Thursday, December 17, 2009

Long Overdue Product(s) Review

Two months ago I received a couple of free samples of Pom Wonderful products. One was a bottle of their POM Kiwi Juice, and the other a bottle of their POM Nectarine juice. I drank them at that time, and as I was going through my old e-mails today realized that I never wrote a product review about them. So I'm two months late telling you about these products. OOPS!
I won't go into details about the nutritional info, but rather give you the link below so that you can read about the products and their nutritional info.

First, I must say that I accept free samples of products such as POM Wonderful with the understanding that I will always give an unbiased review, and also not try to convince any of my readers to purchase the product. That being said, I truly enjoyed both juices. They are very tasty, and I feel consuming them good knowing that they don't contain any added sugars, preservatives or colors. The only negative aspect in my opinion is the 150 calories per 8 oz. bottle. However they also contain zero grams of fat. I have also tried their pomegranate and cherry flavors previously and also liked their taste as well. Let me not forget their three flavors of iced coffee: Chocolate, Cafe Au Lait, and Vanilla. I was fortunate enough to receive the chocolate and Cafe Au Lait freebies during the hot summer. They were delicious ice cold on a hot day. The sweet thing about the chocolate flavor is that it doesn't have any grams of fat, and also has 175 mg of natural caffeine per 10.5 oz. bottle. However, the 190 calories are a bit high in my opinion. It will definitely "kick start" you when you need a boost.
So, there's my honest, unbiased POM Wonderful product info. I've also noticed that they have bars, pills, and shots. If I receive any of these from POM Wonderful (hint hint Pom Wonderful) I'll be sure to pass along the info. on them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let There Be (More) Light

Yesterday's Run: Road. 46 degrees. 3.6 miles; Splits: 8:51; 8:47; 8:08; 4:45; 30:31; 8:28/mile average pace.

Today's Run: Road. 30 degrees. 4.25 miles; Splits: 9:04; 8:51; 8:43; 8:25; 2:01; 37:04; 8:43/mile average pace.

I'm so psyched. It's FINALLY happened. We the people of Connecticut have started experiencing a later sunset. Yes, during the next week we actually gain 3 more minutes of sunset. Wow, an entire extra 3 minutes before sunset. A month from now we will have gained 25 minutes of sunlight. Even though I received my Duravision Pro Reflective Armband with 4 LED Lights today from RoadRunner Sports today and wore it during my run, I can't wait to pack it away. Can you tell I'm not a winter person?
Well, two more runs on the road, close to home. I do miss the linear trail, but I don't know if all the snow has melted off it from last Wednesday's snowstorm, and of course it's not lit so I don't have time to run it during the week. My still unnamed and probably never to be named Garmin Forerunner 305 (See December 9 post)and I are definitely BFF right now. We go out and run about and as long as we arrive home in 30 minutes or more, we're both happy. I'm not sure that probably never to be named Garmin Forerunner 305 was being truthful sure didn't feel like I ran an 8:08 mile 3 split. But hey, who am I to argue? Anytime weekdays that all my splits are under 9 minutes and I run at least 30 minutes, life is good. My simple goal this time of the year is to get out at least 2 days during the week and run for at least 30 minutes, preferably before dark. If I break 9 minutes per mile that's even better. I'm hoping to run more miles during the weekend, weather permitting. So overall, if I run 4 or 5 days a week, for at least 30 minutes a run, preferably with split times of less than 9 minutes, than I'll be happy. There's no pressure for me to perform right now. I don't have any races in mind until at least March. Plus Connecticut weather is too unpredictable this time of the year, and it's the holidays, so why stress out? I'm continuing to run negative splits every time, so that's a bonus. Even though I only ran 4 1/4 miles today, my legs and right knee were letting me know that tomorrow's a day of rest. Friday will probably also be a rest day, since my daughter and I are decorating our Christmas tree and home. That should allow me to be well rested for a longer Saturday run, providing the beer and pizza on Friday don't convince me otherwise. Time to go catch up on what all of you are doing..

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christopher Martin's Christmas Run For Children 5K Race Report

Splits: 8:00; 7:55; 7:49; :46; 24:30 (7:53/M).

First off, how the heck did I run a 22:57 last year? Second, how the heck did I run a 24:30 this year?!! UGH, I felt good, but I think I "babied" myself too much. I don't have any kind of a great race report. It is my favorite 5K race ever, as you'll soon read why. It was a relatively flat course out and back from Christopher Martin's Restaurant in New Haven. The course was new, and it was OK, but I do like the course from the previous years better. No excuses though, the new course didn't slow me down. I slowed me down. I worked up a good sweat, and was actually overdressed for a cool Connecticut day. I could have worn shorts, but I chose not to since it was 19 degrees outside when my daughter and I left my house. My daughter, a co-worker and I all ran the race. We started together, but since I was given permission from the two of them to run my own race, I did. So the quality father-daughter occurred after the race during the post race party in the bar area of the restaurant. First I "established the base," meaning I ate three hot dogs and a bagel in order to have some food in my stomach before heading inside to consume my share of the 15 kegs of free beer that was available. Once inside, I had the important responsibility of passing cups and pitchers of beer back to the other patrons. That's what happens when you're tall and finish 437 of 1609 finishers. So as much as I've whined about my time, I still finished before 75% of the runners. The post race party also has a men's and women's competition with categories such as tallest, best tattoo, best sports bra...well, you get the idea. It gets pretty crazy as hundreds of runners are packed together like sardines in a small bar consuming 15 kegs of free beer (Thank-you New England Brewing Company)for 3 hours while cheering on the competitors. No, I didn't get up on the bar to compete. I wasn't drunk and stupid enough. Matter of fact, I drank responsibly as you can tell since I'm writing this today. :-) P.S. Note to self: Don't attempt to add a race to the "Previous Races" category in your blog when you're tired. Otherwise you may accidentally delete all of your previous race results. Too late....^$#@%$%

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Dedication Runs

Today's Run: Road. 32 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:18; 8:46; 8:38; 8:29; :46; 35:57; 8:46/mile average pace.

I've decided to dedicate my Saturday runs to those persons who are unable to run due to injury. Today's run was dedicated to Lisa, of Lisa has a fracture in one leg and is unable to run for a while. She always has kind words to say whenever I post my latest run. So it was my pleasure to dedicate today's run to her.
After reading Meg's post about running hills, I decided that I'd challenge myself with some difficult hills today. Once again it was the all too familiar almost winter day, with the temperature being 32 degrees and the cold north wind blowing. I preplanned my run with the first half being run into the wind, and the second half being helped with the wind at my back. The course I set up had two tough hills, and I ran down one hill and up the next. So of course after I turned around and headed towards my home I was also faced with a downhill run followed by the uphill run. The majority of my run was on a main route (Route 10). I always wonder if I'll run by someone who knows me and thinks it's a good idea to beep their horn, thereby scaring the sh*t out of me. I also think that at least half of the people driving by think I'm nuts for running in the freezing cold. Of course I always hope that there's the one or two people who may actually be motivated enough by my running out in the elements to become runners themselves. OK, probably not, but I can dream, can't I?! I really do enjoy running up hills. I think having long legs helps. Plus there's the extra feeling of accomplishment once you reach the top. As you can tell by reading this, my run didn't really have any earth shattering excitements or exciting elements to it. On second thought it did. I was able to run today for Lisa. Lisa, here's to hoping your fracture heals quickly and that you come back stronger than ever. If anyone knows of someone I can dedicate next Saturday's run to, please send me their blog link or their name. Tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. I will be running in my favorite 5K of the year: The Christopher Martin's Run For Children 5K. From the website: "Our Mission - We hope to make Christmas a little brighter for needy children in the New Haven area by giving them not only a toy, but the message of love from friends and neighbors they have never met. Over the years, our race has given over 40,000 toys to children." The post race party has free food and 5 kegs of free beer available. If I don't post a race report for a few days I'm sure you'll understand. :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm a Negative (Splits) Person

Yesterday's Run: Road. 35 degrees. (Wind chill very cold!) 4.1 miles; Splits: 8:56; 8:52; 8:29; 8:20; :48; 35:32; 8:37/mile average pace.

(First, I have accepted the fact that it's winter and my new running shoes will get dirty and wet. Thank-you blogging buddies for busting my ass and making me suck it up and be ok with this. I love you all)
Here comes a familiar theme. I didn't want to run yesterday. I'm a weather wimp. I don't like running in the cold, although if my times continue to improve like they have been, I may change my mind. I rushed home after work yesterday and quickly changed into my running attire. The nice thing about living 7 miles from where I work and getting out at 3 p.m. is that I can get home in time to get out and run before the ridiculously early 4:20 p.m. sunset. Another week and a half to go before we start getting a later sunset, but who's counting? (I am). Anyhow, it was 35 degrees outside and windy!!! Yes, it was windy with three exclamation points. I convinced logical left brain that it was going to be ok to go out and run since 1) I was dressed warmly; 2) I was only going to run for half an hour; and 3) Once a mile or so passed, I would warm up and all would be well. Left brain agreed it was alright to run. So out the door I went. Two minutes into my run, I was about ready to turn and head back home. As I reached the crest of a hill I was met by a very cold north wind that was blowing strong. I don't usually have difficulty breathing during cold weather runs, but this wind took my breath away. I was gasping as the cold air reached my lungs. I quickly took a strategic left turn down a side street so that the wind was no longer blowing directly into my face. The quarter mile detour worked. As I reached mile one, still unnamed Garmin beeped and displayed an 8:56. Anytime I start with a sub 9 minute mile I'm encouraged, since my mile splits generally improve once I've warmed up. A left turn back onto the road I had left meant the cold wind was again in my face. At that point I was warmed up, so the wind was actually a plus. I wandered off the street a few times to add on mileage, figuring I'd get to the mile and a half turnaround point that much quicker and closer to home. As I reached 2 miles, still unnamed Garmin barely beeped (it was cold) and an 8:52 appeared. At that point I was feeling so good that I decided to up my run to 4 miles. I was headed back home with the wind at my back and feeling great. I was a running machine, and couldn't wait to see my mile 3 split. Another barely audible gasp from still unnamed Garmin, and an 8:29 split appeared. "No way" I said out loud! It had become another effortless run, and an uphill and a downhill, across the one-way bridge, left onto my street I completed my 4.1 miles in front of my next door neighbor's house in 35:25. My last mile was an 8:20; last tenth of a mile in 48 seconds; overall average split per mile was an 8:37. As I said earlier, I may just become a cold weather running addict if my times continue to improve. Good luck to any of you out there running races this weekend. I'm doing a 5K on Sunday. I promise you that race report and the after race party report will be one worth waiting for. I'm going to try to get a quick start and go for a PR. I don't know if that will be possible since it's a new course this year which I'm not familiar with, it goes along narrow streets, and about 1500 runners will be running it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Garmin Needs a Name!

