Thursday, December 31, 2009

P90X - A Runner's Experience (Part 1)

In September, I decided to do the P90X program to support a couple of friends who wanted a third person to help hold them accountable for the staying with the regimen. I had never attempted a workout program for a simple reason: I do NOT like following a scheduled regimen. I also can not emphasize enough my dislike for home exercise videos and I was also in the second half of my NYC marathon training. But because these friends are near and dear to me, I decided to jump in.

Going into the program, I already considered myself pretty fit. Ever since I can remember, I could never sit still. I was an avid skateboarder, played basketball endlessly in high school and college, lifted weights to gain mass, mountain biked, etc. Before getting married, my fiancee introduced me to triathlons and distance races quickly became an addiction. After moving to New York, I've been only road races since I do not want to swim in any bodies of water here. My proudest accomplishment so far has been to qualify for the Boston Marathon in May 2009 at the NJ marathon at 3:14. The P90X program was something completely new and different for me so I thought why not try. It can only help to do other workouts instead of just run run running.

The P90X Program
If you want in depth info about the program, you can it from the official website. Otherwise, here's a brief summary from the home page.

"P90X® is a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping workouts, designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days. You'll also receive a comprehensive 3-phase nutrition plan, specially designed supplement options, a detailed fitness guide, a calendar to track your progress, online peer support, and much more. Your personal trainer, Tony Horton, will keep you engaged every step of the way, and you won't believe your results!"

01 Chest & Back
Targeted strength and definition workout emphasizes two classic upper-body exercises.

02 Plyometrics
Explosive jumping cardio routine proven to dramatically improve athletic performance.

03 Shoulders & Arms
Potent combination of pressing, curling, and fly movements, that will leave you stronger.

04 Yoga X
Combines strength, balance, flexibility, and breath work to enhance your physique and calm your mind.

05 Legs & Back
Get ready to squat, lunge, and pull for a total-body workout like no other.

06 Kenpo X
Intense cardiovascular workout with punching and kicking for endurance, balance, and coordination.

07 X Stretch
Achieve a higher level of athleticism over a longer period of time, plus prevent injuries and avoid plateaus.

08 Core Synergistics
Build and support multiple muscle groups to build and support the core while conditioning your body.

09 Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps
Target both large and small upper body muscles to push you to the brink.

10 Back & Biceps
Flex those powerful biceps and focus on toning and tightening these showcase arm muscles.

11 Cardio X
Low-impact cardio routine that is a fun fat-burning workout that will leave you feeling lean and mean.

12 Ab Ripper X
Sculpt the six-pack abs of your dreams and benefit your health and physical performance.

The supporting materials consist of three different exercise schedules (P90X Classic, Lean, or Double for those that want to do two-a-days) and a nutrition plan. Both are essential for a successful results. We followed the P90X classic schedule, which looked like this:

In addition to the workout discs, I ordered the pull-up bar and extra resistance bands to add to an existing set of dumbbells. Of the pull-up bar, bands and dumbbells, I highly recommend the pull-up bar and some dumbbells. Note that a door frame is needed for the pull-up bar.

Workouts were done in my apartment or at my buddy's place in NJ when I happened to be there. My apartment is about 350sf so space was obviously tight. Luckily the workouts don't require too much space. About 40sf should do.

Getting Started
We started the program on September 29, 2009, with the fit test which consisted of max effort pull-ups, push-ups, vertical jump, flexibility measurement, and so forth. We were fully aware that the program date would encompass the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. This meant that we would have to refrain from "festive eating."

The start date was on a Tuesday to coincide with my rest Mondays for NYC marathon training. I needed to make sure I had the luxury of at least one recovery day so my body did not get beat up too badly.

Pre P90X Numbers

The following sets of numbers are my basic numbers, physical measurements and my physical performance test before the program. The weight is up a couple of pounds because of a "celebratory" pre-start dinner consisting of lots of roast duck, noodles at our favorite Chinatown restaurant and eat-until-we-get-sick dessert at Viniero's. The body fat % was taken from this type of Tanita scale. I usually took my measurements in the evening to try to keep things consistent.

Basic numbers


Initial Fit Test Results

Not bad, but not great either. I'm sure a long run earlier that day affected my numbers, especially the vertical leap. I wasn't too concerned about my cardiac condition numbers since I found it difficult to get my heart rate up with the P90X heart rate maximizer exercise. I usually get my heart rate (way) up during interval workouts on hills, Tabata repeats or other length intervals.

Now we get to the part that most people care about - results. I'll break this down per workout disc. We started with disc 1 (chest and back) the day after the fit test. We didn't realize what a mistake that was because we did not give ourselves a chance for recovery from the fit test.

I always tried to do more than I did the previous week with each workout. For the most part, I think I was successful.

Disc 1 - Chest and Back

One of my favorite discs. Absolutely killed me the first day I did it. As a matter of fact, I had to rely on a chair for pull-ups for second sets on the first day.

The numbers indicate that I definitely gained a lot of strength for both muscle groups. Of note, I could only do 25 and 8 military push-ups over two sets. My last workout, the numbers were 35 and 42. The over-hand close grip pull-ups were 6 and 12 with chair in week 1. In week 11, the numbers were 15 and 15.

I think the results speak loudest when you look at the overall rep totals. In the first workout, I did a total of 58 pull-ups (counting chair assistance) and 217 total push-ups. In the last workout, I did a total of 61 pull-ups (no chairs!) and 417 push-ups.

For runners and endurance athletes, I think push-ups are a must for building core strength and that final kick when you're using a lot of upper body to get you to the finish line.

Disc 2 - Plyometrics
This was a disc I did not enjoy. I did it only because it was on the program. It's a decent workout, but I much prefer doing hill repeats. I think the only thing I liked about this video was the jump knee tuck exercise. It was the only workout that I felt got my heart rate going. Except for my mental note that I usually did about 47 jump knee tucks per workout, I do not have any other numbers.

As much as I disliked the workout, I still think it's essential for building quickness and leg strength for runners.

Disc 3 - Shoulders & Arms
This workout consisted of shoulder presses and multiple varieties of curls. I had never worked on my arms so much. You'll notice that some of the "Notes" blocks in the image have "green", "purple", or "red." I used bands the last three times I did this because we shared weights. Bands provide some of the toughest resistance at the far end of it's elasticity and can be a great alternative to weights.

Disc 4 - Yoga
I had experienced yoga once prior to P90X and I was not a fan. By the third time I did the P90X yoga workout however, I became a fan. I finally understand why yogies consider yoga a great workout. Furthermore, I think it helped me to develop core strength and definitely flexibility, both of which are tantamount attributes for running. Moving forward, I'll be incorporating yoga more into my workout schedule. One other benefit I enjoyed doing yoga was the sense of escape during the routine; very similar to the escape I feel when I'm out for a run.

No measurements for this one except the flexibility measurement at the end of the program.

Disc 5 - Legs & Back This is the one strength workout that was included every week of the program. My guess is because Tony Horton, as he proclaims in the workouts, loves pull-ups. A better guess might be that back and leg muscles are large muscles that help us keep a better posture, saving us from later back pain, and well developed large muscles produce more testosterone to spur muscle growth for other workouts.

I did not enjoy doing the leg workouts, but they're necessary for runners. Various lunges and squats develop stronger legs make a better runner. At least that's what I'm told. Looking at the bottom tallies, my total pull-ups in week 1 was 89. I remember thinking then, "Wow. I've never done so many in my life." In week 12, I was able to do 145. I should also disclose that I was super motivated for every last workout, making final week numbers sometimes look out of place.

Disc 6 - Kenpo
If there is a disc I would love to throw away, it's this one. It just was not enough for me. Consequently, I found myself bored even though I tried to make sure I moved firmly and aggressively. No measurements necessary. Just 57 minutes or so of punching, kicking and stretching. The one saving grace for me was that I tried to focus on my core every time I did this workout. I also carried 2.5lb weights sometimes to make it more intense.


Part 2 of review coming in the next couple of days....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Only 10 more days of P90X!

