Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meeting Some Running Heroes

Living in New York, I don’t usually get too excited when I see the occasional celebrity traveling about town. Most of the time, depending on who it is, I’ll rarely even do a double-take to verify if the celeb is who I thought he/she was. Tonight was the first night I ever found myself somewhat awestruck by who I was talking to.

It all started when I showed up in RUN NYC tonight, hoping to meet a couple of the elite runners who were coming to the city to run in the Millrose Games being held in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. Because I decided to join the group for a quick training run prior to the Meet and Greet session, I was slightly out of breath and sweating profusely when I first entered the store. There was a handful of people who were already there, but definitely not the huge crowd I was expecting for an event of this magnitude. This was good for me because within five minutes of my entry, I somehow found myself standing in front of this guy talking about running.

In case you are not a runner, did not watch the Beijing Olympics or one who doesn’t following the sport (in that case, I’d wonder if you’re REALLY a runner), that’s Bernard Lagat, the winner of the 1500m and 5000m races at the U.S. Olympic Trials last year in Eugene, Oregon. He was here to run the Wanamaker Mile tomorrow at the Millrose Games. Ever since he became the first ever world champion at the 1500m and 5000m simultaneously when he won both event at the Osaka games in 2007, I have known about his story and consider him one of my running heroes. So imagine my surprise when I found myself standing right in front of him with his hands extended awaiting mine in a handshake. It was a thrill and a half for me. I shook his hand, told him I was a big fan, and proceeded to spent about 5-10 minutes talking about racing, training, and the mental preparation the night before a big race. He gave me some sound advice on what I could do to improve my strength (more hill training) and my general speed (shorter, but more intervals). I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and learned a lot from our talk. He was the consummate profession and a really down-to-earth guy. In my mind, it proved once again, that runners, even the elite ones, are genuinely good people.

U.S. distance running, Kara Goucher, strolled into the store and joined Lagat on the stage for a Q & A session. For those who are unfamiliar with Kara’s story (shame on you), she is a gifted runner who made the transition from short distance track to marathoner runner late last year. Like Lagat, she also represented the country at the Beijing Olympics and competed in both the 1500m and 5000m race distances. After the Olympics, she made her marathon debut in the New York City Marathon, and finished 3rd with a time of 2:25. Before her, it had been 14 years since the last time an American female stood on the podium at a New York City Marathon. Currently, she is training to run her very first Boston Marathon. She is also here to run in the mile at the Milrose Games, an event in which she is the defending champion. I can’t lie. I have a special affinity for Kara because we share so many similarities. We both call Queens our hometown, we both made our marathon debuts in NYC marathon and we’ll both be running our first ever Boston Marathon in twelve short weeks. During her session, I was struck by how candid she was about her diet, her training and her general approach to running. She runs about 95-100 miles a week, does not really do additional cross-training and tries to eat a well-balanced diet all year round, regardless of the race she’s preparing for. I train with the same philosophy (except my mileage is about half of hers) so it was refreshing for me to hear that an elite athlete trains the same way.

After the brief session, we all got to go on stage and meet both athletes in person. I shook Bernard’s hand, got his autograph and wished him good luck in his race tomorrow. Then I moved over to Kara where I spent a few minutes telling her about our similar running stories. She admitted to me that she was also slightly nervous about Boston (because “it’s not New York) but she’s running more volume and has more time to train than she had in New York. I told her that I’m trying to train diligently and maybe break 3 hours in Boston. She wished me luck and posed for a picture with me. Afterwards, she said I should come by and say Hi if I run into her at the expo. I told her I most definitely will and wished her the best of her luck in her race tomorrow.

I left the store very inspired to run well this year and feeling like I had just met running royalty. For some reason, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble motivating myself to get up early this weekend for my long distance run. All I got to do is think to myself, Hmmm…what would Bernard Lagat and Kara Goucher do?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 4

In my exhilaration over my cold weather racing PR yesterday, I neglected to share with you all my weekly training update. I apologize. I know how you all were holding your breath in anxious anticipation, not wanting to say anything. So on the day that the Boston Marathon officially sold out (about a month ahead of last year’s schedule), here’s how training went for me thus far.

