Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Another week in the books. Work is still kicking my ass and something I did on Monday kicked it a bit more too :(

Monday - 45 min spin class, 4 miles running in 36:02 (9:00/mi). This was the first time I've both attended spin and ran on a TM in awhile and either one or the combo of the both of them left a mark on my bod. Legs are irregularly tight and hamstrings are very crabby. I will not be continuing with this Monday workout at any point in the near future. Might replace it with another session of yoga, we'll see.

Tuesday - rest day, see explanation in Monday's workout. Poops.

Wednesday - 90 mins of yoga. Again, everything felt way too tight for where I was just a week ago. I did feel much better after class but wasn't happy with my perceived effort.

Thursday - 8 miles running in 1:05:13 (8:09/mi). This run was a dream. On total cruise control and the pace felt effortless. NYC temps were right around 55* and just a light breeze off the Hudson.

Friday - 5 miles running in 50:22 (10:04/mi). Supa sleazy recovery run but a little too little a little too late - more on that later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bi-polar Running

As yesterday's LR concluded and Missy and I spent some time stretching out, I commented to her that the weekend's events felt like bi-polar racing. Running in my first ever mile race on Saturday and then getting in a 21 miler on Sunday could not be further from one another on the spectrum of running. Mindset is different, pacing is different, fueling is different, and pace is most certainly different. Here's how it all worked out...

As noted previously I had a week full of extremely easy running. And while the soreness in my legs quickly worked itself out, by Friday it also felt like all the zip in my legs had exited as well. Eeeks! Not the warm, fuzzy feeling you'd hope to have on the eve of a mile race. Nevertheless, I met up with Missy on Saturday morning prior to our heats and ran some warm-up miles + a couple qtr mile sprints to get the juices flowing. Uh yeah, those qtr miles just about convinced both of us NOT to run the mile. Good gawd. Against better judgement we did forge on. :-) Missy was first with the youngin' heat and she looked more than ready! And while I was still nervous and anxious as all hell, I took a lot of comfort in seeing Missy return to the start line after her mile, still intact having survived her heat. She ROCKED it, btw. Anywho, cannon goes off and so do all of the 30-39 yr old women in my heat. The course is a straight shot down Fifth Avenue from 80th St. to 60th St. Missy had told me there's a crest at about 1/2 mile and after that it's down hill. From 3/4 mile on you can see the finish line. So I'm moving and trying to get it all under control - systems are good. Legs have lost their feeling of concrete pegs and I'm not dying. I crest at 1/2 mile and am on 6:0_ (something) avg pace - it was a quick glance and all I saw was 6 and : and a 0 but not the last digit. So I lost some speed in the second half but seeing that finish line in the distance, like a mirage kept me moving. Crossed in 6:25 and legs felt super! In fact they felt fine the remainder of the day and into the next. Just had some burning in my upper chest and a bit of cough for the couple hours post-run. So the mile was a surreal but successful endeavour. I have no doubt I could improve vastly in such a running distance but really, why run one mile when you can run 20+ miles.

And so we move into my other running personality, center stage, the next day.

Again Missy and I had a date to meet up prior to the ING 18 mile tune-up race. It was gonna be a wet one, likely a very wet one - rain started the night before and continued in a steady fall. I ran to our meeting spot, met her and continued to the race's start. That ended up being 3 miles on the nose. The race is 3 counter clockwise laps around the big loop in CP. Nothing too exciting or unknown about this course. In fact I could write a crazy description of each and every up, down, and turn on the big loop especially in this direction. Luckily we had each other. Missy and I both decided we'd run it pretty easy and if we were feeling good, would pick it up in the final miles. And so we were off. The miles clicked away and the rain continued to fall. I ended up taking two gels around 7 and 13-14 and felt good. Real good. Legs were strong and full of pep & my breathing was never labored. I'd say we maintained a 9:10-9:15 pace for most of the miles and on the last 2+ we climbed Cat Hill one last time and Missy started it up. She was encouraging the whole time, speaking of Boston and not giving up - it was awesome! Time to dig in! She pulled ahead on that hill and a bit more after the ascent but she was always in sight. We had less than two miles to go and both continued to pour it on. I need to recheck my Garmin but I believe the last two miles were 8:10 or less and a sub 8:00 and the handful prior to that were sub-9:00s. So a total of 21 miles in approx. 3:13 (9:11/mi).

