Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It Hurts To Run

Still having problems with my right ankle. I thought it would be better today, and since it was so warm (relatively), I decided to do my normal lunch run. As soon as I left the bank I knew I made the wrong decision. Regardless, I badly wanted to go for a run. If I ran long enough, I figured the pain would go away. It didn't. Every time I landed on my right foot and proceeded through the gait, I hurt. I think this is just a reminder for me to stay away from running at least until next year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Final 08 Race

Finally finished the last of my races today. I needed to finish one more race to qualify for next year's NYC marathon. Truth be told, I wish I had done the race sooner. It was cold (28F), windy, and I ran on an injured ankle. Next time I'll choose a warmer day, but today, I had no choice. This was my last chance to race this before I leave for Hawaii next week.

I ran at a really relaxed pace of 8:23 - about 45 secs/mile pace slower than my marathon. That was about the extent that I was willing to push. I ran on the bridle path whenever I could during the race to run on a softer path. Once across the finish, I headed straight to the sub station. On my way home, I had a rather embarrassing encounter with the sidewalk. As I stepped out to the street at 50th and 8th, I jogged lightly, tripped and fell on my stomach.

Once home, I had a look at my ankle. I've had a problem with it since a brisk paced run a couple of weeks ago and it has not gotten better. Playing basketball last week aggravated it. To my surprise, there was some swelling and bruising on the inner ankle. Sara and I went walking around in the afternoon and I don't think that helped. What this is forcing me to do, and for which I'm thankful, is that it's forcing me to take time off for healing.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Learning Something New Everyday

Had my second visit with the doc at William Sports & Spine today and it was quite educational. We went over my x-rays from the first visit. I learned that my spine and vertebrae are healthy, but have a slight forward rotation of my right hip and a subtle bowing of the spine to the right. Part of that is because I'm right side dominant, and it's also the reason why I've had a sore lower back and back spasms. X-rays showed no arthritis or wearing out of any joints. I've read articles that running weakens joints and other articles that claim the opposite. Obviously I'm more in agreement with the latter. I also asked the doc today why I hurt more now that I'm running a lot less. He told me it's because of muscle memory. My muscles have been used to averaging 50 miles per week the last several months and that muscle memory is very unforgiving. I wonder if this is why other runners just keep going throughout the winter.

Anyways, after the x-ray review, I had some electric stimulator pads attached to my back to do whatever it needed. It was kind of a weird sensation to have these little pads sort of pull and knead my back muscles. I must say though that it felt really relieving for my back. After fifteen minutes of that, he stretched out my legs and along the way, snapped my rotated hips back into place and straightened out my spine. I walked out feeling pain free and very happy. :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Heart Central Park

Along my easy pace eight miles tonight, I got to thinking how thankful I am of Central Park. I several hours there per week mostly running, biking and walking. Whatever the activity and season, it's an oasis for me. Sara and I occasionally talk about moving to another part of the city and one of our requirements is to live by the park. Come to think of it, I honestly don't know if I could last so many years in NYC if I lived away. That may sound dramatic, but there's a ring of truth. West side highway is it's straight and boring. Prospect Park in Brooklyn was architected by the same landscape designers as CP, but it's not quite big enough. I've probably run CP's loops hundreds of times by now. With or without an ipod, it has never been boring. I can't say the same for all other places I've lived, and that includes Hawaii.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Grumpy? Bored? Go for a run!

I'd been feeling unproductive all weekend. Sara and I made a feeble attempt at Christmas shopping Saturday, but I wasn't in the mood, but I went anyway because I promised. I wasn't very good company and effectively killed off any excitement Sara had. We came home where I proceeded to mope. Ugh. Just one of those days. The grumpiness carried over to Sunday. I was annoyed at myself for feeling so moody. Time of the month? I pinned down my moodiness to boredom and lack of running. There was only one thing to do to make myself feel better: go for a run! I didn't care that it was less than 40F, windy and raining. I needed to get out. Sara wanted me to leave as well.

Once I was out, I immediately felt lighter spiritually and more joyful. Thank God for endorphins! The air was cool and refreshing. Except for a handful of other runners, I had the park mostly to myself. It was a nice to run out my negative energy and bring back home a more positive presence.

I've had this experience of being grumpy or moody many times, and for me, running is always the anecdote. Even though there have been times that I did not want to go running and found it difficult to lace up, I have never ever regretted going for a run when I got back home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Half A Mile of Thanksgiving

Like many other people today, I meditated on my many blessings. Unfortunately, it seems that my "many" blessings took me all of a quarter mile to conjure. On the other hand, I think it's so short because I don't need many things. I think I live simply and humbly. I don't need anything I don't already have. I have all my basic necessities: a home, clothing and food. Everything else is just really good dessert (which I incredibly passed up tonight). Here's what I remember...

For starters, I'm thankful for my terrific wife. To quote Jerry Maguire, she "completes me." I'm amazed at how well we've clicked together over the years and I'm honored to have her as my life partner. We both have loving, fun and supportive families.

I have great friends, close friends. Too many to mention, but some have watched me grow since I was a teenager.

I love my job because it continues to challenge me to learn and grow. My work environment is the best I've ever had thanks in large part to my colleagues who I would never want to let down.

