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Preview: Boston Or Die Trying!

Boston Again Or Die Trying!



The chronicles of training to run another marathon under 3:15:00 to qualify for the Boston Marathon.



Updated: 2018-03-06T11:59:34.298-05:00

 



24 Hours with Citibike NYC Bikeshare Program

2013-07-05T21:17:40.255-04:00

This past weekend, my wife and I decided to give the nascent Citibike program a day.  After a late evening stop at the 21st Trader Joe’s, we decided to bike home with some groceries and continue using the bikes for errands on Sunday.  I bought two  24-hr passes for me and Sara that totaled $21+ after taxes.  Once I received the pass codes, Sara and I selected our bikes, punched in the pass codes on the selected bike dock, and off we went.  My first selected bike and dock didn’t accept the code, but the second did.  Didn’t realize it was a sign of things to come.Basic CostsBefore going any further, here are a few details on the Citibike bike share program.  Costs are as follows:$9.95 for 24hr period$25.00 for 7-day pass$99.00 for an annual pass and keyBikes can only be used in 30-minute chunks.  In other words, once a bike is checked out, it has to be docked within 30 minutes.   If a bike station is crowded, there is an option to request an extra 15-minutes at the electronic concierge to allow riders to find the next empty station. Overage charges vary according to how long the bike has out of dock-     -          Sunday was a gorgeous day for a bike ride.  I heeded my wife’s advice against a long ride to Piermont because my marathon was a week away, but I thought riding in the city would be fine since it’s at slower speeds.  Initial ProblemsWe got to our nearest station at 44th and 9thexcited to check out our bikes.  I held on to the codes from the previous evening to check out our bikes.  We punched in the 5-code digits on every available bike – no luck.  It took nearly 60 minutes, dozens of bikes, and three stations later, ending up at Broadway and 53rd for us to finally check out our bikes.  Why? First, the codes last for only 5 minutes after created.  I had to request new codes from the electronic concierge.  We discovered that after the second station. Secondly, discovered by trial and error, we couldn’t check out the bikes when I requested two passcodes.  However, if I requested one code at a time, the bikes would check out of the dock.  Note that there is a 2 minute mandatory wait period in between passcode requests.   We called the Citibike help desk 3 different times and they were helpful, navigating us to the nearest station with available bikes and working docks.  They were also agreed to grant us an extra 24-hrs of rental given our troubles.  Success!Finally, Sara and I could pedal to our first destination – Nordstrom Rack at Union Square to return an item.  Navigating through Times Square and down Broadway through Herald Square, It was a glorious ride, albeit short.  The dock at Broadway and 17th was fairly empty so we had no issues with the bike return. Sara and I used the Citibike station on 14th and Broadway for our next pickup.  I requested the new bike codes, one at a time, checked out our bikes, and we were off to Chelsea Market for some gift shopping.  We headed west on 13th St., made a right on 8thAve., left on 15th, and docked the bikes right in front of Chelsea Market.  This was starting to be fun and easy!After picking up some items and lunching at Chelsea Market, we got on the bikes again, one pass code at a time, and we headed to Giggle in Soho, docking at a crowded station at Thompson and Prince.  Another fun and short ride following the bike lane from 9th Ave. to Bleecker, and heading south towards Wooster.  While there, I decided to check if there were cronuts available at the originator’s bakery (name escapes me).  No luck unfortunately.  After our Soho stop, we decided to make one more stop uptown at FAO Schwartz.  It was a more enjoyable day to ride a bike around the city  instead of being in a muggy subway station.We returned to the bike dock where we had parked our bike and realized why the statio[...]



