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Run Ansky Run



Balancing Running with Family, Work, Faith, and Anything Else That Comes My Way



Updated: 2018-04-14T07:22:35.820-04:00

 



Race Report: NYCRUNS Central Park 10 Miler

2013-01-17T20:44:20.904-05:00

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This past Sunday I ran the NYCRUNS Central Park 10 miler. Before I get to the race report, a little background......A few days before the race, PRSFIT teammate, MH, who lives in the SF Bay area, was in NYC for work and asked if I wanted to join him for some early morning miles in Central Park. Of course I said yes. I never pass up a chance to run with a teammate. I was also able to preview the race course. I've run in Central Park plenty of times but not recently, so it was a good refresher. MH and I had a good run, a little over 7 miles. I do most of mid-week running in and around Teaneck so running in the park a days before the race really got me excited.

I spoke with Coach Jeff on Friday to discuss race planning. He's been giving me a lot of long tempo runs to get me ready. The race plan was simple, warm-up well and then GO! Coach was confident that I could hold a high zone 3 - low zone 4 effort for 10 miles.

Sunday was a great day to race. Temps were in the low 40s and overcast. The only problem was that the humidity was 100% which is my #1 asthma trigger. I knew I'd have to pay attention to that while I racing. The course was a double loop which started a little south of the 72nd Street Transverse on the west side and went counter-clockwise around the south end of the park, north on East Drive, across the 102nd St. Transverse, and south on West Drive.

I was feeling really good the first 5 miles but when I saw the clock read 35:xx I knew I took it out too fast and I'd paying for it during the 2nd time around. After Cat Hill, I tried to conserve my energy on East Drive and the transverse knowing that the West Side Rollers were waiting for me before the downhill finish. I started feeling my asthma flaring up with about 2 miles to go on those dreaded West Side Rollers. I had to slow down a few times to normalize my breathing. I survived the rollers and had enough in tank for a strong finishing surge. As I approached the finish line I saw the clock at 1:18:xx and I knew I had a new PR. My official time was 1:18:55 which is a new 10 mile PR by 1 minute.

Since this was my first NYCRUNS race, I want to write a few sentences about the experience. Up until this past Sunday, the only races I've done in Central Park were New York Road Runner races. The NYCRUNS race experience is much different. It felt a lot more like a small community race. Everyone was milling about before the race. We didn't have to be in a corral 30 minutes before the race, the start wasn't a clusterf#&k, Steve yelled GO! over the megaphone and off we went.

The post-race experience was great as well. We weren't funneled through a chute, handed a bagel, and sent on our merry way. Steve had hot chocolate, coffee, apples, bagels, and grapes. Everyone was just hanging around enjoying a mild winter Sunday morning. I was very pleased with the experience and can't wait to run more of Steve's races. I know many people that are thrilled that there is finally a viable alternative to NYRR in the City.

Back to the race.....was I a happy with a the new PR? Yes! Did I run a smart race? NO! So as I get into training for the Superhero Half, I'm sure there will plenty of long tempo runs between now and May 19 but I also want to focus on racing smarter. I will be on the lookout for some 10ks and 10 milers in February, March, and April where I can focus on racing smarter.

I have a lot more to say about training for a half marathon vs. a full marathon, but I've gone on for too long. More to come later.










My Spring Goal Race

2013-01-07T20:30:01.210-05:00

So I finally decided on my spring goal half marathon. I'll be running the Superhero Half Marathon in Morristown, NJ on May 19. I don't know about the race or the course but it met a lot of my requirements. The price tag was reasonable ($50), it's close to home (about a 35 - 40 minute drive), and last, but not least, there's race day pick-up. I completely forgot about this race until my friend Esther posted on her Facebook page that she signed up for it. My wife and I also happened to be watching The Avengers so there was definitely some influence from the movie.

Now that I have a race, I'll rely on Coach Jeff to put together my training plan. I'll be running the NYCRUNS Central Park 10 miler this Sunday to see where I am. I've been doing a lot of long tempo runs which I hope will result in a good race. I'd like to do at least 1 race in February, March, and April to get myself ready.

I'm sure I'll have a lot to write about this training cycle and other things that come my way. Stay tuned.....



Race Report: Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k

2013-01-02T20:57:49.115-05:00

Yesterday was the annual Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k. I've run this race a bunch of times and my current 5k PR (21:57) was set on this course in 2010. I wasn't sure if I had a PR in me today but I wanted to see where I was compared to my last 5k on Thanksgiving. I've been doing a lot of long tempo work in preparation for some winter 10 milers and a spring half and am noticing that my speedy legs have been coming back.


The field seemed larger than in previous years so the start was a bit more crowded than I remembered but once it opened up I was able to put the pedal to the metal and push as hard as I could for 3.1 miles. I didn't have much of a finishing kick which surprised me because on most of my tempo runs I try to push the last 3 - 5 minutes of the run to simulate that finishing kick. I finished in 22:24 which is a 7:13 average pace but more importantly, more than 1 minute better than my Thanksgiving 5k. Clearly, the tempo work is paying off.

Since this was my first race as a masters (40 and older) runner, I was curious to see where I placed in my new age group (40 -45) and amongst all male masters runners in the field. Here are the results:

  • I placed 11th in my group. The fastest time was 17:07 and the 10th fastest was 21:56.
  • Amongst all male masters runners in the field, I placed 42nd out of 157. The fastest time was 16.37 which was run by a 49 year old. The 10th fastest time was 19:15 which was run by a 51 year old.

I'm very thankful to Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary and the volunteers for making this race happen. It's a great way to kick off 2013.