I have an adorable, sometimes feisty parrot that says "hey good lookin'" among other gibberish.

As I was running in the park, I realized how fortunate I am to be living in this part of the world. Cenntral Park is a wonderful escape from the concrete jungle. I also realized how fortunate I am to be healthy and to be able to run and enjoy the nice cool autumn air.

Lastly, I'm thankful that I have a relationship with the Creator of all things. If there is anything that grounds me, it's knowing that I'm a spiritual being interconnected with everyone and everything in this universe. I get what I give, and will continue to aspire to share a loving and positive energy with others.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Still sore?

I think that I've transitioned out of running. Went for a really light run last night on the Central Park bridle path and covered about 7 miles. I'm surprised that I'm sore from that run. Granted I took a week off running, but I did spin hard a couple of times and did lots of walking.

So tonight, in staying with this taking November light theme, I skipped my running class and went on a dinner date with Sara at The Eatery. I think I enjoyed that much better. Skipping class also enabled me to pick up my hard drive at UPS after dinner :-) And for tonight's workout...I decided to do lots of reps with light weights for various shoulder exercises and about 50 pullups total. I lost count of my shoulder reps.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Did It!

I managed to stay away from running for one entire week! Yep, that's big news for me. Along the way, I managed to make up for most of my calorie deficit the last few months of training...seriously. As I blog, I just finished off a pan of brownies Sara made tonight after dinner. I decided to go down this week in a blaze of glory and try to enjoy every sinful culinary delight and for the most part, I think I've succeeded.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to not do anything active. It's not that I don't enjoy vegging. I really do. I've entertained the idea of gaining lots of weight and then try to compete on The Biggest Loser. After this week, I don't think I could even if I tried. I feel really sick, and all I got from that was three pounds. I was hoping for about five.

Tomorrow, it's back to business. I won't be logging many miles on my feet, but even though I haven't run since last Sunday, I managed to do some pretty good spin sessions at the hotel. If I can do three or four Tabata intervals for each session followed by weights, I'll be in pretty decent shape.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time For Weights!

With the running season behind me, it's time to start regaining some lost strength. Went up to the gym today and boy, did I feel weak. Having lost ~5lbs of muscle over the last few months, I expected it. Nevertheless, it's still a humbling experience to not be able to lift the weight I was accustomed to lifting. I figure it'll take a couple of weeks to get back into the groove. As a new regimen for this off season, I've also decided to incorporate more HIIT in the form of Tabata intervals on the spinner. After what the sports doc told me, I'm going to limit my running to 3, maybe 4x per week and keep the mileage in the 20's over the next few weeks. All the while, I hope to regain some lost upper body strength and flexibility. I'm also curious to see how the Tabata intervals on the spinner will affect my running.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What the Sports Doc Told Me Today

Referring to my lower back area - "You're all messed up down here."

On my general physical condition - "Runners are the most worn and torn people I come across."

Had never seen a sports doc before, but since my health insurance would cover my visit, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage. Had hip x-rays taken and flexibility tests. Generally, I'm healthy...just kind of stiff.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feeling directionless...and hungry

It was hard to get out of the apartment and go to the NYRR running session tonight. I had such a nice relaxing day at home with Sara and I just wanted that to continue. Thankfully, Sara started workout out (on purpose) around the time I needed to leave. She knows I can't sit around if she's working out. Smart girl.

I'm still feeling a general lack of motivation. Even though I saw this coming, it's still somewhat difficult to go from a razor sharp focus on training to zero direction and training. My running does not define life or who I am, but it sure feels like there's a large hole to fill right now. I think I just need to accept that for the next couple of weeks, I'll be doing nothing but light running just to maintain the training base I've gained the last few months.

Another thing I'm struggling with is the diet adjustment. I'm not averaging 50 mile weeks anymore so I don't need the extra energy. I miss the extra intake. It's 10 to midnight and I'm craving brownies. Ugh. Right now, I feel like eating whatever and whenever I want is reason enough to run.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recovery Week

Ran only twice last week. That's the least that I've run since, well, can't remember. I'd have to look at my logs. I think that I needed the recovery though.

Volunteered at the NYRR Cross Country Championships in the Bronx yesterday. I'm glad to have completed my required volunteer work to do the marathon next year. It was a good experience to be rooting on runners during a race. It was a small race so the work went by pretty quickly. The only regret I had was not taking running clothes with me. It was a perfect day for a run.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What's Next?

Had a wonderful time at brunch today with some fellow runners, and I think I've decided to do a spring marathon. I did not qualify for Boston, but I think if I do a flatter course, I might have a better chance. That is, if I train the way I did this summer and fall. Winter training will be a different experience.

Which marathon I'll do is still a toss-up. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. I'm leaning towards NJ because it's just a couple of hours away, but I'm not ruling out an international one if the opportunity comes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of those Days?

I figured today was going to be one of those days that I would just as soon be over. Alarm clock didn't go off (dead batteries) so I woke up late. Decided to take the cab to work thinking it would get me there sooner. It didn't, but it did cost me an extra $20+! Tardiness caused me to miss breakfast. I was grumpy all morning. Ugh.

Fortunately, it was relatively mild today. I haven't run since the marathon and I felt good enough to be out, and nothing dismisses negative energy like a nice run. Ended up doing about 4.6 miles with Aaron. By the end of the run, the endorphins vanquished most of my moodiness and I was thankful to be normal again.