2013 San Francisco Marathon - Race Recap

2013-06-24T12:43:28.723-04:00

San Francisco Marathon CourseThis was it.  My race for the year.  After taking a year off from marathons, I decided to try and push for a BQ at, of all places, the 2013 San Francisco Marathon on June 16, 2013.  Tall task indeed, but I've always been an optimist.  My "A" goal would be 3:10, "A-" at 3:15.  Either would qualify me for Boston because I hit the next age bracket in July.  And given the bombings in Boston, I wanted to try as best I could to requalify.  Training started in the last weekend of January.  However, Not trusting myself after 4 weeks to be fully motivated and honest with my workouts, I decided to work with a coach (@SpeedySasquatch -> Twitter) to help get me through the training.  This turned out to be my best training decision to date.  In fact, I could summarize the training period in two words:  quality miles.  I ran a lower volume, I was used to doing mostly volume and mixing up speed workouts, but Josh had me doing three quality workouts per week and less volume than I would have done on my own.  Furthermore, I made sure to run as many hills as I could in Central Park, especially its biggest, Harlem Hill, and also up the west side of Morningside Park.My wife Sara and I arrived in SF on Wednesday night, and after working on Thursday, we attended the expo on Friday.  Frankly, it was disappointingly small, but that's relative to NYC.  My main high/low light was a pullup contest for $125.  High count for the day was 31.  My best was 32 during the winter strength building.  I didn't even come close.  I managed only 18. The day before the race was spent with the family, barbecuing and playing with the my niece and nephews .  It was one of my favorite pre-race days yet.  Perhaps I could have rested and ate a little better, but no regrets here.Race DayMy brother kindly got me to the race start before 5am on race day.  With a 5:30am start, I expected more traffic, but this was a relatively smaller race with an announced 20000 runners.  I think it was less than that.  I chatted with two other NYC runners Leslie, and later Patricio, before the race.The general strategy was to start off slowly and keep a conservative effort through the first half of the race.  I headed to the corral about 5 minutes before my start, making sure to stay in the back so I'm forced to start in the crowd.  Miles 1-5 (7:55, 7:39, 7:45, 7:23, 7:24) This section was flat as it was alongside the water.  Kept it as easy as I could in the early going knowing that the going would get much tougher later.  I chatted with some other runners along the way towards Golden Gate.  There was a shortish climb here towards Fort Mason, with an elevation of 89 ft at the top.  It was short but steep, and in retrospect, just a slightly shorter climb than Central Park's Harlem Hill.  Yes, the elevation in that blue circle below is Harlem Hill, my main training incline since January.Blue circle:  equivalent of Harlem HillRed circle:  Climb to and Golden Gate Bridge out and backGreen circle:  Golden Gate ParkSpectatorship was scant during the race, especially along the beach.  Somewhere along mile 5 though, there was a really loud, isolated cheer group.  A couple of minutes later, I realized why.  The hill in the distance was upon us - a 200ft sharp climb to the Golden Gate Bridge.  No amount of hill training in Central Park prepared me for these grades.  I tried to conserve energy, doing my best to roll up the hill.  Miles 6-10(8:13, 7:26,  7:05, 7:25, 7:18)After two sharp climbs, running on the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise was the highlight of the race.  I wanted to stop and just take it in.  The bridge grade itself wasn't too bad.  I pressed on, and decided to start picking up the pace on the bridge declines, as evidenced by the 7:05 mile 8.  Miles 11-15(6:44, 7:41, 7:37, 7:06, 7:40)For whatever [...]



Hello 2013!

2013-01-27T15:04:11.027-05:00

Been out of commission recovering, and still not fully recovered) from the last race.  Can't believe it's taken months, but I guess it comes with age...damn the hamstring tendinitis.  Still, I think the knees are healthy enough now for me to start logging a few miles.  And since I was marathon free last year, I'm eager to start training again.

Goal Race
In early August last year, my younger brother and his wife had their first child, and I was excited to visit the new addition for my siblings just before the Toughman Tri.  I'm excited to make another trip, not only to visit family, but also San Francisco Marathon on Jun 16, my goal race for the year.  There's a little bit of apprehension in training for a marathon again since I've been out of practice for more than a year.  My big audacious goal?  3:10:00.  I want to requalify for Boston.

Goal stated, I'm not quite sure if I'll be able to accomplish.  But the time off has generated enough appetite for me to train harder.  And if 3:10 is my new BQ, I'll have to train harder than I'll ever have.  I'm slightly out of shape (+ 5lbs), but that should bring more fun to the climb.  Game on.


On a side note, I've restarted my photo a day project for the year to get acquainted with my new gear, a Nikon D600  :-D    Will be posting new photos along the way.(image)