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Lo and Behold! A picture of me (#453) made it into today's local paper. My race pictures are usually pretty bad, this one is pretty good.






Looking Back (briefly) at 2012 and Looking Ahead Towards 2013

2012-12-31T17:29:44.170-05:00

I'm hesitant to call this a "Year in Review" post because, quite honestly, there isn't much to review. From a running perspective, 2012 was one of my most inconsistent years. For the first time since I started keeping track, I finished a year with fewer than 1,000 miles (977 to be exact). I didn't set any PRs in any of the races I ran. I did finish my marathon #5 but I was severely under-trained and ran my second worst time. If I had to sum up 2012 in 5 words they would be  life got in the way.

With that said, I do have some goals for 2013:
  • Focus on shorter distance racing - I wrote in my last post that we will be celebrating Lil Ansky's Bat Mitzvah in 2013. I don't want training for a full marathon to get in the way of preparing and celebrating this important family milestone. My goal race will be a spring half marathon (still not sure which one yet.). I can put in the time and work at the beginning of the year to train well for a spring half. Coach Jeff has already put a lot of tempo work on my calendar to get ready for the half and for some tune up race. After the half, I will continue to run and bike but with no goals for the summer or fall.
  • Cycle more - I started cycling in 2012 and completed my first multi-sport event. If 2012 was about getting to like cycling, I'd like 2013 to be the year I learn to love cycling. I may or may not do another multi-sport event in 2013 but at the very least, I'd like to get out on the bike more often after my half and become a more confident rider.
  • Focus on healthier eating - believe it or not, I'm not the healthiest eater. I'd like to make a better effort in 2013 to eat better including finding a way to suppress my sweet tooth.
  • Commitment to Consistency - that's Team PRSFIT's mantra for 2013. I'm the first to admit that I skip my strength and core workouts more often than I should. They really do help in becoming a stronger athlete and I need to make a better effort to not blow them off.
  • Pay it Forward - I have a lot of people to thank for helping me accomplish my goals. In 2012, I helped a friend accomplish a goal by pacing him to his first half marathon finish. Not every race needs to be about me gunning for a PR.
  • Explore - We all have our tried and true running routes. I, for one, am guilty of not liking to drive to start a run and therefore start and end many of my runs near my house. I'll admit that these routes are starting to get boring. They're not very scenic, many of them are through neighboring towns which look a lot like mine. Everything about these routes is familiar, the terrain, the hills, where I can make pit stop, where the convenience stores to refill my bottles. There are so many places in northern Bergen County, Passaic County, and Rockland County (NY) that I'd like to explore and are not too far from my house.
  • Have Fun! - let's face it, I'm not getting paid to toe the line at a race. When I commit to race, I often put a lot of pressure on myself during the training the cycle and if I under-perform at race I get disappointed. I guess it's OK to get disappointed if you put in the work but the important thing is to learn from it and move on. I'd like to be able to continue running for many years to come and if it's no longer fun, then I won't stick with it.
So there you have it, my goals for 2013. As you can see, I have only 1 time based running goal for 2013. I think the rest of them are more about keeping things light and fun while planning for and celebrating a very important family milestone. Happy New Year! 



    Plans for 2013

    2012-12-11T20:17:42.920-05:00

    My goals for 2013 are influenced by a very important family event, Lil Ansky's Bat Mitzvah. I'll save the "time goes by quickly" thoughts for another time but needless to say, it's a very important milestone not just for her but for myself and Mrs. Ansky as well. The celebration will take place in 3 parts starting in July with a celebration in summer camp. We're then spending 2 weeks in Israel in August. Mrs. Ansky and I haven't visited since 1992 and it will be Lil Ansky's first visit. There will be a lot of touring, falafel consumption, and possibly a small celebration with extended family and friends. We'll then celebrate with family and friends in the U.S. in September. On top of all that the Jewish holiday "season" starts the Sunday after Labor Day. I hope by now you can see where I'm going with this.  A fall goal race is out of the question. Don't misunderstand me, I will need running more than ever to keep me sane while planning Lil Ansky's celebration, and to burn off the calories from multiple celebrations, eating too much falafel, and eating too much during the holidays. However, I will not be able to put in the time to train for a goal race.Which brings me to spring......after speaking with Coach Jeff, I've decided that my spring goal race will be a half marathon. I do enjoy the journey of training for a full marathon but I feel like I need a break. Life got in the way A LOT while training for Marine Corps this year and it showed in my result. Work and my outside life are very hectic and training for a full marathon in 2013 is not going to work for me. Sam recently wrote about feeling like a failure for wanting to take a break from marathoning. Running marathons should not be the be all and end all definition of "being a runner." There are many successful runners that have never run a 26.2 mile road race in their careers. After Marine Corps 2012, I also feel like I have unfinished business with the distance. I was somewhat embarrassed with my 4:18:XX and was ready to sign up for a spring full (Poconos or NJ). Being the analytical person that I am, I quickly realized that, with everything going on in my life in 2013, putting in the work for a half marathon goal race is a more realistic goal.Now for the important question: Which race should I run? A few come to mind:E. Murray Todd Half Marathon, March 3, 2013 - the one time I tried to run this race, it cancelled due to snow. I know nothing about the race experience or the course. It looks like a small race in Monmouth County, NJ. It's affordable at $30 and a little over an hour's drive from Teaneck. Unite Half Marathon at Rutgers University, April 21, 2013 - another race I've never run. I've mixed reviews about the race. Some really liked the the experience but others found the course crowded and difficult to race.At $80 (through 12/31 then it goes up to $90) it's on the pricier side. There's also no race day bib pickupLong Branch Half Marathon, May 5, 2013 - A big part of me likes the idea of running on the NJ Shore a few months after Superstorm Sandy decimated the shore. In fact, the race's theme for 2013 is "Restore the Shore." The race organizers will be giving a portion of the proceeds to restore the Jersey shore. There are 3 things holding me back: the start time and the price tag. The race starts at 7:00am which means I would have to leave my house in Teaneck at WickedEarly O'Clock or take a hotel room for the weekend. I really have to watch the budget this year because of the Bat Mitzvah so I'm not crazy about taking a hotel room. At $80 (until 12/31 at which point it goes up to $90), the price is a lot more than I want to spend to race a half marathon. I know that some of my fee will go to good causes, never the less it's still a lot of money. There is no race day pickup. Long Island Half Marathon, May 5, 2013 - I ran this race in 2011 and PRed with a 1:39:29. The course was flat but was not very interesting. The race starts at 8:00[...]