There was one other reason I wanted to run today. I can't believe that after only three days of inactivity, I'm amazed at how quickly the love handles come back. I guess I haven't been eating all that great either, but I wish I could enjoy being lean for a little longer than three days.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Race Report - Part 2: The Race

Going into the race, obviously my goal was to qualify for Boston, and obviously, it didn't happen. I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I would have been. I was pleased that I actually raced the distance. I've bonked in nearly every other marathon I had done prior to this one. This time, even though I cramped up at 90th St. going into Central Park, I was still able to run, albeit with shorter strides, and even pick up my pace the last two miles. In the end, I set a new personal best by about 10 minutes, which to me is huge. As I noted in previous posts, I felt I was going to set a PR. I just wasn't sure if it was going to be a Boston qualifying PR. Below is just a summary of what I thought went wrong and right and notes along the course.

Full GPS Race Details



Avg Time
Heart Rate

1 00:08:17 1.00 mi 08:17 164 bpm Up Verrazano bridge. Last year I remember doing this at 9:15. Didn't want to repeat that.
2 00:07:09 1.00 mi 07:09164 bpm
3 00:07:31 1.00 mi 07:31 170 bpm Brooklyn rocks!
4 00:07:28 1.00 mi 07:28 170 bpm
5 00:07:27 1.00 mi 07:27 168 bpm
6 00:07:35 1.00 mi 07:35167 bpm
7 00:07:27 1.00 mi 07:27167 bpm
8 00:07:36 1.00 mi 07:36 168 bpm Lafayette Ave, my favorite mile. Brooklyn rocks!
9 00:07:34 1.00 mi 07:34165 bpm
10 00:07:23 1.00 mi 07:23166 bpm Felt hip flexor stiffening up, but knew from long runs this shouldn't be an issue.
11 00:07:37 1.00 mi 07:37 165 bpm
12 00:07:22 1.00 mi 07:22 162 bpm Cont. mild pace for early bonking fear.
13 00:07:31 1.00 mi 07:31 164 bpm
14 00:07:29 1.00 mi 07:29 165 bpm
15 00:07:28 1.00 mi 07:28 170 bpm
16 00:08:06 1.00 mi 08:06
169 bpm Conservative up Queensboro.
17 00:07:04 1.00 mi 07:04165 bpm Started to pick up pace here, aiming for negative split.
18 00:07:10 1.00 mi 07:10170 bpm Blisters under right foot started to feel like glass shards.
19 00:07:14 1.00 mi 07:14170 bpm
20 00:07:35 1.00 mi 07:35171 bpm Slowed down a up 1st Ave. grade.
21 00:07:29 1.00 mi 07:29169 bpm
22 00:07:37 1.00 mi 07:37167 bpm Cramps!
23 00:07:49 1.00 mi 07:49161 bpm Slowed down next couple of miles, going up to Central Park entry.
24 00:08:30 1.00 mi 08:30 160 bpm Stopped for a few seconds to stretch. Ugh.
25 00:07:38 1.00 mi 07:38163 bpm Changed stride to shorter, quicker steps for strong as I could finishing push.
26 00:07:28 1.00 mi 07:28163 bpm More rapid strides to finish.
27 00:03:29 0.42 mi 08:17166 bpm Enjoyed the finishing crowd with high fives and forgot to turn off my watch at the finish.

Right Wrong
  • even pacing in the 1st half
  • drink/sip at every water station
  • salt packets at mile 10 & 20

  • too conservative over the 1st half
  • probably should have drank more
  • should have taken extra salt packet at mile 15
I learned quite a bit from this race. Given my sweat rate, I know I can never have enough fluids at the water stops. More salt is good as well. Most importantly though, that I can push for 26.2 miles and even have a kick over the last four miles. It's a tremendous confidence boost that I can carry into training next year. I was able to set new PR's for the half and for the full marathon this year and I think I should be able to bring the times even lower next year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Race Report - Part 1: Pre Race

Before anything, I just want to say that there isn't enough than can be said about the NYC marathon spectators. They make the marathon experience truly memorable year after year.

Per my previous post, the 3:19:xx time is official. The gun went off a couple of minutes late, thus the 18 minute differential instead of the 20 I had expected. It's nice to have that closure.

Pre Marathon
With everything already preppred, all Sara and I had to was to get up and get dressed. Seemingly simple, but neither of us could sleep until about 2am. Luckily the short sleep was not an issue. We took a cab to 38th and 5th at about 5:20am, but we were redirected to 42nd and 6th to enter the bus line. I didn't mind it so much, but I've always wondered how too much time on my legs affects race performance. Once on the bus, it was about a 25 min ride to Staten Island.

Sara and I decided to settle near the first group of warm bodies at the religious activities tent. We were just outside the tent, but at least we weren't out in the open. Still, it was very cold. I think it was in the high 30's and windy. Sara wasn't very comfortable and I felt bad about that. This was her first NYC marathon and I wanted it to be a good one. Not far from us was a lady asleep on a pool inflatable with a pillow, blankets, and a garbage bag - obviously a veteran. If there's a second time for Sara, I'm sure the pre-race experience will be better.

