Monday, October 1, 2012

September Training Recap

Fall is here and that can only mean one thing....cooler running weather is here! And with that, I am happy to report that Half training is in full swing and going pretty splendidly. Yes, I said "splendidly". For the month, I did 3-4 runs per week. Usually a hill session, long run, and either an easy run, tempo, time trial or race. Long run is up to 7 miles (doing 8 tonight), but the pace is not where I'd like it to be yet. Probably a combination of (a) the weather, though cooler, is still not as cool as I'd like it; and (b) I'm still carrying over some extra poundage that I gained from not training in the summer. Need to work the diet to correct that one.

I've even been to the pool a couple times, since its emptier now that summer is over. Spending only about 30 min each time, going about 1000-1200m, but in the end, I'm glad I got in some cross training. Volleyball has now started as well, so that will cover me (cross training-wise) while the pool is shut down for the next 3 weeks for maintenance.

Two races to report about- The Fitness Magazine Mind, Body, Spirit Games (aka 4-miler in CP) and the ever popular 5th Ave. Mile. Showed some improvement in the 4-miler over the previous Back to NFL run, finishing in 39:10 (9:48 pace). Again, I'm going to chalk it up to the cooler, less humid weather. But happy with the result as I was getting back into the swing of things. The following week was the 5th Ave. Mile. Not really sure what to expect, but was almost certain I wasn't going to match last year's 7:32. After going out SUPER hot, more so than last year I feel, I was almost completely gassed after the first quarter mile! So I pretty much chugged along for the remaining 3/4 of a mile and actually finished 3 seconds better than last year for a time of 7:29! Completely surprised myself, so I was happy with that finish.

The Rock n Roll NY 10k is now less than 2 weeks away and Urbanathlon less than a month away! Those will probably the last 2 races before I head back to Vegas in December to tackle the "Strip at Night" again. And I'm hoping for a MUCH better outcome this time. Also hoping for a better organized race. Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rev3 Tri, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Hard to believe it has been over 2 months since my last post which was on the Ride To Montauk. I'm now two triathlons removed and we're almost into September.

Anyway, this past Sunday was the Rev3 Tri in Maine! Overall, it was a great race by a great organizer. As for my performance, thats another story (more on that later). When I registered, I failed to realize that the race date, being at the end of the summer, meant that most of my training would be in the dead heat of summer. And if theres one thing I cannot do, is function in heat and humidity, thus rendering my training for this Tri to almost zero. So much so, that at one point, I had decided (almost officially) that I wasnt going to do the race. So with a little less than a month to go (after watching an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Weight-loss Edition", where the guy does an Olympic distance Tri at 300+ pounds), I again changed my decision, and then crammed what should be at least 3 months of training into 4 weeks. I squeezed in whatever running I could, running on the cooler, less humid days, ignoring the bike (again!), and well, trying to swim (saying the FMCP Aquatic center gets "crowded" during the summer months is a severe understatement). Thankfully, I went on a cruise 2 weeks prior to the race, and was able to run on the ship, and swim at the beach while in port. Let me just say, running on a ship in the middle of the ocean was a unique experience.

So then, how did I do, you ask? Well, to that, I respond with, "Hey, I finished!"....hah! Out of 300 Olympic distance athletes, I came in 290th. At least I wasnt last! Final time was 3:44:42 (40:54 swim, 1:36:47 bike, 1:16:22 run), which is slower than I had anticipated. I was hoping more of the 3:15-3:30 range. But thanks to my lack of training, this is my result. 

The swim was actually not too bad, considering its usually the one I am most concerned about, especially this time not having gone the 1500m distance- and yes, I was nervous if I could even make it, and went in having a "lets just survive this" mindset. The waters were chilly, but since I wisely rented a westuit from the good people of Rev3, it was not an issue, and probably even made this portion easier.The most difficult part of this was my inability to swim in a straight line, no matter how frequently I sighted. I felt like I swam double the 1500m distance because I was zig-zagging so much. This definitely added to my time and sapped some energy. It also didnt help that my goggles were completely fogged up, making sighting that much more difficult. Though compared to DC, this was much less chaotic, since it was an ocean swim (read: A LOT more room to swim) so we werent all going in the water one on top of the other.

So after what seemed like an ETERNITY to get to shore, I'm finally out of the water, unzipping the wetsuit, and making the .3 mile jog to transition. T1 actually goes along without a hitch until, after I go my bike shoes on, I realized I forgot to take the cleat covers off, AGAIN (I had also done that the NYRR Tri). So I had to bother with that for a few seconds before I was out on the bike course.

Bike course was not TOO much of an issue, just a little hillier than anticipated. It also wasn't "fast and flat with a couple of rollers" as they had advertised.  It actually was mainly all rollers, with a couple flats. Had some aches and soreness during this leg, mainly from not biking since the Montauk ride, but otherwise, I think it went well (asides from being passed by 50 and 60 year old women, doh!).

T2. Off the bike, back into transition, slip on some socks, my running shoes, shorts, visor and off I go! What did I forget? My gels. ARGH. I had gone too far to go back. There would be gatorade on the course, so I was just going to go with that. Otherwise, I think it was a pretty successful T2.