    The Big Four-Oh

    2012-12-03T21:00:03.857-05:00

    That's right, yesterday my birthday, I turned the big FOUR-OH. That officially makes me a masters runner. A few people asked me how I felt about turning 40. Honestly, I feel no different today as a 40-year old than I did a few days ago as 39-year old.

    Coach Jeff doesn't give a day off for birthdays so I started my day with almost 11 miles in the Palisades. I met up with Fernando and we chatted mostly about our plans for next year and how much we enjoy running the hills between Fort Lee and Alpine. I definitely need to run there more often, especially during the off-season. I think the hills will make me stronger as I gear up for my spring goal race (more on that soon). The run itself was great. It was a very foggy morning so it was difficult to see where the hills were. The fog also made the air thick which was not good for my asthma. I'd love to get a group run together sometime during the winter, it's really a great place to run.

    Anyway...back to turning 40. Honestly, I feel better at 40 than I did at 30. I wasn't a runner at 30, I didn't take it up until I was 34. So I'm definitely fitter and healthier than I was at 30. If you were hoping for some deep thoughts about me turning 40, I'm sorry to disappoint. I'm not that type of person. I will be celebrating a bunch of time this week. Last night was with family, later this week will be friends. As for presents, I'm not sure, there will be no wild weekends in Vegas, no red sports cars, no Harleys. I will treat myself to something, but it will be something practical.

    Thank you to everyone who wished me Happy Birthday on Facebook and Twitter. I had a great day.
    (image)
    Making birthday wishes




    Race Report: Dick Meighan Memorial Run

    2012-11-22T13:40:24.291-05:00

    This is the 5th year I've started Thanksgiving with the Dick Meighan Memorial Run in Upper Saddle River, NJ. The mood is always festive with many local high school runners on hand carrying on with their shenanigans and families running with their kids. I ran this race with Lil Ansky and had a great time. This year, she's a little banged up with a badly sprained ankle and a broken collar bone (done ask) so I was able to focus on running my own race.

    The 5k is my least favorite distance but for some strange reason I was excited to race and push myself. Part of it has to do with the Team PRSFIT Coach's Challenge. It's a fun winter challenge that coaching staff put together to keep us motivated during the winter months. I'll explain how the challenge works in an upcoming post.

    The start of the race was a bit messy with lots of runners lining up towards the front that had no business being there including many families with small children.It took a good 1/2 mile for me to get to where I wanted be in the pack and I was able to start pushing. I finished in 23:39 for a 7:37/mile average pace. Not bad for not racing a 5k in who knows how long. Thank you to the race organizers and volunteers for taking time out of your Thanksgiving morning and putting on a fun local race.

    I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.



    Back to Blogging

    2012-11-17T20:04:40.866-05:00

    It's hard to believe the last time I sat down to write was at the beginning of January. Hopefully this post will mark my to blogging. I really miss it, but finding the time to to write has proved challenging. I'm hopeful that I've now been able to carve out some time in my very hectic life to share with you about my training, racing, and anything else that comes to mind. Just to catch you up on what I've been up to recently:


    • I ran the Marine Corps Marathon on October 28. I didn't have my best race but I finished. Life got in the way a lot during this training cycle and I didn't have enough mileage under my legs to run a solid race. The last 10 miles were a sufferfest of epic proportions. I ran a little, walked a little, ran a little, walked a little until I crossed the finish line in 4:18. On the positive side of things, there were a bunch of PRSFIT teammates running MCM and some of us met up at the expo. It was nice to see Coach Jeff again and to meet Ann, Amy and her husband Eric.
    • 10 Days after that, I flew down Orlando for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. My friend, MB is a lover of all things Disney and took up running about 3 years ago. He started off with a few 5ks, built up to the 10k, and 15k and finally decided he wanted to run his first half marathon in Disney last Saturday night. It felt great to pay it forward and help a friend accomplish a goal.
    • I'll be running the Dick Meighan Memorial Run in Upper Saddle River, NJ on Thanksgiving. I really enjoy this 5k (as much as anyone can enjoy a 5k). It's a good way to kick off the Thanksgiving festivities. 

    That's it for now.





    It's Like Scotch

    2012-01-11T13:00:07.249-05:00

    That's right, Coach Jeff compared swimming to scotch. No, swimming does not have hints of vanilla, leather, and blackberries. Rather, swimming, like scotch, is an acquired taste.

    By way of background, this whole conversation started when I asked Coach some questions about bike trainers. He got all excited, hoping that I was ready to make the transition to triathlon. I told him not so fast! My first multi-sport event will be a duathlon not a triathlon. I went on to explain that I love running and I see myself loving cycling. But swimming, not so much. I just don't see myself ever loving swimming. Coach and others argue that the swim leg of a triathlon is over the fastest so you really don't have to love it, you just have to get it done. I disagree, the reason why I stick with running and picked up cycling is because I love them. If I don't enjoy something, I don't stick with it. On a more practical level, I don't have an affordable pool nearby and I would have to shell out some cash for swim lessons.