Toughman Tri Recap

2012-09-16T17:31:13.267-04:00

It's taken me to eight years to attempt another half ironman.  The first try (tri?) ended with me flying out of Kona with my tail between my legs.  Since then, I've moved to Manhattan and done only running races.  Triathlons were out of the picture because I did not want to swim in the Hudson, and I'm not a very good swimmer.  Fast forward about 8 years, and I find myself at the starting line of the Toughman Triathlon.  What has changed?  In the last year, my boss RK convinced me to join him and a couple of other colleagues, EH and EM.  In addition, one other colleague wanted to bet that EM would finish ahead of me.  I was highly motivated by the bet to prove my colleague wrong.  At 39, I think I'm smarter about racing in general now than I was nearly a decade ago.Swim - 1.2 miles - 37m50s (rank:  521 of 553 finishers)One of the main reasons why I agreed to sign up for triathlon was because I knew I could use a wetsuit.  I'm a weak swimmer, and without something to help me stay afloat, I'm at the river bottom.  In fact, two weeks out, I had an anxiety attack during a river practice swim when my feet lost touch of ground.  Pool sessions with my wife and a lake swim with colleagues helped me to gather enough confidence to know that I would at least survive.  On race day, I was member of the final wave to start the race.  RK started 15 minutes ahead of me, and EH and EM 5 minutes.  The swim itself was out to a far buoy and back to shore in the shape of two long triangle legs.  When the whistle blew for my group to start, I let everyone else ahead.  I wanted to avoid all the kicking, pushing and shoving into the water.  For the next 45 minutes, my existence was defined by swimming buoy to buoy.  On the way out, I surprisingly caught up with a few other swimmers.  Maybe I was a better swimmer than I thought.  Unfortunately, the unexpected company resulted in a foot to my face. The turnaround buoy came unexpectedly quickly so I was expecting the same on the swim back.  The Hudson made sure I experienced otherwise.  I felt like I was swimming in place for a while trying to reach the first return buoy.  I had to get on my back a couple of times to relax and also called on to a kayaker for assistance.  The lifeguard threw me a rubber noodle to help keep me afloat.  It was nice to hear the encouraging voice of another human.  When I resumed the swim, I noticed that I was by myself.  Other swimmers were about 20 yds to my right, and my oxygen deprived brain thought they were all off course.  They were swimming straight for the finishing chute.  I was going for buoys that had started to drift off line.  I put a little more effort to reach the next few markers and eventually made it on shore.  I saw a friend at the finish chute and I remember exclaiming, "I'm alive!"  I was so thankful to be out of the water.Transition 1 - 3m47s (363 of 553)I really wanted to get on my knees and kiss the sand once out of the water, but I had some people to chase down.  I jogged lightly instead to the transition area to get some blood into my legs and on the way, took advantage of the wetsuit helpers who helped me out of it in record time.  There were still a few bikes remaining at the corral.  I turned on my Garmin, watered my feet clean of sand and mud, put on my socks and biking shoes, chugged down a bottle of Gatorade, pocketed four energy bars, put on my helmet and shades, and jogged out of T1 with my bike. Bike - 2h58m38s (152 of 553)Bike elevation profile"Let the chase begin," I thought as I finally started pedaling.  Unfortunately, my legs weren't in the mood yet, so I spun until I got more blood to the lower limbs.  The course was a hilly loop, which I broke down to 4 x 14 mile segments.  Without prior experience of half iron distance races, I wasn't sure how m[...]



2012 Reach the Beach Massachusetts

2012-05-26T19:29:01.072-04:00

It would be an injustice to not write about my first relay, the 2012 Reach the Beach Massachusetts.  When I forget the details years down the road.  I want to be able to look back on this weekend and re-relish the journey and every sleep-deprived minute through this entry.Brief DescriptionFor starters, the RtB MA is a 200 mile relay race from Wachusett Ski Resort to Westport, MA, in 36 segments.  More info here.  The race starts on a Friday and keeps going for 200 miles.  For 2012, that meant anywhere from 21 hrs to 34 hrs for participants.  There are about 6-12 members for every team.  The less members in a team, the higher the mileage (ultra-runners) for each member and vice versa.  Team Honeybadger had 9 members in two vans, evenly splitting the number of legs to 4 per member.  When one van is out running, the other van is free for recovery (in)activity - usually napping or eating.BackgroundI had no idea what I was getting into when I said accepted Elyssa's invitation to join the team.  I just knew that everyone who's done one of these relays gush about all the fun they've had.  I didn't think I was properly trained (12-20 miles/wk), but I figured there was lots of time to recover between each leg.  How hard could it be 4 long intervals or tempo runs be?  My primary goal was to have fun and make it a game of kills.  My secondary concern was that I would be the main van stinker.  In fact, my wife wanted me to apologize in advance about that.  But thanks to witch hazel and baby wipes, I think I was tolerable.  I think.On The WayMet with fellow Honeybadgers on Thursday afternoon to make our way to Fitchburg, MA (home of the corndog).  We stopped in New Haven because everyone outside of van 1 knew the city's known for pizza.   The pizza indeed was excellent.  The company, even though a few of us were just getting to know each other, was even better.  With the obscenely tall stack of pancakes I had in the morning, I figured my body was properly fueled.  I drove from NYC to MA and was happy to show my van mates how to drive with the aloha spirit as we maneuvered through traffic.Once at the hotel, I think we all had a slight sense of urgency to get into the rooms and rest up for the event.  We had a cot brought into the room to accommodate five in one room, but I chose to sleep on the floor because I didn't want to wake up spooning my supervisor.   The RaceTeam Honeybadger was scheduled to start at 12pm.  I volunteered for the first leg, a scant 2.8 miles.  How did I forget...the distance is inversely proportionate to the sharpness of pain when racing.  At the start resort, we came across teams with interesting van decor, Santa, misspelled team names, and even ex-boyfriends.  Soon, we were done with registration and orientation, and I was ready to go to bat for my awesome van 1 first time relayers below.  Left to right:  Abbe, Chris (Baker), me, Robin, PatricioLeg 1 - The Ski Slope Climb (2.9 miles at 2pm)(8:06, 9:09, 5:21@.86 miles | Kills - 1) I normally don't get nervous leading to races, only at the starting line, and it was no different here.  I checked my competition around me and gave myself a goal of finishing in the top 3.  Also had to remind myself to have fun.  There was no concern for time.  This relay was about the thrill of the kill.      The horn blew, and up hill I went!  Hopped past my teammates at the start, and tried not to get too carried away with speed.  One mile in, I was a distant second and began cursing myself for taking the first leg.  Who the hell volunteers to run up a ski slope!?  Felt like I was climbing a hyperbolic curve.  I was embarassingly reduced to a walk in 3 parts of the course and fell to 3rd.  Needless to say, I was relieved when we got to the top, but th[...]