It's not the workouts that have tired me. I've enjoyed fighting for every pull-up. It's the foods I've had to avoid. (Read: carbs!!) I don't think I'll go back to my old ways of eating and running everything off like I did when marathon training. I'm enjoying fueling up with "clean" energy. I just miss the freedom of having desserts and snacks whenever I want.

As far as the workouts are concerned, I think I've seen most of the physical transformation happen in the second half of the 3mo commitment. Not sure, but will be sure to break it down when I'm completely done with the program. It will also be interesting to compare fit test numbers before and after the program.

On the running front, I've effectively shut it down the rest of this decade. Might go for a couple of other easy miles in Central Park, but I'm just waiting for the year to be over before I start training for Boston.

Monday, November 30, 2009

P90X - Day 60

Actually just finished Day 61. Nevertheless, haven't written about my progress in a while due to the usual reasons - work, work, and finally a vacation.

Took my 60 day progress pics yesterday. I think visual progress has been fairly minimal. It could be because I broke my P90X diet in Lanai (how can anyone turn down two complimentary surprise desserts from a Four Seasons resort??), but I think it's really because I was lean starting the process anyhow. Here are some of my measurements, and no, I don't think I'll post any photos:

  • Gained nearly 2" on my pecs, but I think most of that is from a wider back since that what I've seen in the photos. Definitely able to crank out much more push-ups and pull-ups now.
  • Lost nearly a couple of inches on my abs. Surprising considering these photos were taken post Thanksgiving, and I took a day off from the P90X diet as well.
  • Legs shrank a little, probably because I drastically cut down my mileage post NYC marathon.
  • Day 1 legs and back workout, did 89 various grip pull ups. Day 60, did 133 pull ups.
  • Day 1 chest & back, did 214 various position push ups. Day 56, did 334 push ups.
  • Start weight: 137.4 Current weight: 134.2 - my weight fluctuates between 133 to about 136 instead of 134 - 137. I think I actually have more muscle mass now.
29 days remaining in the program. I broke my diet while I was in Hawaii, but I'm back on it. I'm quite proud that I had not touched dessert for over 1.5 mo's before that. I can survive without it for another 30 or so days.

On another note, I bought my first pair of Newton running shoes today. I figure it's the best time to try out new shoes since it's the off season. Will be posting about it in upcoming days after I've broken them in.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Mileage

The following is my mileage for the final month of the NYC marathon training. As I mentioned in my previous post, lack of mileage reared its head around mile 5. But I didn't mind it one bit given the extra time I had.

What's not included in the calendar are the P90X workouts that went on 6 days/week, which I continue to believe helped me in the race and recovery.

With my racing season over, I'm looking forward to doing some relaxing and miles with some old buddies in Hawaii as they train for the Honolulu Marathon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

2009 NYC Marathon Race Report - Going Through the Motions

The 2009 NYC Marathon was my 3rd official NYC Marathon. I say 3rd because I ran it as a bandit most of the way through from in 2005. And of all three official races, I'd have to rank this as number three and least eventful. But more on that later. My experience for yesterday's race went something like this...

4:30am - Wake up, get dressed. Pack all my race day weapons which consisted of 5 roctane gels, a small bottle of water with lots of added table salt. For breakfast at Fort Wadsworth, a Clif builder bar and pineapple flavored Vita-coco.
5:00am - Left my apt to knock on neighbor's door who also ran the race. Other neighbor comes home with about 15 others in their Halloween garb.
5:30am - Our bus departs for Staten Island.
5:50am - 9:10am - Got to Fort Wadsworth early enough that neighbor and I claimed a semi dry spot in a tent.
9:15am - 10:20am - Waited with hundreds of increasingly frustrated runners who couldn't get into the starting corral for the wave. Not good energy usage IMO, so I tried to stay calm as others around me threatened to push the fence and screamed at officials. I ended up starting with wave 2 when I should've been with wave 1.

The Race
10:27am - I cross the starting line and I'm off! Love the adrenaline of a marathon start, especially in NY. Unfortunately, it wasn't completely there for me. But that helped since mile 1 is ALWAYS supposed to be slow. Covered the uphill on Verrazzano Bridge in 8:28.

Miles 1-4 - I knew to take it easy, but man, I felt like it was too easy because of the traffic. A lot of weaving. I think most people were running 8+ min/mile while I was trying to maintain 7:30's. Some guy along mile 3 blew his nose in front of me, and for some reason, the snot flew up and chunks of it landed on my forehead. Most disgusting marathon moment for sure.

Miles 5-10 - Somewhere around mile five, I started to feel the weight of my legs. From past experience, I realized then that the race was going to be longer than I thought and that I'd have to battle to the finish. I expected a fade at the finish and adjusted my time goal from 3:20 to 3:30. BTW, I've ALWAYS loved running through Ft. Greene and Lafayette Ave's even more so that 1st Ave. in Manhattan. Loud, proud spectators and the lively live gospel music by the African-American church at the latter part of the stretch is so awesome it makes me want to walk so I could enjoy more of the atmosphere. But I ended up averaging about 7:40's in this stretch because of the crowd.

Miles 11 - 15 - This is the part of the race that I know nothing about in terms of location. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Long Island City and a part of Queens. Still enjoyable running through a different part of the city though. I admonished a couple of able looking runners who were walking, and they started to pick up the pace. Legs definitely felt heavy going over the Queensboro Bridge, covering the span in 8:08.

Miles 16 - 20 - Exiting the Queensboro Bridge made me fall initially fell in love with the race. It's the closest I'll ever experience to playing the Super Bowl. Stadium atmosphere of spectators. The rush provides an energy boost for a couple of miles. Miles 17 and 18 were 7:13 and 7:28 respectively. I thought of trying for a sub 7 mile but decided it wasn't worth the effort. I didn't want to pay later. The latter part of this block of miles, I just wanted to keep my legs moving, particularly over the orange carpeted bridge. There were portions where I wanted to slow down and walk heading up to the Bronx, but my wife put this

on the back of my shirt. I couldn't be seen walking with that on my back :-P

Miles 21-25 - Time to gut it out. I was sick of the gel's and the gatorade so I took in only water these last miles. Just kept telling myself to keep my legs moving and not to walk. From the Bronx, all I could think of was getting to Central Park and facing that uphill mile. It wasn't as hard as I thought. I moved as my fast my heavy legs allowed me, which were threatening to cramp everytime I sped up just a little. That uphill mile was 9:07! Slow, but I didn't walk. Also cramped up a couple of times once in CP, but slowing down a little more alleviated it.

Mile 25 - finish - As I crossed the mile 25 marker, my watch read 3:19:57. A quick calculation told me I needed to maintain an 8 min pace the rest of the way. "Piece of cake," I thought. It wasn't, but thankfully the downhill to 5th ave and the crowds along CP South helped. Once I got into the park, with 100m to go, I saw that I had 30s to spare. I was going to make 3:30. Official finish time was 3:29:55.

Rest of the story
It always amazes me that the moment that I stop running after 26.2 miles or so, everything hurts. I wish the adrenaline boost from the last 1/4 mile would last a little longer. It never does. The painful walk to the exit seemed to take forever, but I needed to keep my legs moving so I wouldn't stiffen up badly. And for whatever reason, I felt like shedding happy tears of accomplishment along this walk. I was just so grateful to have finished. Unlike my previous races where I was motivated by a time goal, it was more of a battle to keep my legs moving.

So why is this my least favorite of the three that I've done? Like I said, It felt uneventful. I ran the mileage and hoped to experience the race. Didn't quite happen. My heart wasn't there. I still had fun and appreciate everything about the event. However, I may need to take a step back and volunteer or spectate next year to readjust my perspective.

The P90X Effect
The other factor I've been wondering about going into this marathon was the P90X program I started about 35 days ago. Looking back, I think the P90X program helped me to get stronger for running, particularly improvements to my core and flexibility. I also think it helped me to pull off a respectable time. Ultimately, I believe it was my lack of mileage that probably slowed me down. My heart rate averaged 166 - a few beats lower than my marathon PR average. Good cardio but uncooperative legs. What I've appreciated more about the P90X program though, is that I think it has helped me to recover a lot faster. It has only been a day, but I had no problems going down stairs and can pretty much function normally. I'm glad that the marathon is over so I can focus just on P90X from now until end of this year.