    So instead of comparing swimming to scotch by saying both are acquired tastes, I'll offer a different comparison. Swimming, like scotch, gets better with age. Maybe as I get older I'll learn to like swimming but right now it's too young to taste.



    2011: The Year in Review

    2012-01-01T08:05:10.020-05:00

    Even though 8 Crazy Nights of Blogging captured a lot of how 2011 played out, I feel the need to write a year in review post. Let's start with the yearly totals:


    Running
    Total Distance: 1,288 miles
    Average Distance: 8.31 miles
    Average Time: 1:10:26

    Cycling
    Total Distance: 118.38
    Average Distance: 11.84
    Average Time: 1:02:84

    In previous years, I would recap the year month by month reminding myself and whomever is still reading this blog what went well and what didn't. I'm not going to do that this year. I've done that a lot already and I don't want to beat a dead horse.

    I'll recap 2011 by saying that I've learned a lot about myself and about what type of athlete I am. Not finishing in Vermont and deferring Marine Corps reminded me that first and foremost, running and cycling should be fun. That's the only way I'm going to stick with it. I'm not going to beat myself up if a run doesn't go well. Not every race is going to be a PR. Finally, Boston is just a race. I'm ending 2011 feeling good about running, cycling, training and racing.

    So what's up for 2012? My race schedule is coming together. I have some exciting things in the works and I'll share them once I finalize everything. One thing I'm not going to do, is set any specific time goals for certain distances. I think that's what went well in the early part of 2011 when I set new PRs in the 15k and half marathon. The only goal for 2012 races will be to run the best race that I can on that day.

    Happy New Year!




    8 Crazy Night of Blogging: Night 8

    2011-12-28T13:24:29.400-05:00

    8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 8 - Your "A" Race Does Not Have to be a MarathonThere's no question about it, the marathon is a challenge. It requires weeks of intense training, lots of miles in all sorts of conditions, time away from family, and, admit it, your social life suffers as well. For all of these reasons, many of us will only consider a marathon for their "A" race. For those of you that don't know, an "A" race is THE race (or races) that your pour your heart and soul into all in the name of a new PR.I wrote on Night 1 that going forward, I'm limiting myself to 1 marathon per year. That doesn't mean that once I run the marathon, I take the rest of the year off. What it does mean is that I get to focus on improving at a shorter distance race or try something new, like a duathlon. When I ran the Pocono Marathon in the spring of 2010, my fall "A" race was a 10k. Training for a 10k is much different than a marathon. The long runs are shorter but there are more mile repeats and tempo runs. I smoked the 10k and set a new PR. Best part was, I wasn't as physically and mentally drained as I am after a marathon. I feel the same way after a half marathon. It's long enough that it's a challenge but it's short enough that you can push yourself harder than in a marathon.  So what are my "A" races for 2012? Spring is still undecided. I'd like to train hard for a half marathon and I'd also like a duathlon. My fall "A" race will be Marine Corps Marathon.There you have it, 8 Crazy Nights of Blogging in the Can! In case you missed any of them, here are the links again:Night 1Night 2Night 3Night 4Night 5Night 6Night 7For the last time this year: Happy Chanukah![...]



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 7

    2011-12-27T20:00:00.731-05:00

    8 Things I learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 7 - Keep it Real
     
    We all have different schedules and things going on in our lives. Some of you have more time during each day to train while some of us have less. I learned this in August when Coach Jeff put 8+ hours on my calendar one week. The week looked like this:
     
    Monday: total body workout
    Tuesday: 1:40 step-up run
    Wednesday: 1:15 recovery run
    Thursday: 1:00 bike
    Friday: 1:00 w/ 40 minutes in upper zone 3
    Sunday: 2:45 long run 
     
    The 1:40 mid-week run was unrealistic for me. I knew there was no way I could get in before I had to be home and get ready for work. I called Coach and told him that we needed to cut back on the training load just a bit. He completely understood and he made adjustments to fit in with what I have going on in my life including religious obligations. 

    If you have a coach and he/she starts giving you a load that you can't handle, speak up and suggest some adjustments. Coaches don't want you to fail nor are they mind readers, be honest with yourself and your coach about how much time you have to train. 
     
    Happy Chanukah!



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 6

    2011-12-27T08:56:10.279-05:00

    8 Things I learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 6 - The Result of Every Race Does Not Have to be a PR
    I ran several races this year simply to have to fun. I ran 3 races with Lil Ansky. We had a great time and they were great bonding experiences. It's hard as a father to find common interests with Lil Ansky so I'm thrilled that she has taken an interest in running. I wish we had more time to run together but during the school year it's hard to find time. The month in the summer before she went to camp we were going to high school track almost every evening when I got home from work.

    My only goal for the Monson, MA Half Marathon was to have fun. I was feeling down after deferring Marine Corps and I had a tough time finding enjoyment in running. The Anskys had a wonderful Shabbat with Mike and his family in Amherst and I was looking forward to racing in a new place. The change of scenery did a lot of good for my psyche. I wasn't racing in Central Park, Prospect Park, or the familiar streets of Bergen County, NJ. I was racing in Western Massachusetts amongst people I've never met before (except for Mike). Yet, I felt just as comfortable there as I do when I race in New York or New Jersey. By not chasing a PR, I was able to enjoy the incredibly scenic course, push the pace when I felt like it, and relax when I felt like it. I felt great when I finished and I re-found my running mojo.