So onto the run I go, temps in the mid 70s at this point, it feels, okay. And just okay. Mile 1 marker came rather fast, and turned out I did it in 9:30 (which was WAY too fast), and it showed the rest of the way. After that first mile, I had to go into a run/walk, as I was pretty much out of gas at this point. Nearing the halfway point, both quads start tightening up big time. I spot a port-o-potty, and since I needed to go since the swim, and the fact that my quads could use a break, I made the pit stop. Back on the road, the quads would tighten up again 2 more times, each one calling for a quick stop and stretch to alleviate. Then once again, on the final stretch, I felt it. Just before returning to the crowds, I stopped to try to stretch them out again, so I could run through the finish strong. I reach the finish chute, and there it was, my legs, seconds from cramping up into big huge knots, all I could do was fight through it. Made the final turn just before the finish arch, found my adoring wife waiting for me, grabbed her hand and trotted through the finish together! All the while, the crowd is cheering you on. The PA announcer shouting out, "Ben-Jammin'!" to acknowledge me. What a rush. What a feeling. Though I didnt come close to breaking any kind of records, it was still a wash of emotion that I just completed an Olympic distance triathlon. OLYMPIC Distance!!

So looking forward, I would LOVE to do this race again, but would need a better training strategy, because training in the summer heat just is not an option for me. Anyone with ideas, I'd love to hear it! 'Till next time!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ride to Montauk Recap!

Game day! Finally! I don't think I have ever been so anxious than I was the 24-48 hours leading up to the ride. I could have used to vallium to calm my nerves down!  It was a 4:30am wake up call, since check in started at 6am for me, and there would be some travel time to get to Babylon. I went through with my usual race day nutrition routine, which was a bagel, banana and 20oz. of water. Packed up all the gear and loaded up the car and we were headed off to Babylon train station.

It was a cool (almost chilly) sunny morning. We arrive to Babylon around 6:30am to find it rather buzzing with activity already. I check-in my bag, grab a route sheet, and use the port-o-potty. Change into my bike shoes, and I'm about ready to roll. Still debating on whether I wanted to join the escorted ride, I finally decided against it, said good-bye to my loving wife, and rolled out with a few other members of Team Viscardi.

This first leg was from Babylon to the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue, which would be a little over 20 miles. For some reason I thought it would be closer to 30. It was a pretty uneventful 20 or so miles, just had more lights and intersections than I would have liked (because that meant having to stop, and still being a "newbie" to bike shoes that clip in, each stop was a small adventure!). Toward the end of this section, the competitive, i-cant-do-anything-just-for-fun part of me takes over and I decide to pull away from the group. Surprisingly, another Team Viscardi member I was rolling with decided to follow me. And since I thought this section was longer, I was very surprised when I arrived at the Blue Point Brewery (around 8:30am) much sooner than anticipated. My original plan, before ride day, was to spend AT MOST 10 minutes at each rest stop. I quickly realized that was not going to happen. Between people hanging out, grabbing food, and the lines for everything (food, water, gatorade, potty), my desired 10 minute max became a 30 minute stop.

This second leg, from the Brewery to Westhampton Church would be about 30 miles, just around the midway point for the 100-milers. A large group of Team Viscardi decides to roll out together, now 9:00am, so we are out in full force! I try to hang around for about the first 5 minutes, then again, that i-cant-do-anything-just-for-fun side takes over and I decide to just break away from them, otherwise, I probably wouldnt finish until after 7pm! So I'm keeping it around a 16-17mph pace, when conditions allowed of course, and I couldnt help but start to think, will this catch up with me later? But I didnt care, I just wanted to keep going. Nearing the 50 mile mark, and close to the next rest stop, I'm really starting to feel it. I'm starting to get tired, my legs are burning, and worst of all, my butt hurt!  I was able to ignore it knowing the rest stop was near.  So as I approach the rest stop, around 11am, my original plan of "no more than 10 minutes" at the rest stop was out the window. I knew I had to stay a while, let my legs recover and get some fuel in me. So I pulled in, set my bike down, and just shook my legs out and stretched out for a bit. Took my bottles to refill and grabbed a banana. I really didnt want anything else to eat, fearing it my come back to haunt me. I found a bench to just relax on, just to recover a little.

So, from here would be another 25-ish miles to the Water Mill, the next rest stop. Now around 11:30am, as soon as I leave the rest stop, I feel a tightness in my right leg, almost like it was about to cramp. I try my best to pedal and stretch at the same time (I'm sure it was a site to others). I also downed some water and gatorade. It does finally subside and all was well, UNTIL....the WIND. This next section was, in one word, HELL.  There was a slight headwind all day, but this stretch on Dune Rd, for about 5, 6 miles, were the worst. I was literally going about 6, 7 mph. My legs were so on fire, that I stopped to stretch out and rest. This is where I started thinking the worst, that the fast start was catching up to me and that I may have to be SAG-ed to the end! So we finally turn onto Ponquogue Bridge to catch a nice break with the wind at our backs, and a nice downhill on the second half of the bridge. From here, it wasn't all bad, very scenic, then around 1:30pm, I arrived at the Water Mill. This was the imfamous stop with PIE. PIE!! I badly wanted some, but again, knew that it would come back to haunt me later. Refilled my water and gatorade, used the facilities, laid down for a bit, and most importantly, downed a small packet of salt. Money.

Around 2pm, I was back on the road, and it would be another 30 miles to the finish. I knew since I made it this far, no amount of pain or soreness would stop me from getting to the end. I'm not even caring about how nice the scenery was around me was at this point. It was, lets get the heck to Montauk!! And that is what I did. Trying to keep it around 15mph where I could, and if my legs let me, I was finally got to the final 15 mile stretch that led to the lighthouse. Here, is where it got fun. The first 5 were fine, but the final 10?  Lets just say there were a couple of hills. A couple of Cadillac mountain type hills!! At the END!! That was just wrong. So I push through the first one, levels out, I'm tired, I slow a bit....get to the next one. Same thing. Finally, not far from the end, is the biggest one. Fortunately, there was a big downhill just before it, so I was at least able to gain some momentum up this last one. It carried me to about 1/3 of the way up, before I was in my lowest gear already. As I'm going up this hill, I couldnt help but think that I'd rather just get off the bike and run!! Too bad I only had the bike shoes. Then the next thought, that as soon as I get to the lighthouse, I was going to just chuck the bike and not want to see it for a while (too bad I have a Tri in less than 2 weeks!). So, finally, over the hill, I see the line of cars, trying to enter the park. I know I'm close. You start to see the crowd, they're cheering. I'm getting emotional. Yes, emotional. Nearly choked up!! I'm rolling through and I see Ahmee, Lillian and David cheering me on as I roll by. I made it. 108 miles, and 9.5 hours since I left Babylon, I made it to the lighthouse in Montauk!!!

