Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Skipped class! Oh no!

That's how I initially felt about skipping the NYRR speed session, but I think it's okay. Have to constantly remind myself that it's more important to get to the marathon starting line healthy. My left knee was sore on an easy run yesterday so I did not want to aggravate any injury, if there is one. It's also a rest and recovery week for me before next week's high mileage, so it's okay to skip a one session. Anyways, I'll probably make it up on Wednesday or Thursday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

< 5 Weeks To NYC Marathon!

Starting to feel the marathon itch...I think. In terms of preparation, I'm definitely looking forward to this marathon. Sixty-two miles was the most I've done in any week in my yrs of running and it did not feel as bad as I thought it would. From a mental standpoint, the five 20+ milers I've done has really shortened the run. Furthermore, the nearly four hours on the run course yesterday gives me confidence that I can be out on the course that long - if needed - without feeling broken down. And that was with a shorter tougher race the day before. Another recovery week this week, and I think I'll bump it up to 70 the following week. From there, it's time to taper!

Today, I just went for a short and easy recovery run of 6.5 miles with a great running partner that will be taking a maternity leave from the hobby. As predicted, I would have to deal with knee pain from wearing broken down shoes. I had to ice my inner left kneecap after the run. My leg muscles are also tight, but both problems will go away with rest. That said, I don't know how hard I'll be able to do tomorrow's speed workout. I guess I'll just have to see.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

18 Mile Marathon Tune Up at Central Park

Today's marathon tune up at Central Park was a challenge on several levels. First, the urbanathlon required a good amount of exertion, especially the 52 floors of WTC 7. My legs had an uncharacteristic ache soreness. Second, I usually like to sleep in at least one day during the weekend. Today, I had to get up earlier to make another 7am start, and I had to get Sara up also! Luckily, she was a good sport by going to bed at 8pm last night. Third, weather called for rain. Lastly, I had to run with old shoes, which usually causes me to have knee aches from broken down support.

Everything turned out surprising well. I told Sara I'd run with her and managed to keep my word for 15 of her 18 miles. Besides the fatigue of being out jogging for more than 3.5 hrs, the really easy pace (>11:00/mile) made the whole thing relatively painless. I do have a knee ache like i thought I would, but I'll deal with it.

My workout details are here. In addition to the 18 miles, I did an extra bottom loop at about the halfway point with Dave at ~7:20 min/mile, and managed to keep that up for about 4 miles unil I caught up with Sara. I felt like my legs work up during that spur, and while it wasn't terribly difficult, it wasn't quite easy either. I know I have to keep up a 7:28 pace for 26.2 miles in 5 weeks, and today's effort worried me a little bit. I also have to remember that I was tired today, and I'll be a lot fresher marathon day. By the end of the day, with the extra loop, warmup and cooldown, I managed to do 20.45 miles which pushed my weekly mileage to just over 62 miles.

I've a recovery week on tap, but I'm not sure how much of a recovery I want it to be. For now, I'm thinking about 45-50 miles. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Men's Health Urbanathlon

The Urbanathlon wasn't easy, but it was a lot of fun! I came in 67th overall at 1:17:40. This race consisted of some 8.10 miles of running and "urban" obstacles along the way, not the least of which was the 52 stories of World Trade Center Seven. Because I want to keep this short so I can go to sleep early for my marathon tune up early tomorrow morning, here are some random lingering impressions of the race...

- link to workout log

- the 52 stories was hell! I thought I would be jogging up, but that was hubris, ignorance and inexperience thinking

- couldn't do the monkey bars because it was a wet morning so I took the penalty lap around the pier

- most fun part of the race - the slide across the taxi hood! I thought I was Luke Duke :-)

- there was no way I was going to let myself take more than 2 tries to get over the 8 foot wall, and I didn't want help.

- according to my log, after about 40 mins, my heart rate was in the 180's and peaked to 192 when I was pulling myself over the wall just before the finish line

- I finished about 4 mins outside of placing in my age group. I think I could have pushed harder, but when do I ever not think that?