Brunch at Norma's

2012-01-21T16:28:07.193-05:00

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Fruit smoothie shots
Every now and then, some culinary experiences are so unexpected they just have to be shared.  This was the case with Norma's.  I went with high expectations and left severely disappointed.  I've seen shows with glowing reviews on their food, but what Sara and I ordered was just ... not very good and definitely not worth the exorbitant price. 

http://www.parkermeridien.com/normas.htm
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Mostly sweets bread basket

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Crispy French Toast

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In the meantime...

2012-01-07T23:26:23.679-05:00

Still dealing with achilles tendinitis, so while I'm recovering, I've been posting photos to stock sites.  Here's my mini gallery at Shutterstock...


My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

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Got Achilles Tendonitis

2011-11-20T18:01:12.985-05:00

There's nothing runners and other athletes want to wish away more than injuries.  I've had right achilles pain for at least a couple of months now and it's grown progressively worse, especially after the NYCM.  Like all other injuries, it seems the only thing I can do is to not do too much (running) and stretch it.  So I'll follow orders and keep my running to about 10 miles per week and get back to core and functional strength development...next month. 


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I May Have Just Become a Fruit Lover

2011-11-16T19:32:35.033-05:00

It's no secret that I dislike fruits.  I put up with some for nutrition and health, but in general, I much prefer vegetables.  If you must know why, it's because I grew up in the tropics surrounded by an overabundance of rotting mangoes and papayas.  My favorite ways to consume fruitin pie form or as smoothie ingredients.  I especially dislike sour fruits.  That said, I think I may have found a cure to my fruit revulsion.

Enter the Miracle Berry.

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Synsepalum dulcificum


After seeing it on the Dr. Oz show, my wife and I had to give it a try.  We found a place in NYC that sells them at $5(!!??).  When my wife came home today with 4 miracle berries and a basket of strawberries, grapefruit, kiwis, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, lemon and lime, the party was on.  We started with the a miracle berry each, chewing the berry and the seed and swishing it for a couple of minutes.  Then began the fun.
  • strawberries - OMG.  Were these just plucked from the Garden of Eden??  So good, I had to have another and another.  Then...
  • lemon wedge - I still taste a little bit of sourness, but more sweetness.  
  • lime wedge - Same as the lemon, but slightly sweeter
  • grapefruit - I'd never had grapefruit in my life, but I was spooning it and slurping like a starving mad man.
  • under-ripe kiwi - Best kiwi ever!
  • pineapple - sweetness!
  • cantaloupe - heaven!
  • honeydew melon - WOW!
I continued to devour fruits for another 10 mins or so, when the berry effects wore off.

I love my sweets and usually get them in the form of baked goods, but with this miracle berry, I think I can now actually eat a little more healthily by cutting out some processed sugars in exchange for fruits.  The best thing about it is that it doesn't mask any of the natural flavors about the fruit.  It just enhances them, so a strawberry still tastes like a strawberry.

If you're skeptical, check out a few of the links below.  Or find a fruit purveyor in your area and give it a try.  It's about as much fun as you can have eating fruit.




Links
 - CNN
 - NY Times
 - Doctor Oz show(image)



Off-season Plan - Vibrams!

2011-11-13T21:45:25.954-05:00

The main goal this off-season is to take it easy.  Three marathons this year (Disney, Chicago, New York City) is what I'd usually do in three years.  Going to take a couple of steps back this and I'm going to enjoy it so come next season, I'm ready to tackle the next goal:  sub 5 minute mile.  Don't know if it's possible, but I won't know until I try.  My current PR is 5:22 without specifically training for it.

There is one unorthodox element I'm introducing into my life this off-season - Vibrams.  I've run barefoot on the treadmill before and actually enjoyed it.  And with my wife wanting a "monkey foot" partner since she's been wanting to wear them for her lower back ailments, now was as good a time as any. 

We've gone out walking in them only two times so far for starters.  Today's 5 mile walk around the city to Central Park, LeVain Bakery and Trader Joe's felt more taxing than usual.  And I guess that's a good thing.  I felt like I got a better workout below the ankle today than I would have in regular shoes.  I don't like walking on asphalt and hard surfaces with them, but love walking on Central Park grass, dirt and trail.  At this point, I definitely can't imagine running more than a few miles in these.  But I know the body will adapt, and I hope it'll translate to a few seconds faster for my mile time next year. 



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2011 New York City Marathon - Expo to Finish Line

2011-11-08T11:06:29.272-05:00

[...]