Week #3 (1/12-1/18)

What I Planned:

Tempo Run: 6 total miles with 4 miles at 6:31 pace
General Aerobic Run: 8 miles at 7:15 pace
Recovery Run: 6 miles at easy pace
Manhattan Half Marathon: 13.1 miles at race pace
Total week 4 distance: 33 miles

What I Ran:

Tempo Treadmill Run: 6.0 total miles with 4.0 miles at 6:20 pace
General Aerobic Treadmill Run: 8.16 miles at 7:10 pace
Recovery Run: 6.1 miles at 6:59 pace
Manhattan Half Marathon: 13.1 miles at 6:48 pace
Total week 4 distance: 33.6 miles; avg pace – 6:54 min/mi

How I Ran:

Most of my runs this week were straight forward and to the point in preparation for the weekend half marathon. I ended with two treadmill runs and two outside runs. Pacing though still remains faster than I’d imagined. All my miles this week came in at under 7:00 min/miles excluding some short warmup tempo miles and the midweek long-ish run. It’ll be interesting to see whether this pattern holds up or if I’d break down first. Training will get tougher with more miles at increasing speeds in the upcoming weeks. All I got to say for myself is. Bring. It. On.!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

(Freezing) Cold Weather Racing
Race Report for the 2009 Manhattan Half Marathon

There are races you run for time, races you run for training, for practice, or just the experience, and then there are those races where the conditions are so tough that you run just to say you had the courage to start…

The alarm sounded at 6:00AM, and I turn, instinctively hit snooze and roll over to the cooler side of the pillow.

When it sounded again ten minutes later, I turned it off, sat up in bed and wondered why this eerie feeling felt so oddly familiar. Ah yes, but of course, we were in the exact same situation two weeks ago, when I bailed on my 5-mile race because it was 27F with a wind chill of 17F (You can check this post to refresh your memory). Well now, we were faced with the prospect of running a half-marathon in 16F with wind chill in the single digits. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper and had a million and one reasons for why I ought to go back to sleep (I’m not a freezing cold-weather runner, I had to work on my Grand Rounds presentation for tomorrow, I didn’t hydrate well yesterday, I didn’t sleep well during the night, yada, yada, yada) But then I remembered the phone conversation I had with my coaching protégé F.L. late last night when she told me she just finished her first ultramarathon in five and half hours, and I knew I had to get over my fear of the cold weather and prove to myself that I’m a better runner and a bit tougher than I give myself credit for. Besides, I knew I was prepared for this race, having gone outlet shopping for cold-weather gear a week ago and had 15 miles in them a day later. So I bundled up the best way I knew how, ate a yogurt and a banana, and left the apartment.

Outside, the weather was as cold and brisk as I had expected. Because the start of the race was located in the southwest corner of Central Park (whereas I lived close to the northeast corner), I had a long slow walk over to the start. Since I didn’t bring music along (I don’t race with music more out of habit than as a moral statement) I had a lot of time to think about things on my journey over to the start. I thought about my four goals for this race (1. Start; 2. Finish; 3. Run a course PR – 1:30:49; 4. Finish under 1:30). I wondered if there was a temperature limit below which this race would turn into a fun run. I questioned the sanity of the others who were walking with me to the start. I dared to ask if there’d be water at the aid stations (or just ice). I speculated whether they’d be anybody running in shorts (should’ve known better…I alone saw two). Mostly though, I thought about why on earth am I out here on this crazy cold day, subjecting myself to the elements, daring to run 13.1 on a course that I’ve done countless times before. Why am I punishing myself this way? Does anyone care that I’m doing this? Do I care?

I found my answer once I got over to the baggage area and saw the large crowd of runners who were already there, pinning their numbers, stretching on park benches, jogging around to warm up, chatting with neighbors about upcoming races and race strategies, everyone doing runner things that I can and do fully comprehend. And then I understood why I’m here…why the freezing weather and the negative self-doubts could not turn me away…I’m here because this is where I belong. I belong here because I’m a runner, nothing more and nothing less. So even though others will call me crazy (heck, I’d say I’m crazy!) I’m most comfortable running around Central Park with all the other crazies who are here with me today.