I was completely spent. I'm not sure I've ever felt that kind of fatigue before. That kind of burn in my legs. It was still settling in that I did that. I biked over 100 miles. And all for a great cause! Montauk....THE END.

Thanks for your support!

Just a quick and warm "Thank You" to those of you who contributed to Team Viscardi's Ride to Montauk!

It was a hard fought and might I even say brutal 108 mile ride from Babylon to the lighthouse at Montauk, but was well worth it to support a great school and a great cause. Although completing the ride was no easy task, neither are the lives of these children who attend Henry Viscardi School.

If you've been meaning to support but haven't, there is still time. The School's fiscal year ends on June 29, so you can still contribute until then.  You can do so in the following ways:

(1) "pledge" to support me on the ride (choose this option so I know that you contributed!). You will receive and "invoice" in the mail:

(2) make a general donation to the Henry Viscardi School (**be sure to select “Team Viscardi/Ride to Montauk” on the Restricted Gifts drop down menu**):

To learn more about Team Viscardi, Henry Viscardi School, or Abilities!, please go here:

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me:

Click here for a full recap of the ride!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

JPM Corporate Challenge Recap

This post is brought to you by Team Viscardi's Ride to Montauk! We are TWO days away from GAME DAY. You can still support the team. To learn more, click here.  I'm going 100 (actually, its 108 now) miles.

So last night was the annual (36th apparently) JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. It was my 4th year doing it, and it seems there are improvements every year. I must say, they finally got it right this year. Not only was it corralled (which they started last year, I believe), but they ENFORCED it. I mean, really enforced it. On top of that, they wave started, so that there was about a minute between corrals being released. This resulted in a well spaced out, not very crowded race. Never did I really feel impeded by runners ahead of me. Dont get me wrong, there was still a little elbowing in the beginning (normal for all races), but the one thing missing this year? WALKERS. Every year, without fail, there would be walkers in front of the runners, no matter how much they tell the walkers to start in the back. Kudos to the organizers this year. And to top it all off- Tech shirts!

So, it was a 7pm start, and we get to the park around 6:20pm. Drop our stuff off, get a quick drink and off to the start corrals. After a very lively 20 minute wait, which included a cheery warm up routine led by some instructors from Equinox, the starting horn went off for the Red and Green corrals (1st and 2nd). I was in the yellow corral, which was next (now, I will shamefully admit I "fibbed" my estimated finish time as to start in a better corral). My pace as of late has been in the mid-9min/mi, so my best guess is that I was mixed in with -8-ish min/mi people, maybe even slightly faster.  The horn goes off for my corral and off we go. Immediately I see that this group is pacing faster, obviously. And I said, what the heck, let me pace with them. I'm actually doing pretty well through the first mile, which included the 2 biggest hills (though not big in general) of the course. It was a humid night, so within the first mile, sweat was already starting to pour off of me. Lovely, right?  Half way through is where the faster start affected me. There was a water station, so I wisely took some.  I back off for about the next mile. I was glad to see that I wasnt the only one who "fibbed"! Others had already started walking. So I'm just pushing myself to just get to Cat Hill (going down!), to regain some energy before the final kick. I've never been so happy to get to the top of Cat hill. Finally go down, allowing gravity to do its thing and reach the boathouse, then the turn back onto the 72nd transverse. I see the finish line, and then a fellow teammate about to pass me. I go into a full out sprint (as does he) and we both dash through the finish line. My final time was 32:56, for a 9:25 pace, improving from my 34:12 (9:46) last year.

Overall, good race, good company, and most of all- well organized. Never thought I'd say that about this race!

Pre-race photo (don't ask me why Matthieu is "hiding" behind the pole)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Celebrate Israel Run Recap

Roughly two days removed from the Wall Street Run, it was time for another one- The Celebrate Israel Run, a 4 miler through Central Park.  I did the inaugural race last year and thought I'd do it again, mainly because it was my big PR and what earned me my 9:19 bibs. Was I able to achieve it again?

Another 8am start means up at the crack of dawn at 5am. Completely "unprepared" this time around, I didnt have my bagel, bread anything. Had to settle for 2 nutri-grain bars that were lying around the house as my pre-race nutrition. Seeminly not good already. So I take the 6am train into Penn, and after a lengthy wait for an A train, finally get to the park just before 7am. It was a cool crisp morning, with temps in the upper 50s and plenty of sunshine.

So after waiting about an hour, the race finally is under way. I sort of told myself that since I biked about 20 miles the previous day and did the Wall Street Run on Thur, I was going to take this one easy and not push too hard. But who am I kidding, I dont know the meaning of "taking it easy", plus, this was my PR race last year, I wasn't about to give up the opportunity of trying to do that again! Moving along, all is well, course is not too crowded, and overall uneventful. Approach the water station around the midpoint, and had thought about grabbing some, but ultimately decided against it to save time.