2011 New York City Marathon spectating - 5:35:24

2011-11-06T21:28:44.514-05:00

My 3rd slowest marathon ever, but among the top 3 in terms of sheer enjoyment.  My big audacious goals for this race were to have fun, take lots of photos, and meet and talk to people along the way, which was probably the most difficult.  It certainly helped to have left the Garmin at home.Here's a quick rundown of highlights that come to mind right away...Briefly chatted up Mario Lopez and his 2 running partners if this was their first marathon without recognizing them. Didn't realize it until a half mile into Brooklyn when so many women were screaming his name.Met an older gentleman whose fastest time was 2:25, but was now running in the 6hr range in his 70'sRan for a while with the NYRR in-race videographer photographer, who I ended up giving a pair of my change socks because he was blisteringWalked with a friend from about miles 16-18 who just couldn't run anymore and decided to pull off the course.The fandom throughout this marathon is utterly spectacular.  Best marathon strips have to be awarded to 1st Ave. Manhattan and Brooklyn's Greenpoint.  I give Brooklyn the edge.I soaked in the atmosphere approaching the finish, and stood about 100m from the finish taking photos and congratulating people.  All the while, people were imploring, "DON'T STOP!  YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!"  I smiled at them and took their photo.  When I resumed, I couldn't help but have a huge grin on my face.  I resumed my run with a jump and a heel click to screaming cheers and high-fived everyone I could the rest of the way.  No gels or gu on this marathon, and I don't miss it.And lastly, jog/walking a marathon still hurts at the end of the distance, although not quite as much.If there's any gripe about today, it's the same I've had year after year - why don't they let runners with no bags to pick up on 72? Now to the photos.  I have to work tomorrow so I didn't get a chance to export a lot, so I'll continue tomorrow.  Here's a few for starters....I've always caught the bus from midtown.  This was a first for me this year.  Goodbye Manhattan.  See you in a few. Mario Lopez and his running partnerOne of my favorite shots today [...]



New York City Marathon Photos - Packet Pickup

2011-11-05T20:34:06.133-04:00

As I wrote in my previous post, my only intention for tomorrow is to have fun with the camera.  It started this afternoon with the packet pickup.  More to follow....after the race  :-)

Jacob Javits Conference Center.  Usual packet pickup location.(image)  



High-end marathon charms, anyone?



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The Off-Season

2011-10-26T22:52:26.344-04:00


Thanks to my wife and a friend, I briefly considered racing the NYC Marathon because it's only four weeks after Chicago and I'd still be in pretty decent shape to retry for 3:10.  But with NYCM only 1.5 weeks away, I think I'm just going to stick with my original plan and make it a jog/walk and start enjoying my off-season with a camera.

Speaking of which, with my photo-a-day project done, I've missed taking photos.  Luckily, I've found something to keep me motivated this off-season - submitting photos to stock sites.  Starting to build up a library  at Fotolia.comDreamstime.com, and upon acceptance, IStockPhoto.com and Shutterstock.com.  My goal in all this?  To see if I can get a few hundred photos on each site.  This is not a race so there's no time frame.  It's just another layer of enjoyment and motivation for a hobby that's become incredibly addicting, much like running.

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2011 Chicago Marathon recap

2011-10-12T17:26:33.049-04:00

I had only one goal for this race:  run a 3:10.  You see, I've grown tired of training for and running marathons, and I just want to do end this year with a bang with plans on taking off next year.  That said, I carried a 24oz water bottle as opposed to 16oz, and filled it with ~2tsp salt.  Also carried 6 Roctane's and picked up an additional clif shot at mile 17.   I logged the most training miles I've ever done for this race.  I missed out on tempo and speed mileage until the last month of training because of a twisted ankle, but I thought the additional miles and the multiple Tabata sprints addressed that.  So come the day of the marathon, I was ready for battle.

The gun went off with Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run on the loudspeakers to amp up the runners, myself included.  My goal was to run the first 10k feeling easy.  It felt easy even though I may have gone out a little faster than planned.  After 10k, I planned on running at about 7:00 - 7:10.  My next checkpoint was 13.1 @ about 1:35:xx to have a shot at my goal.  Check.  Next was mile 20 @ 2:25, which would leave me with ~45 mins for the last 10k.  Check.  I had still planned on gutting out at least 1 or 2 sub-7 miles in the 20's.  Then the wheels started to fall off.

I felt the initial cramp twinge around mile 17-18, but shrugged it off and drank more water and gatorade.  I didn't want to pay it any respect because I had a very specific goal that wouldn't accomodate cramps.  I tried to pick up the pace to get the sub-7 miles as planned, but both legs now were telling me to stop or they'd lock up.  Still didn't listen.  By mile 24, the twinges started to become knots and I had to take walk breaks.  At about mile 25, I was reduced to a stiff legged walk for several hundred meters.  My entire right hind leg just locked up.  Attempts to stretch the hind muscles caused the quads to cramp up.  I hadn't experienced that since my first marathon.  Gracious spectators rooted me on with looks of pity and encouragement.  I almost felt bad for making them feel bad for me.  Some of them offered me a beer for comfort.  I was almost tempted. 