Once I got to my assigned corral, and the race started, the wind died down and everything progressed pretty smoothly. I ran pretty conservatively right from the start, knowing that I wasn’t running for a PR or a stellar time this go-around. Just starting and hopefully finishing was victory enough for me. However, this is not to say that the race was easy…not by any stretch of the imagination. Believe you me, by the second time you have to climb Cat Hill and Harlem Hill, you just want to shoot yourself in the foot if it means you don’t have to go up any further.

Perhaps, a look at my pacing for the race will give you all an idea of how it went for me…The important thing is that I came, I started, I finished, reached all my goals and took home a course P.R. All-in-all, it was a pretty awesome race experience for me.

Pacing By Miles
Mile 1 – 6:31 [Avg HR- 144; Max HR- 159] Around Southern Tip.
Thoughts: A nice conservative start. I like.
Mile 2 – 6:42 [Avg HR- 163; Max HR- 168] Cat Hill #1
Thoughts: Let’s take this slow. Don’t burn out in first loop.
Mile 3 – 6:36 [Avg HR- 163; Max HR- 169] Northeast Corner
Thoughts: Recovering some speed. I’m not so cold anymore.
Mile 4 – 6:56 [Avg HR- 165; Max HR- 174] Harlem Hill #1
Thoughts: Wow, that was tough. But still on pace for sub-1:30
Mile 5 – 6:46 [Avg HR- 170; Max HR- 173] West Side Hills
Thoughts: Can you believe F.L. ran up 4,000 ft of elevation?
Mile 6 – 6:38 [Avg HR- 168; Max HR- 173] End Loop #1
Thoughts: Loop 1 done. Gosh, why can’t this just be a 10K?
Mile 7 – 6:46 [Avg HR- 167; Max HR- 171] Around Southern Tip.
Thoughts: Are you serious? Walkers? Don’t let me join them.
Mile 8 – 6:59 [Avg HR- 167; Max HR- 173] Cat Hill #2
Thoughts: Must. Do. More. Hill. Training. That was tough.
Mile 9 – 6:41 [Avg HR- 165; Max HR- 167] Northeast Corner
Thoughts: I’m so tired. Can I take the next exit and go home?
Mile 10 – 7:14 [Avg HR- 167; Max HR- 173] Harlem Hill #2
Thoughts: I want to die…Now. Can I move any slower?
Mile 11 – 7:01 [Avg HR- 170; Max HR- 174] West Side Hills
Thoughts: C’mon…you’re moving like a pansy. Let’s finish this.
Mile 12 – 6:51 [Avg HR- 166; Max HR- 171] End Loop #2
Thoughts: I’m exhausted, but one more mile to go.
Mile 13.1 – 7:22 [Avg HR- 171; Max HR- 178] Last 1.1 Mile
Thoughts: Pushing hard for the finish. Luckily, didn’t hurl.

Final Statistics
Finishing Time – 1:29:06
Average Pace – 6:48; Age Graded % - 66.5
Overall Place – 231/4506 (5.1%)
Age Place – 51
Flyers Place – 3

Personal Records
Course PR (Previous: 1:30:49)
Fastest Half Marathon in Manhattan (Previous: 1:30:49)
Coldest Race Ever Started & Completed (Previous: 31F)
Coldest Half Marathon Ever (Previous: None Below Freezing)

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Open Letter To My Treadmill Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