Yesterday's Run: Road. 35 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:10; 9:06; 8:46; 8:30; 35:32; 8:53/mile average pace.
(First, I'm happy to report that my wife found my missing glove-in our garage. DOH!)
I was almost a "no-show" for yesterdays run. It was dark outside by the time I put on my running attire, but I couldn't back out since I was dressed and ready to run. (Take that logical left brain). I don't like running when it's dark, as I've whined before. I can't see very well with my coke bottle glasses lenses, especially when cars drive by. So I decided to run the same road route I had run the other day. It starts and ends at my home, and involves running on fairly well-lit sidewalks and roads. It's a new route I created by just randomly running out, around, and back to my home. That's why I love my Garmin. I can run wherever I want, and it tracks the mileage. Speaking of my Garmin, I've decided he/she needs a name. Other bloggers refer to their Garmins by name, and I just call mine a "Garmin." I feel as if I'm doing my Garmin an injustice by not calling it by a particular name. So please post your name suggestions in the comments section. Thanks! Back to yesterday's run. I took Monday off because I was feeling ass and leg aches and pains after my weekend runs. My theory is that running in my old shoes (because I didn't want to get my new shoes wet and ruin them) caused me the pains. They're more suitable as casual walking shoes now with the 550+ miles of running I put on them. Problem is. it's winter time, and we now have 3 inches or so of snow on the ground thanks to today's storm, and I'm not going to ruin my new running shoes during the winter. So I may have to deal with some aches and pains during my winter runs, or take a chance and run with my new shoes and hope my dehumidifier dries them out quickly. In case you don't already know, a dehumidifier is the perfect way to dry your shoes. I learned that at a running store. Anyhow, I didn't expect to run that well yesterday and wasn't excited about going out in the dark 35 degrees night. My first mile, as usual, was slow. BUT, it felt good. It was an effortless slower than I wanted to run mile 1. Unnamed Garmin beeped and displayed a 9:10, which actually surprised me since I was expecting a sub 9 minute mile since I was feeling good. I figured that the mainly uphill start was what slowed me down, but again, I was running smoothly. Mile 2 was more downhill, and I was still running smoothly and effortlessly. A sub 9 minute mile 2 was about to happen...NOT! Unnamed Garmin beeped, and now displayed a 9:06. Huh?! I turned and headed back the same way I had just run, and was now not only feeling "smooth," but warmed up as well. OK, so it had taken 2 miles in the 35 degrees temperature for me to warm-up. Fair enough. I ran uphill, turned the corner, up a slightly uphill street, took a left, and now had a nice downhill sidewalk run. I was now experiencing the perfect runner's feeling of being warm and cozy, legs and arms moving in rhythm, and breathing well. Plus my 70's tunes were blaring in my ears. Life was good, and I just KNEW mile 3 was going to be a good one. Mile 3: 8:46. Sweet! Feeling better than ever, I picked up the pace for my final mile. A right turn, across Route 10 (thank goodness no cars to dodge), down route 10, right onto Stony Hill Road for an up and down run. Left at the stop sign onto Country Club Road, wave to the Cox Cable guy up on the telephone pole and the police officer on the ground directing traffic, avoid uneven sidewalk obstacles, right onto Round Hill Road, conquer the steep 100 yard incline, turn the corner, and sprint downhill the last 100 yards to my home. Final mile: 8:30. That's more like it. Overall, a great run, and an even greater runner's high. It's runs like that that really make me appreciate how lucky I am to be a runner. OK, just a friendly reminder to help me name my Garmin. By the way, I've named my TomTom "Kathy." It's named after my wife, who, like my TomTom, likes to tell me what to do! If you're reading this Kathy, I love you! :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hookers Couldn't Stop Me From Running

Today's Run: Road. 37 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:15; 8:49; 8:50; 8:50; :45; 36:29; 8:53/mile average pace.

Yesterday's Run: Linear Trail. 38 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:19; 8:54; 8:48; 8:28; 35:29; 8:52/mile average pace.

Friday night was Hooker night. Yup, I had some Hookers and my wife knew about it. Matter of fact, she was with me. Perhaps I should explain. My wife Kathy, my daughter Stephanie, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's mom, and I went to the Thomas Hooker Brewery. For $10 we were able to sample all the beer we wanted from 5 to 8 p.m. We even got a cool Thomas Hooker mug to keep. Fortunately, my wonderful wife volunteered to be the designated driver. I'm proud to say that two of my co-workers and I are featured for the 12-4-09 Open House photos. If you're curious, check it out here: Click on the Open House 12-4-09 photos, and I'm in the big one/first one. That's me on the right proudly displaying my "growler" full of their Nor'Easter Winter Lager. Needless to say, I woke up Saturday morning knowing that my run was going to be a little more challenging than normal. I chose to run on the Farmington Canal Trail, which is mainly flat, as those of you who regularly read my blog know. I dedicated my run to Lisa since she's injured and unable to run for a while. The first mile was a struggle, and even though I was alone and yelling encouraging words to myself (Yes, I really did that), I still had a 9:19 split time, which didn't surprise me. I was happy I was running and not burping beer (gross, I know!), and the 38 degree temperature actually felt good. After mile 1 I was feeling pretty good so I picked up the pace. Mile 2 was an 8:54 time, and mile 3 even better at 8:48. I was psyched that I was running my splits below 9 minutes. I decided to really push myself the last mile, and at the 3 1/2 mile point I started listening to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," which Lisa had recommended I listen to during my NY City Marathon run. I gave it my all, and my last mile was an 8:28. So overall I had a better than expected run with negative splits with an average pace of 8:52. Unfortunately somehow, somewhere I lost one of my running gloves after I completed my run.
Today's run was 3 miles on the roads, and the last 1.1 miles on the trail. It was only 37 degrees outside and the roads and trail were wet from the dusting of snow we received last night. I hadn't gotten a lot of sound sleep because of not having power from 7:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. and staying up with my son (long story). Anyhow, as much as I didn't feel like running, I did. Once again I started with a slow first mile time (9:15), but was consistent once I warmed up. My last 3 miles were 8:49, 8:50, and 8:50. It really wasn't as effortless as I would have liked, but I was happy to have gotten myself outside and run. Amazing how writing a blog provides incentive to get my ass outside and run. I didn't wear my new running shoes this weekend because I didn't want to risk getting them too wet and dirty. I guess that means that I won't be wearing them too much during the winter, at least not until I officially get them dirty and wet. Have I really become a running shoes wuss?! By the way, I'm behind in reading your blogs. I promise to catch up in the next few days.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Heat Wave

Today's Run: Linear Trail. 60 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 8:47; 8:42; 8:31; 8:14. 34:14; 8:33/mile average pace.

Today's running weather was an early Christmas gift. The normal high temperature in Connecticut for December is 42 degrees. After receiving nearly 2 inches of rain this morning, the sun came out and it was 60 degrees when I hit the linear trail for my run. I was wearing shorts on December 3rd but feeling like I was overdressed since I had worn a short sleeved tech shirt underneath a long sleeved tech shirt. Once I was running and warmed up, which was quickly today, the two tech shirts became too much warmth. However, I was able to have another nearly effortless run. Each mile became easier to run, and I'm finally feeling as if my running mojo has permanently returned. Each mile split was less than the previous mile's, and my last mile was an 8:14. I'm thinking about the possibility of trying for a PR in the 5K race on December 13th. The course is flat, but it's a new course for the race. Whether or not I go for a PR will be determined by how good of a start I get, and how easy it is to run with and around 1500 other runners. As I've said before, it's more about the post race party with the race anyhow. Once again I will keep you in suspense about that until it gets closer to race day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bigger is Better

Today's Run: Road. 48 degrees. 3.6 miles; Splits: 9:16; 8:57; 8:51; 5:08; 32:12; 8:56/mile average pace.

Yes indeed, bigger is better. Today my new running shoes arrived, and they're bigger and better than my old ones. Now that I have those of you with dirty minds attention, I'll explain. I bought the same brand and style of shoes: Asics GT-2140. I ran about 550 miles in my old pair, including two marathons. They were a size 12 and always felt a little tight in the toe area. Well, I found out why when I placed my order at RoadRunner Sports. Their website says to order a half a size larger, meaning I should have been wearing size 12 1/2 all along. Oops! No wonder I had "Purple Toe Syndrome." So of course I just had to go for a run today, even though I was originally planning to take the day off. My goal was to run for about half an hour, or around 3 1/2 miles. I decided to run on the dirt path that cuts through the woods 2/10 of a mile from my home. It's used by the local high school as part of their cross country course, but I had never run on it before. Well, it was enjoyable at first, then came the rocky, uphill, suitable for a mountain goat part of the trail. It was even more difficult because parts of it were covered by leaves, and I was afraid of turning my ankle. I must also mention that at two different points it went off in another direction. I wasn't sure which trail to follow, but decided that the orange spray paint on the ground along the way must have been the path to follow. Where was the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when I needed him? On second thought, he wouldn't have been much help either! I finally found my way out of the woods and headed to a main road. The woods and rocks slowed me down and winded me enough so that my first mile was a 9:16. I got my wind back, and felt stronger the last 2.6 miles. I was pleasantly surprised to break 9 minute miles too: 8:57 and 8:51. It seems the key to me running well in the cold is to get warmed up. Once I am, it becomes automatic and pretty much effortless. Just like the good 'ol days. I'll have to make sure I do some pre-race running before the Christopher Martin's 5K Race on December 13th. Although the main point of me entering that race is the post race party. More about that in another post.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bad Run, Good Run

Sunday's "Bad" Run: Road. 53 degrees. 5.25 miles; Splits: 9:17; 9:19; 9:41; 9:13; 9:08; 2:05. 48:13; 9:16/mile average pace.