- this race was really more about the experience than the finishing time. It's one of the funner races I've done in a while, including triathlons.

- Chris and Edmond did awesome, and I think we'll all be doing it again next year

- I enjoyed seeing Sara at the finish :-)

Have another 18-20 mile 7am run tomorrow. Thankfully I don't need to run as fast for this one!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rest day

No running today, although it may not have been a bad to have run to NYRR to pick up my Sunday race packet. It takes longer to run that errand using subway and bus! Anyways, I have two races this weekend, both of which start at 7am. Not too excited about the start time, but it is what it is. There's always time for a nap on the weekends. Urbanathlon tomorrow, 18 mile marathon tune-up on Sunday. It's going to be a long weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tempo Run

Considering that it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, I thought it would be a good idea to pack in more mileage during lunch today. No one was able to join me so I turned it into a mild tempo run of about 7:00 - 7:10 per mile for 4 miles once I got to the Brooklyn Bridge and to base of Manhattan Bridge. This sets me up for a nice rest day tomorrow so I'll be relatively fresh for Saturday's race. At the packet pickup today, I learned that there were more obstacles than I had originally thought. Particularly, a rope crawl and some monkey bars. I've always liked monkey bars, but I've never done a rope crawl.

In other happenings, I'm almost done setting up my new notebook. Drives have been partitioned and the system drive imaged in case of emergency. I think I've installed all the major applications. Next comes the utilities, and lastly, multimedia and entertainment. By the time I'm done, it'll have taken me three days to set up everything. Whew. I think it'll be worth it once all the cable clutter and the workstation is gone to free up some precious square footage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Setting Up New Laptop

WOOHOO! Finally got my new machine. 20" HD screen laptop and 15.3 lbs just for the unit alone. Highly impractical, barely portable, but I think this is the best computer I've owned. I'm done building workstations and doing incremental upgrades. But I digress...this blog is about running. So, while I'm creating recovery discs in the background, back to my NYC marathon training.

Workout today was an easy 5 mile recovery with Sara. I'm hoping to hit a minimum of 55 miles this week, doing 9 on Saturday and about 20-21 Sunday. I should be on pace even if I take Friday off to rest for the Urbanathlon. I'm hoping to do 7:00 min/mile pace, but I'm not sure how the stairs and the obstacles will affect it. There's also a good chance of rain during the race. Still, I think 7 min/mile should be feasible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Speed class benefits

Tonight's speed workout was an upside down ladder - long to short intervals. I felt energized going into the workout because I felt well rested from a decent night's rest and last week's relatively low mileage. Here's a breakdown of this evening's workout from my Garmin 405:

2 mile interval ~ 12:44
- mile 1.02: 6:33
- mile 2.04: 6:11

1 mile interval ~ 6:15
- mile 1.02: 6:15

2 x 600 meters
- interval 1: 1:41
- interval 2: 1:35

When I started doing these NYRR speed classes earlier in the year, I remember my previous best for the 2 mile interval was 12:58. My time tonight was a nice improvement, and my max HR was only 183, which means that I confirms my feeling during the run that I could have pushed harder. I did the 1 mile interval a little slower because I didn't want to be bumped up to the group ahead. The last 600 was a lot of fun because I started off in the back, starting about 5 seconds after the group, and I had to chase everyone down. Tonight was probably the most fun I'd had doing speed workouts in a while. Anyways, I'm hoping this improved efficiency will translate to a Boston qualifying time on Nov. 2.

On a side note, half the group went to see David Blaine hanging upside down at Wollman Rink. I guess it's his next publicity stunt.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Goodbye Rest Week, Hello Work Week

The next seven days of marathon training will be ambitious. I'll be stacking up more miles and hope to do another 60+ miles if my body feels up to it. It'll culminate with 8+ miles of the urbanathlon on Saturday, which includes 1/2 mile of stairs to the top of World Trade Center 7, and then an 18 mile NYC marathon tune-up on Sunday. I'll probably add another ~3 miles to that race by running home just to get the mileage past 20 for the day.