Yes you, sirs and madams, I’m talking to you. Please don’t think I don’t notice when you dart your wandering eyes over to my display and curse at me under your breath. I really am not trying to make you feel inadequate or slow or insecure when you see my feet moving twice as fast as yours and covering the same distance in barely half the time. You see, I’m doing tempo runs or speedwork in preparation for the Boston Marathon and because the weather has been less than delightful in the short little while, I’m forced to be your treadmill neighbor while you run. And just because you run at a static pace with a towel covering the digital panel like it’s a shroud for the treadmill face didn’t mean I necessarily have to do the same thing. I like to run a variety of workouts which often requires minute-to-minute adjustments in the incline and pacing. From time to time, I admit I’ll dial the mph all the way up to 10.0 and freak even myself out, but those speed interval run are short, controlled and far in between. Lastly, please do not think for a second that I’m here to make your life miserable. There’s nothing I wouldn’t give to run outside and not have to face the quizzical looks, the wandering eyes and the judgmental crowd. So bear with me for just a couple more months on these machines. After this period, I will no longer be seen in these parts as I will move my show over to the roads where I feel a bit more alive and appreciated. Maybe you should join me too!


The Laminator

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Do You Believe?

…because today, on the historic inauguration of our 44th president, signifies not only a celebration of our national heritage, but a promise of a new America and a new freedom…

Today’s post comes to us from a seven-year-old named Tarak McClain, who was born in Thailand but lives in Austin Texas. Last year when he was six, he was asked by his teacher on the 100th day of kindergarten to bring in a hundred things. But while the other kids in his class brought in a hundred cotton balls, pecans, and Cheerios, Tarak brought in a list of his 100 beliefs.

Below is an excerpt of his list…but instead of reading it, you should really hear the author recite the list himself [Click on the Listen Now button in here]'s really worth a listen.

Thirty Things I Believe
by Tarak McClain
  1. I believe life is good.
  2. I believe God is in everything
  3. I believe we’re all equal.
  4. I believe we can help people.
  5. I believe everyone is weird in their own way.
  6. I believe hate is a cause for love.
  7. I believe that when I meditate I feel peaceful.
  8. I believe we should be generous.
  9. I believe brothers and sisters should be kind to each other.
  10. I believe kids should respect their parents.
  11. I believe I should not whine.
  12. I believe people should wake up early.
  13. I believe people should go outside more.
  14. I believe in nature.
  15. I believe people should use less trees.
  16. I believe we should help the Arctic and rainforest animals.
  17. I believe people shouldn't throw litter on the ground.
  18. I believe people should not smoke.
  19. I believe God is in good and bad.
  20. I believe in magic.
  21. I believe people should not give up.
  22. I believe love is everywhere.
  23. I believe that God helps us to have a good time.
  24. I believe we live best in a community.
  25. I believe we can protect people in danger.
  26. I believe we should help the poor.
  27. I believe it's OK to die but not to kill.
  28. I believe war should not have started.
  29. I believe war should stop.
  30. I believe we can make peace.

*This article was inspired by the “This I Believe” series from NPR, and can be found [here]

To this wonderful and inspiring list, (my personal favorites are #1, #5, #13, #21, #22, #24 and #27) I'd just like to add one of my own:

  • I believe we should listen to our children more.

Hope you all can find time today to think about what you believe on your runs today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 6

For those who didn’t catch the Millrose Games on TV, both Bernard Lagat and Kara Goucher won their respected mile events. Kara won her event pretty handedly while Bernard used his powerful late kick to win his race in the last lap. (You can read a short recap in Runners’ World.) Both of them looked so fast and majestic on TV that I could hardly believe they were the same people I was chatting with just a day ago. Wow. I would’ve thought that just by hanging with them for a little while on Thursday night, some of their speed, wisdom, and strength would have naturally passed onto me, propelling me to an awesome weekend of running. Ummm…apparently, not so much.