Today's "Good" Run: Road. 37 degrees. 4.1 miles; Splits: 9:32; 9:02; 9:00; 8:31; :48; 36:53; 8:59/mile average pace.

Sunday's run could be called "When Good Intentions Go Bad." I thought it would be a good idea to run 4 miles or so on the road and finish the last mile on the linear trail. It was a strategy that I've used before to trick left brain into allowing me to do some hillwork without freaking out. I decided to run a route that involves running a gradual uphill first mile, followed by a 175 foot long, gradual incline. Once I reached the top I would have a level mile 1 to 2, followed by a mostly downhill run miles 2 to 4 to the linear trail. My reward was to be the final scenic, flat mile on the trail. Problem was, brain forgot to inform legs about the game plan. Legs were not happy about the hillwork. It was a struggle to reach the top. Once I did, legs had already had enough. I figured legs would cooperate with a long, gradual downhill miles 2 to 3. Nope. Legs recruited bladder to remind me that drinking 16 ounces of an energy drink before a 5 mile run is not a good ides. Sure, it gave me the wake-up call I needed, but the time had arrived for relief. So a 30 second delay was in order to take care of business, and a 9:41 mile 3 split was my punishment. I even ran a fun lap around the nice and soft surfaced Cheshire High School track between miles 3 and 4 to try to bribe legs to give me some help. Again, there was no forgiveness in legs for the difficult already completed uphill part of the run. I was extremely happy when my run finally ended after 48 minutes and 43 seconds. My average pace per mile was a snail like 9:16. UGH.
Yesterday was a day of rest due to the rain and me having to work at Weight Watchers. Today I arrived home from work just before sunset, which is now at 4:28 p.m. here. I forced myself to dress warmly and get my ass outside in the 37 degree temperature to run. I don't like running in the cold, and I also despise running when it's dark. My agreement with left brain was to run a nice and easy 3 miler. Hey, it was dark and cold, so I HAD to cut a deal with left brain. I went outside and immediately noticed the bright full moon that helped illuminate the sidewalk. I decided I was going to run random streets around my neighborhood, and keep an eye on my Garmin so that I could finish my 3 miles as close to my home as possible. The first mile was mainly uphill, and my split was a very slow 9:32. Running in long running pants and a long sleeved running shirt felt so weird. My body and my legs felt heavy (Sound familiar?!), and my gloved hands weren't warming up. To make matters worse, the side streets I was on didn't have streetlights. I don't see very well in the dark, and uneven sidewalks certainly didn't help matters. Now I remember why I dislike this time of the year. I felt better around the mile and a quarter mark, and a feeling of effortless running returned. I haven't had that feeling in over a month. I was warmed up, the cool night felt great, my music was loud and rockin', and the full moon was beautiful. I felt so great that I decided to run for an extra mile. Mile 2 split time was a 9:02, mile 3, 9 minutes even. Mile 4 was 61 seconds faster than mile 1 (8:31). Overall, a great run of 4.1 miles and an average split time of 8:59. I haven't averaged under 9 minutes per mile in over two weeks, so I'm hoping my mojo has returned with the cooler weather.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rainy Day Run

Today's Run: Linear Trail. 44 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:03; 8:51; 8:57; 8:44. 35:35; 8:53/mile average pace.

I wasn't going to let the rain prevent me from running today. After walking outside to my car, I decided to do a wardrobe change from shorts to long pants (I guess I was in denial that it was 44 degrees and raining) I drove to the linear trail. I decided to run 4 miles, since in my mind 3 miles wasn't going to be long enough, and 5 miles was going to be too far on a rainy day. Great logic, huh? Just as I was about to leave my car, the rain increased in intensity (Meaning it started pouring). I turned on my mp3 player, put on my hat, and left the cozy confines of my car to start my run. I was surprised to see that I wasn't the only brave person (fool) who was at the trail. About 1/10 of a mile past the start is a wooden bridge. Today the wooden bridge wasn't draining so well. I had no choice but to run through the puddles on it, so with 3.9 miles to go, I already had wet feet.(Side note: My new shoes from RoadRunner Sports shipped today). Ahead on the paved trail I could see lots of puddles just waiting for me to run through. It became a challenge to avoid as many of them as possible by either zig zagging around them or running on the crushed cinder on the right of the trail. After about half a mile I was warming up, with the exception of my red hands. Oops, forgot to wear my gloves. Part of me being in denial that Tuesday is December 1st, and it gets cold in Connecticut. I wasn't looking at my Garmin, since that involved moving my long sleeve and exposing more bare skin to the cold rain. At 8/10 of a mile I crossed a street, and the puddles were pretty much gone on the trail. At mile 1 Garmin beeped, and a quick slide of my sleeve revealed a 9:03 split. It was faster than I expected. Around this time the circulation improved in my hands, and the rain had decreased in intensity. I was warm and in a wet running rhythm, and actually enjoying myself. The remaining 3 miles went well, including the last 8/10 back dodging puddles. My average pace per mile overall was actually under 9 minutes (8:53), which I certainly didn't expect on a cold and rainy day. Overall, I ran by four women walking, one man walking, one man jogging, and one pony tail bouncing woman running. Every one of them had a smile on their face, as did I. It had been a while since I've run in the rain. I have to say I really had fun, but I know I enjoyed the hot shower I had afterwards even more.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My son has been sick and traffic was horrible last night, so I didn't drive 30 miles to enter the Manchester Road Race. I didn't register earlier for it since I was waiting to see how well I'd recovered from the NY City Marathon. As much as I enjoy running on Thanksgiving with 10,000 (Update: 14,000 this year) other runners along with 20,000 spectators in an event that's locally televised, it wasn't meant to be this year. I'm OK with that. Family comes first. My son's feeling better, and I get to go to the in-laws house with my family for Thanksgiving dinner rather than meeting everyone there. Things happen for a reason. It was meant for me to spend all day with my family and relatives. I think I'll go register for my next 5K race right now though! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. P.S. To help myself feel better, I just ordered a new pair of Asics GT-2140 from RoadRunner Sports. My current 2140's have almost 600 miles on them, plus RoadRunner Sports has a great sale on everything right now. I also ordered the reflective armband you see below since it's dark here at 4:30 p.m. now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One More Marathon???

Today's Run: Road. 48 degrees. 3.52 miles; Splits: 9:13; 9:08; 8:57; 4:32. 31:50; 9:02/mile average pace.

It was cold and getting dark, but I managed to get in a short run. I wanted to have one last run before the Manchester Road Race on Thursday. I ended up being overdressed. Since it was 48 degrees, I decided that shorts weren't an option. So I reluctantly wore my long sleeved top and pants, and a hat. By the halfway point my glasses were fogged and I was sweating way too much. I rolled up my sleeves and put my hat in my pocket, which solved the overheated Rick problem. I felt so-so for the first part of my run, but once I cooled off I felt great. My split times were slower than I would have liked to see, but most important to me was how I felt when I finished: great. I was going to drive to Manchester (CT) to register for the Thanksgiving race, but at the last minute my son started to feel sick. So he's in bed watching tv, and looking kinda green. Tomorrow is the last day I can register. I have a feeling I'll be watching the race on tv instead of running in it. I guess me missing the online registration happened for a reason. As long as my son feels better soon, then I'm ok with not running the race. I always worry whenever he's not feeling well, since he has Muscular Dystrophy.
In a happier note, my wife and I have been trying to plan a 4 day vacation for the two of us. We went from going to Las Vegas to now possibly going to Disney World. She's an accountant, so we'd have to go during the first part of January. The dates she happened to pick are at the same time as the Disney World marathon. I checked their's already 94% filled. Problem is getting a hotel at that time is difficult and expensive. Is it a coincidence, or is it meant to be? Is there another marathon in the future for me??? We shall see. I guess I shouldn't have said "never again" as far as running another marathon. IF we can work out the travel arrangements, and IF it doesn't get filled, then what the heck, I'm going to run it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feels Like I Ran a Marathon Today

Today's Run: Road/Linear Trail. 53 degrees. 5.2 miles; Splits: 9:04; 8:57; 8:59; 9:10; 9:20; 1:46. 47:16; 9:05/mile average pace.

Today's run was similar to yesterdays, with one big exception. I wasn't smiling the entire run. I was frowning from miles 4 to 5.2. I once again parked at the linear trail, and ran 3.7 of my miles on the road, and the final 1.5 miles on the trail. I started my run with some difficult hills, and I think that's what did me in by the time I reached the trail. I had my "lead legs syndrome" for the final mile and a half, even though I was on the flat trail. Now, five hours later, my ass muscles hurt, my legs hurt, and I feel like I ran a marathon today. I guess my body is still recovering from running two marathons in the past six weeks. I may shut it down until the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. Once again, it was warm enough to wear shorts, but I doubled up on the tech. shirts. I actually was too hot by the time I was finished, even though it was only 53 degrees. I truly enjoy the calmness/serene environment of the trail, especially this time of the year. There aren't a lot of people there, just enough so I always see someone while I run. That's it for today...short and to the point. I hope everyone had a great day of running. :-)

6.2 Miles of Smiles

Yesterday's Run: Road/Linear Trail. 51 degrees. 6.2 miles; Splits: 9:24; 8:55; 9:13; 9:12; 9:03; 8:56; 1:39. 56:22; 9:04/mile average pace.