Garmin Mileage splits
P90X Program

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pre-marathon Thoughts

Not sure what to expect tomorrow. Here's why...

  • Insufficient mileage training (no 40+ mi wks)
  • One 20+ mi run
  • Started speed workouts about 5 wks from race, and not much of it
  • P90X workouts alongside marathon training have made me stronger and more flexible
  • Diet regimen from P90X program made me fuel better (ie no sugary desserts...for 32 days and counting!)
  • Less mileage might be good for my legs after all
My best estimate tomorrow is about a 3:30. My main goal is to have fun, then run fast. We'll see how it goes.

Off to bed for a 3 hr nap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

P90X and Marathon Training

In one word....DRAINING

I've found myself working out until 1:30am once. This past Tuesday, I did phase 2 chest, shoulders and tri's (by far the toughest workout) and immediately followed that with 5.5 miles with a Tabata set.

Luckily, I have only just over a week remaining. I'm in day 24 of P90X now. Supposed to have a rest week, but decided to push that back to next week to accommodate my taper schedule. I figure I can suffer for one more week. Work is also starting to calm down, thank God. I think I'm starting to see some light.

Tonight, it's back, biceps and abs, which I'll probably start at about 11pm. Why so late? Because first league basketball game started tonight. We lost. I stunk it up. Got home at about 8. Took a nap. Had dinner. Rest. Workout.

I guess that about sums up what I've been up to the last few weeks. Work. Workout. Recover whenever I can squeeze in the time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

P90X Day 14 - Chest & Back + Interval Workout

Haven't written in the last few days because I've been out and about at a friends place and road tripping. But that doesn't mean that I skipped my workouts. As a matter of fact, I was able to squeeze in 20+ miles and the kenpo workout on Sunday. The kenpo video turned out to be quite beneficial to loosen up stiff joints and muscles from the long run.

Today's was the third time doing the chest & back routine. And I was definitely happily surprised at the results. Here's my chart for this workout:

I tried to keep the first round same or slightly better than the previous week's numbers. Then go all out in the second round. I was able to almost double some second round numbers. Huge improvement. I remember the first week, I could barely do two diamond push-ups. This week I did 9! It's exciting to see the progress :-)

Also did a treadmill interval workout today. I'd forgotten how much more interesting it is to do interval workouts on a treadmill. Inverted ladders - 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute repeats at increasing speeds with rest periods at about half the interval. Covered about 6.75 miles for the workout during lunch.

Friday, October 9, 2009

P90X Day 9 - Shoulders, Arms, Ab Ripper

It's definitely the lack of carbs that had me bonking.

Continued with my carb lifestyle today and I felt great. Lots of energy to last throughout the day and my workouts. Ran the same route today as I did Tuesday at probably a faster pace and I didn't feel anywhere near as heavy-legged or winded.

Also was able to put a good effort into the P90X workout tonight. Comparing my numbers to the first time I did shoulders and arms, I think I slacked off too much the first time I did it. Needed to make up for the lack of effort.

After 9 days, I'm not sure if there are any results yet. What I am proud of though is that I haven't had any dessert since I started the program. :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

P90X Day 8 - Plyometrics

This second week of P90X isn't nearly as hard as the first week. It may be because I didn't have a fit test where every exercise was to failure. Or it could be because I'm more familiar with the workouts now. One hour a day is pretty standard anyhow. I tried to do tonight's plyometrics video with more gusto than the first week so I could get my heart rate a little higher. I'm pretty sure I did because my quads were on fire. Frankly, I probably could have or should have gone for a run afterwards, but I'm doing two workouts again tomorrow so I took it easy.

Going back to yesterday's post, I made sure I ate more today. Had waffles and a peanut butter banana shake for breakfast. Some mixed nuts late morning. Fried chicken, potatoes and mac and cheese for lunch. Smoked almonds in the afternoon. Turkey burger and pasta for dinner. And finally an energy bar and a glass of milk late evening. I think that tips me over 3000, which is about right :-)

Why I've Been Bonking - P90X Day 8

This past weekend's long run and a couple of subsequent runs have set me back mentally in my marathon training. I don't recall struggling so much in a long run. Looking back, the things that changed were:
  • P90X routine
  • P90X diet
  • head cold
Of all those things, I'm guessing that the diet has affected my running the most. I've done weeks where I've had 2-3 2x/day workouts, but never changed the diet. I've always relied on calorie dense foods for the energy (read brownies, pastries, muffins, etc). I've agreed to cut that source of energy from my diet for 90 days but I have not replaced the calories. I've satisfied my hunger with a banana or a handful of almonds, but I'm not getting the calories. A banana is about 100 calories while pastries can run 5x-6x that. So starting tomorrow, I'm going to eat more. What a delightful problem.

The P90X workout today was a repeat of the chest and back workout. Last week, this workout absolutely kicked my butt. This time, it wasn't so bad. I was able to do a couple of extra reps for most of the sets. I also paced myself better, going moderate on the first half and maxing out in the second half. The workout flew by tonight, which was a nice change.

Also ran some 6.5+ miles today during lunch. This is my high mileage week before the taper, so I have to make sure to get the miles in as well. And tomorrow is plyometrics. Might be a pretty rough week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

P90X Day 6 - Kenpo X

Decided to do the Kenpo X workout tonight following an easy 3.65 mile run. The video itself wasn't too difficult. It was actually kind of fun in an exercise video kind of way, and that's coming from a guy that dislikes exercise videos. The workout is a series of kicks, punches and stretches, with the most painful part being the squat positions.

Tomorrow is a rest day for P90X. Nice. I'm planning on an easy run tomorrow with a Tabata set just to get my speed going again. It's 5 wks to the marathon. Time has indeed flown.

P90X Day 5 - Legs & Back

I was definitely fearful heading into today's legs and back session. I had a difficult nearly 17 miles long run this morning, and the P90X workouts can be demanding. Thank goodness it wasn't all legs.

As it turns out, the workout wasn't that bad. The nice thing about P90X is the instructor's insistence on "try your best, forget the rest." I gave what I could and surprised myself that I was able to last through the workouts. I probably could have worked out a little harder by going lower on lots of lunges, but I think I earned some slack from the morning run.

The back portion of the exercises included several sets of pull-ups. By the time I was done, I checked my log sheet and saw that I completed 89 pull-ups in various grips and widths. Just one off the most I've ever done in a workout session. I'm pretty sure I'll be surpassing that eventually. I paced myself better in this session as well. Wanted to make sure I had a decent amount of reps for the second round.

The legs and back were followed by another 15 mins of the ab ripper set. I still can't complete the whole thing without taking a break, but I feel I did better this time than the first couple of times.

So after only five days, I have to say that I'm impressed with the program thus far. It can be as easy as you want with minimal results, or hard as you want for better results. I'll be choosing the latter as often as I can. What I've appreciated most thus far is that the program has put me on a better diet regimen. No sweets for 5 days! :-) I'd forgotten how much better I feel without dirty energy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

P90X Day 4 - Yoga

Sweat. Something I've never experienced doing yoga. Granted that's not saying much since I've done yoga maybe two other times, but I can honestly understand now why yogi's say yoga is a great workout. I enjoyed the yoga session enough that I'm looking forward to repeating it again. I feel more flexible, balanced and for whatever reason, a little more peaceful.

Not looking forward to tomorrow's workout. Have to do legs and back for P90X and do a long run (maybe 20 miles) in the morning. And because of that, I'm off to bed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September mileage


How about some props for low mileage training? Just over 5 weeks to go for the marathon and I have not yet done a 20+ miler or a 40+ mile week. By comparison, last year I averaged over ~50 miles/week from July to mid-October. I'm really enjoying this. With the marathon approaching though, I wonder if I can really stick to my "just have fun" goal and really forget about the time. It didn't happen at the Queens Half. I had fun, but my run was motivated by time. Same thing at the Continental Mile. Fun, but time motivated even though I was sick. In both races, I performed better than I expected. Maybe the same thing can happen at NYC?