So to get this week started, I did an easy 8.25 miles through Central Park. It was another pleasant run around the bridle path and Harlem hill. Besides the 1 mile to the park, I ran mostly trail. It's definitely easier on the body and seemingly more enjoyable than running on the street within the park. I think I'll be doing that more often.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mileage for 9/15 - 9/21

My mileage this recovery week, and yes, I actually feel recovered and feel rested and recovered enough. I expect to do about 55+ miles next week, maybe top 60 again. We'll see.


I'm miffed. I crossed the finished line today at 5:38 and on NYRR official results page, I'm credited for 5:41. I feel robbed. I was so excited about doing a sub 5:40 mile! I guess I can try again next year.

Here's how the race went down for me...

- Warmed up for about 5m and arrived at the start 3 mins prior to gun
- Lined up about 4-5 people deep on the left side of Park Ave.
- As the gun goes off and I cross the starting line, I noticed there was no starting mat.
- Crossed 1/4m mark at 1:23
- Crossed 1/2m mark at 2:50...slowed by incline
- Don't remember 3/4 mile mark
- Crossed 1500m mark at 5:25(ish). At this point, I was already on my toes when I heard a girl scream, "KICK IT IN GUY IN THE BLUE SHIRT!!" As best I could, I obliged and managed to cover the last ~100m in what I thought was about 13 secs.
- As I approached the finish, I saw the clock at 5:35. I sprinted as fast as I could to finish below 5:40, and managed to cross the line at 5:38 according to the clock.
- Turned off my watch about 5 seconds later when I remembered, at 5:43.

I'm not sure where that extra 3 seconds from NYRR came from, but I'll use it for motivation next year. I know every runner feels that they could always have performed better, and this was no exception. I was way too strong over the last 400m, and even stronger over the last 100, which means that I could have taken the first 1/2 mile faster. Live and learn.

Anyways, here's my running day's recap according to my Garmin 405:

5.14m :@ 44:11.61 - warm-up through Central Park to starting line @ 77th and Park
1.03m @ 5:43.64 - 5th Ave. Mile race.
7.87m @ 1:28.18 - run/walk with Sara around the park

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today's easy run

Every run seems to have a characteristic of its own. Today's easy run was just really, really relaxing. That's not always the case when I'm running alone, but that was my intent today. Also, I didn't want to give my running muscles two consecutive inactive days. A hard run on a 3rd day hurts after two rest days. Anyways, what made the run relaxing this afternoon was that I allowed myself to go slow and easy (9m/m). The cool air around the bridle path was refreshing, and essentially I was able to enjoy some quality time in a natural setting. That's one of the main reasons why I enjoy running. As a matter of fact, here's a list of why I like running:

- keeps me sane after any crazy day
- the endorphin flow makes me happy
- I can pretty much whatever and whenever I want
- when running alone, spiritual and meditative benefits

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Day Off!

From running, that is. I could make it a total of four days this week without running...but that's not going to happen. Planning on an easy run tomorrow since I didn't do that this evening, then the Sunday run, mile race, and run with Sara. It's been a really good recovery week for me thus. I think I feel strengthened enough to make a hard training push for the next 6 weeks before I taper.

On non-running subjects...

- Sara and I finally watched Tropic Thunder tonight. It wasn't quite the ball of laughter we expected, but it was still funny. I probably could have waited for the DVD.

- My 15lb desktop replacement notebook should ship next week. Can't wait!

- If anyone reading this has tons of videos, music, photos and even a TV tuner with their PC, I highly recommend going to http://www.orb.com. You can have all your media files streamed to any computer, mobile phones with the capability, Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3.

- It's been a crazy week on Wall St., making it a busy week for us. I'm thankful for the weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

5th Ave. Mile Race Anticipation

I'm excited. Doing the 5th Ave. Mile for the first time and I think it's going to be a fast race. I did a quick recon on the sidewalk along the course and the layout goes something like this:

Race course: 77th St. to 57th St.
Start to 74th - flat to slight down grade
74th to 70th - slight incline
70th to 69th - flat
69th to ~63rd - decline
63rd to 57th - flat

I did .89 miles of the course and finished at 5:56, which I'm guessing would lead to about a 6:10 - 6:15 finish. I'm excited because I felt like I was cruising along at about a 6:30 pace, and my max HR was only 172! I don't think there will be any "going easy" on this race. My plan is to go hard the first half and go balls out the rest of the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Less I Run, The More Tired I Am?

