Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inspiration Through Perspiration

Check out the pic above. Yup, that's me completing my first marathon on May 5, 2008. Hillery, a good friend of mine, helped me come up with the design. I'm either changing my blog's name to "Inspiration Through Perspiration," or putting that underneath my "Marathonman Runs Again" header. Can someone please tell me how I would change the name and address of my blog should I choose to?? Comments also, please, on the new me!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Check Out My Hot (NOT) Half Marathon Race Pics

Here they are. Try not to laugh too much. Yup, that's me with the not-so-sexy legs and grey mustache.

Farmington Canal Linear Park trail: 54 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:11; 9:13; 9:02; 8:41; 36:07; 9:01 per mile pace.

I finally went to see the "doctor" about my left knee pain this past Wednesday. It was actually not feeling too bad considering I ran a half this past Sunday. "Debbie's" official title is not "Doctor." She's the next best person to see when your doctor doesn't have an opening, and of course I have no idea what her degree is or what her official title is. So I'll just call her "The Other Doctor," or "TOD." TOD informed me that her husband is a runner. Bonus point for her. She also said I'm having left medial meniscus pain. Fortunately I do not have a tear. Bonus point for me. She wrote me a prescription for 500 mg. of Naproxin, which is anti-inflammatory. I don't really like taking drugs, but in this case I feel it's worth the risk. Of course, like any drug, it comes with a warning about possible side effects: "Taking an NSAID can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. NSAIDs can also increase your risk of serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation (forming of a hole). These conditions can be fatal and gastrointestinal effects can occur without warning at any time while you are taking an NSAID. Older adults (Is 53 considered old by drug manufacturer standards?) may have an even greater risk of these serious gastrointestinal side effects. By taking Naproxin you may suddenly have the urge to sing Culture Club songs. Taking Naproxin during a full moon may increase the risk of growing facial hair and cause you to howl. Naproxin should only be taken during an even minute of an odd hour on an odd day. OK, I'm lying about the last three things. She also wrote me a referral for Physical Therapy. I'm not going there unless I really have to, due to my $20 per visit copay...although the thought of seeing "Hot Chick" again does appeal to me. Oh well, saving money is more important than our visual friendship. :-)
Anyhow, I went for a 4 miler yesterday on the trail. It was pretty uneventful, but I was very happy with my splits, especially the last 2 miles. I had a PPG (Ponytail Pace Girl) for my last two miles. I'm proud to say I "duded" her the last half mile and beat her. Like anyone else, I run better with company, and I guess I should credit her with my faster last two miles.
I registered for my favorite half marathon yesterday. It's not until June 27th, so I have plenty of time to properly train for it. I'm also running the "Dow Live Earth Run for Water New York 6K" on April 18th in New York City. The Dow Live Earth Run for water is a worldwide event, so there may be one near you. Here's some information about it: "Taking place on April 18, 2010, the event will consist of a series of 6 km runs/walks (the average distance many women and children walk every day to secure water) occurring over the course of 24 hours. The events will feature live musical performances and water education activities in an effort to ignite a massive global movement to put an end to this epidemic." Here's the link.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New York City Half Marathon Report

New York City Half Marathon: 2:05.39 (9:35/Mile pace). 7,109 of 11,494 finishers; 223 of 335 men’s ages 50-54.
Splits: 1) 9:01 2) 8:57 3) 9:04 4) 9:20 5) 9:01 6) 10:00 7) 9:13 8) 9:23 9) 9:09 10) 9:11 11) 9:32 12) 9:48 Last 1.55 miles: 14:00. Total Time: 2:05:39 (9:35/Mile pace). Garmin says I ran 13.55 miles.