What a way to polish off a fun weekend of running and to exercise my Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Build up to the weekend

I took special care all of this week to take it super easy with all runs, allowing my legs to fully recover from RTB and to prep them for a weekend of racing. Quite boring to look at but it worked!

Tuesday - 8 miles running, supa sleazy (slow + easy)
Wednesday - 90 mins yoga
Thursday - 8.6 miles running, supa sleazy
Friday - 4 miles running, supa sleazy

I didn't wear a watch on any of the runs and only roughly knew when I left and when I returned home. Main goal was to run slow and if I thought I was running slow enough, I slowed down even more. I was hoping to get to the pool too but momentarily forgot that I'd man-handled my goggles on my last trip out for laps and needed to pick up a new pair. Since then I've purchased another pair and will be back at the pool this coming week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Musings and recovery

I forgot to mention that although I totally blanked on getting a picture of us together, I was lucky enough to run into Sarah and her crew in the parking lot @Cannon Mtn. before the start of RTB. However, Walter did get them in the background of another shot - woohoo! Here they are in all their super hero goodness, Sarah was Wonder Woman. Looking forward to hearing more about her first RTB experience.

I've mentioned it elsewhere but I seem to be recovering from this year's relay much faster than last year. I was walking down stairs on Sunday while still in NH with some pain and then all day Monday without much more than a slight bit of uncomfortableness. Undoubtedly using the stick while still in the relay, eating & hydrating well and getting some solid zzzs on both Saturday and Sunday nights have helped. I got out for a very nice and sleazy 8 miles last night. Legs are definitely still holding on to some residual soreness but nothing that would fall in the "out of the ordinary" bucket and nothing that feels like an injury. I've got yoga on tap for tonight and more easy running tomorrow and Friday along with a trip to the pool.

The coming weekend will be a fun one too! Missy and I are both running the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday and will finish in plenty of time to see the real action - elites! And then on Sunday we'll both be running the 18 mile tune-up put on in CP by NYRR

Sunday, September 20, 2009

RTB '09 - Notey's Bachelor Party

Another year of Reach the Beach and another phenomenal experience. If you haven't experienced a relay yet, plan to do one and soon! They are an enormous amount of fun, challenging and a unique experience to add to anyone's running resume. I feel particularly blessed to be a part of such a great group of people and to have the chance to take my running somewhere it's not most other times in the year. This is not exactly a race although if you ask the winners they'd tell you different. It's not training either. It's certainly an endurance event but not in the same sense as a marathon, ultra or even a long run. The terrain, at least to me, is not anything close to what I normally run on. Nor the time(s) of each run. What this is is the opportunity to act as a team. You certainly want to do your best. For me, to run better than I'd planned or run in last year's relay. To be harmonious with the others in your van and on your team. To help one another and support one another.

And that's exactly what Notey's Bachelor Party did! Notey (Bill), our team cappie, is getting married in just a couple weeks hence the name. After a couple later changes in the line-up we were all set. Our team had 10 runners; 6 would run 4 legs each (myself included) and 4 runners would run 3 legs each. Van 1 was lucky enough to score our driver and kick ass photog, Chris, from last year. Additionally we'd have Glenn leading us off, Beth following him, Jenn following her, me and Bill bringing up the rear. Bill would hand off to van 2 which included Matt leading off, then Walter, then Jen, then Annalisa and last (but not least!) Heather. We arrived to nearly identical conditions at Cannon Mountain as last year - overcast and windy. After decorating the vans, attending the safety seminar, dividing up the food, grabbing our shirts/bracelet/bibs and timing chip Glenn got us started just a few minutes after noon. Followed by Beth, who was the only lucky runner to get rained on, Jenn and then me...
  • my leg 1 (team leg 4) - 3:05 p.m. on Friday, 2.9 mi in 18:42 (6:26/mi)
I knew this leg well. Ran it last year and loved to hate it. It's not a long run by any means but you drop nearly 700 ft. in those short 2.9 miles and set yourself up for one hell of a sore set of quads. I took off knowing full well I'd run it harder than I should but also feeling like I wanted to stick with that approach. It was a helluva lot of fun! Ended up running this leg 1:05 faster than last year.