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to take the week easy, and it's only Wednesday. I decided to have another day off instead of a 4-6 mile active recovery jog, but I think I prefer to be out running instead so I can have a little more energy in the evening. It's not even 8:30pm, and I'm feeling ready to go to bed - highly unusual. I have to keep reminding myself that it's good for the body to recover and adapt to the higher mileages. That said, I'm definitely running tomorrow, probably an easy lunchtime run on Friday, and probably about 14-16 on Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday, I've decided to run my first 5th Avenue Mile. It's only a mile, it's a NYC marathon qualifier, and I can do it in the middle of my short(ish) long run this weekend. It will be fun to run full blast for a mile. I'm hoping to finish in the 5:40's. I'd be ecstatic to get into the 5:30's. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NYRR Workout

Tonight's NYRR workout consisted of 2 x 2 mile repeats around the lower loop of Central Park, starting from Columbus Circle and finishing at the NYC marathon finish at Tavern on the Green. I tried my best to keep going on the "take it easy this week" theme, and I think I did for the better part. Tried to go 7 mins/mile pace, but it was hard to stay back once the group took off. I ended up sprinting the last 100m towards the uphill at Tavern for each repeat for the strong finish and increased heart rate. Here are my breakdowns:

2.5m @ 22:01
- warmup run to PS 81 to meet NYRR group
1.49m @ 14:53 - easy jog to Columbus Circle
1.02m @ 6:50 - 1st mile of 2
1.01m @ 6:20 - 2nd mile
.34m @ 4:52 - easy walk/jog rest period back to Columbus Circle
2.03m @ 13:35
- forgot to click at mile 1, but I was chatting with a friend so I'm guessing we were doing about 6:55 or so.
2.63m @ 25:43 - easy cool down jog around lower loop and slow jog home

Last time we did this workout, I did the two repeats at 13:01 and 12:58. While those times were certainly faster, I don't feel I would have had a problem with those times had I pushed. But again, I'm not into pushing this week. It's seemingly taking more discipline to hold back than it does to keep pushing.

Erring On The Lazy Side This Week

This is a recovery week so I'm going to take it easy. I'm guessing my mileage will be in the low 40's this week just to give my body some time to adapt to the higher mileage. That being said, I took today off. Got home a little late and didn't exactly feel like running. Last week, I would have gone running anyhow, but not this week. No mileage for me today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rest Day and Thoughts About This Past Week

Some brief thoughts about my training this past week:

- The 23+ miles yesterday has created a monster appetite the last 36 hrs.
- I'm 40% tanned. My trunk and feet sport a lighter skin tone...to my wife's dismay.
- This coming week is all about recovery and easy miles. I'm looking forward to it.
- 60+ miles wasn't as bad as I thought. Maybe 80 is possible.
- It's much easier to run long miles with company.
- I'm beginning to gain some cautious optimism for my goal time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sweet 60!

So I did it. My first 60+ mile week. I just looked back over my last 4 yrs of logs and I thought I had done this once before, but apparently not. Even though the NYC Marathon is not for another 50 days, the high mileage for me gives me a nice boost of confidence. The ~23m we ran today started off with 9m in the Van Cortland hills and the other 14 along the West Side Highway and the George Washington Bridge. Miles 18-20 were done at about a 7:35 clip, which was a pleasant surprise considering we ran hills earlier. I felt pretty decent after the run today considering that I'd felt fatigued this week. I may run another few miles tomorrow with my wife, but it'll have to be REALLY easy.

Disagreements About My Blog Title

My wife just saw my blog and she disagrees about the title. She doesn't think "die trying" is a good idea because I currently don't have life insurance. Maybe she has a point.