Get to the last mile, and admittedly, I'm lumbering. Definitely feeling the previous day's biking taking its toll, but still, I'm trying to push through. Just trying to pick people to follow and focus on a this point, so I dont slow too much. Made the turn back on to the 72nd transverse, and it was time to kick it up. A swift sprint to the finish and that was it. Did I PR? Sadly, no, final time of 38:11 (9:32 pace). Finished last year in 37:19 (9:19). But the peculiar part? 38:11 is the exact finish time for Japan Day run just 3 weeks ago!  Now, if thats not interesting enough, it wasn't until I went to update my Race Results that I noticed: Not only was this result the same as Japan Day, my time for Wall Street this year was IDENTICAL to my finish at last year's! So I guess if anything, I'm consistent. I got a kick out of this, as I dont think anyone could do this if they tried!

So we're only 11 days away from the Ride to Montauk. Theres still time to contribute, go here. 100 miles. I hope I survive. Following that will be the NYRR Sprint Tri on June 30. Then it'll be quiet until the big event, the olympic distance Rev3 Tri in Maine. 'Til next time!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wall Street Run Recap

Last night was the American Heart Association's Wall Street Run. A 3 miler through the financial district in downtown NYC. This was my second time doing this race, and I must say this year seemed to be better than last. Overall, a good, fun race, with picturesque views of the water during twilight. And great weather to boot, 76 degrees and clear, and most importantly, low humidity.

With a 7pm start, we arrived at the starting "corrals" at around 6:30pm. I put corrals in quotes because it was really just a starting area, and does not have the traditional corrals of other races, which separate you by your bib number. But this year (I dont believe they did it last year), they did place signs so that you can line up where your estimated pace is. That worked well, as I noticed I was not impeded as much as last year, and did not seem as chaotic.

The start is delayed a few minutes, I believe they were still clearing the roads. The start of this one is interesting because we make an immediate right turn, and if you get caught on the inside, well, you're slowed to a crawl. I tried to stay near the middle but somehow got caught in the crawl anyway. Out of the jam and was on my way. It was pretty uneventful from there. I was really thirsty though, since we were standing around for about 30 min, and I really did try to curb my water intake an hour or 2 before, so avoid having to go to the port-o-potty! There was only one water station, so I patiently waited for the 1.5 mile marker for that. I'm trying to take in the views of downtown, when I nearly roll my ankle due to the uneven streets. So from then on, as much as I wanted to admire the views, I kept my focus on the road in front of me, to avoid anything that will seriously kill my ankle. Thankfully nothing did for the remainder of the race.

So we arrive at the esplanade so I know the end is near. Its still fairly crowded at this point as the route narrows and I'm trying to plan my kick to the finish. Unfortunately, with too many people in my way, I was not able to go into a full sprint, so I just cruise through the finish. Final time of 28:50 (9:37 pace), I was hoping for closer to 28:30 (and would have if I could have gone into my kick!), and really WANTED closer to 28:00. But seems my pace has been pretty consistent for these shorter distances. Still trying to come close to my 9:19 PR from last year. Well, I'll have another shot this Sunday at Celebrate Israel. Until then!

A quick post-race photo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Swimming, Biking, Running...Oh My!

Going to cover a little bit of everything today, since it seems like I havent done that in a while. Heck, I haven't even really been posting!

Events Update
So I've finally registered for the NYRR Sprint Tri (400m swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run) on June 30th. I was falling into my trap of "I want to make sure I'm ready, then I'll sign up"- which we all know will eventually never happen. So when I saw that it was nearing capacity, I jumped on it. One month to train.

Speaking of Triathlons, in a bit of sad news, the DC Tri, which I did about a year ago, has been cancelled for this year. Whats more is, it appears the race itself will no longer exist! This makes me sad since, although I was not signed up for this year, I was hoping to do it again in the future. It was very well run, very organized. And it was my first Tri, so it has a special place in my heart. RIP DC Tri!

I've also signed up for the Celebrate Israel 4-miler in Central Park. I felt I needed to do this one again, since this was not only my 4 mile PR, but my overall pace PR as well.  Not that the course is any different from any other 4 miler organized by NYRR (Japan Day run was the exact same course), but its just that it was this race last year where I got that, so I felt I should give it another go for another big PR.

And just to highlight again, I'm also signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll NY 10K, which is October 13th, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. As well as Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half (again!). This will total 3 Rock 'n' Roll events this year, meaning, not only will I be receiving medals for each individual event, but an additional one for doing 2 and then 3 races! Thats 5 medals in all, score! Easily amused, I know.

Upcoming Races/Events
A couple races coming up, the American Heart Associations' Wall Street Run (3 miles) on Thursday, May 31 and the above mentioned Celebrate Israel run on Sunday, June 3. I did not realize that they were only a couple days apart when I signed up! I guess it'll be similar to the Healthy Kindey/Japan Day weekend. Except its not back to back. That was rough!

And on Saturday, June 16th, will be the Ride to Montauk with Team Viscardi! Please click on the link or the link above (Support my Ride!) for more details on how you can support this very wonderful school for disabled children. I will be doing the 100 mile ride (my first one, yikes!). Though not a race, I would like to complete it in or around 6 hours. That is my goal. Okay, maybe 6.5 hrs. I dont have the ability to do things, "just for fun". Its either all out competition, or not at all. Even if I'm just competing against myself.

Oh yea, then theres training...haha. So I finally renewed my pool membership, and went back for a swim this past monday. It went alright, but I kept getting impeded by other swimmers, to the point where I completely lost count of how much I swam. I think I totaled about 800m that night.

Biking will probably be contained to the weekends. The weather has been poor as of late too. Not really sure when the last time the sun was out. I'm doing decently, and can maintain 80rpm fairly easily now on flats. It actually wasn't as fast as I thought it was, so I guess it means I'm in decent shape....