Week #6 (1/26-2/1)

What I Planned:

Interval Training: 6 total miles with 3 x 1 mile repeats at 6:04 pace
Recovery Run: 5 miles at easy pace
General Aerobic Run: 6 miles at 7:15 pace
Weekend Long Run: 16 miles at long run pace
Recovery Run: 4 miles at easy pace
Total week 6 distance: 37 miles

What I Ran:

Interval Training Run: 5.5 total miles with 3 x 1 miles (5:55/5:59/6:04)
General Aerobic Treadmill Run: 6.5 miles at 7:02 pace
Recovery Run: 2.2 miles at 7:07 pace
General Aerobic Run: 6.1 miles at 6:57 pace
Weekend Long Run: 14.1 miles at 7:31 pace
*Make-Up Short Run: 2.3 miles at 7:21 pace
Total week 6 distance: 36.9 miles; avg pace – 7:12 min/mi

How I Ran:

As you can see, my running this week was pretty haphazard and random. I ran shorter than expected on a number of runs and even had to put in a “makeup” run this weekend. In total I ran on five days for the past week which was a bit more than I’m used to. My mileage is up a bit, which didn’t have any discernable effects in the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week, I was sore and slowing down. My long run this weekend was also sataboged by the Flyers Awards Gala which had an open bar and lots of drinking and merrymaking. By the time I woke up this morning, I had a splitting heachache and thought about ditching the run. But then I thought about Bernard and Kara’s performance two days prior and make it a point to get as many miles done as possible. I ended the trip with 14 miles. Not only was it a couple miles short of my goal, but the pace was much slower too. In fact, the average pace this week was the slowest of this marathon training season for me. That’s alright. I know I must take one step back in order to move two steps ahead. We’ll try to do better next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

D.D.Y.A. and Optimistic Running

While I was busy attending to patients the other day, one of the fellows I supervise said something that took me by surprise. My resolution this year is to be a little bit more like you.

Me? In what way? I asked, somewhat flabbergasted.

“In your optimism. You always find the bright side of every situation. You hope for the best even when there’s all the evidence to the contrary. You believe patients will do the right thing even when they’ve failed time and time again. I find that really neat.”

To be honest (to you, not to her), for most of my life, I had been known as the complete opposite, the pessimist. For much of high school and even some of college, I was always the one picking up and pointing out little faults and imperfections with everyone and everything I came across. It got to a point that someone nicknamed me “Il Depresso” behind my back because I could never be 100% satisfied and was a nightmare to be around.

So you might ask how it came to be that I’m so different now? How am I able to be so consummately positive when I grew up always being negative? Although I don’t know the complete answer, I can say for sure that running and the lessons I’ve learned on the road had a big part to do with it. To me, running breeds optimism. No matter what kind of runner you are or what you’re striving to achieve, you are always thinking about that next run or next race, and imagining how perfect it can be, so that no matter how good or bad today’s training went, you can look forward to a better next run. I mean, isn’t this the point of all the training anyways, so that for one day, in one race, you can imagine yourself running it perfectly.

One of my friends, Frayed Laces, posted a video today, where she revealed the origins of our favorite mantra, D.D.Y.A. Although I thought it was classified information, since it technically did happen in Vegas (and we all know the rule about stuff that happens in Vegas…), I’m glad that she got to share the story with the running community because it is a testament to the power of positive thinking. In order to perform a strenuous physical activity and do it well, it is more important for the athlete to believe he can finish the job than to just have the talent to perform well. The essence of D.D.Y.A. is about positive conviction and eliminating self-doubts which can be so detrimental to one’s chances of success.

I hope you all have a good rest of the week. (For those of us in the Northeast, brace yourselves for the Artic Freeze coming your way!) As for me, it’s going to be treadmill or bust for the next few days.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 2

Yeah, so I’m doing all of us a favor and letting everyone in on the progress of my marathon training on a weekly basis. There’s sixteen weeks in this program so it’s still relatively early, but I’m hoping this will keep me accountable for all the miles from here to Hopkinton. Let the games begin.