One of my problems race morning was over-hydration. In the span of three hours, I used the bathroom seven times - and it wasn't just a little tinkle each time! Everytime I got comfortable with Sara, I had to get up again. I also waited about 30 mins in line waiting for a couple of cups of hot tea to warm us up. Again, I wondered how too much time on my legs on race day affects race results.

We finally got in to the tent after some people moved out, presumably because they didn't want to participate in the worship services. Once there, we were able to relax better and even lie down for a few minutes. I used an inflatable pillow someone had left behind and Sara got cozy on some cardboard next to me.

After about 20 mins of rudimentary comformt, I shed my warmers, extra socks, shirts and gloves. I had to make my way to the the UPS trucks to drop off my bag and to the pre-start area.

It all moved pretty quickly from there. I stretched for a few minutes then made my way to the starting corral. Once there, I found that the corral for my wave had already been closed. If there was an announcement for the first wave to get into the corrals, I definitely missed it. This was the first year that NYRR had decided to use three separate waves 20 mins apart and it showed. I don't remember it being so disorganized last year. I tried to make my way to the front of the corral anyhow. I was stonewalled at a couple of places, but stayed calm so as not to expend any useless energy. I managed to make my way near the front and luckily there were some port-a-johns! Needed to make a final pit-stop before the race.

After a few minutes of waiting, we were finally cleared to move to the start. We waited a little longer as some locals sang America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Finally, New York New York blasted on the speakers to the excitement of everyone in the starting area, and I knew the adventure was about to begin!

Race details coming tomorrow.

3:19:46 - PR! Race report coming later

Click on image to see the splits. I'm actually questioning the finish time. The clock time at finish was 3:37:46. The first wave started at 9:40am. I started with the 2nd wave at 10am, which would mean at least 20 mins less from the clock finish. I'll check today if we started 2 mins earlier than scheduled. That extra two minutes off of my official time would be nice :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Race is Today!

In about 9 hrs and 5 mins for minutes, I'll be officially embarking on my 2nd official NYC marathon, and I am so excited I'm having a hard time going to sleep. A mental checklist of everything I need for tomorrow goes something like this:

- timer chip attached to shoe
- bib number pinned on shirt
- clothes to stay warm in 35F, to be left for donations at starting grounds
- post marathon warm and dry clothing
- gels
- Garmin 405 fully charged and displaying time, avg. pace & distance
- salt packets to prevent cramping in later miles
- camera batteries charged for photos after race

It's going to be a great day. My main goal, of course, is to qualify for Boston. I started off fast last year and kept a 7:05 - 7:10 pace for about 17 miles before onset of cramping. This year, I'm better trained, will be running a slower pace and better educated about my diet. Last year, I went light on dinner and nothing in the morning before the race. I believe that was a mistake, especially since the race starts at 9:40am for me. I figure I should be able to maintain a 7:25 pace for at least the first 20 miles sans cramping.

As for my contingency plans, I never have any. If I don't do it, there's always next year. However, I plan on qualifying this I do every year :-) This year, I have stronger reason to believe that I can.

I found this great spreadsheet online that estimates time and course location based on pace. Hills and fading are also factored in. For reference, I'm going to post it here so I can have something to compare after the race.

Mile Description (Elevation Change)
Pace Time of Day
0-1 Midpoint of Verrazano Bridge (uphill +125')
08:14 0:08:14 9:48:14 AM
1-2 Verrazano Bridge Exit Ramp (downhill -180') to 4th Ave. (slight uphill)
07:21 0:15:36 9:55:36 AM
2-3 On 4th Ave. to 81st St.
07:27 0:23:03 10:03:03 AM
3-4 On 4th Ave. to 63rd St.
07:20 0:30:24 10:10:24 AM
4-5 On 4th Ave. to 43rd St.
07:15 0:37:39 10:17:39 AM
5-6 On 4th Ave. to 22nd St. (slight downhill)
07:22 0:45:01 10:25:01 AM
6-7 On 4th Ave. to 3rd St.
07:18 0:52:19 10:32:19 AM
7-8 To Ashland Place & Lafayette Ave.
07:26 0:59:45 10:39:45 AM
8-9 On Lafayette Ave. to Classon (uphill first 1/2 mile)
07:23 1:07:08 10:47:08 AM
9-10 On Bedford Avenue to Hayward Street (slight downhill)
07:20 1:14:28 10:54:28 AM
10-11 On Beford to South Third St.
07:21 1:21:49 11:01:49 AM
11-12 On Bedford to Manhattan Ave.
07:18 1:29:07 11:09:07 AM
12-13 Manhattan Ave/Pulaski Bridge ramp
07:19 1:36:26 11:16:26 AM
13-14 Pulaski Bridge (+40') then Vernon Blvd.
07:24 1:43:50 11:23:50 AM
14-15 Vernon Blvd. to Queensboro Bridge entrance ramp
07:27 1:51:17 11:31:17 AM
15-16 Queensboro Bridge (+120')
07:40 1:58:56 11:38:56 AM
16-17 Queensboro Bridge exit ramp to 1st Ave.
07:08 2:06:04 11:46:04 AM
17-18 On 1st Ave. to 95th St.
07:30 2:13:34 11:53:34 AM
18-19 On 1st Ave. to 115th St.
07:18 2:20:52 12:00:52 PM
19-20 On 1st Ave. to Willis Ave. Bridge
07:24 2:28:16 12:08:16 PM
20-21 137th St./138th St. to Madison Ave. Bridge
07:22 2:35:38 12:15:38 PM
21-22 On 5th Ave. to 120th St. (uphill +45' last 1/2 mile)
07:32 2:43:09 12:23:09 PM
22-23 On 5th Ave. to 102nd St. (uphill +50' first 1/2 mile)
07:31 2:50:40 12:30:40 PM
23-24 5th Ave. to Central Park, E. Dr. at 84th St. (uphill first 1/2 mile)
07:45 2:58:25 12:38:25 PM
24-25 On Central Park, E. Dr. to 66th St.
07:24 3:05:49 12:45:49 PM
25-26 Central Park E. Dr. to 59th St. to Central Park W. Dr. at 62nd St.
07:30 3:13:19 12:53:19 PM
26-26.2 Uiphill +25' last 0.2 miles to finish line at Tavern on the Green
07:43 3:15:00 12:55:00 PM