I was going to take it easy and go for a 5 mile run on the Farmington Canal Trail yesterday. Since I'm three weeks post NY City Marathon, and my next two races are 4.75 miles and a 5K, there was no use pushing it. My goal for the rest of the year has been to ease back into running, work my way back up to running faster five mile and less runs, and most importantly to enjoy running again. Yesterday's run was a good start. Although my pace was slower than I wanted to run, it felt great. I parked at the trail and immediately changed my plans to running randomly on the roads near the trail, and then rewarding myself by completing my run on the trail. I still had a five mile run in mind, but also knew I could trick my brain to run further by running the road part before the trail. It worked. I love wearing my Garmin since I don't have to plan out my run ahead of time. I can run wherever I want, and so I did. I ran down side streets, through two condo complexes, and along back roads and through neighborhoods. I waved or said "Hi" to everyone I saw, and most people responded. I made sure that I listened to the songs that are on my mp3 player from your suggestions three weeks ago. I LOVE the songs you guys suggested, and they provide more motivation for me as I run. It was great to wear my NY City marathon long sleeved tech. shirt, and shorts. I had a stupid, goofy smile on my face the entire run. Yes, I had that much fun. Plus I ran on November 21st in Connecticut wearing shorts. That was an extra bonus. I think I'm finally OK since my last whiny post. Thank-you everyone for your comments. I needed to vent, you guys commented, and I feel better. Running is fun again. I'm looking forward to the Manchester Road Race (4.75 miles)on Thanksgiving, along with 10,000 other runners and about 20,000 spectators. It's a very crowded run, but I'm in a seeded area closer to the start, so I should be ok. I've gotten good at navigating through the crowd of runners there the past two years. I'm hoping to beat last year's time, but I'll have to see if my legs agree. As long as I have fun, then that's all that matters. Maybe I'll have a shirt made with some weird saying and wear it on Thursday. Anyone have any ideas? Happy running everyone, and I hope anyone out there running the Philadelphia Marathon today does well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running on Empty

"Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind"

I have been running. I've run 4 of the past 5 days, for a total of 16 miles. Not a lot of mileage, but due to it getting dark early and not having any long distance races in the near future, it doesn't really matter. My times are ok, anywhere from an 8:39 per mile pace to a 9 minute per mile pace. Slow, I know, at least for a short distance. Problem is, I have PMS. Yes, PMS: P ost M arathon S yndrome. Ever since I ran the New York City Marathon, running just doesn't mean as much to me. I spent six months preparing for it. I raised nearly $2700 for Autism Speaks, due to the generosity of you guys and friends, family, and co-workers. Now that I'm two plus weeks post marathon, I'm in a running funk. I'm still stuck on my slower than anticipated finishing time. I could have done better; I should have done better. At least I've read the race reviews and read how other runners also had slower than expected times. That helps me feel better. But I'm so stuck on my 4:39:31 finishing time. I didn't want it to end that way. I wanted to PR with a time of 4:22:18 or better. Even a 4:30 would have been ok. As much as I want to accept the 4:39, and keep saying it's only a number and I'm happy I finished, truth is, I'm not happy. NY was supposed to be my grand finale; my race of all races. Dammit, I can't let go. I feel like I let myself down, and even disappointed you guys. All my training, all my run-walk-run reading and training, and I did worse than I did in the 2008 Hartford Marathon. My PR is from that marathon. I didn't train nearly as hard, hit the wall at mile 18, felt like crap the last 8 miles, and still finished 17 minutes faster than I did in NY. During these past weeks I've weighed the pros and cons of training for another "one last" marathon. The cons outweigh the pros. I always go with my gut feeling. I know that deep inside I don't have the desire or motivation to train for another marathon. I don't want to be held captive by a training schedule for six months. There aren't any marathons close by in the near future, so I can't even give it one last marathon run before my distance training and endurance disappears. I'm done venting and complaining. Moving forward, I'm probably going to sign up for the Manchester (CT) Road Race on Thanksgiving. It's a 4.75 mile race that I've run the past two years. It has about 10,000 runners, and it's as claustrophobic as the NY City Marathon was. Actually, it's worse than NY. Smaller roads with a long uphill for the first mile. A hill that a lot of runners end up walking. Last year I was able to maneuver around all the slow pokes and finish in 39:56. The race is televised locally, and taped on NESN. Plus the crowd is fantastic. I'm watching the weather forecast, and if it's going to be a decent day, then I'll enter it. I need motivation. I need reasons to run. This will be a start.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NY City Marathon: Conclusion

(My wife jokingly said it took me longer to type the 3 part marathon report than it did to run it. I think she's right)
Just after mile 2 the Blue line (me) and red line runners took a left onto 92nd street, while the green line runners stayed running straight ahead. I was running down Fourth Avenue on the right side of the road, and the red line runners were keeping us company on the left. I was still feeling cold, and cursing out the two NY weather reports I had watched earlier that said it was going to be around 60 degrees and partly sunny. They hadn't mentioned it being windy, and as I stated earlier, I wasn't dressed warm enough to battle the wind. Short sleeves and a tank top just weren't doing it. I was still feeling good, and continuing to interact with the crowd. Garmin beeped, and I had run a 9:37 mile 3. It was time for me to eat 2 of my orange flavored GU Chomps. I had three bags of them in my pockets (24 chomps total), plus a BerryBlast flavored PowerBar. My nutrition plan was to eat two of the Chomps every thirty minutes, plus the PowerBar at around the halfway point. At about 3 1/2 miles, the green line runners rejoined us blue line runners. From that point until mile 8, things were getting too crowded for me. My run-walk-run (rwr) race plan, based on Jeff Galloway's recommendations, was to rwr my first five miles at a 10:17 per mile pace. My marathon finishing time goal was 4:30. I decided that I was going to skip the scheduled walk breaks until mile 6, to help me regain time that I was going to lose at the water stations every mile because of the large amount of runners. I was going to be walking and drinking anyhow, so I figured it would even out. Mile 4 split was a 9:56, mile 5 a 10:00. Although I hadn't realized it, I was ahead of my 4:30 goal time at this point. I was doing a good job at this point of keeping a good pace and walking and drinking. Miles 5 to 8 I was supposed to be increasing my speed. I kept a steady pace, and reached mile 6 at 9:57. The crowds were still cheering loudly and yelling encouragement to me. However, it was time for me to stop "running stupid" (no walk breaks), and start following the plan. I started my first one minute walk break. I was now going to run for four minutes, and walk for a minute, at least until mile 18. Problem was, the fantastic spectators of NY didn't know that I was walking for a reason. For the entire minute, I heard way too many encouraging words of how I could do it, and to keep going. Damn, I hadn't thought about that. I was looking like a slacker, at least in my mind. I resumed running, and reached mile 7 at 10:16. Somewhere between miles 6 and 7, I decided to get rid of my hat. It was a freebie that I had received a while ago in exchange for the less than flattering review I wrote about it. The hat tended to make me sweat too much during warm day runs, and even though it was cool, I was sweating too much with it on. I left it perched on top of a fire hydrant. I'd like to think it found a good home somewhere, and no, I don't miss it! I was already having difficulty with the crowded street as I said earlier, and also now with coordinating my walk breaks as close as possible to the water stations. Mile 8 split time surprised me: 10:40. About this time the 4:30 pace people and their purple balloons disappeared from sight. To make matters even worse, the red line runners were merging with us. From mile 8 until the finish, we were all going to be running together. I was getting claustrophobic, and I was wasting time and energy avoiding the slower runners. Also I realized that I was still not warm enough, and the grey sky and cool winds were getting the best of me. Although I was drinking lots of water, I felt as if I wasn't sweating enough. Weird, I know. I took my one and only bathroom break (Here comes TMI) with several other runners behind a school bus parked on a side street. The porta potties were out of the question. Too few, and the lines were too long. My zig zagging around runners and increased pace resulted in a 10:09 mile 9 split. Not fast enough. From miles 8 to 18, I was supposed to be running at a 9:55-10:00 per mile pace. With the rwr, it would still average out to about a 10:17 per mile pace, and keep me on goal for a 4:30 finish. It was time for me to do some problem solving. First, how did I feel? I still couldn't warm up enough, nothing hurt, but my legs didn't quite have the "spring" to them that I'm used to. I hadn't had my morning cups of coffee like usual, and had switched from GU Vanilla Bean Gels to the Chomps for fear of having the stomach cramps and (TMI again) diarrhea I had after the Hartford Marathon. I think, looking back, that if I had had my coffee and a few GU Vanilla Bean Gels, it may have helped. I may have also done more harm than good by testing my rwr 3 weeks earlier in the Hartford Marathon. I don't really know for sure. I also was resigned to the fact that the crowded conditions were going to work against me. I regretted having changed my estimated finishing time from 4:30 to 4:45 after the Hartford Marathon. It probably cost me a chance to start in wave two instead of wave three. Again, who knows? Also, my music wasn't an effective motivator. The good thing about the noisy crowds and about 100 bands along the course was it was exciting and motivating. The bad was for the most part I was unable to hear my music. At best I could hear bits and pieces of my songs, and the songs all of you suggested. Don't get me wrong. If one of you songs started playing, I did my best to relate it to my situation, and say "thanks" to all of you. So your efforts to help motivate didn't fail. I also was losing some of the crowd support, which was by choice. I started taking my walk breaks towards the center of the road, instead of along the shoulder, where the crowds were. I never did get over the "guilt" of walking and not having people understand why. At miles 8-9, I was feeling like a defeated man. The initial excitement was wearing off. I wasn't feeling so psyched. I had a "left brain" moment of realizing I still had about 18 miles left to go. I wasn't even halfway, and I was cold, and it was my last marathon FOREVER, and I wasn't going to break 4:30, and I had no chance of getting a PR, and STOP!! Time to suck it up. Ignoring left brain became a priority. More obstacles, and a 10:19 mile 10, followed by a terrible job on my part figuring out a rwr that coincided with the water station, and a 10:59 mile 11. Getting mad helped, and a longer run before walking resulted in a 9:50 mile 12. Bad planning again, more obstacles (slow runners), and a 10:55 mile 13. It wasn't helping having thousands of slippery empty water and Gatorade cups to navigate through at the water stops. It seemed like I was running and walking on ice at times. At times the water wasn't poured, and I would wait for my cup(s) of water. Blame it on the massive amounts of runners/obstacles. I reached the halfway point,around the Pulaski Bridge in Queens, and did another left brain dumb thing, as I've done in my previous three marathons. I asked myself if I felt like I could run the distance I just completed; in other words, did I have enough left to finish the marathon? Another mental checklist, and my worse pain was slight pain coming from one toe on each foot. No sign of cramping-I guess I was drinking enough water. Everything else was status quo from miles 8-9. Mile 14, 10:54. Mile 15, 10:45. My split times were slow and depressing. Unknown to me was that the Queensboro Bridge and it's long, gradual 100 foot incline lie ahead. I had read about it, and how it causes runners to quit while running up it, since it's late in the course and a long, gradual incline. It didn't really occur to me that I was on it until I was about a third of the way across it. When it sunk in, it was too late. No amount of planning or problem solving was going to help. Most people started walking. I never walk up hills. I usually thrive on running inclined surfaces. The walkers were spread out and across the entire width of the narrow bridge. I found myself stopping, walking, and trying to get around and between people. Some of them were dropping off to the walkway on the left side, where other runners were resting and getting medical help. It was nearly impossible to do any running, and I was frustrated. As we headed down the deck of the bridge, Garmin beeped, and displayed a 12:15 mile 16 split. Talk about disheartening. Looking down and off to the right of the bridge, I could see down to First Avenue in the Bronx. It was a repeat of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge experience. Thousands of spectators were still out and about, cheering everyone as they left the bridge and turned right. Even though I knew I wasn't going to get a PR or break 4:30, it helped. At that point I vowed to beat my Hartford Marathon time of 4:43. I needed to have something to shoot for. I was not going to let all the obstacles, the cold, and the lack of a "spring" in my gait stop me from reaching my new goal. The pressure was on, but in a lessor, fun way. Between miles 16 and 17 I was offered a wet sponge, as was everyone else. For some reason, even though I was still not quite feeling warm, I took it. I guess I was copying everyone else. I took off my glasses, wiped my face with the sponge, and quickly threw it away. I was too cold, and the water smelled "fishy." GROSS! Miles 17-19 continued on First Avenue, and I was again having difficulty with my 4-1 rwr ratio, but in a good way. I was running between 4 and 5 1/2 minutes before walking for a minute. Blame it on ego and the water stations being at varying distances. Mile 18 was a 10:40, mile 19 a 10:33. I knew I had a good chance at beating the 4:43, and as I said earlier, also knew that 4:30 was a lost cause. I was looking forward to saying "Hi" to Michelle, who I had met at the Autism Speaks dinner the night before. I was supposed to see her and her friends as I crossed Willis Avenue Bridge just before mile 20. I knew that seeing them would help give me a lift. As I crossed the short bridge, I looked to my right, where she said they would be. No luck. So much for seeing a sorta familiar face. Around that time, I started feeling the beginning of cramps in not one, but both of my upper leg muscles (Gluteus Maximus?) started cramping in the back part. It was time for me to slow down and drink more water, both of which I did. I've had leg cramping problems in my left leg in two of my previous three marathons (Not Hartford 3 weeks ago), and I attribute it to not drinking enough water. So mile 20's split time was a slowest 11:04. My leg cramping issues were increasing after mile 20, and there wasn't water to be found nearby. I was very close to having full blown double leg cramping, and I could tell it was going to hurt like hell. I didn't know what to do, other than to slow down to a slow jog and walk. Just when I thought it was going to happen, a woman appeared from the side of the street. She was holding bottles of Poland Spring Water. They were bottles that she had bought, and she was glad to give me one. I thanked her profusely. I couldn't believe she had appeared out of no where, almost like (you can laugh) a Guardian Angel. I drank the water, and it helped a great deal. I passed the 21 mile marker at 11:17...slower yet. I then started to wonder if beating 4:43 was going to happen. My legs were now feeling better, but not well enough to increase my speed too much. Mile 22 came and went, at an 11:06 split. The cramping and everything I keep mentioning (cold, obstacles, etc) certainly didn't help. I knew that I was getting close to Central Park, as we were now on Fifth Avenue. Mile 23, and an 11:10 split. I was mad about another 11 minute plus split. Eleven minutes? I knew I was better than that. I looked for my last hope (I thought) of familiar faces to cheer for me. The Autism Speaks cheerleaders were supposed to be around the mile 23 area. Once again, no luck. I didn't see or hear them. I asked myself whether I was indeed going THAT slow? Central Park was now in my sight. I knew that even though the finish line was in Central Park, I would still have about 2 1/2 miles to go once I entered the park. I didn't want to try to increase my pace too soon. But I also didn't want to look like a quitter or a DNF candidate either if my leg cramps resurfaced. Mile 24; 10:58. FINALLY, despite a huge amount of slow runners and walkers, and possible leg cramps, I had run a sub 11 minute split. I looked at my Garmin, did a quick calculation in my head, and knew I had just under 30 minutes to run what would turn out to be 2.65 miles according to my Garmin, or 2.2 miles marathon distance. For whatever reason, my Garmin loves to torture me by telling me I'm running more than a marathon distance. Either way, I knew that as long as I didn't cramp and have to walk for a long period of time, I was going to beat my Hartford Marathon time. I decided to run for 5 or 6 minutes, walk for a minute, and then run the last mile and a half without walking. I wanted to finish strong, and was hoping my leg muscles would cooperate. I turned off my music, and off I went. Shortly after, I thought I heard someone yelling to me from my right. I was far to the left of the road, and I took a quick look to my right, and listened again. I again thought I heard someone calling "Dad," or something. Still not seeing anyone I knew, and at this point just wanting to get the marathon over with, I increased my speed. Later on I found out I had heard my 27 year old daughter yelling, and that she even was sprinting along the side of the road outside the tape trying to get my attention. I wish I had seen her and my wife there. We had only planned on meeting after the race, so I really wasn't expecting them to be 2 miles from the finish. Mile 25 seemed to come a little easier, as my possible leg cramps had decreased. Another slow but less than 11 minute split (10:44). I had just over a mile to go, and I threw caution to the wind. I was so ready to finish the race, and end my marathon running career forever. I was thinking about the "bling" I would be getting, the goodie bag, seeing my wife and daughter, and how warm and cozy I was going to feel in the foil blanket I was going to get and wrap myself in. I went into an all out, run as fast as I could, tell my leg muscles to deal with the pain, finishing last mile kick. I was high fiving people, and doing some yelling. Goosebumps were taking over my body. I was nearing the finish, and holding back the tears. I vowed not to be crying as I approached and crossed the finish line. I was going to finish like a champ-with my eyes dry, my legs churning, my head held high, and my arms and hands raised above my head. Ahead was the finish line, and I could see the cameras. I veered to my left, so there was a clear shot of me, then back towards the center towards another opening. Dammit, I was going to make sure that #44355 was clearly visible for the photographers. I neared the finish, crossed the finish line, walked several steps, and checked my watch. I had beaten my Hartford Marathon time by nearly 4 minutes. I was happy for that, but disappointed that I had finished in almost 4 hours and 40 minutes. A fitting finish to the day was I was now stuck in a sea of finishers, all heading to get our bling and goodie bags. But that's another post....P.S. Pics of me:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NY City Marathon Report: Part 2