In the end, I could only smile and be thankful for the battle as countless runners passed me by on the final 800.  I armed myself well and gave it my best shot, but it wasn't meant to be.  I was also very happy and excited for my friend and colleague and long run training partner Craig who passed me at about mile 26.  He set a PR by 10 minutes.  How awesome is that?

Note:  Prayers and thoughts to the family of the North Carolina fireman who collapsed 500m from the finish and  died 2 hrs later in the hospital.  I saw at least a couple of runners in the last 3 miles being treated with IV drips and it reminded me of how tough this event really is. 


Mileage splits:
1- 7:17
2 - 7:01
3- 7:08
4 -7:04
5 - 7:17
6 - 7:21
7 - 7:06
8 - 6:55
9 - 7:05
10 - 7:02
11 - 7:01
12 - 7:02
13 - 6:52
14 - 6:38
15 - 7:12
16 - 7:07
17 - 7:12
18 - 7:19
19 - 7:24
20 - 7:32
21 - 7:42
22 - 7:57
23 - 8:15
24 - 9:11
25 - 12:35
26 - 9:11  (.73 miles)






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11 pure miles...back to basics

2011-09-15T23:15:25.021-04:00

In the span of 6 hrs and, all because of running, I experienced:

- GUILT because I missed a lunch run
- ANGER because I had to make it up
- BARGAINING because I didn't want to
- DEPRESSION because I had to
- ACCEPTANCE because I needed to

In the end, acceptance made me realize the only cure for my afternoon anguish was the sickness itself. I just needed to go out and enjoy a run. So I did. And I was treated to a vibrant magenta sunset along the reservoir, cool breezes throughout the park, and on the way home, I stopped to enjoy Andrea Bocelli's performance at the Great Lawn from a distance. What an evening.
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2011 Portland Maine - Operation Escape Irene

2011-08-31T00:16:48.927-04:00

2011 Portland Maine - Operation Escape Irene, a set on Flickr.Short weekend trip to Portland, Maine, coincidentally to escape Irene. Topped off the week to 60+ miles while on the trip :-)[...]



Heal!

2011-07-28T12:45:35.563-04:00

It's not like I've been inactive, but starting to feel like a marshmallow just because I haven't been running consistently. Also starting to reconsider my Chicago expectations. Approaching 3rd week of ankle healing and it feels like an eternity.(image)



Photo walking tour 2011.07.23

2011-07-24T22:33:52.995-04:00

Photo walking tour 2011.07.23, a set on Flickr.Fun day with the new 7-14mm lens! Not much running, but lots of walking.[...]



Race Report: Run for the Parks

2011-04-17T21:43:35.696-04:00

What a difference a week makes. Last week before the Scotland 10k, I felt age catching up with me and my fastest running behind me, especially for the 10k and shorter distances. But breaking my 4 yr-old PR after the 10k though changed my outlook 180 degrees.

I carried the confidence into today's 4 mi Race for the Parks. Just like last week, I warmed up for about 2.5miles before the run, only I didn't do any fast warmups today. Opted instead to catch up with an old friend.

My strategy going into the race was to take it easy on the uphill first mile, make up time on mile two, eke out what I could in a very hilly mile three, and balls out in the final mile. Also decided to reward myself with stuffed french toast (best french toast every!) at the Eatery, IF I PR'ed today, breaking my non-dessert and processed sugar consumption. My splits were as follows:

Mile 1 - 6:31
Mile 2 - 6:20
Mile 3 - 6:44
Mile 4 - 6:28
Mile .06 - 18s
Garmin time: 26:27
Official time: 26:21 @ 6:36/mi

Missed my PR by 7 seconds! Nice little reality check and worse, no stuffed french toast. Still, it was a good race. It just wasn't another PR day today.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/79728561(image)



Race Report: Scotland Run 10k

2011-04-10T16:57:50.958-04:00

I'd been dreading this race since I signed up for it. I've developed a distaste for the shorter races, especially 10k's. Of all race distances, they seem to hurt the most. Additionally, I've been mired in a running funk of self-doubt and I had not raced a 10k since last year's Scotland Run. To relieve some pressure, I decided to treat this as a baseline race for the year. It would be a reflection of the cross-training and the treadmill intervals I've done this brutal winter.

It was great Scottish weather today. Warmed up jogging lightly to the bag check, and when I couldn't find my colleagues, I decided to do something different. Instead of going directly to the corral, I did some warm up hill repeats on the bridle path to get my heart rate up. I thought it might be good to get my heart rate up before the race so I could settle into pace easier.

I headed to the corral, stretched for a little bit, then waited a couple of minutes for the race to start. I was placed in the second corral this year so when the race started, I did quite a bit of dodging and weaving.