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carbo loading...

Has begun. It's only Wednesday, but I figure I'll be running on Friday also, so it won't hurt. Want to make sure I pack my muscles with as much glycogen as possible for Sunday. I ate enough today to last an entire marathon on Friday. Sara made Chicken Assaggio for dinner. To add to the cookies I had at work today, I bought more baked goods from Amy's Bakery downstairs. I love living in the city. Everything I want seems just a block or two outside my door.

This entire season, I haven't really trained with gels. There were also at least a couple of times when I did 20+ milers without carbo loading and gels and I was able to last through both of them. That said, I know I still have to be smart about fueling during the race. I think the first 20 miles will be relatively easy. It's the last 6.2 that worries me.

On a totally unrelated note, I saw Sara on Lipstick Jungle tonight! She was in the background, but it's still pretty cool to see her on these shows :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4 Days and Counting

The reality of the race is creeping into my semi-conscious. Last night, I had a hard time sleeping because I was thinking about my race strategy. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed about being in the race! I don't remember exactly since I did not write about it after I woke up, but I have images of running past water stops in my head.

Before I did lose consciousness, I was trying to play out how I would break down the miles. Here's my preliminary game plan:

mile 1 (uphill on the Verazzano Br. - highest elev in race) | 8:30
mile 2 (downhill easy pickup) | 7:15
miles 3 - 6 | 7:25 - 7:30 | consume gel
miles 7 - 10 | 7:25
miles 10 - 13.1 | 7:20 | Consume gel. Body and mental check. Push? Push harder? :-)
miles 13.1 - 20 | 7:20 -7:25
miles 20 - 22.5 | 7:20
mile 22.5 - 23.5 (uphill!) | 7:50
mile 23.5 - finish | 7:00 - 7:20

Those times should bring me roughly at about 3:14:xx, just ahead of 3:15:00 and an official Boston qualifying time.

Besides that, the other thing that kept me up was the growing anxiety. I have not run a real race since my PR in Brooklyn. All signs and training point to a new PR for me, but I still have to execute.
  • Do I feel faster? Yes. Speed classes. Have also dropped about 5 lbs training.
  • Am I ready for the distance? Yes. Avg'd ~200 miles/mo. the last 3 mo's
  • Do I feel stronger? Yes. Core exercises, calisthenics.
Those "yes" answers make me nervous!

Oh yeah, skipped class tonight because of cold and rain, but went for a short 4 miler with bursts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dum dee dum di dum - 5 days!

Signed up for the athlete alert page today. If you want to track me along the course, let me know. I'll add you on the list. It's not as cool as the USMC marathon's gps live tracker, but it does the job of triggering emails every time I pass certain checkpoints.

My workout for today - 700 crunches and some stretching. Will try to go to bed early tonight to get my rest early in the week.

It's Almost Over

So this is almost it. Did my last long run today. That means training is just about done and all that's left is the marathon itself. I'm always a little sad around this time of year knowing that my training is just about at its end. That's not to say that I'm not excited about the marathon. What saddens me is that I lose my goal. Along with it goes my drive to do something better. But it is what it is. There will always be something else to put my energy towards. I'm hoping it'll be Boston! :-)

This final week before the marathon is mostly going to be a waiting game. Day off Monday and Wednesday, a mild Tuesday night workout, maybe a short run on Thursday, striders on Friday, and stretching on Saturday and lots of crunches up 'til Thursday. Lots of crunches 'til Thursday, and thankfully, lots of eating!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling beat

Still feeling the effects of yesterday's workout. After a pleasant run/walk with Kavita this evening and another hearty dinner (loco moco, anyone?), I fell victim to a cozy nap. I think I bit off more than I could chew yesterday. Found it incredible that my muscles ached more today than after a 20+ miler. Come to think of it, I think I'd rather run an easy 20 than 2x Tabata again.

Anyways, it's now 9 days and counting. It's still early, but I did have some difficulty sleeping last night thinking about the marathon. It could also have been due to yesterday's workout. Regardless, time is nigh and I'm getting very anxious. Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Let's start already!!