Up the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge we went. The final wave of 14,000 plus runners made quite a noise on the bridge. I was on the right part of the bridge since I was running the blue line. To my left were the red and green line runners. I was almost overwhelmed with everything that was happening. There were runners around me, helicopters flying above with news photographers and security personnel, and fantastic views of the NY skyline, including the Empire State Building rising high in the distance. It was cold and windy. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to keep adjusting my hat (I forgot to mention I was wearing a running hat), and I feared that my race number was going to be blown off my shirt. The bridge was a 200 foot incline, and seemed to go on forever. I couldn't yet see past the top of the peak of the road. It was fairly quiet, except for the sound of 28,000 plus feet hitting the bridge. Oh, and of course the sound of the wind. It was difficult to hear the music on my mp3 player, so I upped the volume. "All Fired Up" by Pat Benatar (Thanks Carlee) was playing. I needed that song at that moment. I was cold. My short sleeved technical shirt and the Autism Speaks tank top, along with shorts and a hat, weren't keeping me warm enough. I regretted not wearing the long sleeved tech. shirt that Autism Speaks had provided. About midway across the bridge, Garmin beeped. 10:13 first mile. Whatever. I just wanted to get off the nearly two mile long bridge. I needed to reach the peak, and head downhill into Brooklyn, where there would be less wind and crowds of people to help me get warm. Finally, I was at the top, and could see what lay ahead. I saw lots of people, but being so far away still could not hear them or distinguish how many people there were. I picked up my pace, taking advantage of the long downhill. I needed to warm up, and I needed to see and hear some cheering people. As I got closer to the end of the bridge, I began hearing a noise. I couldn't figure out what it was. It sounded like rumbling, almost like thunder. But the sky was clear. I was confused. I turned down my music, and neared the bottom of the bridge. Ahead I saw a hand written sign being held up: Brooklyn (heart) NY City marathon runners. (I'm not sure if that was the exact wording). As I got closer to Brooklyn, the rumbling became louder. The rumbling noise was people cheering. Thousands of Brooklynites were lining both sides of the street, holding signs, ringing bells, clapping, yelling, and cheering. I have never heard so much cheering before, even at sporting events. What a great welcome into Brooklyn. Lots of people were yelling encouragement to me. That's the wonderful thing about having your name on your shirt. I was pumped. I had a mega adrenaline rush. I started high fiving and low fiving everyone who offered. Shortly thereafter, Garmin beeped: 9:14. Crap! Too fast, and I had already run two miles without taking a walking break. I was not following my run-walk-run plan...Tuesday: Don't Run Stupid-the final report of my NY City Marathon experience.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NY City Marathon Report: Part 1

Splits: 10:13, 9:14, 9:37, 9:56, 10:00, 9:57, 10:16, 10:40, 10:09, 10:19, 10:59, 9:50, 10:55, 10:54, 10:45, 12:15, 11:01, 10:40, 10:33, 11:04, 11:17, 11:06, 11:10, 10:58, 10:44, 10:03, 4:54. (Garmin thinks I ran 26.65 miles). Official net time: 4:39:31 (10:39/M)