Anyways, I think this week has been my hardest week so far. I'll post my mileage tomorrow to see if I hit 60. That would be my longest training week in the last few years. More tomorrow. Need to get some rest and be in the horizontal position to alleviate the effects of miles and miles of running. I seriously don't understand how professionals log more than 120m per week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's my motivation?

I'm feeling challenged to go for a run today. Yep, it's one of those days where I'm feeling lazy and practically have to drag myself outdoors. I've been fortunate enough to have felt energized the last several weeks, but life is not constant. So why do I feel like this today? Here are my initial thoughts:

1. ~86m the last 10 days, not including an easy 4.5 today
2. 23m tomorrow looming like a storm cloud
3. not enough sleep
4. improper nutrition (too much sugar)

I felt a little bad for my wife last night because she had to put up with my grumpiness, which inevitably makes her grumpy, making for a crappy evening for the both of us.

So here's what I'm going to do to fix this mini funk: I'm going to run. I have never once regretted going out for a run, and I'm sure that won't change today.

So what is my motivation...to qualify for Boston!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Body breaking down?

I think I spoke too early yesterday to a couple of people that even though I've been doing higher mileage, I feel fresher at this point of my training than I did last year. I felt worn down when I got home last night, and the lower back aches I suffered through last year seemed to reappear. The aches could also have been induced by doing a tempo run after a hard workout Tuesday night. Two speed sessions in a row are usually a no-no for me. I'm just going to have to take it easy the next couple of days so I'm ready for 22-24 on Saturday. Next week will be a down week to allow my body to heal and strengthen, so I'm looking forward to it. Here's my mileage so far this September.


I think I had about ten cookies today. Two after lunch, and another eight dark absolutely divine chocolate chip with walnuts (from a Jacques Torres recipe) that my wife made after dinner. I think that's why I'm still up at 1am. At this point in my training, I know I probably should be eating better fuel. I usually put together a bowl of spinach, carrots, mushrooms, 1/2 hard-boiled egg and some dressing along with my main course, and I think that has worked pretty well for me, but my kryptonite is sugar in the form of baked goods. I find it practically impossible to resist cookies, muffins, brownies, blondies, whatever, around this time of year. My rationalization is that I need the energy for all my training. Give me lots of pasta, lots of veggies, but also give me lots of cookies :-)

This is definitely not a complaint. I know I won't be able to eat like this forever so I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NYRR speed workout and celebrities in Central Park

Last night's NYRR speed workout consisted of a 2m, 1m and 1m intervals. My times were as follows: 12:45 (6:33 & 6:12), 6:26, 5:51. I thought we were going to do another 2m interval so I paced myself for 2m...thus the 6:26 time. I felt a little bad about that, so I did the last interval hard. I was most interested in getting my heart rate into the 190's but managed 189, which shows that I worked pretty hard. Since I've started running, I think I've hit 191 twice. After my warm-up and cool-down, I managed to log just over 11m.

On the way to the workout, I ran into Elliot Spitzer. This was actually the 2nd time I've seen him around the park. He looked to be enjoying some banter with a lady I'm guessing to be his wife. This got me to thinking which celebrities I've seen around the park. Here's my very short list...

Serena Williams
Bobby Flay
Ming Na
Joan Rivers

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend training

According to my Garmin 405, I did 22.01m on Saturday around and through Central Park. That brought my totals for last week to 53.34 miles. I looked at my training log last year, and I had three 20+ mile runs. This year, I'm hoping to do 5-6, and complete at least two 60+ mile weeks. I think that should put me in good shape for a 3:15:xx finish.

Now, about the 22m on Saturday, miles 4-8 was a race. I didn't really want to race, but to qualify for next year's marathon, I have to do nine races and volunteer for one race. I had only done four so far this year. Anyways, I wanted to just run at goal pace of about 7:30. I did that for the first mile, but then I got caught up in the spirit of the race. My splits were 7:34, 7:04, 7:12, 6:34 for an avg of about 7:02/mile. I don't like racing combined w/ long training runs because it usually hurts more, but one thing I'm doing this year is to ice my legs after long runs and hard workouts. Seems to be working really well.