    Happy Chanukah!



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 5

    2011-12-24T18:30:00.292-05:00

    8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 5 - Cycling is Fun!

    In July, I drank the cycling kool-aid and bought Brandon's used Felt Z90. As soon as I bought it, Coach Jeff started to put recovery rides on my schedule, usually the day after a hard speed or tempo workout. I was only able to log 118 miles this year before the weather got cold and the mornings were too dark to ride. I enjoyed getting to know the bike this year. The goal for 2012 is become more confident and get stronger. I've been invited to join group rides to Nyack and Piermont. I declined this year because I was new to the bike and did not feel confident enough to ride with more experienced riders. Hopefully I'll be able join in 2012. 

    Another goal of mine is to participate in a duathlon. Why not a triathlon you ask? Plain and simple, I don't have easy access to a pool. Most of the gyms with pools are expensive and that is not an expensive I can take on right right. So for now, I'll stick to running and biking.

    Happy Chanukah!

    P.S. as tonight is Christmas eve, I wanted to wish everyone celebrating a Merry Christmas.



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 4

    2011-12-24T18:19:09.418-05:00

    8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Racing/Training Season: Night 4 - Boston is Just a  Another Race
    Back in February, the Boston Athletic Association announced changes to the registration process and qualifying standards for the Boston Marathon. These changes were in response to this year's marathon selling out in 8 hours. When I ran 3:39:47 at the 2010 Pocono Mountain Run for the Red marathon, I thought that, with a little more work, I may be able to run a 3:20 and qualify when I turn 40. That all changed when the BAA rolled back the qualifying standards by 5 minutes. The qualifying standards for the 40 - 44 year old male age group went from 3:20 to 3:15. On top of that, the 59 second "cushion" was also eliminated. This means that if I ran a 3:15:01 I would miss qualifying by 1 measly second. 

    Most of us consider Boston the Super Bowl of marathoning and we work our tucheses off to qualify. I'm also well aware that if I REALLY wanted to run Boston, I could do so as a charity runner. NO THANK YOU. I'm not criticizing those that do run Boston for charity. I am in the camp that I need to earn my Boston bib. One thing I will not do, is obsess over it. I read lots of blogs and Twitter feeds about how their only purpose to racing and training is to qualify for Boston year after year. If they don't, their season is considered a failure. That is not why I train and race (I will answer that question before Chanukah is over). I will continue to work hard and if I'm fortunate to qualify, great. If not, it's just another race.

    Happy Chanukah!



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 3

    2011-12-22T21:10:09.871-05:00

    8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 3 - It's OK to DNF

    I wrote last night about the how the hot and humid conditions at the Vermont City Marathon caused me to take my first ever DNF. Believe me, it was not an easy decision. I had an outstanding training cycle and was trained for a 3:30 marathon. When the weather started to get hot, I knew I wasn't going to be able to run my goal time. I had hoped that, with some adjustments, I'd still be able to finish my 5th marathon. It wasn't meant to be. Many of you asked if I had my inhaler with me. I did, and it kept me out of the emergency room. The only way to stop the attack was to to stop running. Mother nature beat me that day fair and square.

    After talking with my family, Coach Jeff, and many of you, I learned that DNFing did not make me any less of an athlete. In some ways, it made me stronger. I'm amazed when I read how some runners will anything it takes to finish a race and not take a DNF. Sometimes, finishing that race caused more damage which forced the runner to miss several months of running. Was it really worth it? If some of the best runners in the world can withdraw from races, then it's certainly acceptable for an age grouper like me. 

    Happy Chanukah! 



    8 Crazy NIghts of Blogging: Night 2

    2011-12-21T21:26:11.826-05:00

    8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 2 - Pick Your Races Wisely

    It's easy to get sucked into running "cool" races, You may have several friends running and want to join them, it may be a in an interesting destination, you may have read favorable reviews of the race, or there may be a cool aspect of the race that you want to experience.

    There aren't many spring marathons in the Northeast. I ran NJ in 2009 and Poconos in 2010. So when I asked for spring 2011 marathon suggestions the overwhelming response was the Vermont City Marathon at the end of May. Everything I read about the race was positive and we'd be able to get away over Memorial Day Weekend. The one aspect of the race I didn't consider was the weather. It turns out that it's been quite warm (over 70) in Burlington around Memorial Day. 2011 was no different.Shabbat was particularly warm and I remember commenting to Mike that if race day is anything like today then I was in trouble. Race day started off cool with a light drizzle. About an hour into the race, it stopped raining, the sun came out, and it became very humid. My asthma starting flaring up and at 11 miles I dropped out and took my first ever DNF.

    What I learned is it's important to consider everything when picking your "A" race for the season. It's doesn't matter how "cool" the race is. If there's one aspect of the race that could prevent you from achieving your goal, then you may want to pick a different race or change your goal.

    Happy Chanukah!



    8 Crazy Nights of Blogging: Night 1

    2011-12-20T21:01:32.656-05:00

    Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, which means it's that time of year for another 8 part blog series. Last year I wrote about 8 races I'd like to run in my lifetime and the year before I wrote about 8 things I love about running. This year's series is going to have a different focus. Since Chanukah comes out late on the Gregorian calendar (on the Jewish Calendar, it's always on time), this year's 8 part series will be more like a review in review. 2011 had a lot of highs and a bunch of lows. I learned a lot about myself, about running, and where it fits into my life. So without further adieu, I present (in no particular order) 8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season. 