I woke up marathon morning at 4 a.m. and stayed up. Since I had gone to bed at 9:30 p.m. and gained an hour of sleep due to turning the clocks back an hour, I was well rested. After showering, I got dressed and watched the weather forecast on two different channels. Both said the rain would end shortly, and it was going to be in the upper 50's and partly sunny. I decided to wear shorts, a short sleeved technical shirt, my Autism Speaks tank top, and of course my socks and running shoes. I was hungry, and had about 3/4 of a bagel, which I always eat before my marathon runs. I also made sure to drink enough water to be hydrated. Nutrition wise, I was ready. I had been carb loading the previous three days, and had a pasta dinner with bread the previous night. I had followed my training eating strategy perfectly. With two hours to wait until the half mile walk to get the bus, I continued to watch tv and pack my suitcase in preparation for checking out. Fifteen minutes before I had to leave, I walked outside to check the weather. It was cold and drops of rain were coming down. I went back to my room, put on my $10 WalMart hooded sweatshirt, $5 Walmart sweatpants, and poked three holes in a large trash bag for use as a disposable raincoat. Even though it was the morning after Halloween, I looked like I was ready to go trick or treating. I checked out of the hotel, left my suitcase there for pick up after the marathon, and started the half mile walk to the Autism Speaks charter buses. I had walked the half mile the day before, and knew it would take me 20 minutes to get to the bus. I had 45 minutes to do a twenty minute walk, so I was in good shape. Autism Speaks had warned us that the buses were leaving at 7:30 a.m. sharp. NY city is kind of spooky to walk through at 6:45 in the morning when you're by yourself. There's not a lot of traffic, and very few stores are open. I was feeling lonely, since my wife and daughter were meeting me at the finish line. I arrived at the buses at 7:05. I was assigned to bus B. No one from Autism Speaks had arrived, and the grouchy driver told me and a few other people that he didn't know which bus was B, and to get on the first bus since everyone else that arrived before us was already on the bus. I assumed that the first bus was bus A, but did as told and got on the bus. The great thing about having a private bus was that our departure time was later than most of the other means of transportation to the starting line waiting area. It was about a 30 minute ride, so we were scheduled to be there at 8:00. At about 7:25, a woman from Autism Speaks started roll call. She started alphabetically, so I knew at that point that myself and some others were on the wrong bus. Sure enough, she finished calling out names, and hadn't gotten to the "H's." Me and about 20 others had to tell her our name so she could write them down. That was followed by her going to what turned out to be bus B and comparing her list of names with the list on bus B. With 125 runners between the two buses, it was taking forever. I received a text message from Lindsay, of Chasing the Kenyans blog, telling me she had just arrived at Fort Wadsworth. Not only were we going to meet each other for the first time, but I also had two GU gels for her. I replied that I would be there around 8:30, which was good since her wave started at 9:20, and mine at 10:20. I still had plenty of time to meet her and give her enough time to get to the start. Finally at about 7:50 (so much for 7:30 sharp), we were on our way. The bus route was from NY City to New Jersey and back to New York again. Our drop off point was at a point a half mile from Fort Wadsworth, which was divided into three villages, green, blue, and orange. We were to be driven there and then go from our bus to our assigned village, which for me and Lindsey was blue. The bus ride was going well. There's not a lot of traffic in NY City on a Sunday morning at 8 a.m., plus there were closed roads so that the shuttle buses could get to Fort Wadsworth without getting stuck in traffic. Along the way we were passing by snowplows parked all the way across roads, blocking them. It was a weird sight. All was well until we came to the one and only exit for Fort Wadsworth. We were stuck in traffic. I looked at my watch. It was about 8:20, and we weren't moving. I still had 2 hours until my starting time, but knew that I only had an hour to get to the drop off point, walk half a mile, and locate Lindsey. I text Lindsay to let her know what was happening. People on the bus were getting restless. We still hadn't moved very far, and traffic wasn't moving any better. At this rate we weren't going to get to Fort Wadsworth with enough time to spare for the 9:20 wave of runners on the bus. We continued to slowly edge our way forward. I saw a police officer walk up and talk to our driver. He took out his walkie talkie, said something, and motioned to our driver. Ahead in the distance, to our left, two snowplows slowly started backing up. They opened up a hole big enough for our buses to drive through. We were being allowed to drive down the closed highway. Everyone on the bus let out a cheer. Every time we came to more snowplows, they backed up and allowed us to pass. We were getting the VIP treatment. A short time later, at around 8:25, we exited, parked, and got off the bus. It wasn't raining, but it was windy and cool, and the ground was soggy and muddy from the previous night's rain. I hadn't thought to wear an old pair of shoes, or to wrap my shoes in plastic bags. We passed by a large amount of porta potties, and there were thousands of runners walking to the three villages. I followed the blue signs, and fortunately it was the closest village. I called Lindsay to ask her where she was. While talking to her. we both realized that we were at the same UPS truck, except she was in the front, and I was in the back. We met, I gave her her gels and we talked for a few minutes. She told me she was still not feeling 100%, and wasn't sure if she would be able to PR. I told her I was hoping to finish around 4:30 (not a PR), but would be ok if I finished slower, as long as I beat my 4:43 Hartford Marathon time from three weeks earlier. She went to the UPS bag check, and then volunteered to show me where the water tent was, sine I was dying of thirst at that point. Stupid me hadn't brought water along for fear of having to use the bathroom on the bus. After getting my water, it was close to starting time for Lindsay. We said a quick good-by, I gave her a hug, and headed back to bag check to leave my bag. I wish we had more time to talk, but was glad I had gotten the chance to meet a blogging buddy. Lindsay girl, you rock! (Side note: go read her blog see how well she did). Shortly thereafter I heard a loud "boom." A puff of smoke lifted up towards the sky. I couldn't see the starting line, but I knew that Lindsay and 14,000 other runners were on their way. I silently said "Good luck" to her. From where I was, I could see the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the distance. A sea of runners was on it. The first 1 3/4 miles of the marathon is run across the bridge. Twenty minutes later, another loud boom, and another 14,000 runners were on their way. The blue village waiting area was hardly crowded. I was twenty minutes away from starting. One last trip to the porta-potty, a quick check of my shoes (no mud, good)and I headed towards a hole in a fence, which lead to the area where I needed to line-up. I took off my sweatpants and my plastic bag raincoat, and left them among a pile of discarded clothing. All the clothing left behind was donated to charity. It was 10:10, and we were allowed to go through the narrow opening in the fence. As we started walking, I had no idea where the starting line was, since it wasn't visible. It was 5 minutes until the start, so I took off my sweatshirt, tossed it aside, clipped my mp3 player onto my shorts, and followed the crowd. We went down a hill towards a bunch of rental trucks. Off to my right, as we reached the bottom of the hill, were toll booths for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The tracks blocked our view as we walked, but I knew that once we turned left after the trucks, the starting line would be straight ahead. As I passed by the last truck, I was in awe. Ahead in the distance were thousands of runners ascending the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. To our left were double decker buses with police officers standing on top. To our right, a loudspeaker with last minute instructions blaring out. A countdown to zero, then the loud boom of a cannon. Out of the speakers came the voice of Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York." As we walked toward the starting line, I looked up and saw the police officers clapping. In front of me, a young couple kissed. I became emotional, and tears ran out of my eyes, and a lump was in my throat. Suddenly, it was time to start running. I looked up at the timer, and forty-two minutes and twenty-one seconds were on it as I crossed the starting line. My journey through the five boroughs of New York had begun. P.S. Pictures of me! Copy and paste the following (Sorry, I don't know how to create a link)
(I'm #44355)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NY City Marathon

Held, Rick #44355 0:30:41 1:01:53 1:34:07 2:07:22 2:14:34 2:24:29 2:35:31 2:41:37 4:39:31

It was difficult, VERY difficult. But I sucked it up and finished with my second fastest marathon time ever. What an experience...New York City sure knows how to cheer on us marathoners. I'm beat, so I'll have a race report in a day or two. Thank you Mel for your encouraging texts. I was able to meet Lindsay, from Chasing the Kenyans blog, which was cool. She did well, but I won't spoil it for her. Keep an eye on her blog for her race report.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last Post Before NY City Marathon

NY CITY MARATHON WEATHER FORECAST UPDATE! WCBS NY: Early sprinkles, ending before the start of the marathon. High of 57.
WNBC NY: Doesn't mention sprinkles, no rain, high of 59. Marathon temperature at 9 a.m. is supposed to be 52 degrees. WOO-HOO!! I'm such a wuss. Every time I see a story on the NY news about the marathon, I get all emotional. I'm afraid I'm going to break down and cry running through Central Park to the finish line. Won't that make a nice race pic?!

I'm ready. I better be ready, huh?! I haven't run since Monday, because the weather didn't cooperate. It was pouring rain on Wednesday, so I didn't get to run my scheduled last run before the marathon. It's not a big deal. I've been carb loading since Thursday, which I always did before my previous three marathons. Pizza, bagels, yogurt, and other carbs have been my main foods. I believe carb loading works, at least for me. In short, here's what carb loading does: "In the case of a marathon, carb loading is a must during the week of the marathon, particularly in the final three days before race day. Our bodies have the capability of storing large amounts of glycogen which is converted from consumed carbohydrates. By consuming more and exercising less (your taper period), your body is able to store more glycogen. As you run during the marathon, your body will burn glycogen. When glycogen runs out, your body will transition to burn fat as the primary source of fuel. The object is to store and replenish enough glycogen so that you do not run out before you reach the finish line. Carb loading is a method that will lessen the likelihood that your tank will run empty." Sounds good to me, so that's why I carb load.
I downloaded 13 of your suggestions into my mp3 player for tomorrow. The 13 I chose were based on my listening preferences. Please don't be offended if I didn't choose one of your songs. Remember, I was born in 1956, and my music taste for the most part still goes back to the 70's. That being said, these 13 songs, plus 90 more, will be with me as I run the five boroughs of New York. I'm getting goosebumps just typing that...
* Don't Stop Me Now: Queen
* I Gotta Feelin': The Black Eyed Peas
* Poker Face: Lady Gaga
* Nobody's Fault But Mine: Led Zeppelin
* Viva La Vida: Coldplay
* Beautiful Day: U2
* All Fired Up: Pat Benatar
* Gives You Hell: All American Rejects
* Let it Rock: Kevin Rudolf
* He's a Pirate: Klaus Badelt
* Born to Run: Bruce Springsteen
* I Feel the Earth Move: Carole King
* Black Betty: Ram Jam