My Garmin splits for the race were as follows:

Mile 1: 6:39
Mile 2: 6:34
Mile 3: 6:26
Mile 4: 6:45 - Bottom of Harlem Hill to Engineer's Gate, hardest stretch on the course.
Mile 5: 6:31
Mile 6: 6:37
.31: 1:56
-------------------
41:32 Unofficial


My official finish time was 41:28. Woohoo! A PR by 19s. I'll take it. Completely unexpected. I remember feeling like I was going to fall apart after 4 miles, and at the same time trying to outrun a loud and heavy breather who, just by being around me, was draining me. Luckily he faded back. And the one thing I can't forget today - I was outkicked by a girl the last 10 meters. She came out of nowhere and I didn't have time to react.

After the race, I brunched with some friends and colleagues, one of them a first time NYRR racer. Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries and pecans. No syrup for this (mostly) sugar-free month.

Lessons learned today:
- age hasn't quite caught up with me yet as I've feared
- strength, speed and stretching training works for me as an alternative to lots of miles
- raising the heart rate before the race helped to settle into a pace quicker
- I think I can get faster

Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/78414227(image)



Manhattan Half

2011-01-22T21:10:26.021-05:00

I was not an official race entrant for the Manhattan Half. I was out there to help pace a friend, CK, and to log some miles since I haven't been running much. I could not have picked a colder morning - 12F when I stepped out the door. Luckily I anticipated it so I made a stop at Sports Authority last night to pick up some new warm socks and gloves with a gift card. The socks actually worked really well. The gloves didn't work as well as I'd hoped.The race itself I consider a success. Although CK didn't hit her goal time, she did great considering the morning conditions. The sunshine provided token warmth, but for the most part, it was the coldest race I've ever done to date. And yet, there was a guy out there with shorts and a sleeveless shirt. My face went numb. Probably had snot lines on my face and I couldn't feel it. My fingers get a burning freezing sensation in these temperatures. And about eight miles in, my feet felt like ice blocks attached to my ankles. I think I crossed the finish around 1:51:xx, just behind CK, but I don't know the official time since I stepped out of the race path and jogged to the finish in the pedestrian area.Besides the cold, one outstanding thought I have about this run is this: it hurt just as much as when I ran a PR in Philly. I'll attribute it to the cold conditions and that I ran Disney 2 weeks ago.All in all, it was a great new cold experience today to pace CK, log a few miles, and get my last long run done for the rest of this winter. To finish off the morning, I headed to Sullivan Street Bakery and treated myself to a chocolate almond croissant and a couple of bombolinis which I enjoyed with milk and finally some hot tea.First time I've seen plastic bags over shoes for warmth...Vibram's in these conditionsThis guy's head isn't generating enough heat to keep the sweat from freezing, or it's just plain cold.First loop, sun still coming up.Snowy sheep's meadow morning[...]



A Five Year Report of Activities (2005 - 2010)

2011-01-16T22:31:01.242-05:00

It's time for another look back at another year in activity, now that it's finally over for me. But instead of looking at just one year, why not a quick look at the last five years.2005:Most balanced year in terms of training. Did two goal races this year - The Tinman Triathlon and the Honolulu Marathon. Course consists of 750m swim/40k bike/10k run. I finished at 19:58/1:07:27/48:09) respectively, for a total 2:19:17 including transition times.I did the Honolulu Marathon this year at 3:33:14. I was about 3 years into running at this point and remember how tough this race was for me. I had a goal time of 3:10 to BQ. Was 1:36 at the halfway point, and totally cramped up the second half. Was really just learning how tough it was to qualify for Boston.Moved to NYC from Hawaii around August of this year.2006Did a lot of stationary biking first winter because I didn't care too much for running in the cold. A few races in Central Park and a couple of NYRR half marathons, otherwise, it was a year to transition into a new living scenario.2007Decided to do try for the NYRR Grand Prix in 2007 just to get the silly certificate. Logged most running miles this year (Also did my first NYC marathon. What an experience! Results were as follows:Manhattan half - 1:35:52 (coldest race ever!)Bronx half - 1:36:21 (another brutally cold race)Brooklyn half - 1:34:39New York City Marathon - 3:28:17 (first sub 3:30! At this point, I realized how far I was from qualifying for Boston, and I had to make a serious commitment if I was going to get to 3:15)Didn't mark the other two half marathons, but I know it was in the mid 1:30's.2008Buckled down more on run training this year to see if I could qualify for Boston in the NYC Marathon, logging 1590 miles for the year. My strategy to run the qualifying time was to do lots and lots of running without much speedwork Result? 3:19:46. Still nearly 5 minutes short of qualifying time.2009Frustrated by my BQ failures, changed my strategy two-fold. First, I decided to do more speedwork by introducing Tabata sets into my workouts. Second, I decided to try to qualify on a flatter course in New Jersey. Result? Success! Qualified with a 3:14:23.After finally qualifying, I wanted to try something different instead of running, so I committed to the P90X program. At the same time, I trained and did the 2009 NYC marathon. Results for the marathon were not very good. My heart was not into it. The P90X program, I think, helped me out quite a bit. Never been able to do so many pullups in my life! See results post here.2010Finally ran the Boston marathon, and it was worth every trying effort to do the race. Of all the marathons I've done, including NYC, this was probably my favorite race to date. After the race, I really wasn't sure what to do with myself running-wise. Also had a couple of half marathon PR's, finally breaking 1:30 in the Philly half. 2011Started off with the a personally disappointing Disney marathon, which has motivated me to train hard this year. Will revisit 2011 about a year from now.All-in-all, I can't believe I've been in NYC for over five years now. It's been quick, I'm still enjoying myself, and I'm looking forward to coming adventures with friends and my wife.[...]