    Night 1: I'm a 1 Marathon/Year Runner

    2011 was the first year that I attempted to train for a spring and fall marathon in the same year. I know many marathoners that run multiple marathons in a year. I am not one of them. Even if I had finished the Vermont City and Marine Corps Marathons this year (more on this in upcoming posts), I still would have scaled back to only 1 marathon per year again in 2012. Training for 2 marathons in year was way too taxing on me. Between work, family, and religious obligations, I found it difficult to stay motivated and training was no longer fun (more on this later as well). Sometime over the summer training became something I HAD to do rather than something I WANTED to do. At first I thought it might be a case of the summer time blues. It was hot and humid, I had to cut runs short, and my asthma was flaring up. I was ready to defer my MCM entry as early as mid-August, but I stuck with it hoping my racing mojo would come back once the weather got cooler. It never did. I don't know for sure what caused my calf strain which caused me to defer MCM until 2012 but I'm sure my lack of focus had something to do with it.

    Happy Chanukah!



    Lil Ansky's First 5k

    2011-11-29T21:51:31.914-05:00

     A few weeks ago I was deciding between 2 Turkey Trots, the Dick Meighan Memorial 5k in Upper Saddle River, NJ or the Rockland Road Runners 5 mile Turkey Trot in Congers, NY. I ran Dick Meighan in 2008 and 2009 and enjoyed the race both years. I ran in Congers last year primarily because it was my friend's first 5 mile road race and I wanted to be there to support him.Lil Ansky (she's 10) popped in during a conversation I was having with Mrs. Ansky about which race to run and said "I'll run the 5k with you Abba." (Hebrew for Daddy). And with that, the decision was made. Lil Ansky would be running her first 5k on Thanksgiving. A big part of me was excited. I love running with Lil Ansky. We had a great time at the July 4th 2k and the Labor Day 1 mile. But part of me was also concerned, she really hasn't run much since school started. Between holidays, homework, and extracurriculars there is no time for running. Regardless, she was excited and I was excited for her.Pre-raceRace day came and Lil Ansky was ready to run. The race shirt was a long sleeve tech and they had kid sized shirts available. She got a kick out of the antics of the local cross country teams. Many of whom dressed up in costumes and all of whom were chanting their school fight songs. We lined up towards the back and we were off! We started off running very easy and we chatted with other parents running with their children, many of whom were also running their first 5k. We walked when Lil Ansky needed to walk and when she was ready to run again, I picked out a landmark and said let's run to that landmark then we'd walk again. We always walked the uphills and ran the downhills. I kept encouraging her and telling her she was doing a great job. There was one last hill before the downhill finish. We stuck to the plan and walked up the hill then ran the rest of the way to the finish. A volunteer gave a medal to Lil Ansky which we later found was a piece of chocolate wrapped in gold foil. What a great idea!Despite my constant words of encouragement, I think Lil Ansky felt like she let me down because it took her so long to finish. I told it didn't matter how long it took. What mattered was that she finished and that she had fun. When she answered yes to both of those I told her "mission accomplished!" A little later in the day before going to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner, she asked when the next race was (maybe this one). That's when I knew she had a good experience. Post Race. Proud dad with his 5ker[...]



    Bandit Report: Inaugural Brooklyn Marathon

    2011-11-21T20:46:02.866-05:00

    As a regular listener (and infrequent guest) of The New York Running Show, I've heard Steve talk about the Brooklyn Marathon from its infancy. Over the past year there have been many discussions on the show about the need for not only more road races in the NYC Metro area, but more specifically another marathon. Steve's NYCRUNS staged several races this year but on Sunday, his dream finally became a reality.As race day approached, the newest marathon on the racing scene was featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Friends who saw either piece asked me in synagogue on Saturday if I was running in Brooklyn. "Kind of, sort of" I answered.When Joe tweeted a few days after running the New York City Marathon that he was considering running the inaugural Brooklyn Marathon 2 weeks later, I thought he was joking.As the days went on, I would learn that he was serious. NYCM didn't go exactly as planned, and he wanted another shot at running a quality marathon in 2011. I am not in marathon shape but I really wanted to support Steve as well as be part of an inaugural race. I decided I would pace Joe through half of the race. Amy and several other Twitter friends caught wind of this and soon, Joe had his own entourage for the race. I finally met fellow New York Running guests Frank and Emmy. Emmy ran the NYRR Knickerbocker 60k (that's 37.2 miles) THE DAY BEFORE!I didn't want to register for the race because then I would have a DNF on record. I already have one of those this year, I didn't want another. Which means I ran a part of the race as bandit. I made sure to bring my own fluids as it's bad etiquette for bandits to utilize the aid stations. The horn went off around 8:15 and the inaugural Brooklyn Marathon was underway. We kept the mood light and the miles were flying by. Newly minted ultramarathoner, Claire was out there cheering her head off. She ran the 60k the day but decided to take Sunday off from running. At one point Steve was driving around in a van and yelled at Amy and I "looking good bandits." Robin jumped in for a miles before falling back to support Sam. After our 3rd full loop, Amy and I peeled off. I know that Joe had a secret plan to get me to the run full distance with him. "C'mon, just one more loop" he was saying. I wish I had it in me to run the whole distance. It was a beautiful day and I was having a great time. I ended up running a little over 14 miles with Joe and left the park in a great mood. I found out later that the rest of his race did not go as well. He encountered some stomach problems but thankfully other friends were there to pick him up and he was able to finish the race strong.Steve gets a HUGE congratulations on the Brooklyn Marathon. I'm sure there were things that went wrong along the way but  none of them were evident to the runners (or bandits). All of the runners I spoke with were having a great time, the volunteers were great, and the weather was beautiful. Maybe next year, I'll run it 3 weeks after Marine Corps.Joe and I around Mile 9[...]