Anyways, below is my September mileage:

P90X Day 3 - Shoulders, Arms, Ab Ripper

It's not every day that I'll wake up early to do a video. But that's what this P90x commitment is about. Knowing that I had to squeeze in a run today, I got up earlier than usual to finish the shoulders, arms and ab ripper workouts.

The workout itself was probably my favorite so far. Maybe it's because I didn't over exert myself. Or maybe it was because I was doing something different with every exercise instead of being in a squat position for nearly an hour. The hardest exercise was the side push-up. Lie on your right side and push up your torso with your left hand and vice versa. It's not so easy when it's one of the last exercises and the arms are wasted.

I can't overstate how this program has flipped a switch on my diet. I really don't crave sweets as much. I'm not dying for ice cream and chocolate. Rather, I've been wanting clean energy. Consequently, I feel "cleaner." I don't know how to quantify that, but it certainly feels nice.

87 days to go. :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

P90X Day 2 - Plyometrics

No wonder I'm not a fan of exercise videos. They feel like they take forever. The workout itself wasn't too bad. Cardio wise, I definitely would get a better workout doing intervals. But this P90X program is not about the cardio. This was about the nearly 1 hour of various squats and jumps. Doable, but uncomfortable. The hardest was for me was the swing kicks over the back of my kitchen chair.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have to do either a run or the P90X workout in the morning so I can squeeze in two workouts. Not really looking forward to it. It's forcing me to have to bed earlier. But it is what it is.

Diet wise, it has been only two days. Can't see a difference in appearance. However, I can feel the difference that I've been away from sugars for a couple of days. I feel a little "cleaner." I'm also staying away from fatty beef and dark chicken meat. Desserts and baked goods have been my addiction over the years and I doubt I'll ever kick the habit. For 90 days though, I think it's doable.

Lastly, our Vitamix blender came in today! I don't like whole fruits. So what's a boy to do? Turn them into smoothies! Can't wait to try it out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

P90X Day 1 Recap

The first workout absolutely kicked my a**. The workout consisted of various push-up stances and pull exercises - back and chest. Maybe I just paced myself badly, but my second round of workouts couldn't even produce half the reps I did in the first half. It was definitely a great workout.

My rep numbers were as follows:

Hardest exercises were definitely the diamond push-ups and the military push-ups. For the second round of pull-ups, I needed chair assistance to complete the sets. Embarrassing.

As far as the diet's concerned, no sweets today or for the next 89 days. Got in most of my portions of protein, carbs, fruits, vege's, etc.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have to mix in at least a 5 mile run somehow with the day two plyometrics workout.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Final Thoughts on Queens Half

  • Those hills starting at mile 9 were brutal. How about a course reversal a la Brooklyn?

  • Enjoyed rooting for runners, especially colleagues, at ~mile 12.25, top of the last and seemingly highest and steepest climb.

  • More sore today than I'm accustomed due to the downhills, especially down hills. Quads mostly.

  • Racing heart rate was 176 getting as high as 189, albeit at the finish! No wonder I needed a walk break. And the hills didn't help.

  • Comparatively, my NJ Marathon race barely broke 170 over 26 miles. Lacking training manifesting.

Race Report: Queens Half Marathon


Hadn't really raced for the the last few months, nor have I done any speed training. This has been one of my most relaxing marathon training sessions in a long time and I've been really enjoying it. Not that I've been taking time off completely. I've just been running really reduced mileage. Max mileage in a week so far has been 38 and change, and longest run some 18 and change.

To start mixing things up a bit and give this season a semblance of training, I thought I should at least try to race the Queens Half today. Last time I ran this race a couple of years ago, I was so late that the timing mats at the start were gone. I saw some poor runners experience the same today. At mile 3, the shuttle buses were just dropping them off...they still had to run to the start! But I digress...

This year, I got there in time to start around the back. At least the timing mats were still there. I wasn't sure how I would push, but the first few miles I couldn't anyway because it was so crowded. I ended up running on the sidewalk for the first 4 miles. Here's a play by play of my splits:

Mile 1: 7:52 - stuck in a crowd in tight streets
Mile 2: 7:21 - as I warmed up, I started to pick up the pace
Mile 3: 7:18 - many turns in this race
Mile 4: 7:04 - feeling decent, so I start to continue to ratchet up the pace slowly
Mile 5: 6:47
Mile 6: 6:50
Mile 7: 6:54
Mile 8: 6:45
Mile 9: 7:52 - 1.15 mi on my Garmin. Regardless, I remember this mile because this is where some wicked hills started to show up.
Mile 10 -11: 13:49 - Forgot to hit the lap btn. After the 7:52 on mile 9, I decided to take it easy because the pace I ran felt unsustainable. Took a walk break at a water station.
Mile 12 - finish: 7:59 - Tried to at least finish strong. A guy passed me with about 100m to go, and I wanted to finish before him at the finish. Luckily was able to do it.

Official final results: 1:34:15 (7:11/mi)

The race was a lot of work. I do not enjoy racing down hills. I actually prefer up hill running. There are also a lot of hills at Central Park. I think I'm going to stick with that course from now on. Queens was too inconvenient a race, but I had a lot of fun.

Congrats also to my colleagues who ran their butts off today. You know who you are :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August miles

I think I'm doing just enough to be complete a marathon without injury. I ran just over three miles in the second week, which is ridiculous for not being sick. Like I said in previous posts, I just haven't been into it. But now that September's here and with nine weeks to go, I have to start picking it up a little bit. I told my wife that I think it's time to start getting serious about training the remaining weeks and she seemed rather pleased about it. That came as a surprise to me because putting running at a higher priority means less time home. Anyways, we'll see how it goes.

Here's the link to my Google spreadsheet for my training thus far.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

10 week check

I've already mentioned this in my previous posts, but I am REALLY enjoying skipping the hard marathon training. Just looked at my training plan a minute ago and saw that I was supposed to do 20 today. Didn't come close - did 14 instead, but it felt like 20 because of the warmth and humidity. The only reason I'm doing these long runs now is so that I can at least jog the marathon comfortably. I don't want to have to do a death march starting at mile 13.

Speaking of enjoying the NYC marathon, I think I'm going to borrow my wife's Pre and post photos as I go. I had so much fun taking pictures at the NYC half that I want to do the same for this event. I'll probably need to buy her an extra battery so the charge lasts. As far as time is concerned, I'm probably looking at a 3:45 - 4:00 run including the photos along the way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

There's A First for Everything

Never ever thought I'd get smacked by hail in the summer. Yet, that's what happened tonight. Thanks to heat and humidity induced grumpiness, my wife and I decided to step out at about 9:45 tonight just as a flash thunder and lightning storm happened on Manhattan. It was a blast. My wife and I like enjoying New York moments, and this was definitely one of them - a stormy, hailing rainstorm for our first night run in Central Park.

When we got back, it was somewhat cooler in the apartment. And thanks to the rain and endorphins, we were much better company for each other.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Active Summer Weekends

Over the past few years especially since moving from Hawaii, many of my weekends have consisted of running...then running some more. It's not as easy to jump in the ocean for a swim or go out for an easy bike ride in the middle of Manhattan. But the past few weekends have been active in ways other than running. And I've definitely enjoyed it a lot more.

I've been getting more into canoe paddling lately. The past few Saturday's, I've gone paddling on the Hudson by Chelsea Piers, and it's knocked me out every time once I got home. It's a total body workout...legs, core, back, shoulders...merciless if you work honestly. The last couple of Sunday's, I have enjoyed 55 mile bike ride to Nyack and today, the NYC Half Marathon with my wife.

Speaking of which, I have no doubt I enjoyed it a lot more running with her than if I were to push for time. I didn't particularly care what the time was. I enjoyed the course a lot more, and there was an energy at the back of the pack that I've missed. There was an honest excitement about discovering the love of running, which I'm sure I'll find again. In the meantime, I'm just looking to enjoy one active weekend after another while the days are warm.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catching Up

It's getting longer between posts, but it definitely has been for the better. As I said, I'm refocusing my energies elsewhere. Never thought that I'd be enjoying it as much. There are things in life other than running....BUT, I still need to run :-)

Without really trying, I might actually hit nearly 40 miles this week. I'll be running to NYRR tomorrow to pick up the NYC Half race packet, run to the starting line on 85 for the NYC half then run the race. Here's my running spreadsheet for this NYC marathon training period.