2011 Disney Marathon Race Report

2011-01-15T20:36:06.053-05:00

Tardy on this race report, but friends and family on an Orlando vacation trump the recap any day. So here it is... src="http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/63569392" frameborder="0" height="548" width="465">Among runners, I wonder sometimes if I'm abnormal in that I don't enjoy running multiple marathons per year. In 2009, it was NJ and NYC. This past year, even though the Disney is in 2011, I consider it in the same year I did Boston since almost all the training was in 2010. This is an important consideration for me because I've realized that in doing two marathons per year the last two years, I've never performed well and consequently never fully enjoyed the second race. My Disney finish time was 3:18:52.Training for this marathon was not quite as minimal as last year's NYC. I was just hoping to continue my string of PR's on minimal training. It's in my blood to be optimistic.The race had an announced 17000 participants, but didn't felt like it was more than that. Race morning was nice and cold. I gave my wife my one long sleeve to help keep me warm, so thank goodness for the crowd to provide general warmth during the half-mile walk to the starting corrals from the check-in area.After a few interviews of runners doing the Goofy challenge and other runners dressed in their favorite characters, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy sent us on our way at around 5:38 AM. I positioned myself all the way in the back of corral A to ensure a slower start. My wife, by the way, was dressed as Minnie Mouse, and being the actress that she is, she was true to her character throughout the race.The best part about the course was running through the parks, particularly Magic Kingdom. I approached the Cinderella castle just before dawn, and the combination of the sunrise and the castle lighting was, dare I say, "magical." Besides that, the course itself was flat and rather uninteresting. Lots of highway and backroad running, including running by a sewer processing area. I'm thankful for the many Disney characters interspersed along the way between the parks to keep us entertained. I saw a couple of runners pull over to take pictures with some of the belles. The longest empty stretch was between the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, so I chatted with a few other runners.Strategy wise, mine was pretty straightforward. Go out slow the first few miles, make up the time in the middle, and give whatever I had left the remaining 10k. My finish time was reflective of the training I put into it. I was hoping for a 3:15, but I think not enough training, over-indulgent holiday season and the all-day amusement park outing the day before the race ultimately did me in. All along, I saw this marathon as something fun to do in support of my wife and my best friend doing his first marathon. They both smashed their race goals. In the end, with the usual body pains of a marathon, I lamented that I didn't give the event more respect.There are lessons to be learned in every race, and I believe I was due mine. I've been spoiled this past year with less mileage yielding better results. It was good to be humbled and reminded that I need to work to get better. And that sets me up for this year nicely. The race was less than a week ago, but I definitely feel more motivated now than I have since Boston training last year. I feel like it's safe for me to wave goodbye to my lack of motivation and say hello to a new season. And I[...]



Race Report: Philadelphia Half Marathon

2010-11-22T00:10:37.398-05:00

This race was all about grit to break 1:30 for the first time in a half marathon. And I feel like I almost sabotaged myself...
  • enjoyed way too much of a late dinner the night before
  • depending on maintenance running in favor of hard training
So when the race started, I knew I just had to go and get it. Drawing on my Pain to Paine trail half, I figured I could maintain the same hard effort for the distance but with a better time on a street course. My Garmin mile splits and thoughts along the course were as follows.
  1. 6:47
  2. 6:37
  3. 6:47
  4. 6:53
  5. 6:48
  6. 6:41 - First 5 miles done at above goal pace. Let's see if I can keep this going. Latched on to 3hr pacer who was slightly ahead of pace.
  7. 6:23 - Great crowds along Chestnut provided lots of energy. Good to bank time.
  8. 6:50 - Slight uphill took an effect.
  9. 6:34
  10. 6:51 - Left bending uphill seemed never ending. Needed to use arms to get up the hill.
  11. 6:31
  12. 6:41 - Time to get going, but not much left in the tank.
  13. 6:45 - WTF? Why is this mile taking so long? And where is the finish line??
  14. 2:03 (.33 miles)
---------------------
Garmin time: 1:29:11
Official finish: 1:29:12

My previous personal best was 1:31:45 this past January. I felt like 1:30 was mine for the taking today after the Boston training and the maintenance work I've continued in the past few months. I just had to not be afraid to go out and get it. I kept that in mind in the last couple of miles. It wasn't easy, but I didn't expect it to be.


(image)