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.