About the NYC half, I'm definitely not going to race it. Looking forward to doing an easy run with my wife. It's not every Sunday that I get to run with her.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Doing Just Fine Without the Running!

This past week, ran 3.65 miles. Managed to do that by choosing other things besides going out for a run, and found that I've enjoyed spending time with my wife and riding my bike. I think the hardest part has been making sure that I still will be able to fit into my pants because of my addiction to baked goods. But whatever. Planning on riding out to Nyack tomorrow in place of a long run. Next week is the NYC half. Won't be racing. Just enjoying the route. And I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not Quitting, Just Relaxing

Yep, I'm going to relax this season. No more training to get faster. Just going to enjoy running for the sake of running for however long I want to. That said, my marathon training is going to take a back seat. Rearranging my priorities and going to enjoy life for a little bit. :-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Missed Long Run This Weekend...

Probably my first that i can remember since I started marathon training. But if I were to miss it for any reason, it would be because I'm with my wife on a trip - in that particular order. We're enjoying our first visit to Niagara Falls. I think this place is a must see for every nature lover. The Maid of the Mist must be experienced also. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heavy Leg Workouts

Is it the summer? Lack of motivation? For whatever the reason, most of my recent workouts and runs have felt heavy legged. I haven't had the motivation to kick it into my highest gear in the last 30 meters of intervals or just to raise my heartrate too high. Just going through the motions of workouts. Be that as it may, I'm still getting my mileage. Here are my last two workouts:

Tuesday Central Park hill fartleks

Wednesday easy miles

Current training calendar

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Most Memorable Long Run

Had a truly memorable long run in the park this evening. Except for the relative warmth and humidity, it started off rather unassumingly. Part of me wished I had run in the morning because it was cooler and I could've spectated the NY triathlon. But things turned out for the better.

I endured the first 6 miles of ~95% humidity and 83F. In a matter of minutes, the skies opened up. And I mean O P E N E D. Crackling thunder, lightning, and torrential flow from the heavens. At one point, the rain was so thick I couldn't see past 100 yards. Heading up Harlem Hill had the surreal feeling of running upstream on moving ground. At one point, I thought there was a low-flying chopper directly overhead only to realize it was crackling thunder. It felt so close a lady running ahead of me jump startled. It was perfect running weather. I thought the only thing missing was my wife to enjoy the downpour with me. :-)

The rain finally subsided after 4-5 miles. What started off as a soupy, muggy run turned out to be one of the favorite runs I've ever had here in NY.

Now if I could only get my ipod working again.

Current training spreadsheet

Easy Morning Run, Great Day

Enjoyed a great day today. Started off with an easy morning run around the Central Park reservoir, and that wasn't even any where near my favorite part of the day. Sara finally got me out to paddle an outrigger canoe with New York Outrigger. Even though it was on the Hudson, it was a great experience to be out on open water again. We went for about 1.5 miles shoulder burning miles, and the burn wasn't from the sun either. It's a terrific upper body workout and a great change of pace from running. Working out under the hot sun always stirs up a good appetite, so we had an unexpectedly tasty brunch at Smorgas Chef. After a couple of hours of eating, relaxing and talking, we had a nice walk home. Felt like we were dating all over again :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Central Park 5 Mi Loop w/ Tabata Set

It was a pleasant, cool workout in the rain tonight and I enjoyed a pensive run. Running is my favorite form of meditation. I escape a little deeper when the rain chases most runners, bikers and tourists away from the park. Those escapes aren't meant to be documented.

As far as the workout is concerned, instead of trying to time a strict 20 seconds, I've noted it takes me just a little 20s to sprint from pole to every other pole along the east side straightaway in the park. I used those as guides, took 10s breaks, and repeated 8 times. Winded, yes, but not as I have been in the past. Admittedly, I did not do this workout at 100%. Probably more along 85%. But it's okay with me for now. Seems I'm going back to 2007 training mode where I'm just doing comfortable mileage. But it's okay for now because I have not yet defined my performance goals for the marathon.

Here's my spreadsheet so far this week. Planning on going for an easy 6-7 tomorrow morning and then 13 on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Strength Training & Stretching

My body is still recovering from last night's workout so instead of going for an easy run, I decided to do some strength training and stretching. Since I'm still in July, I decided to continue with my pull-ups and push-ups challenge. Also added crunches to the routine, and finished off with about 25 minutes of leg stretching for some sort of speed session in CP tomorrow.

The past few weeks, I thought my push-up numbers were hindered because they were done after the pull-ups. Not so. My max per one set are as follows:

Push-ups: 65
Pull-ups: 24

I guess my back has gotten stronger this past month, but not much progress with the pecs.

It's going to be interesting to see my training calendar after this training session is done. It'll provide a nice, quick view of my activities instead of browsing page to page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NYRR workout | 6x Columbus Cirle to Tavern on Green ~ 600m

Tonight I felt like running, which means my legs usually feel pretty sprite and light. I also hadn't run since Saturday so I felt fresh. To my surprise, my legs felt slow and heavy on the way to the workout. No biggie, I thought. I figure I'd feel better once the workout started.

The repeat distance from Columbus Circle to Tavern on the Green covers approximately the last 600m of the NYC marathon. There is an incline at about the halfway point which continues to the finish line. The incline is more pronounced the first 50m. My strategy is usually to go fairly easy on the flat and then be aggressive on the inclines. I figure I get a better strengthening session that way. My splits were as follows:

Rep 1: 1:46
Rep 2: 1:46
Rep 3: 1:46
Rep 4: 1:42
Rep 5: 1:42
Rep 6: 1:41

The difference between training this year so far is that I probably would have done those repeats in mid 1:30's. I'm not there yet, and I'm actually not sure if I want to be there. We'll see where I am in the coming weeks. It's still early.

My 09 NYC Marathon Training Calendar

Finally put together my training calendar for this year. Haven't followed one since I first started training around the turn of the millennium. Even then, it wasn't my own. I do remember though, the gist of the training. Check it out on Google docs:

I'm not exactly a stickler for structured training. I would much rather have a guide for every week, and that's how I've put together my calendar. The green days are speed workout days. Yellow days are discretionary, which means I can do whatever my body feels like doing that day. One orange days are for recovery, and one weekend day for a long run.

As I go through each week, I'll be filling out my activities. I already keep track on, but I like seeing the color-coding to remind me what I have to do. I'm going to try to replicate my training earlier this year for the NJ marathon where I BQ'ed. I did shorter training mileage, but kept the long runs (an absolute must!). The faster time, I believe, was a result of doing more speed training throughout the week. Last year, I was doing it only once per week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 NYC Marathon Countdown

Finally started today. Sixteen weeks and counting.

Had the company of a good friend this morning for my first long training run (11+ miles), and while I appreciated the company, I felt like I labored more than I should have. We were going a little fast for the first 5 miles at about a 7:10 clip, but that's something I should be able to handle at this point. I'm still thinking of my goals for this race. Speed? Comfort? Not sure yet, but I'm going to try and define them this first week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Easy Run Today

Besides the Wednesday track workout, all my runs this week have been short and easy. That included today's bridge run over Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. I'm hoping it'll be a short summer. I wasn't too fond of the heat and humidity. Interestingly, I used to love working out in this heat. Not anymore. Maybe age has something to do with it.

Go out for my first weekend "long" run tomorrow. I say long because it'll only be the second time I'm looking to run past 10 miles in a couple of months. I'll build up over the next few weeks and hope to have 4-6 twenty milers done before the marathon. I'm going to try to post up a schedule in the coming days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turned the Corner

I think I'm over my yearly period, as my wife likes to call it. Goals and workout wise, focus is resharpening and intentions clear, which is exactly how I like it. I think the most helpful changes I've made in the last week to help me turn things around are...
  • going to bed before midnight
  • reestablish that I'm training for something (NYC marathon - 16+ wks left!)
I wish those were magic bullets every time I feel lazy, worn or burned out, but it seems to change every single time. I've come to realize that I just have to try and minimize the damage whenever this period happens.