Week #2 (1/5-1/11)

What I Planned:

Interval Run: 5 total miles with 2 x 1 mile at 6:09 pace
Recovery Run: 5 miles at recovery pace
General Aerobic Run: 5 miles at 7:10 pace
Weekend Long Run: 12 miles at long run pace
Total week 2 distance: 27 miles

What I Ran:

Interval Treadmill Run: 5.0 miles with 2 interval miles (5:53; 6:05)
Recovery Treadmill Run: 6.13 miles at 7:20 pace
Weekend Long Run: 12.2 miles at 7:02 pace [HR: Avg 171/Max 181]
G.A. Treadmill Run: 5.68 miles at 7:02 pace [HR: Avg 162/Max 176]
Total week 2 distance: 29.0 miles; avg pace – 7:05 min/mi

How I Ran:

I started the week off with speedwork on the treadmill. After adjusting the incline to 1.0 (to account for lack of air resistance) and a quick 0.5 mile warmup, I turned the speed way up (between 9.5-10.0) and ran both my intervals at a blistering pace. I did the first pretty well, but felt somewhat exhausted by the middle of my second. Nonetheless I finished and beat my planned time by a few seconds. I wanted to know my HR since I felt pretty worn out by the time I finished the intervals, almost more so than if I were to run the same intervals outdoors, which was somewhat surprising.

A couple of days later, I checked my ego at the locker room door and did 6 at an easy pace. I then took two days off, expecting to run a 5 mile race this weekend. But because of an impending snowstorm, plans got changed and I pushed through to finish 12 miles - my coldest long run ever to date. Today, I went to the gym and did 5.5 miles on the treadmill. It was nothing spectacular but interestingly enough, my average pace was the same as it was on the long run the day before. On this particular workout, I also remembered to use my heart rate monitor together with my Garmin to record my HR during the entire workout. Does anyone else do this or am I just an eccentric geek?

All-in-all, it was a fast but pretty ordinary, ho-hum week for me in terms of training. Hope you all had a great running weekend!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weather 1, Laminator 1

6AM: Alarm sounds, I hit the snooze – Race isn’t until 8AM, I’ve got time.

6:15 AM: Alarm sounds, I begrudgingly get out of bed - Wow, it’s cold. What’s the weather like?

6:20 AM: says it’s 27° with wind chill of 17°, impending snowstorm expected to hit NYC at noonOh…hmmm…

6:25 AM: I pee, brush my teeth, wash my face – Wait a minute, did it say 27° and 17°…omigosh, that’s insane, what was I thinking? Have I ever run in such cold temps before? How many layers do I go with? Let’s check the log.

6:30 AM: I check the log…coldest training run: 6 miles in 30°, WC 20°; coldest race: 15K in 33°, WC 26° - Who am I kidding? I don’t run, much less race when WC is less than 25° and this is 8° colder.

6:35 AM: I climb back into bed – No one’s going to care if you run this race or not, and if you end up sucking or catching pneumonia, the rest of your marathon training will be in jeopardy. Yeah, let’s go back to sleep and do 5 on the ‘mill later.

7:00 AM: I roll around in bed, not able to fall back asleep – Urrgghh, I can still make it if I get up now and go...but I can’t get breakfast and I can’t race without food…why I can’t I fall asleep?

7:35 AM: I am tired of rolling and get up. – Urrgghhh

8:00 AM: I catch up on blogs and e-mails – Gosh, I can’t believe I missed my race…first time ever…okay second, but first time this year.

8:30 AM: I get dressed and go outside to grab breakfast – Oh, it’s cold, but without the wind, not really THAT cold.

9:30 AM: I see a runner with a race bib jogging home outside my window – Oh, they must be done with the race, I suck. Let’s hit the gym and do our 5 on the ‘mill.

10:30 AM: I check again. It’s still 27°, but no wind, so no wind chill. Snow expected to start at 12:30pmWait, if there’s a snowstorm, how will I ever do my long run tomorrow? I should do it now before the snow gets here. Yeah, it’s cold, but not that cold, and I have an hour and half before snowstorm hits…just in time for a 12 mile run. But I don’t even know how to dress for a run in this mess? Oh, don’t be a pansy and get dressed. You have a half marathon in 2 weeks and Boston in 14…you need to hit the road and deal. If there was a pansy clause in the qualifications for Boston, you'd be disqualified!

10:45 AM: With three base layers, 2 hats, 2 gloves and my bandana as a face shield for my mouth and nose, I head towards the park – I totally look like a traveling ninja or a bank robber. I wonder if anyone I know will recognize me?