Tonight's workout - 2x Tabata intervals

Tonight's workout was a first for me. I've always done Tabata intervals one set every few days, but tonight I thought I'd try two sets. What a bad idea. The first set of 8 intervals was barely doable. I needed about 10 mins to recover for my next set. Just before the second Tabata set, a group of runners - all girls - came to the Great Lawn 800m lap. I appreciated their supporting applause as I sprinted past them the first time. Right around the finish, they saw me flopping and almost stumbling through my 7th rep. Embarassing. I couldn't hold form any longer so I skipped the last repeat. Needless to say, it was a great workout. Double punishment to make up for my missed workout last night. I'm going to sleep very well tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taking Precautions

I skipped my NYRR class this evening. I'm starting to feel like I'm coming down with something for the second time in three weeks. I can't help to think that I'm being paranoid, but I definitely don't want to aggravate any oncoming sickness. If I feel well tomorrow, I'll do some speed sessions at the park on my own....probably some Yasso repeats or 6-8x from Columbus Circle to the marathon finish line at Tavern on the Green.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

13 Days and Counting

While I almost always love to go for a nice and easy run in Central Park, it's also nice to come home and know that I can enjoy the entire evening with my wife doing nothing. Briefly, here's what I did to enjoy my evening...

  • dinner
  • play Word Challenge
  • unsuccessfully tried to watch TV
  • 1050 crunches in between some web work
  • more web work
Interestingly, I ended doing more work than I had wanted. Hmmm....have to do this again and spend more time doing the right thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Active recovery run

Ran an easy 5.25 miles today, mostly to get to the 80% mark of my mileage from the previous week and for the active recovery. Also did 600 crunches and about 90 leg raises hanging from my pull-up bar. It was a great way to get me out of the apartment and enjoy the slightly breezy but still gorgeous autumn day. Just under 14 days to go now. I'm kind of relaxed right now so I don't feel any excitement or worry about it, but I still have a few "housekeeping" things on my list. Off the top of my head, they are:
  • order Asics Speedstar 3 running shoes - light trainers but good enough for racing. Flats might have been injurious.
  • buy EZ laces from the running shop at 88th and Lexington so I never have to worry about laces becoming undone
  • buy caramel flavored Power Gel
Hm, not as many things to do as I had thought. On the fitness side, besides my scheduled run, I still have to remember to stretch daily, massage my feet, work up to 1000 crunches on days I'm not running. I'll do about twenty miles next week, most of which will be covered Tuesday evening, and I think I'm just about set!

Two weeks and counting

About 17.25 miles today. I say about because in my rush out of the apartment, I forgot my Garmin 405. I relied on Jaime's instead, and we split about 3/4 mile from my place. No log today, but it would have shown that I covered the last 11(ish) miles of the marathon plus about 5 miles in the park and heading home. This was one of the more fun runs because it was all about interacting with other runners and chatting with a bunch of others for about 3 hrs. Time flew right by.

Judging by some of the conversations I had, I think I've set myself up to do a solid lower 3:20's time, and 3:15 a definite possibility. Jaime asked me if I would consider dropping out if I knew I wasn't going to make it. That's never been an option for me until he explained his logic. If I dropped out knowing I would not make my 3:15 goal, I could save myself for the Philadelphia marathon. I haven't signed up for the Philly marathon, and I don't intend to ;-)

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Tabata Protocol

This evening's workout was a Tabata protocol session. For those that have not heard of it, the Tabata protocol, in short, is 4:00 of high intensity interval training (HIIT). It's broken down to 20 secs max effort and 10 secs rest periods repeated eight times. If you're looking for a lung-burning, head-exploding, spit-thickening, kill-me-now kind of workout, this is at the top of my list.

I hadn't done Tabata protocols in the last few months mainly because I've been distance training, but the last two weeks of marathon mileage involve high intensity short runs. During the first half of the year, these interval workouts helped me to a PR for the Brooklyn half-marathon and a 3.5 mile race in Central Park. I'm banking on similar benefits for race day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NYC Marathon Registration

No run today because of my taper. Will probably end up doing some core strengthening exercises instead. A couple of years ago, I did 1000 crunches a day for a week with a friend. I remember my runs at the end of the week and going into the next week felt easier because of a solid core. The best explanation I can come up with is that my torso felt like a strong and sturdy battery pack powering my legs and arms.

The NYC marathon registration card came in the mail today! I've scanned it for those who are looking forward to receiving the same next year. I'll be #12409!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Easy run/walk with Sara

I don't think I'd call this evening's run a workout. It was more of a pleasant run/walk stroll in Central Park with Sara. I felt heavy-legged today and short on sleep, so it was the perfect active recovery. In the end, we covered just under 5.5 miles running and walking.

My tapering concern for the day is that I'm starting to feel a lump in my throat again. Ugh. I thought I got over my cold last week. Maybe I didn't give myself enough time to fully recover before reverting into short sleep patterns and lots of dessert. All the more reason to go to bed.

I'm out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NYRR Workout - 3 x 1 mile repeats in CP to marathon finish

My main goal for tonight's workout was to get my heart rate up while allowing myself to recover from Sunday's long run. I think the 3 x 1 milers were perfect for allowing me to do that. We started at about 100 St. along Central Park East and made our way to Tavern on the Green, the marathon finish. My legs felt heavy with my warmup jog to the workout so I started each of the miles easy and picked it up the last 600 meters. Surprisingly, I felt fresh during each of the repeats and found the pickups pretty easy. My times were 6:37, 6:01 and 6:11. Needless to say, I was pleased with tonight's results. My HR hit 188 on the last repeat. That was also a nice confidence boost since I did not feel that I exerted that much energy.