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather, Glenn, Beth, Jenn and then back to me again...
  • my leg 2 (team leg 14) - 10:02 p.m. on Friday, 8.13 mi in 1:04:55 (7:59/mi)
Another repeat leg from last year. I remember loving this run last year for several reasons. It's dark - like very dark. No big city lights and traffic getting in the way of the dark solace found in the country or a sky full of stars. The second half of the run is on ultra quiet country roads and full of rollers and just when you wonder when it might all end you take a left and find your next runner awaiting you near a little tent and a spot of light. I didn't love it as much as last year mostly b/c the aforementioned quad thrashing. It all seemed to set in a bit faster and this was the leg where I felt it most. The first half was fine, I was ticking away miles a bit too quickly in fact (7:30s) and decided I had better dial back if I was intending to make it without snapping a muscle. Second half was full of those rollers. Not so fun. The uphills weren't even the problem, it was the "relaxing" downhills. Ugh. Anywho, the solidarity of the run made up for the pain in my legs and soon enough I found Bill awaiting me for both the bracelet hand-off and our customary ass slappery as part of the hand-off. Even with the pain, I ended up running this leg just :29 slower than last year. note: I do believe my Garmin was off on the length too.

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather, Glenn, Beth, Jenn and then back to me again...
  • my leg 3 (team leg 24) - 7:46 a.m. on Saturday, 6.92 mi in 56:30 (8:09/mi)
And my last repeat leg from last year. The weather this morning could not have been more perfect. It was a tiny bit windy while waiting for Jenn to come in but I still wore a sleeveless tank style shirt and could not have felt more comfortable. I still had a decent amount of soreness kicking around but I was definitely feeling better than the night before. Our van even managed to score a couple hours sleep - all of us. A big bonus during RTB! Anywho, I got started and picked off runners pretty easily while dealing with some more rollers. This leg isn't nearly as interesting for the majority of the mileage but a left turn and about 1.25 miles at the end had me running into Bear Brook State Park. This one ended up being a major mental boost too - I felt the pain in my legs and I pushed through, even picked up the pace when I started really feeling it near the end. Ended up running this 2:21 faster than last year. WOOT!

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, & Heather. It was at this point that 4 of our runners were done (Glenn, Beth, Annalisa and Heather). Jenn cracked out a wicked fast 6.9 miles or so for her 4th and longest leg and then it was back to me and my last leg.
  • my leg 4 (team leg 32) - 2:58 p.m. on Saturday, 2.2 mi in 16:08 (7:19/mi)
This leg was completely different than last year. RTB switched up several things in the last 7 or so legs including a VA/TA (vehicle area/transition area) and the leg distances. Jenn actually ended up running the leg I ran as my fourth last year; the one that runs right by another running buddy's home - Dan! My leg ended up being half of what was Bill's last leg last year and he got the other half. So just 2.2 miles of running mostly through downtown Exeter. I liked the route but wish I could have run just a bit further. At this point my legs had mostly come around and were ready to finish this puppy off in whatever I could pull off. I probably got started a bit too quickly but picked off 3 runners in the first quarter mile and never got passed.

All in all, I ran a total of 20.15 miles in 2:35:35 (7:43/mi) over the course of 24 hours. That's a big improvement over my average pace last year of something like 8:20/mi. Yeeeeehaw. Bill, Matt, Walter and Jen ran after me to bring Notey's Bachelor Party in at 28:51:24 (8:20/mi) - another big improvement over last year's 31:08:01 (8:55/mi). Double booyah!