So my goal from now until the Sprint Tri in June 30 is to focus on speedwork. I started this week. I did 2 runs, with hills this past Tues and then intervals last night, which was distributed across the 5 mile loop in CP. Started with a 10 min warm up, then 1 minute at about 80%, with the last 15-20 seconds going almost full out. Walk for the next 60 seconds to recover, and then 3 minutes of easy, light jog, with the final minute back to about my 4 mile pace. Lather, rinse, repeat. Finally, did a cool down for the final mile. The challenge in doing it this way, especially in CP is the inclines and declines. Doing it based on time, it always seemed the "speed" portions of the intervals landed on the downhills, which, well, made them a bit easier. Perhaps I'll have to go the other direction next time I try it.

So, thats whats up for the next month or so for me. Lots coming up, and lots to do. 'Till next time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Double Race Weekend

One weekend. Two races. And as of this post, I think I'm still feeling the effects! Not so much the races itself, but because I had to wake up at 5am both Saturday and Sunday, since both started at 8am.

First up was the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k. I was somewhat concerned about this one since I had not put in as much training as I had wanted. Since DC, I wanted to put in a lot more hills and speedwork, and I ended up putting in ZERO. A combination of scheduling and laziness left me with just basic 5 mile training runs in Central Park, with just once doing the full 6 mile loop. Anyway, as mentioned above, it was a 5am wake up call, since the I had to take the 6am LIRR (the 7am would cut it WAY too close for my confort) into the city. Temperature was in the mid 50s, so I went with a basic tech t and shorts.

Got to the park around 6:45am, so had plenty of time to drop off my bag, use the bathroom 50 times, warm up and get to the start. Its been a long time since I've done a 10k (dare I say the last one was this same race last year?), so I went the "safe" route and took a Gu before the start.  Another larger race, so its about 7 minutes before I cross the start. Since its been over a week since I last did a training run, my legs feel pretty fresh. Only problem that I noticed was that it was more crowded than other NYRR races. Usually things will thin out within the first mile, but not this time. Nothing close to the Las Vegas debacle, but it was crowded until after mile 2.  Since I had arrived to the park fairly early and dropped my bag off, that left me a bit thirsty by the start of the race. So near the midpoint, I decided I needed a drink. So I slowed to a walk, grabbed a cup, downed it, and went on my way. Nothing spectacular from this race and I dont feel like I struggled too bad at any point. I didnt try to push it either, and I figured a PR was pretty much out of the question given my (lack of) training and even more so after how crowded it was at the start. In the end, I finished in 1:01:18 at a 9:53 pace. Turns out, I was only 4 seconds slower than last year! which is actually my 10K PR! DARN! Now the thoughts of, "if I only didnt stop for water!" and "darn the crowd!" start creeping in. But whats done is done, and I'm happy with how I did given the situation.

Later on that day after I got home, I actually went out for an easy bike ride, totalling 16 miles. "Easy". I did push it in some sections, but in general I wanted to keep it easy, as to keep my legs loose and blood flowing. Turned out okay I think.

Next up was the Japan Day Run (4M) on Mother's Day. Same deal, different day, but I was feeling the fatigue from the day before, both the run and just lowered energy. But I didnt let the hold me back. Being in the 5000s (lgiht blue) corral, I cross the start much sooner than normal and I'm cruising. Seems to feel good, and running with presumably faster people has me going a little faster. I soon found out how fast, because before I even hit the mile 2 marker, I felt like I was done! It was warm (lower 60s) and relatively humid, because within the first mile sweat was already flying off of me. In fact, I had a hard time keeping it out of my eyes, I had to keep taking my sunglasses off and wiping the sweat from my eyes. So I trudge through mile 3, which also included a quick water break, and I try to kick it up a bit for the final mile, but can't seem to. I was beat. So I just plodded along, finally made the turn on the 72nd crossover, and I went all out. Sprinted to the finish (nearly crashing into the backs of those that had finished in front of me and decide to just STOP), with a final time of 38:11 for a 9:32 pace. Nowhere near my 9:19 PR for 4 miles, but not bad. And it was better than my last 4 miler, the Run as One a couple weeks ago (38:31).

All in all, good weekend, no PRs, but satisfied with my times. Next up with be Wall Street Run on 5/31, and then Celebrate Israel 4M that Sunday, 6/3. Another 2 race week! Why do I do this to myself? Lastly, if you can take a moment and click the "Support My Ride" link up top. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Run As One Recap (and Training update)

This past sunday, April 29, was NYRR's Run as One 4-miler through Central Park. It was a 6AM wake up call, with an 8:30AM start, since I was training it in on this one. A crisp 44 degrees when I woke up, so I went with cold-gear compression, a tech-t over it and shorts. I completely deviated from my normal pre-race nutritional routine this time around. It was a combination of forgetting to buy my bagel and banana, and simply just not worrying too much because "4 miles is so beneath me!".  20oz of water as usual, but I added half of a scoop of protein powder. Then I had a peanut butter sandwich (which was dry as heck to eat!).

So, was out there door at 6:55, caught the 7AM into Penn which arrived around 7:25AM. After a bit of a wait for a subway, finally arrived at the park around 7:50AM. It was actually pretty good timing, because that gave me just enough time to empty my bladder (only once this time, amazing!), drop off my bag and find the start line. Had about 10 minutes to spare, so I did a light warm up and just waiting for the slow march to the start. The temperature only warmed up one degree by this time, but it was a beautiful sunny morning, perfect for a race.