11:08 AM: I start my run. Some light snow is starting to fall – Ooh, this is kind of nice…I’ve never run in the snow before.

11:18 AM: I reach my first landmark…1.96 miles in 13:21 (6:49 pace) – What? How could that be? I thought I was running easy. Hmmm…am I running that fast or is my Garmin wrong? I better slow down. I’m not looking at pace until I’m done with first loop.

11:53 AM: I finish loop 1, 6.06 miles in 42:25 (6:59 pace) – Wow, that is blazing fast…definitely not LSD pace. Is it really getting colder? I’m not so enthused about the snow anymore. My legs are starting to hurt…am I going to survive the second loop?

12:07 PM: At mile 8, I suddenly cannot feel my hands…they’ve gone completely numb...this frightens me – I have 4 miles and about 30 minutes left…will I finish before I get frostbite or should I cut it short?

12:17 PM: I’m at mile 9.5, decision time…cut the run short or go for the whole shebang? I press on – So what if I get frostbite, I need to do 12 or else I can’t do 14 next week and run the half the following weekend. Wow, it’s gotten colder, and my effort has gotten so much harder. Keep grinding, keep pushing.

12:33 PM: I’m finally done with loop 2, 12.15 in 1:25:33 (7:02 pace)! I’m exhausted but exhilarated. I run inside NYRR headquarters. My wool hat has tiny icicles on the brow and my bottle of Gatorade has turned to slush. I sit by the heater and it takes me a good 10 minutes before I can feel my hands again – My coldest run ever complete!

And that’s the story of how I fought back from my D.N.S. to tie up the score. Weather 1, Laminator 1.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Treadmill Training

I’m finally getting adjusted to the idea that most of my training for the Boston Marathon will likely occur indoors rather than out, on the treadmill at the gym rather than out in the park where I can find other likeminded runners waging war against the elements and the road. It’s not a concept that I’m familiar with, mind you. Prior to two weeks ago, I hadn’t taken a single step on a treadmill for three and a half years! Back then, I wasn’t even a runner per se, but was just using the machine as a form of aerobic exercise. Now though, I must depend on it to get all my shorter runs in while reserving only the weekend long runs to be done outside on the city parks and trails. You can call me a wimp, but the alternative of running loops in the park weekdays after work, when it’s dark, cold and dreary, just isn’t my idea of fun. So I’m hoping this combination of indoor/outdoor running will be sufficient for marathon training. I know there have been many who’ve done the same thing and have done well in their marathons. I’m just not sure if it’ll be same for me. After all, I am a treadmill running newbie. (Case in point: Everytime I go, I still have to spend ten minutes figuring out which buttons to press in what order to get the treadmill at the right speed and incline…by the time I’m done setting the whole thing up, the guy next to me is invariably done with his workout!)

Although it’s only been two weeks, I’m already convinced that treadmill running is entirely different than running on the open road. Not only are the movements much more rigid and passive, but different muscle groups are involved in the two forms of running as well. I know this because after my first speed session on the treadmill, I was sore in areas of my lower leg that had never felt sore before – it was all very strange to me.

My first test of how treadmill running will translate to more effective roadracing will occur this weekend when I’ll be running in my first race of 2009. On paper, it’s just a 5 mile run around Central Park, but for me, it’s an opportunity to test out my legs once again after a long layoff. I’m not hoping for a PR or anything as I’m sure that’s virtually impossible given the weather, the time, and my lack of preparedness, but I just want to have fun, run a respectable time and not feel like passing out at the end of it. We’ll see how it goes.

Hoping you all are running well and staying warm!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weekend Potpourri:
My BM Training, Your Reader Questions

To celebrate the opening weekend of the New Year, I did 10 miles in Central Park for the first official long run of Boston Marathon training. I’m not sure if it was the cold, the wind, the lack of fitness, or the aftermath of too many New Year cupcakes, but I felt very sluggish out there after about mile 5. My fingers were numb, my lips were chapped, my feet were throbbing and my heart pounded with a ferocity I haven’t experienced in quite some time. To give you a sense of how much fun I had out there today, the best part of my run was when it was over.