    Race Report: Monson Memorial Classic Half Marathon

    2011-11-18T13:51:10.022-05:00

    Mike has been trying to get the Anskys up to Amherst, MA for Shabbat for quite some time. Our families became fast friends after spending Shabbat together in Burlington the weekend of the Vermont City Marathon. A little while ago, he tweeted about a local half marathon on Nov. 13. Since Friday was Veteran's Day, I thought it be the perfect weekend go up and visit. The Mrs. and I were both off from work and with Shabbat starting early, we didn't mind Lil Ansky missing a day of school. After Shabbat Mike and I took a tour of the course courtesy of Google Earth. He ran the race last year and pointed out to me where the hills where and where the flats and downhills were to pick up the pace. The race had an unusual 12:00 p.m. start. Mike said it was to give time time for the black ice to thaw. I joked that if that were the case, then New Englanders were a bunch of sissies. New York Road Runners starts all of their race early in the morning, even in the winter. Being that the race was in a small New England Town, I thought the 12:00 p.m. start had more to do with church than black ice. In any event, I didn't mind it. The late start allowed me to sleep in and to enjoy breakfast with the family. The late start also allowed me to run in short sleeves rather than long. It was 55 degrees when the horn went off.It's been a while since I toed the line in a race so my only 2 goals were to have fun and finish strong. I've had some setbacks the past few months, culminating with deferring the Marine Corps Marathon. I was looking forward to running a race just for fun with no time goal pressures. The first 7.5 miles were mostly uphill. I should mention that my Garmin lost it's charge before the race even started (not quite sure how that happened) so I ran by feel and recorded my splits with a basic Timex stopwatch that Mike had brought with him. This helped me relax and enjoy the incredibly scenic course. None of the hills were particularly steep, there were just a lot of them. What goes up must come down right? The second half of the race was mostly downhill. I picked up the pace but did not hammer them. I wanted to have something left in the tank for a strong finish. I finished in 1:48:37, definitely not a PR but that wasn't the goal. I accomplished what I wanted to, I had fun, and I finished strong. Overall, the race was well organized. There were plenty of volunteers on the course showing us where to go. The course was not closed to traffic but the Monson police did a great job keep the runners safe. My only complaint was there was no Gatorade on the course. There was water but I could have used the electrolytes. Here are my race splits:8:048:228:168:238:308:598:518:357:528:088:217:528:29 (last 1.1 miles)  Running and finishing this race did a lot for my psyche. I feel like I finally found my running mojo again. I have a few fun things planned to close out the year then I will start thinking about spring 2012. I'm also hoping that now that I've found my running mojo, I'll also get my blogging mojo back. It's been a while since I posted primarily because there hasn't been much to write about. Mike ran a great race finishing around 1:40. Since he finished before me, he was able to shoot this short video of me racing towards the finish. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.blogger.com/video.g?token=AD6v5dwoyxvpAYPTnIraHjpBLwqWuKnTTDou8oP5Up65hoNruuoH2-xtTI_jBIdVh36gCd8kPH7hDvFnvTUdSRp33w' class='b-hbp-video b-upl[...]



    Deferred

    2011-10-18T08:52:39.232-04:00

    I decided to defer my Marine Corps Marathon until next year. Between the calf strain and a sinus infection I'm just not healthy enough to run the race. Was it a tough decision to make? Yes! Was it the right decision? Yes! Am I disappointed? A little. This will be the first year since my first marathon in 2007 that I will not have completed a marathon. The plan for the rest of 2011 is to continue getting better and run for the fun and love of it. I've mentioned a few times recently that the fun part of running has gotten away from me. I'm going to use the next few months to have fun and fall back in love with running. Hopefully I can run more with Lil Ansky, jump into a Turkey Trot, and just run without the pressure of an "A" race on the horizon.

    What about 2012? I can say with a high degree of certainty that MCM 2012 will be my only marathon. I'll write more about this but I've learned that I cannot train for 2 marathons in the same year. I don't have any particular race in mind but I would like to run at least one half marathon in the spring and possibly dip my feet in the multi-sport water with a duathlon.

    One more thing.... just because I deferred does not mean I can't take part in the MCM festivities. I'll be in DC for work the week of MCM. If anyone wants to meet up at the Expo either Thursday evening or Friday after 1:00, let me know.






    I Spoke Too Soon

    2011-10-05T20:15:58.116-04:00

    In my last post, I mentioned that the foot/calf pain I was experiencing had corrected itself and that the subsequent 2 weeks of training had gone very well. The temperatures were getting cooler and I was starting to get excited about running MCM.

    I spoke to soon. My assigned run for last Tuesday was a 1:20 step up run, 20 minutes in zone 2, 20 minutes in zone 3, 30 minutes in zone 4, cool down for 10 minutes. About 15 minutes into the run, I started to feel a sharp, stabbing pain in my left calf.  I continued on for a few more minutes until the pain became so intense that I could not continue. Needless to say, I felt frustrated and dejected. I secretly hoped that with some stretching and foam rolling I'd be able to do my 1:15 recovery run the next day. Due to a death in the family, that run didn't happen. I was hoping 3 days of no running (2 days for Rosh Hashana followed by Shabbat) would be enough rest to get my long run done last Sunday. I thought wrong. 15 minutes into the run the pain was back.

    I saw my massage therapist on Monday and he really worked on the leg. I saw my Podiatrist yesterday just to rule out the possibility of any structural damage to the calf. Thankfully there was nothing structurally wrong and the podiatrist felt it should get better with some serious stretching and foam rolling. He also sent me home with one of these
    a splint or sorts to help stretch out the muscles.