In addition, my son suggested All the Small Things by Blink 182; as well as December by Collective Soul. My wife's suggestion: Train Train by Blackfoot.
My day today will be busy. I will be getting my son up at 8 a.m., get him showered and dressed, go buy a lock for my suitcase, finish packing, have my wonderful wife drive me to the New Haven train station, take the 11:55 a.m. train to Grand Central, get a cab to my hotel, check in, go to Javits Center a mile away to get my race packet, return to hotel, go to Carmine's Restaurant a mile away for a free dinner and meet the other 125 Autism Speaks runners, then back to my hotel. From 5:30 p.m. on I should finally have time to relax(?) and then at 8 p.m. watch the World Series. Sunday, marathon morning, I don't have to get the bus until 7:30 a.m., which is good. Autism Speaks is providing the bus transportation, and we have two private buses. The bus pick up point is a half mile from my hotel, but that's ok. I should be at the drop off point by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by 8:00, which means I'll have to wait about 2 1/2 hours before I'm able to start. It's a staggered start, meaning 14,000 runners run at 9:40, 10, and 10:20. Each half hour starting time has runners lined up in one of seven corrals, with about 2,000 runners in each corral. This way there isn't 42,000 runners starting at the same time. Television coverage is at 9 a.m., and NBC channel 4 out of NY is broadcasting from 6 a.m. until about 12 noon. So that means that I'll have about 1 1/2 hours of possible tv time. Also, I'm wearing bib # 44355, and I'll be wearing a light blue colored Autism Speaks tank top, with my name (Rick)on the front in big white letters. I'll be a running billboard I guess! My wife and daughter are meeting me at the finisher area, and I've told them to bring nose plugs. I'll have a change of clothes, but won't be able to shower until after we take the train home. Ewwww. I'm hopefully going to be able to meet Lindsay, of Chasing the Kenyans blog. She's already in NY City, and we've exchanged cell phone numbers. I'll have to find her today, or prior to 9:00 marathon day, since she's a speedster and starting at 9:20. Before I end, I want to once again thank all of you for your support. Back in June, when I was upset that I wasn't accepted into the marathon, I decided with your help to join team Autism Speaks. Raising $2600 to be a part of the team was a challenge, but with your donations, and donations of friends, family, and co-workers of mine and my wife's, I surpassed the $2600 goal. For five months I have had your and their support. Now, with 15 1/2 hours to go, it's hard to believe it's nearly here. I am going to be running my fourth, and last, marathon. Why my last? This 53 year old doesn't like the six months of training before the 1 day of running. It gets stressful, I get more aches and pains, and it gets in the way of my family life at times. The NY City Marathon. It doesn't get any better than that if you're a runner. I will run-walk-run smart. I will stick to my training plan. I will not run stupid. I WILL finish. Will I run a PR of better than 4:22:19? Who knows. I'll see how the first half goes, and adjust my pace accordingly. I'm getting emotional again. Yes, I'll probably be crying tears of joy as I cross the finish line tomorrow. I am such a wuss...LOL.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rain?! No, I Don't Want it to Rain! More Music Too

WCBS NY says: Sunday...Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 50s. North winds around 10 mph. Gusts up to 25 mph in the morning. Chance of rain 30 percent.

The Weather Channel: Occasional showers possible. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the low 40s.

WNBC NY: High: 55 Low: 43
Few Showers
Few showers. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the low 40s.

OK, three forecasts that are the same. Note to self: Pack black plastic trash bags.

Update: I'm compiling a song list from your recommendations. I have to be honest...I grew up in the 70's, and don't like hip-hop or rap. I cannot lie and say I'll download your song(s) if they're that type of music. Therefore, please feel free to suggest alternate rock type songs. Examples are Viva la Vida by Coldplay and All Fired Up by Pat Benatar. I do like Gives You Hell by All American Rejects, I Gotta Feelin by the Black Eyed Peas, and some of the other songs you have recommended. Even Poker Face by Lady Gaga was good. To be honest, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) was my favorite 70's band! Elton John, the Eagles, Allman Brothers band too. So anything similar that's from this era works for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Chance to Give Me Your Favorite Running Song(s).

I will be adding your songs to my mp3 player tomorrow (Friday). If you've already given me more than one song, that's OK! If you want to add another song, that's OK too!! Thanks, and love you guys! P.S. I'm starting to freak out in a good way about the marathon...details and what will be my last pre-marathon post in a day or two. If I'm not commenting on your blogs lately, I apologize.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Want Your Songs...NOW!

I said I would do this several months ago, but never did. This time I will. I want your song recommendations. Leave a comment to this post with the one song, yes ONE song that gets you pumped while you're running. I promise that I will put your song in my mp3 player. I'd love to have a song from all 27 followers to listen to. You guys have supported me through this blog, now's your chance to musically support me as I run 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City this Sunday. What are you waiting for?! Go post your song NOW!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Still Consistent...One Run to Go

Today's Run: Temperature: 64 degrees. Road: 3.36 miles; splits: 8:56; 8:55; 9:03; 3:07; 30:01; 8:56/mile pace.

I was scheduled to run for 30 minutes, so I overachieved and ran for 30 minutes and one second. It was another perfect day to run, with a 64 degree temperature and a slight breeze. The run was also perfect. Everything felt great. I'm so ready for NY. Speaking of NY, here's the forecast, according to WCBS Newsradio88, NY: Sunday...Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s. OK, so just to be sure, I have another opinion. says: Sunday, Nov 1
High: 63 °F RealFeel®: 62 °F
Nice with plenty of sunshine
I couldn't ask for a better day. As it gets closer, my excitement grows. There's a record number of runners: 42,000. Crazy, huh?! Thank goodness we're going to be in chutes (like cattle?!) and released at different intervals to reduce crowding. Having read everyone's comments so far, I'm starting to think I may go for a PR. I don't want to run-walk-run anywhere near as slow as I did in Hartford. As I've mentioned previously, Hartford was a test marathon for NY. The test went well. I know run-walk-run works for a 4:45 pace. It also will work for a 4:22 or better pace if I push myself. Do I want to push myself? Yes and No. Yes, because I'd love to end my marathon career with a PR. No because I don't want to go too fast too soon, and hit the wall, or feel like crap when I'm finished. So here's the deal I've worked out with myself. Stick to the run-walk-run training plan that I've been using the past six months. When I run for my four minutes, I will run faster than I do now on my training runs (that's ok), and I will walk a little faster than I have been on my training. I will start this from mile one, not mile seven like I did at Hartford. That is the way the plan works: save energy early on, and if I have enough energy anytime during the last ten miles, I can modify the running to a longer distance with less walking, or best case scenario, no walking at all. Logical thinking left brain will like this, since it involves walking "rewards" every four minutes. Another change of plans for me involves not staying over in NY the night before. I'm seriously thinking about having someone driving me down the morning of the marathon and dropping me off. My pick up point is at the Meadowlands in NJ, and there's buses running nonstop from 5-6:30 a.m. to the starting line dropoff area. I'd have plenty of time since my starting time isn't until 10:20 a.m. It's not any longer of a bus ride than if I was going from NY City to the starting line area. Problem is, to make a very long story short, I may not be able to get a ride down to NJ the morning of the marathon. I still have 6 days to problem solve. To be continued...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two More to Go

Today's Run: Temperature: 61 degrees. Road: 4 miles; splits: 9:04; 9:00; 9:00; 8:44; 35:48; 8:57/mile pace.

Two more runs to go before the NY City Marathon. #44355 is starting to get nervous. Reality is setting in that it's now less than a week away. I ran my scheduled 4 miler today, and it's nice to feel as comfortable running as I did prior to the Hartford Marathon two weeks ago. I ran splits of 9:04, 9:00, 9:00, and an 8:44. Looking back over my runs since Hartford, I have had average split times of 9:30 (6 days after marathon), 8:56, 9:04, 8:57, and 8:57. My last two split times prior to the marathon were 8:56 and 8:57. Get the idea? Over the course of a short four or five mile run I'm very consistent. If only I could run that well over 26.2 miles...I'd be a sub four hour marathon runner. It's times like this that I need to remind myself that if I run "stupid", I will crash and burn in NY. I will not run "stupid," and will follow the run-walk-run training plan as good as, if not better than I did in Hartford two weeks ago. I have a realistic goal of a 4:30 nettime for NY. It's not my best marathon time (4:22:19), but that's ok. My goals for NY are simple: Finish, have fun, and enjoy the experience of my last marathon. If I can run-walk-run at a 10 minute per mile pace and finish with a 4:22:11, I'll have a new PR. If not, so be it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I REACHED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL FOR TEAM AUTISM SPEAKS!! Yes, I've raised $2627.45. Unbelievable!! I was able to achieve this with a lot of support from you guys out there in bloggerland, and of course with support of family, friends, friends of friends, and my wonderful co-workers. THANK-YOU everyone for your support. Back in the beginning of June, when I was bummed at not having been chosen in the lottery drawing to run in the marathon. I posted that I was thinking about joining team Autism Speaks, and you guys encouraged me to. As promised, you helped me raise the money needed to run through your generous monetary and also with written support. With 8 days to go before the marathon, I no longer have to worry about the fundraising part of it. Number 44355 can now focus on running a few more times, carb loading, and then heading to the Big Apple in a week in preparation for next Sunday's marathon. Yes. I'm number 44355. I haven't yet figured out how that number relates to anything in my life, lol. Also, I'll be starting my run at about 10:20 a.m. EST that morning. Of course I'll be repeating all of this in a post or two closer to the marathon. Thanks again everyone for your support.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Short Run, No Fun

Today's Run: Road: 2.8 miles; 70 degrees: splits: 9:04; 9:00; 7:02; 25:06; 8:57/mile pace.

I was scheduled to run for 20 to 25 minutes today. Talk about, I can't remember the last time I ran that short of a distance (2.8 miles). It was 25 degrees warmer today than it was 6 days ago. Living in Connecticut in October always means a big fluctuation in temperatures. I was tempted to run farther and faster, but didn't. I've followed my Jeff Galloway training plan for six months, so I've certainly earned this thing called tapering. What exactly is tapering? I really didn't know an official definition, so I Yahooed it and found this definition at
Many runners fail to realize that one of the most important aspects of marathon training is the taper phase. Reducing weekly and long run mileage during these final two weeks is vitally important so that you will be fully recovered from previous workouts while at the same time, be completely rested for the big event. For the sake of the discussion that follows, we will assume that marathon is scheduled on a Sunday. Furthermore, we will refer to the taper period as the time that spans the two-week period prior to the marathon right up to Saturday night (the day before the race). They add: Physical Preparation

* Cut back on the distance and intensity of your training runs during the two-week period prior to the marathon, eliminating long and hard efforts. You will need to make a decision whether you wish to take either/both Friday or Saturday as a complete leg rest day(s) on marathon weekend.
* Listen to your body. Remember, there are no workouts the week prior to the marathon that will enhance your preparedness for the race. An important rule of thumb is "Less is Best", particularly if you are feeling either physically or mentally tired and/or your leg muscles are fatigued/achy, etc.