That said, I'm off to do some pushups, pullups and stretches. I haven't been keeping up with my strength exercises as I should because I realized I'm not going to reach 100 straight or 30 straight. As of tonight, my max numbers are as follows:

  • 25 pullups. Last two barely got my chin past the bar.
  • 65 pushups. I think this number is affected because I do it after my pullups.
Anyways, it's good to feel reenergized and no longer mopy dopy.

Niketown Workout | 4 x 1 mile - 10k pace

Now that I've officially decided to start training for the marathon, it's time to start getting my legs acclimated to long distances again. 16.5 weeks from the NYC marathon, I thought tonight would be as good a time as any.

Started my workout this evening with a 2.4 mile commute from my downtown Manhattan to Paragon in Union Square. From there, the Niketown group headed out to the east side track about 1.9 (door to track according to my Garmin 405) miles away. Tonight's workout was four cruise intervals with a minute break between each set. My times were as follows:

Mile 1 | 6:39 - always feels hardest
Mile 2 | 6:39 - felt easier
Mile 3 | 6:37 - little harder
Mile 4 | 6:32 - picked it up over the last 100m to bring down time

The workout was sustainable and uncomfortable. Sustainable because of the easier pace. Uncomfortable because of the warmth. I can't believe I've done Honolulu Marathon's in this weather. Another 1.9 miles cooldown jog to Paragon made my total mileage about 10.2 miles. Significant for me because I haven't done that in a couple of months.

Interestingly enough, I felt like a hamster during these workouts. I've never been a track workout person. I prefer the undulating hills and changing views in Central Park over counting laps.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Inactive Weekend

On the workout front, this is the first weekend I've done nothing in Lord knows how long. Funny thing is, I didn't miss it. I've been in Philly and in central New Jersey this weekend for my best man's wedding and wedding related activities, and while I did think of going for a run this morning, it never got past that. Instead, I napped, ate, and napped some more. I still wonder if I can ever completely let go and not care. Maybe next summer, after the Boston.

The NYC marathon is on Nov. 1, which leaves me about 3 1/2 mo's. I started seriously training for the NJ marathon when the calendar turned February, which gave me just about 3 months. My rationalization is that I'm at a better starting point now than I was in February, so it was okay to completely take off this weekend. I do have to start training for the NYC half marathon next month though.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CP bridle path easy run

Still in my maintenance, not so into running mode but still need to go through the motions mode. So that means easy miles at every opportunity. Ran with my neighbor across the hall again. We've lived across each other since Sara and I moved here and only now we've been going on runs together. Still, it's always nice to get to know neighbors.

Our route was my usual bridle path run to 102nd st. Forgot to switch on my watch from Columbus Circle so the distance is inaccurate. My legs felt heavy from last night's workout, but that's still expected. Once I start moving my mileage up to the 40's and 50's and my body reacclimates to more running, I should recover faster from the hard workouts.

Schedulewise, I'll probably start doing my long runs in August. July's been unusually busy. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Rather enjoy all of that for now before I train for the NYC marathon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NYRR Workout | 3 x 1mi repeats on CP lower loop

After a seemingly intense work day, I felt like I needed to give my negative energy a good a** kicking goodbye in the form a speed workout. Needed to create some happy juice, and nothing gets rid of grumpiness and gets happy juices flowing like a speed workout. I've been saying that I haven't cared much about running lately. That's still true, but I still need to go through the motions so I don't hurt myself training for and running a marathon.

Tonight's workout were 3 x 1 mile repeats starting at about 68th st on CP East and running CP's lower loop in a clockwise direction to the marathon finish at Tavern on The Green. The route runs flat, decline, flat (mostly), and an incline to the finish. My repeats were as follows:

Mile 1: 6:39 (was catching up with a friend, thus the slower time)
Mile 2: 6:11
Mile 3: 6:10
The highlight of my workout was actually just before the 3rd repeat, when I saw my wife jogging by and we got to say a quick hello. It was just fun to see her out there and give her a little kiss :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coming Around

No matter how hard I try to fight it or deny it, every year I reach a period of not wanting to run. My miles are not as enjoyable and my efforts laborious. I think this most recent bout is finally, thankfully, coming to an end.

My mileage the last several weeks have been in the low to mid 20's. Speed workouts have been only once/week. No long runs. To mix things up, I've been biking, strength training and stretching.

But today, I felt like I finally started to turn the corner. Not because I went running, because I didn't. I just started to miss running again. For that reason, I decided to not run today. I want to feed the drive so I start to itch and feel the drive again. I'm going to deny myself for another couple of weeks then start marathon training.

And I'm pretty sure I'll be really eager.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Strength Training Update

It's been over week since me and a couple of colleagues started our strength training challenge, with the ultimate goal being 100 pushups straight and 30(?) pullups straight. I've done reps about every other or every 3rd day. The following is a comparison of my baseline start last week and where I am today.

60 pushups
13 pullups

65 pushups
19 pullups

Quite a big jump on the pullups, so I think it's a combination of a weak night last week and doing them wrong today. I think I'm supposed to straighten my arms and hang before I start my next one. Have a little less than a month to be my mini version of a ninja warrior! :-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Mileage

All that needs to be said about my efforts last month is that I did not break 30 miles in any week. And I'm quite happy with that! In about two weeks I'll start training for the NYC marathon. A couple of months later, I'll be training for another spring marathon - the Boston! So I feel like it's a good idea to take breaks when I can. I'm not an elite runner and enjoy spending my time doing others things. :-)

Niketown Track Workout - 2x800 | 2x600 | 2x400

Since I missed my NYRRC workout last night, I had to attend the Niketown workout. I had originally planned on running from work to Paragon Sports but left work too late. Got there just a few minutes before we left for the track, enough time to say chat with some colleagues.

After the nearly two mile commute to the track and a brief stretch, we were ready for our workout. My splits were as follows:

800 - 3:02
-- 200m easy jog
800 - 3:04
-- 200m easy jog
600 - 2:11
-- 200m easy jog
600 - 2:12
-- 200m easy jog
400 - 1:16
-- 200m easy jog
400 - 1:15
-- 200m easy jog

Based on my HR, I should have been able to push a little harder tonight. And I did feel that way. It was a good short workout, but last week's worker was definitely harder. I just feel like I'm done with really pushing for faster times.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raining, Cool....I Went for a Run

Skipped my speed workout tonight but all for the better. Long day at work and short rest the last few days would have made for a bad quality workout (read: lazy). But I needed to get out tonight to run off some pent up negativity and just enjoy the evening, and what a perfect evening it was to enjoy the park. Temperature in the mid-60's and the sky flooding the grounds below, I had a feeling it was going to be a refreshing jog.

And so it was
. :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nyack Out & Back Ride from Central Park

First time doing this ride and I must say it was quite pleasant. Joined up with friends and colleagues at the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge after a brisk ride from Columbus Circle.

The ride out and back was very leisurely, which is what made it pleasant. Rolling hills and a couple of big downhills provided the necessary rush. And once we made it to the Runcible Spoon about 18 miles later, we downed pastries, coffee and gatorade to refuel for the ride back. I had never seen so many bikers gathered at a bakery.

It took a little longer than expected because we had a mountain bike with us (mad props to DA for toughing it out), but looking forward to doing this ride again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strength Training

Suffice it to say that for now, I'm out of running mode. That does not mean that I'm not running. I'm just running to maintain now and not push so much to get faster times. I have about three weeks left in this mode. Until then, I've decided to devote some time to a little bit of strength training. Specifically, some of my colleagues and myself are competing to be able to do 100 pushups straight and 30 pullups straight. I'm about halfway on the pushups and almost halfway to the pullups. I'm hoping that 5 short weeks will help me to my goal. I'll try to document my progress here on a biweekly basis.