And so it ends. And we're all left eager for another year to pass so we can do it all again. And with as many words as there are in this post, it's very difficult to find the right ones to properly express what an experience this is and what it really means to me. It's about running and funning and supporting and digging deep and laughing and honoring and enjoying each and every breath & each and every step for what it is. Thank you Glenn, Beth, Jenn, Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather and Chris - thank you so very much! And special thanks to our buddy, Joe, who was with us in spirit for the entire journey.

front row, l to r: annalisa, walter, me
back row, l to r: jen, heather, beth, bill, glenn, jenn, matt

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Nearing the end to Born to Run and this passage stuck in my mind, give me goosebumps and made me smile ear to ear.

"Just move your legs. Because if you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history. You're denying who you are."

Saturday, September 12, 2009


What a week! Work really sent everything else off into outer space until this morning. I did get a couple easy runs in and was able to work through the knot in my left hammy but man, I was not prepared for the changes that would hit my schedule. The coming week looks to be more of the same but I'll be prepared! Early morning runs will be a MUST. I cannot leave a p.m. workout to chance... my time in the evening is no longer reliable. With that said, I started off Saturday with a pot of coffee and my cleaning supplies. After the apartment was looking good again including a spotless tub/shower (the sign of a true cleaning!), I headed out for a run, a stop at the farmer's market and some other errands.

Saturday - 5.82 miles running in ?? time. Still don't have a replacement for my basic Polar, need to make that happen soon. Took it easy along the bridle path up to and around the reservoir and back home. Temps were pleasant and the light rain tempted me to stay out for a longer run.

Sunday - 20 miles running in 3:14:39 (9:43/mi). Ran a mile to our meeting spot to hook up with Bob and Missy for today's run. After greetings we set off from the south east corner of CP and proceeded straight west to the Hudson, south to Chambers and then east crossing back across Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge. Often running single file, we stuck on Henry to Union and then up the monster slope that is Park Slope to Prospect Park for a loop and then back to and over the bridge again. I wasn't feeling my best with the humidity and often felt dizzy w/chills and then way hot. More stop and go than I'd have liked but Missy & Bob were strong motivators and great company along the run.

Coming up at the end of this week - Reach the Beach!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

East Coast Family

Closed out the Labor Day weekend with an awesome feeling race surrounded by some of the East Coast Running Family regulars and one new addition. But first let's back up to Saturday. After taking Friday completely off and resting my crabby hammies, the rest of the weekend shaped up nicely.

Saturday - ran 10.25 miles in 1:34:42 (9:14/mi) with the newest NYC transplant, Missy!   We met at the pump house in CP and headed west to the Hudson and then north up to Riverbank State Park.   Nice run and even nicer company.

Sunday - 90 mins of yoga with tons of shoulder work. So much that my upper back is still a little achy today. But it's a good ache, one I'll take any day. And the class proved to be as valuable as I knew it would be by delivering non-crampy, non-tired legs for Monday's race.  Jillian at Kula Yoga is my most favorite evah!

Monday - New Haven 20K! Ran a total of about 13.5 miles. Started off with about an easy mile of warm-up with Missy around the square and the immediate New Haven area. It was just what each of us needed. Lined up at the start with Bob, Trevor and Missy and we were off! Not sure when we lost Trevor but Bob, Missy and I stuck together until just after mi 7 when I slowed to take a gel w/some water. I ended up about 20 ft back from Missy & Bob after that, spending the better part of 8 & 9 keeping the distance the same and both of them in sight. Miles were flying by and I felt supa strong. Unfortunately that all ended with mile 10, emergency (I mean EMERGENCY) porta potty stop needed but nothing in sight. Begged a gas station for some sort of rest room access too but no dice. Ended up half running, half walking that entire mile until I found one and lost 2 friggin' minutes off my regular pace. That, my friends, would have secured the time I really wanted from today's race. However, that mile/incident aside, I am completely confident in my training and had a really good, strong race. While the PR I got wasn't what I should have run I'll take it. 11 secs PR

mi 1: 8:19 congestion at the start, easing into it 
mi 2: 8:07
mi 3: 7:46 
mi 4: 7:47 
mi 5: 8:01 
mi 6: 7:59 
mi 7: 7:44 
mi 8: 7:49 
mi 9: 7:58 
mi 10: 9:47  awwww craps, search for a porta potty 
mi 11: 7:54 
mi 12: 7:47 
mi .54: 4:01 