OK, so now that I've read this, I now officially know that along with running a marathon 12 days ago, I have officially completed all the tough stuff required to kick ass at the NY City Marathon in 9 1/2 days. From this point forward until the marathon, I will continue to follow the remainder of the Jeff Galloway training schedule that I have been practicing and preaching about for the past six months. I will not do any more dumb things like running like a madman who has a craving for Good and Plenty and a Slurpee. I will gladly accept the fact that since I am tapering, that I can dog it and run as slow as I want as long as I run for the scheduled number of minutes. I will also try to make my posts about my slow and short runs as exciting as possible in order to avoid having my followers/supporters fall asleep while reading them. Is everyone still awake? I hope so. OK, end of boring, I mean exciting, post.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visions of Good and Plenty and a Slurpee

Today's Run: Temperature: 67 degrees. Linear Trail: 5 miles; splits: 9:33; 9:25; 9:23; 9:06; 7:56; 45:23; 9:04/mile pace.

Today's scheduled run was for 40-45 minutes at a (hopefully) 9 minute per mile pace. I was looking forward to my run since I had a successful run yesterday, I was running the Farmington Canal Trail, and it was a perfect 67 warm degrees. Warmer temperatures again also meant shorts and a short sleeved shirt again. Woo-hoo! I arrived at the parking lot, and was surprised that it was nearly filled. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wanted to get out and enjoy the warmer temperature. I started slowly since I wanted to see how well my legs had recovered from yesterday's run. It quickly became evident that yesterday's run had taken more than I had hoped out of me. I was once again in lead legs land. It usually takes me about 40-45 seconds to get to the a small bridge near the start of the trail. It took me 50 plus seconds today. Not only that, but my stride was off. When it's happened before, I've compared it to a race horse being off stride. The first mile was a joke. Off stride, in lead legs land, and just not feeling it. I looked at Garmin, and he wasn't helping. With about 9/10 of a mile run, I was already closing in on the 9 minute mark. My brain urged my legs to move faster, but legs just weren't responding. Mile 1 passed, with Garmin displaying a 9:33. Wow, that was ugly. I was hoping to loosen up around that time, since that's what happened during yesterday's run at around mile 1.2. Mile 1.2 came and went, and my stride was still off, and things weren't getting any better. Mile 2 arrived, and Garmin ticked me off again with a 9:25 split. Now I was beginning to feel as if 5 miles might have been too ambitious. Wait, I now needed to shut up left brain. No logical thinking allowed. I was also being bothered by the sun shining through the bare trees along the trail. As I ran, I kept going from sun to shade, and the sun being deflected by the bare branches was acting like a strobe light on my right eye. From mile 2 to the turn around point at mile 2 1/2, I was finding it nearly impossible to run between my stride being off, lead legs, and disco strobe light sunlight in my right eye. I almost stopped and walked, but didn't. I just wanted to get to the halfway point so that I could turn around and run back to my car. After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the halfway point and turned around. At that point I was thirsty and mad at myself for not properly preparing for the run. I didn't bring gels or anything with me. I wanted and needed water ASAP. The water fountain was 3/4 of a mile away. The sun was no longer an issue, and my stride was slowly getting back to normal, so I picked up the pace. I wanted to get to the water fountain ASAP. I also had a strange craving for Good and Plenty. Yes, Good and Plenty. I would have sold my soul for a box of Good and Plenty at that point. Obviously I was dehydrated and delirious! I reached mile 3: 9:23. Faster than miles 1 and 2, but still a disappointment to me. I still had 3/10 of a mile to go to the water fountain. My stride had returned and I was feeling like the water would be the cure all. 3/10 of a mile is forever when you have mega cotton mouth. Fortunately no one was using it, and I drank for about 30 seconds, and resumed running. I should have drank more water, but dammit I still had 1.65 miles left to run, and I wanted to go buy my Good and Plenty...and a Slurpee. If I was going to go buy Good and Plenty, then I was also going to buy a Slurpee. Talk about a sugar fix. I guess it was a dumb move on my part not bringing any GU Gels along with me. With my stride now back to normal and water inside me, I was feeling a lot better. At that point, I was trying to find a way to get through my still present lead legs. Time to thank a fellow blogger again. Today's award goes to Lindsay, from Chasing the Kenyans. Here's the advice she gave me yesterday while commenting on another post: "when my legs felt like cement not long ago, i found that picking up the pace helped more than slowing down, strangely enough. have you ever tried doing a couple strides? or even pushing yourself for 20 seconds here and there during a run? maybe that would help shake your legs loose without straining yourself too much (as it wouldn't need to be but for 10-20 seconds)." I remembered her 20 seconds suggestion out of all that. I told left brain that I was going to bust my ass for 20 seconds, then slow down again. Left brain agreed that it was a VERY logical idea since it would only be for 20 seconds. My entire brain liked it because it knew the quicker I finished, the sooner I would be eating the what we decided at that moment would be a LARGE box of Good and Plenty and a LARGE pina colada slurpee. Yes, I wanted and needed a sugar fix BAD! I waited until I crossed a road, and with 1 1/2 miles to go, I was off and running like I was being chased. I tricked left brain into allowing me to continue to mile 4, and Garmin beeped and I saw a 9:06 on it's screen. I had run a 9:06 split with about 30 seconds added in for drinking water. My brain loves math, and quickly realized that I had just run about an 8:36 split. With a mile to go, and visions of Good and Plenty and a Slurpee in my mind, I threw caution to the wind. Left brain and what was left of lead legs were going to have to deal with me running as fast as I could as far as I could. If I needed to slow down, I would. But dammit, I wasn't going to slow down because Lindsay said it would work and I was going to be writing this post and be held accountable if I wussed out, and I wanted my freakin' Good and Plenty and Slurpee NOW!! Across another road, and a slight downhill, and I had 8/10 of a mile to go. Legs were moving, and moving fast. Up ahead in the distance, I spied a familiar sight. The Cheshire High School girls cross country team was heading towards me. I've seen them the past week or so at that time. Now I couldn't slow down, or I'd look like a wimp in front of a dozen or so of them. I continued to run all out. As we passed each other, I had about a half mile to go. I said hello to all of them, told them good job, and got a chorus of "thanks" in reply. Awwww, how sweet! I turned a slight corner, still in an all out sprint. Less than half a mile to go, and I could see the end of the trail....and more cross country runners. There was no slowing down now until I reached the end. I didn't want or need to slow down anyhow. My legs were feeling the best they've felt in a long time (Thanks again, Lindsay), and I had some great music blaring in my ear. I greeted the "stragglers" as I passed by them, and started scolding myself to keep running fast. I looked around, and seeing no one nearby with 3/10 of a mile left, turned into a male version of Jillian from the Biggest Loser. I was yelling at myself to run faster, push harder, hurry up, and don't you dare slow down. I felt great. I reached mile 5, Garmin beeped, and I pressed the stop button. My run was over, and I felt exhilarated. I knew my last mile was good, but was astonished: 7:56. Damn! I guess I've discovered the key to me running fast: Good and Plenty and a Slurpee. By the way, if anyone's interested, I found the actual old commercial for Good and Plenty on YouTube:
P.S. I did indeed buy Good and Plenty and a pina colada slurpee afterwards...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome Back, Legs

Today's Run: Temperature: 58 degrees. Road: 3.1 miles; Splits: 9:16; 9:03; 8:40; :47; 27:46; 8:56/mile pace. I NAILED THIS RUN!

Bye-bye stone legs and stomach cramps. Hello, running legs. Welcome back from your well deserved 9 day vacation. Hugs and kisses for Irish Cream for helping me get back on track. I'm back. My legs have regained their mojo. My stomach has decided to quit cramping, hopefully forever.
Since running the Hartford Marathon, I've been fighting a stomach virus. It started the day after the marathon, disappeared Tuesday to Thursday, and reappeared Friday night and Saturday. A trip to the doctor on Saturday along with some medications has hopefully taken care of the virus permanently. I wasn't thinking left brain logically at all lately. Fellow blogger Irish Creams' advice of "stick with what the man says. After all, Galloway has seemed to work very well for you thus far! Why change anything?" made sense. Yes, I still have a two week taper plan of Galloway's that I will follow. I've committed the past six months to it. Why would I change anything?! Also, more Irish Creme advice: "Because wasn't the reason you ran the marathon last weekend because he prescribed a 26-mile run-walk-run?" Ummmm, yeah I kinda had forgotten that! I did run the Hartford Marathon as part of the Galloway training plan. Thanks Irish Cream for setting me straight. So since it was pouring rain yesterday and I was still not feeling 100%, I did my scheduled 5k run today. It was 58 degrees, but with the sun shining it felt a lot warmer to me. Definitely warm enough for my summer running attire of shorts and a short sleeved shirt. I was short on time, so I reluctantly decided to do a road run that was 1.55 miles out and back, and GASP, starts with an uphill run. I walked outside my home into the crisp fall air, squinted into the sun, took a deep breath, started my Garmin, and off I went. A minute or so into my run, things felt bad. My legs felt heavy. My stride was off, and my breathing not right. I was running into a slightly cool breeze, and my upper body was cold. I trudged up the hill, reached the top, and still wasn't feeling so confident. I did a quick mental calendar check, and realized I still had 13 days until the NY Marathon. No time to panic yet, I was thinking. Almost two weeks to get back my mojo. Five minutes later, Garmin beeped, and displayed a 9:16. Not bad...I was expecting worse. Then around mile 1.2, things changed. I was warmer, running smoother, breathing easier. I was feeling good. Even though the wind was in my face, it actually started to feel like I was gently being pushed. Weird, but true. I had regained my rhythm. Mile 2, 9:03. I was disappointed that I hadn't run a sub 9 minute mile, but encouraged by how easily I was now running. It really felt effortless, and I know I could have pushed myself to go a lot faster had I chosen to. Mile 3 split was an 8:40, to which I reacted to by yelling out "I'm back" as Garmin displayed it. (Yes, my neighbors probably think I'm nuts if they heard me). I sprinted the final 1/10 of a mile, and I was home. Final time was a 27:46, for an 8:56 per mile pace. I was expecting to run a 9:15-9:30 pace. Yes indeed, I'm back. Now I just need to stick to the Galloway training plan to the end, and throughout the NY City Marathon. All of you will remind me of that, won't you?!