The other thing about Saturday was the humidity. I expected to run in driving rain because of tropical storm Gustav. Instead, NYC got the prestorm humidity. Surprisingly, my body help up okay...that is, I didn't cramp up due to excessive sweating. I think it may also have been due to the energy drink I had at around mile nine.

I went to Jamba Juice at 53rd and Broadway sans shirt and looking like I'd just come out of a pool. I stood outside to look at the menu, and the girl at the counter was making a huge waving motion with a huge smile for me to come in. That was very nice of her.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Don't Know How Michael Phelps Does It

I'm not comparing myself to Michael Phelps as an athlete by any means. What I'm wondering about is the 12000 calories he eats (ate?) per day while training and competing. I took today off, and found myself eating huge meals today after a huge dinner last night. All in all, I think I've had about 5000-6000 calories over the last 24 hours. Most of it has been carbs in several different forms to refuel after 23 miles the last couple of days, and to load up for my long run this weekend. One of these marathon training days this year, I'm going to try to consume 12000 calories in one day and blog about how it affects me.

Don't You Ever Stop?

That's what a woman at Central Park told me yesterday as I was jogging with a friend. She had seen me jogging in downtown during the lunch hour, and I'm guessing she's seen me out there more than once. It did make me feel good to hear that :-)

So I did run twice yesterday, traversing a total of about 15 miles, but 3 of those were walking with a friend. Regardless, I'm not as tired as I expected to be today. What's making me tired is the gross amount of food I had for lunch...spinach salad, lots of pasta for this weekend, slice of chicago style pizza with gr. beef topping and a brownie for dessert with a pint of milk. Eating is definitely one of the favorite things I love about running so much. I'll probably take off today to go on a date with my wife, do an easy run tomorrow during lunch, and then do 22+ this Saturday. That should bring me to about 52+ this week. Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Speed classes while tired

I don't feel like working out today. Hadn't been home all weekend, and got to bed about 2:30 last night. Even though I woke up at 8:30, I'm quite tired. Not too tired to workout, but I don't like going to my speed workout classes feeling weak and generally tired. But this is all a part of training and working out. I've run a marathon on less sleep, as I'm sure we all have. I've never been able to sleep much before any race. I have to run off the extra calories I consumed this weekend, and then some. Boston, here I come! :-)

On another note, I managed to finally figure out an application development problem today. I was trying to figure it out most of last week. Maybe it does do good to come to work tired?

Happy training!


Okay, my workout wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Fortuitously, it always turns out that way when I'm dreading any workout. 6x600's up to the NYC marathon finish line from Columbus Circle entry to Tavern On The Green. I still definitely wasn't pushing as hard as I have in the past. I had a max HR of 186. When I hit 190, I know I've pushed really hard.

About 9.5 weeks left to the marathon, and I worry a little bit about my mental state. I'm just not into it right now. I'm pretty sure I'll continue to do the miles and the speed workouts, but my mind is just not into it yet.

Short(ish) Long Run, Then Off To Vacation!!

Here's my holiday training weekend wrap: Did about 14 miles Saturday morning at about an avg of 7:45 pace, then took off for New Jersey with my wife to stay at a friend's place. Went running for an easy 4 miles today just to stay loose. In between, we did a whole day of shopping at Woodbury Commons on Sunday, and ate great food at every opportunity. Even better, it was with terrific company. To say the least, I had a great Labor Day weekend. With this binge of a weekend and a recovery week behind me, I have to prepare for my longest week for this training season so far. I should cover about 52 miles or so this week, with a 22+ mile run on Saturday.

I forgot to mention that one final thing that I'm really excited about is that I finally placed an order for my laptop. An HP HDX model! Woohoo! I've been waiting the last 3 weeks or so to order because I felt that I should wait until Labor Day weekend to place the order. It's a good thing I did because I received a free upgrade to a Blu-ray disc drive. :-)