6 minutes and 45 seconds after the starting horn is when I actually cross the start, and it does seem to be slightly more crowded than what I'm used to, but bearable. So about a quarter mile into it is when we hit Cat hill. And I'm quickly slowed down by the crowd, since they naturally slow down with the incline. To avoid using up too much so early in the race, I decided to just fall in with the slow trek up the hill. The race was relatively uneventful, otherwise. I did find someone I could pace for nearly the entire course. And when all was said and done, I finished the 4 miles in 38:31, for a 9:38 pace. Not my best 4-miler, and I admit, I thought I did better, but I will take it. I knew I should have kicked it up sooner, possibly as soon as that last mile marker. But whats good is that I felt pretty fresh afterwards, as if I hadnt run at all! All in all, good race, complete with a tech-t for participating.

A little biking news- on Saturday, April 21, I went out on a training ride with Team Viscardi. The ride was supposed to be for 45 miles, but due to other obligations, I had to turn back early. Even so, I completed 26 miles that day. Not bad for my second ever ride with Scarlett (the second). So far so good with it, still getting used to the riding position and the bike itself, in general.

Running has been pretty uneventful as well. Just trying to prep for the smaller races coming up: Healthy Kidney 10k, Japan Day 4M, and Wall Street Run (3M)- which are all within the next month. Keeping it pretty much to the 5 mile loop in CP, with nothing special or crazy, really just doing time trials with some pushes to challenge myself.

Well, thats it for now. I still need to renew my pool membership. And get back in the pool. Otherwise, until next time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Support My Ride to Montauk with Team Viscardi!

Hi Friends and Family!

On June 16th I will be participating in this year’s Ride to Montauk as a member of Team Viscardi. This is the second year that Team Viscardi, a group of colleagues, friends, family and neighbors, has come together for the benefit of the children at the Henry Viscardi School. My wife Ahmee is an occupational therapist at the school and knows firsthand the many benefits of a school like Henry Viscardi.

The Henry Viscardi School serves nearly 200 children in grades pre-K through 12 with severe physical disabilities including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, as well as rare diseases that require constant medical attention. The needs of our children grow each year, as these recent statistics demonstrate:

• 4 full-time nurses provide approximately 100 medical procedures each day
• 46 students need augmentative communication devices to speak
• Students come from 47 Long Island school districts, as well as Westchester and all five NYC boroughs
• 50% of HVS students are involved in after-school adaptive sports programs, such as wheelchair basketball

Aside from my commitment to complete the 100 mile bike ride, my goal is to raise $500 for the Henry Viscardi School. I hope you will join me in bringing smiles to the children of the School by donating what you can. All funds raised will benefit the programs at HVS and are 100% tax deductible.

Want to support? You can:

(1) make a pledge (and sponsor me!), click here:

(2) make a general donation to support Team Viscardi and the School (be sure to select “Team Viscardi/Ride to Montauk” on the Restricted Gifts drop down menu):

Or to learn more about the School and Team Viscardi’s Ride to Montauk:

Questions? Comments? Email me at:

Thank you for your support! GO TEAM VISCARDI!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meet, Scarlett (the second)

Major development boys and girls! I've finally purchased a legit road bike to further my Triathlon aspirations. I present to you, "Scarlett".  The reason for "(the second)" in the title for those who dont know, Scarlett (yes, after Scarlett Johansson) was the name of my beloved Scion tC, which I lost in 2010 due to a freak tornado that hit the city. In any case, here she is!

My new Scarlett
It's a Trek 1.2, which I purchased from Brickwell. I chose this over a Cannondale CAAD8. For me, The Trek just felt smoother and more sturdy, but generally the difference was not huge. Honestly, price may have been a bigger factor! Haven't had a chance to take it out for a true ride yet, hoping to do that soon.

Well, the past few weeks have been a challenge, training wise. Took two weeks off after the RnR DC Half.  I was only going to take one week, but life got in the way (I was moving!). Then I finally got back into it with a 3 run week, taking it really easy though, only totaling less than 10 miles for the week. But then the next week, I was having some serious discomfort in my back, and was advised by my Chiro to take it easy. So instead of doing another 3 runs last week, it was only one run on Friday, but I did do the 5 mile loop in a sub 10min-mile pace, which actually surprised me a bit.

So I'm hoping to get back into it with 2 runs this week and a ride or 2 to get the bike broken in. I'll also have to renew my FMCP Aquatic Center membership and get back in the pool. The Rev3 Tri in Maine is not until the end of August, but the NYRR Sprint Tri is at the end of June, and though I havent registered, now that I have the bike, I think I will.

And finally, an events update. Despite all the shenanigans that went on during the RnR Vegas Half, they have listed a number of improvements they are making in response to everyone's feedback. On paper, it looks good, but we will have to see how well it is executed. But given that, and they offered last year's runners' a discount, the sucker that I am.....REGISTERED again. So that'll be my second half for the year. I was hoping to do another RnR event to get the "heavy medal", so here is my chance. Such a sucker for deals and free stuff! Thats it for now, until next time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon Recap

Gotten a bit lazy with the posts, thus I failed to check in with a recap before the big race. But! here we are with the recap, so here goes! First things first, repeat after me: "PR!!" And for those who are running lingo-challenged, means "Personal Record". Meaning of the three half marathons I have now done, this was my best time yet. Go me! haha....

With an 8am start, and all the warnings that the DC Metro is pretty spotty on weekend mornings, PLUS they were conducting track work, it was a 5am wake up for race morning. It was 53 deg when I woke up, and the high for the day was supposed to get up into the mid 70s. It did cause a bit of a dilemma on what to wear. I mainly didnt want to be too cold at the start. I ultimately went with short-sleeved under armour heat gear, nike tech-t, running sleeves and shorts. I also had both my LunarEclipse and LunarGlide3. I ultimately went with the LunarEclipse since those are the ones I had done the most long runs in, and in the end, turned out to be a great choice.