My starting point on June 26, 2009:
60 pushups
13 pullups

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Niketown Track Workout | 800/1200/1600/1200/800 ladder

Joined the Niketown training group that meets at Paragon on Wednesday evenings for the first time, and I must say that besides the tough workout, I enjoyed myself. I was also pleasantly surprised that it was not the big group that I had expected.

Tonight's workout was an 800/1200/1600/1200/800 on the track
. I'm not, and never have been a track runner, so I was looking forward to it. Going to the workout though, I wasn't sure how taking last week mostly off and sleeping at 3am last night would affect my workout. I joined with the 6:30 pace group and my splits went as follows:

800m - 3:10
200m easy recovery
1200m - 4:39
200m easy recovery
1600m - 6:11
400m easy recovery
1200m - don't know. forgot to press stopwatch, but I'm guessing about 4:50
200m easy
600m - 2:37

I stopped 200m short on my last repeat. Sickens me to say that I QUIT. FAILED to complete the final 200. But I couldn't go anymore. Gassed. Spent. Out of it.

It was a great workout with amicable coaches, and probably will go back again after my road runner sessions are done.

The best part about the workout was the commute home. It was about a 2mi run home straight up Broadway, through Times Square and left on 47th to 9th Ave. Lots to see and lots of crowds to dodge made it a short commute.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ninja Warrior!

I just discovered Ninja Warrior this weekend. Several years late, I know, but nonetheless inspired. Wow, some of the competitors on the show are the most incredible athletes I've seen. If you haven't seen the show, check out Here's one of my favorite demo's:

So what's this got to do with running? Nothing really, but I think I want to incorporate more upper body training to my workouts. I'll be happy being able to do 50 pull-ups and 100 push-ups straight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No Hard Workouts This Week

Seems I've been notching down my running the last couple of months. Short miles last month, but intense short miles. That reached an apex at the corporate challenge for me and I just kind of got tired of this hard running. Promised myself an easy workout week, as in no speed workouts this week. Just easy miles. And what do you know...I already feel like doing one tomorrow and it's only Thursday. Can't live with'em. Can't live without'em.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Run For The Sake Of It

I felt physically and mentally drained after Thursday's race. Even though I came up short of my goal, I was pleased with my effort. After digesting the experience, I came to realize that I really missed running. That is, running without the stress of time be it in racing or training. So that's what I did today.

The weather was perfect for a relaxing run; cool with some moisture. I was actually hoping for some rain to enjoy nature a little more :-) Within the park, I settled into a nice and easy pace. One of the best things about running in Central Park is that there's always others running. And that presents opportunities to chat with them along the way. Today, I met a 2:56 marathoner pushing his 17-mo. old twins in a stroller around the large loop. Meeting new people and talking along the miles has been one of my favorite past times here in NY, and I remembered that today because I wasn't training. I think I'm looking forward to marathon training again just so that I can enjoy the pavement again.

Race Report - 2009 Corporate Challenge

I'm a night person, but not usually because I eat late. I can't sleep with food in my stomach, and tonight was the second night in a row I've been out with friends eating late. Definitely enjoy the food, company and the social atmosphere, but I'm not a young buck anymore that can function normally on short sleep.

That said, what better time to write about the 2009 Corporate Challenge while I sip on green tea to ease digestion. My race experience in one word: painful. I wonder if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here are my splits.

Mile 1 | 6:08
Went out too fast, but I really thought that I could manage. Adrenaline has a way of throwing off pace. At this point, I thought I could slow down just a little bit and ease into a more manageable pace.

Mile 2 | 6:24
Slowed down some as planned, but realized that it was not having the restful effect I had expected. As a matter of fact, I felt pretty bad. 189 HR confirms that. I was not going to have a 2007 repeat, which was to completely shut down and walk a few seconds, but I'm not denying I didn't want it.

Mile 3 | 6:34
This was supposed to be the 6:10 mile, but it was just not going to happen with such a fast start. I kept pushing and trying anyway. Dropped shoulders, relaxed hands, leaned slightly forward, etc etc. I kept thinking, "only 3 more 800's. Only 2 more 800's. 400 at a time." Whatever kept my legs churning.

Mile 3.5 | 3:24 Totally gassed. Max HR of 196! That's the highest I've ever seen in the yrs I've had my monitor. No wonder I couldn't push any more. And no wonder my mouth and right arm went numb. Spirit was willing, but the body was shot.

Total time: 23:33
My Garmin405 read 3.53 @ 23:33, but I accidentally added 3-4 seconds and distance when I was trying to scroll through to the watch history post race. Also stopped it slightly after the finish. I think 23:29 was a more accurate finish, but rounding it up to 23:30.

I was 30 secs off my goal pace. Totally overshot. I did much much better last year at 22:10 when I didn't expect so much.

How did I miss so badly? Here's my reckoning:
  • went out too fast
  • self pressure
  • speed workout two days before wore out legs?
  • speed workout two days before made me expect a little more
And from this huge miss, I get the following:
  • motivation to continue speed work to get faster for the CC championship in October
  • wondering how much more headroom I have for short race speed
Congrats to my friends and colleagues who had a great race, had fun, and made the day a lot of fun. You know who you are.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Day to Pain

Anyone that races a 5k knows the pain associated with the short distance. I don't look forward to short races. The 3.5mi JP Morgan Corporate Challenge is one of the most tormenting races I do. This will be the third year I'm doing it. Here's a brief recap of how I did the first couple of years.

Central Park qualifier: First mile (uphill!!) at 5:55. Lord I didn't know I could go that fast, much less climbing to the highest point of CP. As soon as I saw the timer at the mile 1 marker, I hurt all over. My 2nd mile was about 7:00. About a half mile later, I HAD TO STOP and walk, hurting my ego just as much. Finished at about 22:48 if I remember correctly.

Championship: Don't remember the exact time, but it was 22:xx. I remember about 75m from the finish I started to get tunnel vision. Another painful race.

Central Park qualifier: 6:15, 6:17, 6:33. Finished at 22:10. Don't know how I ran that fast, but hoping to repeat the effort tomorrow. Went out fast, tried to stay fast, and hung on for dear life really after 2.5 miles. Didn't field a championship team.

We'll see what 2009 brings. If I were wishing for an early Christmas present, it would be sub 22:00 finish. My goal miles tomorrow are 6:20, 6:20, 6:10, 2:55 (final 800m), but we'll see how the adrenaline flows. I'm still striving to do a final mile in a race at sub 6. Hopefully that'll happen tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NYRR | 2 x 1.7mi Repeats (~6:25m/m avg)

Heading to NYRR speed workouts tonight, I was hoping we would get the 2 x 2mi repeats or the 3 x 1mi repeats along the lower loop. I thought either would be perfect for feeling Thursday's JP Morgan Corporate Challenge pace. My wish wasn't fulfilled, but I think our workout tonight was even better - 2 x 1.7mi, or twice Central Park's lower loop.

Here are my workout splits:

Lap 1: 11:06 min @ ~6:26/mi
Lap 2: 11:04 min @ ~6:24/mi

Interestingly enough, I thought the second repeat was a little easier. That should speak volumes for a good warmup pre short races.

My goal tonight was really to feel a 6:30 pace. I went a little faster, but I hope it doesn't affect me Thursday night. I'm a little nervous about the race since I have to try and race against my totally unexpected time of 22:11 last year. I'm hoping for a heavy dose of adrenaline on race day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Instead of a Run...

Went to watch Up at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Didn't regret it one bit. And when we got home, I ended up taking a short nap. I usually like to do an interval and intense type of workout three days before a race, but I was just too tired. I'll probably stretch and do some core workouts this evening.

And as far as Up is concerned, I give it a two thumbs sideways. The Incredibles and Aladdin are still my favorites.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kama'aina Potluck

There's nothing like seeing a bunch of Hawaii (or Hawaii spirited) folks transplanted into New York City. It's a great thing that Halawai ( organizes this potluck once a year to bask with others in the aloha spirit, live Hawaiian music and of course the great food. My wife baked some amazing butter mochi and manju sandwiched between a photo shoot and an audition. Not sure how she found the time to do all that.