Lap Time Distance Avg Pace Avg Heart Rate Avg Cadence Calories
1 00:24:20 2.68 mi 09:04
126 bpm -- 294 C
2 00:18:10 2.28 mi 07:58 130 bpm -- 240 C
3 00:00:25 0.01 mi 31:43 170 bpm -- 4 C
4 00:06:01 0.98 mi 06:07172 bpm -- 99 C
5 00:01:49 0.15 mi 12:20 143 bpm -- 15 C
6 00:06:11 1.01 mi 06:06
177 bpm -- 103 C
7 00:22:27 2.27 mi 09:52 146 bpm -- 240 C

The next eighteen days are crucial for doing the race in the right mental state. My weekend long runs won't be so long (20 & 13), but my midweek runs will be incorporating speed and strength again. This means intervals and hill repeats.

Marathon Countdown Thoughts

Have too much energy to go to sleep so I've been doing some thinking about my training these past few months. I've devoted the most amount of energy and time training this year compared to all other years. A quick list off the top of my head of what I've done differently this year:
  • seven 20+ milers with max 23.57
  • previous yrs - three 20+ milers max 22
  • two 60+ mile weeks
  • previous yrs - 0
  • committed to NYRR weekly speed sessions
  • speed and strength training early in the year - Tabata protocol, weights and stretching
  • committed to setting at least one personal record - achieved @ Brooklyn half with 1:32:09. I feel stronger now than when I set my PR.
Considering the work I've put in, I think it's safe for me to trust my training. But there's a little nagging part of me that's not satisfied. I wish I did not get sick this past week so I could have done more mileage. I wish I had done more races to feel even stronger. My last real long race was the Brooklyn Half - in early May.

Last year, I thought I could run 3:10:xx to qualify for Boston. That was ignorant, arrogant and disrespectful to those who train so hard. I'm trying to avoid that mistake this year. Thank goodness I'm also in a new (wiser!) demographic for an extra five minutes.

I think it's now most important to get my mind straight. I can do the marathon in 3:15:xx, but it will be a hard effort. I've logged ~670 miles since July, so I know my body can take the beating. A 7:27:xx pace for 26.2 miles - yes, more than possible. I think I need to watch Chariots of Fire or something like that to fire me up even more during this countdown period. Boston or die trying!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Off topic: Facebook and Twitter

Since Twitterfeed no longer updates to Facebook status to Twitter, I've been home-brewing a script to take care of this for me so I can be more active on my Twitter account again. Unfortunately, I just found this evening a Twitter application in Facebook that does this. I guess that's the bad news. The good news is that mobile updates on Facebook do not post to Twitter with the same app. That's excuse enough for me to continue working on it. I'll post more info here as I come close to finishing it up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Last long training run for the year

This was probably one of my more painful long runs for the year. Adding to still being sick, I hit the wall today. Didn't take any gels, relying only on water. I figured an easy pace would make it doable, and for the most part it was.

Below is the breakdown. The first six miles was with Sara. I was lucky enough to find more company with Nicole from approximately miles 11-15. I picked up the pace from miles 18-21, and the rest was a painful cooldown on the way home. It was a solid, final long run given my condition.

Lap Time Distance Avg Speed Avg Heart Rate Avg Cadence Calories
1 00:09:50 1.00 mi 6.1 mph 111 bpm -- 100 C
2 00:10:54 1.00 mi 5.5 mph 121 bpm -- 109 C
3 00:11:19 1.00 mi 5.3 mph 116 bpm -- 104 C
4 00:10:11 1.00 mi 5.9 mph 126 bpm -- 106 C
5 00:09:57 1.00 mi 6.0 mph 127 bpm -- 105 C
6 00:09:33 1.00 mi 6.3 mph 127 bpm -- 108 C
7 00:08:31 1.00 mi 7.0 mph 131 bpm -- 107 C
8 00:08:46 1.00 mi 6.8 mph 137 bpm -- 107 C
9 00:08:37 1.00 mi 7.0 mph 141 bpm -- 105 C
10 00:08:01 1.00 mi 7.5 mph 141 bpm -- 106 C
11 00:08:00 1.00 mi 7.5 mph 151 bpm -- 108 C
12 00:08:14 1.00 mi 7.3 mph 144 bpm -- 105 C
13 00:08:42 1.00 mi 6.9 mph 143 bpm -- 102 C
14 00:08:36 1.00 mi 7.0 mph 142 bpm -- 104 C
15 00:08:34 1.00 mi 7.0 mph 146 bpm -- 106 C
16 00:09:02 1.00 mi 6.6 mph 139 bpm -- 102 C
17 00:11:05 1.00 mi 5.4 mph 129 bpm -- 97 C
18 00:07:51 1.00 mi 7.6 mph 150 bpm -- 104 C
19 00:07:39 1.00 mi 7.8 mph 153 bpm -- 106 C
20 00:07:33 1.00 mi 7.9 mph 166 bpm -- 110 C
21 00:08:30 1.00 mi 7.1 mph 153 bpm -- 103 C
22 00:09:14 1.00 mi 6.5 mph 141 bpm -- 105 C
23 00:10:57 1.00 mi 5.5 mph 136 bpm -- 110 C
24 00:04:48 0.57 mi 7.1 mph 127 bpm -- 58 C

For the most part, I'm proud that mile 20 was my fastest. It was the uphill mile from 110th to 90th. In addition, I'm glad I didn't do the Staten Island Half Marathon today. I don't think I would have been able to keep up a 7:25 pace for the entire race today, and I didn't want to risk anyone getting sick on my account.