Met up with my fellow running mates around 6am, and got to the DC Metro station at about 15 min later, only to learn that another train was not arriving for another 15 min.  Train finally arrives, PACKED, but we were able to squeeze our way on using our NY subway skills. A handful of stops later, we arrived at the Stadium-Armory stop, where the race started. After a painfully slow and crowded trek out of the station, we finally arrive at the armory and head toward our corral. It is now 7:15am. I down a second banana, use the port-o-potty and arrive at our corral, 15. With a good amount of time to spare, since we guessed we wouldnt cross the start line until 8:15ish, we sat and just enjoyed the ambiance. The sun came up and clouds dissipated, giving way to what would be a beautiful, warm, sunny day.

I actually went into this one with some what of a strategy, aid station wise. Past races, I would just pass by them early on, since I didnt need it. That proved to be bad since by the time I felt like I needed one, it was already too late. So I set out to stop(well, walk through) and drink at every aid station.  The ones with water, I took 2 cups. The ones with Gatorade, I would have one water and one Gatorade.  I had my phone on me (just for the music, but didnt have it on initially) and my Nike+ GPS watch, which never locked onto a GPS signal the entire race. Another good reason I went with the LunarEclipse, since that was the pair i had the chip in, so the watch was reading the chip the entire time.  My plan was the pull out the music in the later miles, when I needed the boost.

So two more port-o-potty trips, a pack of Gu and about 30 min later, we approach the start and off we go! It was a nice site, as you could see the Capitol Building from afar.  Start of the race feels good. I'm purposely holding back on my pace, knowing that I can come out too hot. Glancing down at my watch which tells me I'm anywhere between a 10:20 and 10:40 pace, which is right where I wanted to be. Rolling along, the miles just start passing by, 1, 2, 3...etc., just feels good. I'm confident now. Pass mile 4, we make the turn around on Constitution ave, and then the left onto 18th St. NW and what do I see? What seems to be one of the largest hills alive! and I'm used to the Central Park hills! The course was definitely hillier than what they made it seem. And the course elevation chart didnt seem to show any steep hills, but they were a bit of a challenge. Pretty uneventful so far (except for the hill), and I'm following through on my aid station plan- which seems to be working pretty well.

The miles continue to roll by, 6, 7, 8. Here is where I feel the fatigue set in a bit, still strong, but confidence fading a little, as I know I only got up to 10.5 miles in training, and that was quickly approaching. So at mile 8 is where I decided I needed my "boost". Put the headphones on, and flipped on my music. The sun was in full force at this point and it was HOT, at least for me. So cruising along, somewhere between mile 10 and 11, what do I feel? MY SHOELACE BECAME UNTIED!!!! I even double knotted them! Nearly shouting in frustration, I carefully make my way to the sidewalk and tie them. Ugh.

Continuing on, I pass the 11 mile marker, and in the back of my mind I'm still thinking of when I'd hit the wall since now I'm passed my training. But it continues to feel good, and I'm only getting a bit more tired, nothing is in serious pain. During mile 11 is also when I see the pacers for the 2:15 group. This boosts my confidence a little, knowing that I could possibly finish in 2:15? I try my darndest to keep up with them, but ultimately lost them on an incline towards the end. Mile 12 passes, and I think, "this is it, lets go". Crowd support is still strong as it was from mile 1, I try to kick it up, but I'm very cautious. So I just plod along. Right about where the Half and Full course splits, is where fatigue really set in. I'm out of breath and just want this thing to be over! As I approach the armory, and going through what were the starting corrals, guess what, ITS AN INCLINE! Ever so small, yet at this point, it feels like mount everest! Keep pushing, pass the 13 mile mark, and I STILL can't see the finish! One more small bend and there it was, I kick it up, finally, which probably wasn't much faster than I had been going and through the finish, arms in air! 2:19:24!

What am improvement from Vegas! Chicago I finished in 2:38, Vegas was 2:33, and now 2:19. What a great feeling! Which definitely went well with a well organized race. From start to finish, really, no complaints. Great course (hills and all!), plenty of room on the course, crowd support, and even plenty of finish line food and drink. Definitely a race I would consider doing again. Oh, and of course, some bling!

Friday, March 2, 2012

2 Week Warning! (from DC)

I guess I'm posting monthly now huh? In any case, Rock 'n' Roll DC is two weeks from tomorrow. I can't believe its here already. I feel like I just did Vegas, and just signed up for DC. Speaking of signing up, I've registered for a handful of NYRR's spring races, which are also listed on the right. It'll be most of the runs I did last year. Run as One (was the NYRR4 last year), Healthy Kidney 10k, Japan Day (4M) and Wall Street Run (3M). May still sign up for the Scotland Run 10k on April 7. Still deciding.

So to recap the last 3 to 4 weeks, training hit somewhat of a speed bump (not sure if pun was intended...). Before the recovery week I was up to 9 miles on the long run. But since then (3 weeks later), I've only done 1 long run for 10.4 miles, which was a pretty poor run. In fact, I had tried to do the long run a few days earlier, only to cut it short because I just didnt have it. I've also only done hills once since then as well, which was this past Monday, which actually went pretty well. Six reps of the extended hill. The remaining runs were all just easy runs or time trials. Not really thrilled how that turned out. But the one positive is that I have been swimming and have gone 5 times since the last post. Just about once a week. And I think I saw the first results of it from Tuesday's 5 miler. Felt good and strong from start to finish, and probably could have kept on going at the end. Its a shame it wasnt a long run that day. But I totaled about 1400m in the pool last night, if you include the 100m warm up and cool down. Felt pretty good actually, but was hard to get a feel of speed due to congestion in the pool.