Still, I’m glad it got done. 10.15 miles in 1:13:09, which is a 7:12 pace. It wasn’t until I entered these digits into my running log did I realize that that was actually the second fastest 10 mile training run I’ve ever done! Seriously? I’d never would’ve guessed that. My only explanation is that my sense of speed is overly exaggerated now due to all my race PRs during the fall. Although this sudden revelation gave me a jolt of confidence about my current state of fitness, I remain weary that my addiction to speed will eventually lead to injury and pain later on in training.

Let see what Week 2 brings. (Once again, I will be bringing you my weekly training summary as I prepare for the fun run in Boston. Other than this long run, the rest of the training week was rather futile, and not worthy of a recap. We’ll officially kick things off with a more official update next weekend.)

Before I go, I wanted to answer a few questions that were posed to me in the comments from the last post. (You people are definitely an inquisitive bunch!)

  1. What about the Half Marathon Grand Prix? Yes, I’m planning to run all five half-marathons of this series for the first time this year. The operative term there is plan because I’ve been planning for Bronx and Brooklyn for three years now but have yet to run in either. Last minute scheduling conflicts, the weather, and injuries have thwarted my previous attempts. I’m hoping it’ll be different this year. Right now, I’ve already registered for Manhattan and the Bronx. Let’s see what happens.
  2. How do you like Outliers? I’ve only started the book so I will reserve my comments until I’m further into it, but I’m liking what I’ve read so far.
  3. Is NYC conducive to a sub 3:00 marathon? I know most people will disagree with me, but I definitely think sub 3 is definitely doable in NYC, given the right conditions. I’m not sure if it’s the hometown advantage, the tremendous crowd support or the magic/pizzazz of a big town race, but I’ve run my best marathons in NYC. I’m hoping this year’s version will be no exception.
  4. And for those who’re inquiring about #7, shoot me an e-mail (address on profile page) with some background info about yourself, your running past, level of training, and your race history and let me know exactly what you need my help in accomplishing. We’ll go from there.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Blah New Year Post:
9 Resolutions for 2009

Sorry, blog world, I’m late. But Happy New Year to all anyways! If you’re still feeling festive, you might want to skip the rest of this post.

Maybe it’s the perfect score from 2008, or maybe it’s just the guilt of resolution procrastination, but I really have had a hard time dealing with the hoopla of the ball dropping into a new year. A big part of me wants to shed a tear and hold on to 2008 for just a little while longer. Right now, I feel like the guy still stuck to his seat in the moving theater when the film credits are rolling and everyone is climbing over themselves to see who can reach the exit the fastest. What’s the rush I say. Much of the business world don’t go back to work until Monday, so the way I see it, the new year doesn’t officially start until after the weekend anyways. But since I’m tired of thinking and revising my 9 goals for 2009, I’ll throw them out there just for your viewing pleasure and my stress relief. (Feel free to congratulate, mock, criticize, applaud, ridicule any of them as you wish and I’ll feel free to edit, modify, delete, insert, copy, paste, and make irrelevant any and all parts before the start of official business on Monday. I feel that’s fair, don’t you?) Good, now that’s settled, I can climb back into my hole and pretend it’s still 2008 for a few more days!

2009 New Year’s Running Resolutions
  1. Run 1499 miles (or more).
  2. Set 4 new PRs (any distance).
  3. Complete 2 legs of the Laminator Pentathlon (4M in 24:00; 5M in 30:15; 10K in 39:00; 13.1M in 1:25:00; 26.2M in 3:00)
  4. Run 4 races outside my homestate (New York).
  5. Run a race in the Bronx and in Brooklyn (yeah, it’s sad I've never done any!).
  6. Find a new place outside the city for a long (13 miles+) training run.
  7. Coach, and/or encourage 4 new runners to reach their individual running goals.
  8. Participate in at least 4 Flyer running club events (one of which is to be a long run pacer)
  9. Run a sub 3 hour marathon (dream goal!)
Clicky Web Analytics