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 weather.com, 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!