For this week, I managed to amble some 55+ miles Well short of the 70 I had hoped, but I did the best I could with a cold. This is the most I think I've trained since I started doing marathons, and I think I can do better next year. See image for my mileage this week.

So now comes the best part of marathon training - the taper. Mileage will reduce drastically from here until marathon day, but training miles will be just a little more intense. Time also to recover from injuries and to sharpen my mental preparation.

Training Interruptions

The biggest obstacle to marathon training? Life. There are many things that I can forgo in place of a long run, but my wife's birthday definitely is not of those things. I chose to enjoy walking all around the city today until dinner, and then stayed up (still up) late to consume a freshly baked red velvet cake and some mini red velvet cupcakes. All good stuff. If I weren't still sick, I definitely would probably get up early to do the race tomorrow because it's always easier to do a long run with company. If I feel well tomorrow, I may actually still get up, but the more likely scenario is that I'll sleep in and do about 22 miles within Central Park.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sick miles

I wish my title meant lots of miles. Unfortunately, it means the last few miles that I've logged have been while I'm still nursing this cold. I did some easy jog/walk with Sara yesterday. Today, I went for a really easy run just to log more miles. I may do another easy jog tomorrow to pick up my race packet for the Staten Island Half Marathon on Sunday, but we'll see since it's Sara's birthday. Regardless, I'll be running on Sunday even if I'm sick. The miles this week are that important. I know I was hoping to do 70+, but that's not going to happen this year. I'll be happy to break 60, and that's only if I run to pick up my packet tomorrow.

Among other things, my knee injury is much better. I still have a little bit of a pain, but it's now dull and bearable, I think, for 26.2 miles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's As Good A Time As Any To Get Sick

Yep, I think I'm coming down with a cold. It's not full-blown yet, so I'm trying to fend it off today with lots and lots of green tea, vitamin C, Airborne and going to bed early to get lots of sleep. I am also avoiding desserts and most forms of processed sugar.

The bad news about coming down with anything this week is that I want to log 70 miles this week. The good news is that this is happening four weeks before the marathon. I'm thankful it's not happening four days prior.

If I feel like I'm better tomorrow and well rested, I'm definitely going to log some miles tomorrow. I felt good enough to go today, but Sara talked some sense into me. It's smarter to rest up early and try to nip it in the bud.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NYRR Workout - Fartleks from mile 22.5 to marathon finish

Tonight's workout consisted of fartleks from 110th and 5th Ave. to the marathon finish. This workout was important for us to feel the last four miles or so of the marathon. Especially important was for us to feel the one mile uphill climb from 110th to 90th, which is probably the toughest mile on the course. My lap breakdown before the workout and the post workout mileage is as follows:

Lap Time Distance Avg Pace Avg Heart Rate Avg Cadence Calories
1 00:23:44 2.89 mi 08:12 149 bpm -- 315 C
2 00:16:01 1.64 mi 09:45 123 bpm -- 178 C
3 00:05:37 0.67 mi 08:27 140 bpm -- 71 C
4 00:00:04 0.00 mi 23:02 144 bpm -- 1 C
5 00:02:34 0.31 mi 08:24 147 bpm -- 29 C
6 00:02:31 0.37 mi 06:54 156 bpm -- 38 C
7 00:16:18 2.25 mi 07:15 163 bpm -- 238 C
8 00:28:10 3.13 mi 09:00
149 bpm -- 326 C
9 00:08:17 0.90 mi 09:13 137 bpm -- 92 C

Going into tonight's workout, I was concerned about my knee holding up. It still hurts a little, but I'm actually quite pleased. It's going to continue to get better. I can't believe I only started praying about it last night. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I've had too many things happen in my life that have been "coincidental" after prayer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Easy run - 6.11 miles

Monday runs are almost always recovery runs from a Sunday long run, and today was no different. I stayed with Sara for about the first mile, then went on my usual easy pace, which I would guesstimate to be about 7:45/min. Here's my lap info:

Lap Time Distance Avg Pace Avg Heart Rate Avg Cadence Calories
1 00:09:08 1.00 mi 09:08
107 bpm -- 104 C
2 00:07:53 1.00 mi 07:53 144 bpm -- 107 C
3 00:08:09 1.00 mi 08:09
151 bpm -- 106 C
4 00:07:40 1.00 mi 07:40 151 bpm -- 106 C
5 00:07:37 1.00 mi 07:37 148 bpm -- 106 C
6 00:09:41 1.00 mi 09:41 129 bpm -- 109 C
7 00:02:11 0.11 mi 20:35 94 bpm -- 15 C

I'm still having an issue with my knee. I took it easy tonight also for this reason. I'm going to continue to hope that it will get better as the marathon approaches.