My favorite part about going to these gatherings is the feeling that I was going to come across someone I knew back home. Sure enough, I came across a neighbor that lived in the same building back home. We'd never exchanged greetings in Hawaii even though we saw each other pretty often. We had to move 5000 miles to get acquainted.

After several hours of mingling and eating, I knew I needed to go for a run to set me straight. I'd had too much sugar. How could I resist all the local treats?? After the run, I had a savory dinner, cup of tea, watched the basketball game, and now putting a good full day behind me.

Training, where have you gone?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

National Running Day!

In honor of National Running Day, I supposed I owed it to the running world to do my fair share of mileage today. Did an easy run around the park with a good friend and had even hoped to see Deena Kastor since she was hosting a group run today. Alas, there didn't seem to be too many people in the park because of the rain and cooler weather. As for myself, I ended up doing 8.22 miles at 1:07. Probably won't run again until this weekend to keep my mileage down. Will need to do at least one more speed workout this week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NYRR Workout | 800m Repeats

There's always something joltingly nice about hard workouts after a long day at the office. It was hard to get going, but I've learned that's only in my head. Also still felt a little stiff from Sunday's race, so I wasn't sure what kind of effort I could put in tonight.

Heading out to the NYRR, I noticed it was also really muggy tonight. When I finally got there, I was already soaking in my sweat. The repeats did feel pretty heavy tonight. The first 3 repeats felt harder than the actual pace. I'm guessing it's because of the heat and leg fatigue.

I also decided to try something different tonight - jumped up to the faster group for the last 2 repeats. It had always been sort of a mental block for me to join that group but it actually wasn't that bad. Here were my results:

1 - 3:10
2 - 3:07
3 - 2:58
4 - 2:59
5 - 2:49
6 - 2:52

(forgot to press the lap btn after the 3rd repeat but I remembered the splits)

The other reason I wanted to jump up to the other group was because I'll be running the Corporate Challenge in 9 days. I wanted to feel that a 3:10 pace is easy so that I could do 6:20 for the first 2.5 miles and try for 6:00 the last mile. It's probably aggresive aspirations, but I prefer to shoot for the stars and miss than aim for the gutter and hit.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May 09 Mileage and Recap

Looking at my my events earlier this year, I knew May was going to be busy considering that I had planned 3-4 races: NJ Marathon, Queens Biathlon, Brooklyn Half (skipped), and Japan Day race. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be because I ended up going light on my miles after the NJ Marathon. Here's a look at my mileage calendar for May 09:

As you can see, my post marathon schedule went really easy. I was just happy to have finally qualified for Boston and have been really relaxing since. This is some of the lowest mileage I've posted in a while and it feels pretty good. Fortunately, I've been able to keep up the intensity and managed to post a PR for Japan Day.

Race Report: 2009 Japan Day 4-miler - Final Thoughts

Post race thoughts always linger to the day after for me and I like to learn what I can in the hopes of getting better. Some of today's thoughts...
  • I'm very happy about 3 straight PR's, but...
  • I could have done the first mile faster with more time to warm-up
  • Even with Cat Hill, I think I could have done mile 3 faster
  • Try to start closer up front to mitigate traffic and weaving. Actual distance was 4.04mi yesterday, which added about 12-15 seconds to the race.
  • Still can't figure out how I ran 6:19 pace for 3.5mi in last year's corporate challenge. Yet, I feel faster this year.
  • Racing down hills to make up time will always hurt more the next day than running up hill
  • Not running 10k the day before as previously planned I'm sure helped keep my legs fresh
  • I'm enjoying taking time off from long runs for now

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Race Report: Japan Day 4-miler

First of all, here is the official line from the race:
Here is my race according to my Garmin 405.

Quick summary:
Finish time: 26:14*
Pace: 6:33*
Overall place: 166

* PR! Previous bests were 26:33/6:38

This was one of those races where I would be satisfied with the time my max effort gave. I wasn't sure if max effort was going to be a PR, but I entered the race pretty well rested and relaxed. I was more concerned about some friends doing a race for the first time today and making sure that it was worthwhile for them.

Got to the race at about 7:45am. That was a little late because I wanted to warm up. Left my friends and Sara after the cab dropped us off so I could do some warm up yardage. I wanted to start off this race faster than the last race, which to me meant about 6:30 or so. I also wanted to to see if I could run the last mile sub 6.

Mile 1 (from Garmin splits: 6:43 covering 1.01m - 6:40 avg )
Like I said, I wanted to start off faster than my last race. NYRR speed classes 3 wks ago were 800m repeats and I wanted to try and replicate just a little less than the effort of 800m @ 3mins. I ended up doing 6:43, which was a little slower than I'd hoped but didn't feel too bad considering that the 1st mile was rolling hills. Max HR was 181, which means I was serious today.

Mile 2 (from Garmin splits: 6:24 covering 1.01m - 6:22 avg )
If you're wondering, the extra .01 mileage comes from the weaving and running with traffic. The second mile included the descent from the highest point of the park so I wanted it to be a fast mile. Max HR was 184, indicating that I continued to push.

Mile 3 (from Garmin splits: 6:50 covering 1.01m - 6:47 avg )
This mile included Cat Hill so I knew it was going to be a slower mile. I tried to approach this mile as damage control. I didn't like seeing my time above 6:40's, but I felt like I was starting to red line so I had no choice. Max HR of 189 confims that I was red lining.

Mile 4 (from Garmin splits: 6:19 covering 1.02m - 6:11 avg )
I don't monitor my HR during a race, but I knew it had to have been high because I was hurting. As I passed the mile 3 marker, I knew there was no way I could do a sub 6 mile. I tried to shoot for 6:15. Thankfully, a fast local runner passed me. I tried to keep pace with her but failed. The final 800m was some of the most painful 3+ minutes of my racing life. I just tried to draw from my previous workouts/races to remind me that I could hold on. Finally crossed the line at 26:17. Max HR was 193. That's the highest HR I've ever had and seen that only one other time during last year's urbanathlon.

I didn't go into today's race thinking of a PR but glad I came away with one for the third straight race now: Run As One, NJ Marathon, and today. Last year, I didn't want to run these shorter races hard. They hurt. I'm discovering, though, that they're rewarding in a different way.

Japan Day NYRR event page

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blowouts Are Boring

Just finished watching the Lakers/Nuggets game. While I'm ecstatic about the result, the game wasn't that interesting. The Nuggets didn't play like they did the first 5 games: lack of hussle and bad defense. Credit to the Lakers for an extremely efficient offense and tighter defense, but the Nuggets just weren't the scrappy group that I was expected especially in an elimination game. I feel like that lack of effort is disrespectful to the team and to the fans.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prepping for the Japan Day Race

I know it's only Wednesday, but I think it's never too early to start planning a race. In this case, the Japan Day 4 miler. I actually started thinking about it Monday. I've already run Monday and did a speed workout last night. That means no running Wednesday and Friday; 30 minutes of stretching instead. Tabata intervals on Thursday, easy 10k Saturday, then run like a bat outta hell Sunday. My goal is to run between 6:30 - 6:35 and further drop my 4mi PR this year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NYRR Workout | 3x Harlem Hill

I was actually hoping rain would offer me up an excuse to skip this evening's workout. Unfortunately, the skies stayed mostly shut so I had to go. It was good thing I did. I needed to get out there after an easy week.

Before going to my splits, I do want to preface that I've been trying to do my speed workouts more "smartly." Read: lazily. I've been used to going all out for every interval workout but that's very taxing. After a PR effort marathon, a biathlon two weeks later, I guess I should have expected a desire to notch down my workout efforts. Going forward, I think I'm going to go at about LT threshold workouts instead of MAX HR. Here's my splits from tonight's workout around Harlem Hill.

The laps are those that measure 1.13 to 1.15. As a comparison, here's my splits from the same workout on March 17.

It looks like the two workouts compare favorably, but I much prefer tonight's effort level. Looking at my HR, it was still a great workout, but it felt a lot less taxing.

The other reason I'm trying to save legs on this workout is that I'm running the Japan Day race on Sunday and I'd like to try and race it.