1:40:59 (8:07/mi)

Which proves, once again, that I've yet to run a HM at what I should be running a HM at.  That 1:40:59 would mean a 1:46:31 HM and if I didn't lose those 2 minutes in mile 10, a 1:44:24.  Gotta find me a good half to run in decent weather conditions.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wildlife Report

From time to time in our daily thread, in addition to total miles, total time, & pace, Joe would include a special Wildlife Report section.  Joe ran on cushy (it always makes me laugh to say that) trails including the towpath right near his place, often, so nature was always part of the scene.  It'd be a deer or two or maybe some geese or hawk or similar.  As a result I'd try to post my own wildlife report but sadly the only thing I'd ever come across were large rats or a patch of wild, pissed off Canadian geese.   Until last night.   Now I've actually seen this sucker before but seeing him again last night, thinking of Joe and his wildlife reports and recalling a convo on the thread earlier in the day where we discussed stream of consciousness dialog while running, made it all the more heeeeelarious.

After having run the better part of the big loop I cut up to the reservoir loop.   It was dark although the moon was bright - probably full.   A runner had just passed as I approached the path and just before he made the turn eastward a very large raccoon crossed in front of him from the park side of the path to the reservoir side.   I cautiously ran behind, giving both the runner ahead of me and the raccoon ahead of him, plenty of room.   I didn't see the raccoon again which gave me time to think.   He just crossed into the water side.   Was there somewhere for him to go beside in to the water?   

And if not, does he swim?  
Do raccoons swim?
If he did swim, which stroke would he excel at?
Legs and arms seem to be of about equal length, freestyle would probably be out of the question.
Maybe backstroke?  
Definitely no butterfly for that poor sap.
He's no beaver, no substantial tail.
Perhaps a modified doggie paddle?
Breaststroke or sidestroke would be ideal.

But what if...
What if that dude worked really hard
What if freestyle were his stroke.   
Swimming that stroke a lot makes me feel and start to look like a linebacker.
What would a linebacker-built raccoon look like?  

Awesomely funny.
Awesomely cool.

That's what he would look like.

And that, my friends, was the continuing conversation in my head as I finished the 1.6 some odd mi. lap around the reservoir and the remaining 2 mi home through the dark and raccoon-filled CP.  Joe would have been proud of that wildlife report.

Thursday - 8.6 miles running in 1:15:02 (8:43/mi)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Feel the burn, love the burn

Monday - after a thoroughly fun weekend o' wedding stuffs I was feeling a little beat down and needing some more relaxation and recovery. Took the day completely off from everything exercise related and included some extra veggies and vitamins into my meals.

Tuesday - Double Your Pleasure Tuesday! 5 miles a.m. running in 41:54 (8:22/mi), 10.5 miles p.m. running in 1:30:45 (8:38/mi) w/15 x 1 min @5KP w/1 min recoveries. Ran 3 miles easy as a warm-up and then started with the interval segments. Finished those and ran another 3+ miles easy back home as a cool down. Legs didn't seem to mind the double although they were ready for the 5KP bursts to be done and done. Felt I probably ran them a bit too fast but don't know for sure as it was dark out and I didn't have my Garmin on.

Wednesday - Was sad that yoga got canceled but ended up with a nice brick. Ran an easy 4 miles in 37:35 (9:23/mi) and followed immediately with a 30 min swim (1512 yds).

Systems are all good and in check with where I'd like them. Nothing bothering me or hurting which is a very nice change. Preliminary thoughts on the upcoming 20K in New Haven are to race it and beat my time from 2 years ago. Going to think about strategy for that sucker a bit more today and tomorrow.