Another long run scheduled tonight. Not sure if it'll happen, as the weather is now saying it might start raining when I usually go out. Otherwise, it'll have to happen on Monday. I'm also starting to feel under the weather a little bit. I guess we'll see how it goes. Will hopefully have an update before DC.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Training Recap: Superbowl Edition

There really is nothing "Superbowl" about this post other than the fact that the Giants won this past sunday! Just thought it'd be fun add that to the title of the post.

In any case, its been almost three weeks since my last update, and training is cruising right along. Have been pretty consistent with my weeks, with 3 runs per week- hills, easy, and long runs. Have been adding one extra hill rep per week, and this past Friday I got back up to 9 (well, 9.2 to be exact) miles on my long run, with total mileage last week at 17.2. I've made this week somewhat of a recovery/taper week, with an easy run on Monday, and a 5 mile run last night, with some intervals thrown in. That will probably do it for the week, giving me about 8.5 miles for the week. I do plan to remain active by going swimming tonight, the first time since the Tri! So its been like what? 6, 7 months? Saturday, I hope to get in some Yoga X  (which I also did a couple saturdays ago, more details later). And since Mon and Tue are busy next week, I plan on getting the week started on Sunday. This should be interesting, running on the weekend, what a novel idea!

My Yoga X session a couple weeks ago, to my surprise, went fairly decently. I made it through all 92 minutes, and stamina was actually pretty good, and held some of the more difficult poses. I even made it through the entire warrior 3/half moon sequence on my right side. The same could not be said on the left though, which is odd since my left leg was always my stronger leg. Through the workout, I did find that I am far less flexible than I once was. Especially in my hip flexors, working through a lot of the lunge moves proved to be difficult as a result. Another difficulty, which was expected, was all the push ups and vinyasas. My chest/tri's have seriously atrophied from the lack of strength training. Though I was satisfied with my performance through the Yoga belly 7 section of the workout. The next day, my hammies were very sore, but my abs were not. I had expected my abs to be a lot more sore than it was.

NYRR had posted their Q2 races and I am eying some of them. Will update as they open registration (supposedly tomorrow) and/or when I actually register.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Slow Start to 2012

Even with the Rock n Roll USA Half in DC looming (less than 2 months away), motivation is still lacking. Not really sure what it is, maybe its just the cold weather. Don't get me wrong now! I am in now way complaining, I'd much rather have it this cold than in the 90s with 90% humidity. But still, running in any kind of extreme weather is not very pleasant, but I'll take the chill over the heat/humidity as the lesser evil.

So its only been 5 measly runs since the new year, totaling under 20 miles. Got the ball rolling, with 9 weeks left, on the "serious" training last week, doing one hills session and an EZ run. Was going to do one more "long" run, but got scared away by the cold (did i really just say that?). This week so far, its been one hills session, a short EZ run, and I have 7 miles planned for tonight. That will put me around 13 miles for the week, which I guess is not terrible for week 2 of training (though is terrible if you consider I'm only a little over a month removed from the Half in vegas).

Otherwise, nothing spectacular on all fronts. Just trying to get the ball rolling again and find that same motivation that got me up to 12 mile long runs for Vegas. I guess I should just be happy that I'll have done 3 runs this week. I've yet to get myself to cross train, which I wanted to break out Yoga, Plyo and Core from the X. Or even some swimming at the Aquatic Center, which I payed $75 membership for. Until next time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011: A Year in Review

As quickly as it came, 2011 is already in our rear-view mirror. Definitely a lot of running/racing highlights for my second year of this whole running craze. So I thought I'd throw this up to recap the events of the year, good or bad, but mostly good. First, some numbers:
  • 12: The number of events I participated in this year, of which included my first triathlon, my second half-marathon and the Urbanathlon.
  • 9+1: I completed NYRR's 9+1 for guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon. I'm still undecided if I'm actually going to follow through with it.
  • 8: the number of PR's (personal records) I achieved in 2011. 
  • 490: the total number of miles I ran for the year. 
  • 9:20 my fastest pace for any race over 3 miles. 
  • $530+, the amount I spent on race fees (YIKES!) 
DC was probably the highlight of the year, naturally, being my first Tri. Getting that first one under the belt definitely will make it easier on the ones that follow. I was hoping to do another this year, but couldnt fit one into the schedule. Had my battle with plantar-facsiitis in the months approaching the Tri as well. Thankfully was remedied (for the most part) from taking some time off after the Tri and getting new shoes.

Although Vegas was much hyped, did not turn out to be the experience we had all expected. From the crowds, to the disorganization, to more crowds, it was just a really disappointing experience, with the only redeeming value being that I did better than my time in Chicago. Though not the time I was hoping for, given how my training was going. Thankfully, of the 13 races, there was only 1 where rain was truly an issue. Sloshing through 4 miles of Central Park was certainly an experience! Though it was raining during Urbanathlon, it really wasn't coming down hard enough to have an effect.

What a year of racing, huh?

Oh yea, some bling!

As I think back to when I started this whole craze, I can't believe how far its come. To think I was crazy enough to tackle a Tri? Only to realize how much fun it is?? Haha....Definitely made a lot of progress through the year, which only means I'll have to work that much harder in 2012 to match it! And speaking of 2012, I'm already registered for 2 events: the Rock n Roll USA Half Marathon in DC on March 17th and the Rev3 Triathlon (Olympic Distance) in Maine on August 26th. Here's to a great 2011, and an even better 2012! Happy New Year everyone.