    All of this raises the obvious question: What's my status for MCM?
    Honestly, I don't know yet. I spoke with Coach Jeff and he thinks that even if I don't run another step between today on October 30 that I could finish the race. The reason being that I have a big training base both from Vermont and all of the training I did up until now. He said that I shouldn't expect to PR but that I should be able to run an easy marathon and enjoy the atmosphere. I'd like to use MCM as the race where I remember why I love marathoning. I think that's gotten away from me and running MCM for fun maybe just what I need.

    That's the plan I'm going to follow. This week I've been stretching, rolling, and riding the spin bike. I may try to run next week just to see how it is. I have until October 20 to defer my entry to 2012 if the calf isn't better.

    Stay tuned....



    MCM Training Update

    2011-09-20T20:00:02.963-04:00

    In case y'all have forgotten I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30. I haven't written a lot about my training primarily because, up until recently, it has been less than stellar. Running during the summer months was absolutely brutal. The heat and humidity exacerbated my asthma,  forced me to cut many runs short, and I was questioning if running MCM was still a good idea. I came very close to throwing in the towel and deferring my entry until 2012. In short, I had lost my running mojo.At the same time, I started developing some foot pain. The pain was on the top of the foot between the top of my ankle and where the shoe laces are on my shoes. At first I thought I was tying my shoes too tightly, but the pain was still there after loosening them up. The foot hurt when I walked, not when I ran. A few weeks ago, I saw a podiatrist mainly to determine if there was a stress fracture or some other serious injury there. The diagnosis came back as an overuse injury. The doctor suggested cutting down on mileage, compression, and ice. I knew there was no way I could cut down on my mileage 6 weeks before MCM but I did start wearing a compression ankle sock and tried to ice my foot as often as I could. I told Coach Jeff what was going and he asked me to send him pictures of the bottoms of my shoes (Newton Gravitas) so he could analyze the wear pattern. This is what I sent him:Within a few minutes he determined that I was "stabbing" rather than planting "square."  Coach explains it really well in this video he made especially for me. class="twitvid-player" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.twitvid.com/embed.php?guid=H7CBF&autoplay=0" title="Twitvid video player" type="text/html" width="480">Back to the training front....I feel like I'm back on track. The past 2 weeks have been solid. Temperatures have been cooler and my paces have been coming down to the levels where they were earlier this year when I was training for Vermont City. The Jewish holiday "season" is fast approaching with Rosh Hashana starting next Wednesday night (ack!). The extra non-running days will give me a chance to get some extra sleep as well time to rest whatever aches and pains I have. I'm happy I stuck with the training and I'm starting to get excited about the race. I have 2 more "big" weeks coming up then it's time to taper. [...]



    September 11 - Ten Years Later

    2011-09-12T20:03:36.353-04:00

    2001 was quite a year for the Anskys. In February, we closed on our house. In May, I completed my MBA in Finance at Baruch College. In July, Lil Ansky was born.Then September 11 happened. To this day, I'm not sure why but I was running late for work that day. I got off the A Train at Broadway-Nassau St. in the Financial District and saw huge crowd of people congregating on Maiden Lane right near my office. At first I had no idea what they were looking at. As I got closer to the street, I looked up and saw that one of the World Trade Center towers was on fire. Before I could ask someone what had happened I saw a plane fly right into the south tower. BOOM! Words cannot describe what it sounded like.I wasn't quite sure what to do. Do I run for it and go home? Do I go into my office which is built like a fortress and could be considered one of the safest in New York City? I knew my brother worked on a low floor (I don't remember exactly which one but it was in the 20s) in one of the towers so I called him to make sure he was OK. The explosions knocked out the cell service because the call did not go through. I decided to go to my office and try to send an e-mail to his 2-way pager (remember those). Thankfully he made it out safely and he was going to his girlfriend's (now wife) apartment in the Village. I told him I would be in touch and that I might need a place to stay that night. I remember talking to Mrs. Ansky on the phone at the exact moment the towers collapsed. My office is 2 blocks from the World Trade Center and I remember the windows shaking and rattling when the towers collapsed. I was on the phone talking to Mrs. Ansky when the towers collapsed. I didn't know what was happening at the time so I told I would call her back (which I did). My mother was teaching a class in NJ and the person answering the phones refused to interrupt the class to let her speak with me. I don't remember how I replied but I'm pretty sure it went something like this "in case you don't know, both World Center Towers were struck by airplanes. One of her sons works 2 blocks from where it happened and her other son works IN the towers. Now interrupt her [expletive] class and let me talk with her!"  My dad was even harder to get in touch with. At the time, he was teaching in a huge NYC Public School. No one in the school knew where he was and his cell phone wasn't working. Finally, he got in touch with Mrs. Ansky who told him that we were both alive and accounted for.The next few hours were spent watching TV and learning more about what happened. Security had locked down the building and did not allow anyone to leave until 3:00 p.m. When we got the all clear from security that it OK to leave, I wasn't quite sure what to do. I wasn't a runner then so one option was to walk all the way to the George Washington Bridge and then hitch a ride home from there. The other option was to spend the night with my brother and his girlfriend and figure out what to do the next morning. I stayed with my brother that night, and thanks to my brother's colleague who also spent the night I got home to NJ Wednesday morning.For a few weeks after the attacks on the WTC, my office was closed and we were working out of our office in NJ. When the main office did re-open, it opened the cafeteria to anyone involved in the recovery effort. There were firefighters, police, and military eating breakfast and lunch in our build[...]