, chest and shoulders today. I wonder if it'll be worse tomorrow.

Thats pretty much it for now. Hope to keep the rhythm going, and to hit 7 miles this week. If I can do that, and then up it to 9 next week, I'm going to sign up for the LI Half. If not, then the focus turns to the DC Tri (aka- find a pool to train in!!). 'Til next time....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DC, Vegas and Maybe LI

I'll start with another events update. On top of the races I registered for in the previous post, including the DC Triathlon, I am now also registered for the Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon on Dec 4, 2011! I'm still deciding on the LI Half (I should probably check if there is still availability), and will probably make my decision by April 1, dependent on how my training goes. I'm leaning towards not doing it, so I can kind of focus my current training on the Tri. I dont want to take this too lightly, which I feel like at the moment, I am. Task #1: find a pool to train in. Will probably also sign up for the Wall Street run (3M), on May 17.

I attended a Tri clinic last night, sponsored by NYRR's Team for Kids. Provided some very basic information, so it was good in that sense. But they did gear it more towards the NYC Tri in August, which of course is not the one I'm doing. That one is also Olympic distance, as opposed to my Sprint distance. But got a lot of my questions out of the way. So I think I came out of it better informed. And knowing is half the battle, right?

Onto a little training recap, which I've been super lazy with, the recaps, not the training. Well, maybe the training too. Training has been sporadic, to say the least. Since the start of the new year, I would be good for about a week or 2, then drop off for a week or 2. Rinse, and repeat.  So now that we just started March, I'm trying to get back into some kind of rhythm. Goal for the past week or so was to just re-establish  my base at 5 miles. Went twice last week, and twice this week. Currently hovering around a 9:50 mile, which I'm satisfied with, at the moment. I think my plan now is to have one more 5-miler at about a 9:50 pace, then start cranking out the hills and tempo runs, along with the long runs. Then theres the more difficult part of trying to mix in the cross training for bike and swim. As I said all along, I'm not very concerned about the bike. But what I must concern myself with is the bike to run transition. Many say that is most difficult. I may give it a shot Sunday if the weather cooperates.

So thats where we stand as of now. Many things ahead. Should be fun!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Events Update

4/10/2011: Scotland Run 10k- REGISTERED
4/23/2011: NYRR 4-Miler- REGISTERED
5/14/2011: UAE Healthy Kidney 10k- REGISTERED
6/19/2011: DC Triathlon (Sprint Distance)- REGISTERED (O..M..G!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

And just like that...

Another month has gone by! Its been cold...blah, blah, blah....its been snowy, I can't believe I let a month go by....etc...blah, blah....

In any case, the running has been sporadic, but somehow going well.  The NYRR Gridiron Classic (4M) was this past Sunday (2/6). That went pretty well, finished in 39:05 (9:46 pace)- which would be a PR for me! Since April is quickly sneaking up on me, I think I may have to opt for the LI Half-Marathon in May, rather than the 13.1 NY Half on April 2. That will still give me enough time to train for the DC Tri, which I'm still on the fence about.

So good news is that I've been running a sub 10 min/mile pace for the past several runs, except for when I do hills, of course.  Bad news also is that I've developed a case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot. It was really painful the day after the race. But last night I fashioned a splint for it and today, I'm almost pain free, which is super-encouraging. I've ordered an actual night splint for it, which I'm hoping will help with the pain.

So, this is it for now. Hoping to get another run in (plantar fasciitis permitting) on friday. An hoping to get some yoga in there too, to stay stretched out an limber.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Off the Wagon

Well, its been about a month since my last P90X workout. A month. Sad but true. Three runs is all I've done since the last post on 12/21 (well, 4, if you include the day of the last post, since I went for a run that night). Dec 12 was the last time I did a P90X workout. Now I could start listing the excuses or justifications for my lack of working out, but I won't. At the end of the day, I've just been lazy. No more, no less.

So, to recap a little....I did 6 miles the day of the last post, which is once around Central Park. It was a good run, 10:40 pace.  I went clockwise (the "wrong" way), which is my preferred direction to run in. Temps were right around 32, and was windy. Next run was on Christmas Eve, did a little over 4 miles, but did some hill training. I did the hill near the Boat House in central park. Its about a .2 mile round trip up and down, so I did 5 reps. On the final rep, I wanted to continue all the way up to 90th and come back down, but I was just too tired. So I stopped around 85th and came back down. Tired, but an overall good workout. The type of workout which I will not neglect this time!!

So, after a long layoff (11 days, I believe)- I went back out on Tue (1/4) for my usual 5 miles. My legs felt like bricks. I actually made it a tempo run, after a 1 mile warm up. Did 2x 2miles, and lets just say was probably a bad idea considering it was my first day back after an 11 day break. My feet hurt (arches to be exact), legs were sore. Not pretty. And I wasnt running as fast as I had liked, for a tempo run. Since there was supposed to be snow in the forecast again (which it did today), I went out again yesterday (1/6) and was able to do 7 miles! Legs felt a little better, but were still a bit sore from the previous run. I wanted to just make the 7 miles, so I made it an easy, long run. Conditioning was good, was not too badly out of breath, but my legs struggled by mile 5. Final pace ended up being around 10:50, which actually is not bad, compared to my 10k pace from Cow Harbor (11:10).

So the Mizunos have been doing good, and bad. The Good: my knees, ankles (and hips even) still feel really good after runs, even after the 7 miler. The bad? Well, my forefoot has been getting very sore, almost like a feeling that the bone will rip through the skin! I'm hoping this is due to the fact that I haven't properly "broken" them in yet, as I've only logged 30 miles after last night. Also, these arent quite as cushiony as the LunarGlides. I still like the support, a lot, and is much better than the "squishy" mechanics of the LunarGlides. But, I must mention, that I have again pulled the trigger on another pair- the Asics Cumulus 12. If I'm going to do as many races as I plan on doing, well, I'm going to need them!

Which reminds me, too, I've joined the NYRR. And MAY attempt to do the 9+1 guaranteed entry for the 2012 NYC Marathon. I just need to find the 9 races to do. And I've decided on option 1b from the previous post, which is to wait until the possible second lottery (Jan 15), and if that fails, go with the 13.1 Marathon Series (aka World Vision) on April 2.

Well, that sums up the last 3 weeks. I may have to come up with a hybrid program now to mix P90X and running, since either way, I'll be doing a half marathon in less than 3 months. YIKES! 'till next time....