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