(It's a LONG one-feel free to skim through it!)
*Boring pre-race stuff: I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. I woke up and for a few seconds considered crawling back under the warm covers. Left brain was already trying to be sensible. I instead staggered to the Keurig coffeemaker, which by the way I have named "Katie." Get it, Katie Keurig (Couric)?! OK, bad joke, I know. Katie wouldn't cooperate and brew me a cup of coffee, so I went to Plan B, as in my Black and Decker coffeemaker. Five minutes later I was inhaling my cup of java and ready to get dressed. I had left my running gear downstairs in the guest bedroom so that I wouldn't disturb my wife as I got dressed. I also knew that going up and down the stairs would be a good race morning test of my knee pain. My knee passed the pain test no problem, so there was no turning back. I had decided to wear a short sleeved tech shirt and my long sleeved NY City Marathon over it, along with shorts with long sweats over them. I put globs of petroleum jelly on and between my toes, put on my shoes, attached my D-Tag, and was ready to roll. Well, almost ready to roll. First I had to get rid of the previous night's chili dinner. I knew that eating chili the night before would be a good strategy race morning. Score one for me. I started my car, programmed the address of a parking garage near Central Park into my TomTom (Appropriately named after my wife Kathy, who like my TomTom likes to tell me what to do and where to go), and off I drove. I had a 90 mile drive ahead of me, which Kathy was telling me would take about an hour and forty-five minutes. I would be arriving at Central Park around 6:30 if all went well, so that would give me an hour to park, check my bag, use the portapotty, stretch, and get to the start line. Driving at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning sure is easy. I've never had an easier time driving from Connecticut to NY. I had the mandatory bathroom stop at Mickey D's about halfway there, followed by two close calls of nearly sharting (damn chili)myself. TomTom did a great job navigating me to the city, and I arrived close to my parking garage destination at about 6:15. Problem was, as Tom Tom announced "You have reached your destination," I couldn't see my destination. The parking garage, which I had researched at home and decided to park in since it was only 4/10 of a mile from Central Park, was nowhere to be seen. Great, NY City has invisible parking garages?! I will add that I don't have the best night vision in the world. If it's not well lit or brightly colored, chances are I won't see it if it's dark out. I drove slowly since no one was close behind me, squinting and desperately looking for anywhere I could park. I turned left, and drove by the baggage drop off area, and saw area 4, which was my drop off area. At least I would know where to go if I found a place to park. I circled back to where TomTom was insisting the parking garage was. I looked on both sides of the street, and still didn't see it. I was starting to panic. It was now 6:30, so I had 30 minutes to find a parking place and drop off my bag. I did one last drive-by where the parking garage was supposed to be, again couldn't find it, and headed back to Central Park. I stopped and asked two of New York's finest (Police Officers) where I could park. They both looked at one another, and one of them said "They didn't tell us where to tell people to park." Great. It was 6:40, there were taxi's all over the place dropping off runners, and I wasn't moving. I was starting to panic. I finally navigated through the taxicab obstacle course, and a parking space appeared on the right. There were cars parked ahead of me, and behind me, so I decided it was a legal on-street curbside parking space. I got out of my car, looked at the curb (not painted yellow), looked for "No Parking" signs (none), looked for any "No Parking on Sunday" signs (there were, but 100 feet behind me). To be 100% sure I was legally parked, I asked a police officer who was sitting in his parked car in a "No Parking on Sunday" space 100 feet behind my car if it was alright for me to park up there, and I pointed to my car. His response was "I don't know." I told him that I didn't see any signs that said I couldn't park there, and since I was from Connecticut, I wanted to make sure my car wouldn't be towed or ticketed. I received absolutely no response from him. I guess that should have been a clue that something was up, but since it was now 6:45, I had been driving around in circles for a half hour, and I had 15 minutes left to check my bag, I wasn't exactly thinking logically. I now know that "I don't know" in NY City police officer talk means "Thank-you for helping me meet my ticket quota for the month." Yup, after the race I had a $115 parking ticket on my car. It turns out that I was parked in a Bus Stop area that had a sign about 10 feet up on a light pole that was about 100 feet ahead of my car. There was no way for me to see the sign in the darkness. Had I been parked behind the light pole (Instead of in front of it) that had the sign with the arrow pointing away from my car on it, I would have been legally parked. I was supposed to know that. I'm going to plead "Not Guilty" since I did some online research and found out that if they make a mistake on your parking ticket, and you plead not guilty, it will probably either be thrown out or the fine will be reduced. Lying colorblind police officer put that my car is purple. My car is black. Did Nissan ever make a purple car? I think not. So I'm sending a copy of my registration along with my "Not Guilty" plea and hoping for the best. By the way, in the brightness of day, I saw the parking garage sign that I was unable to see in the dark just 4 hours earlier. Yes, the parking garage and a few others were all within close proximity of the area of my illegally parked "purple" car.
*Boring Race Report: I was glad I was #4361. By the way, as hard as I tried, I couldn't relate any part of my number to anything. 43? 61? Nope, no special meaning. Well, at least they both added up to lucky "7." So I guess I did come up with something interesting about my number. Anyhow, with about 15,000 runners, being lined up in the 4000 group meant it only took me 4 minutes and 15 seconds to get to the start line once the race began. We ran up a slight, longish hill, around a corner, down a slight hill, and were moving fairly well for the first mile. I don't remember many details, except that I was constantly monitoring my left knee to see if I was feeling any twinges of pain. I was also concerned about pacing myself slow enough to survive the 13.1 miles, since my longest training run had been 7 miles, and I hadn't run more than that since the NY City Marathon last November 1st. My mouth was already feeling like I had "cotton mouth," and of course my gum was in my illegally parked car. Mile 1, Rachael (my Garmin) beeped, and displayed a 9:01. I was expecting about a 10:00 mile, because it was a slow start, and I felt as if I hadn't run very fast. I reminded myself to pace myself, relax, and try to be a smooth runner and slow my pace. There was a good crowd cheering us in Central Park, and just past mile 1 I saw a sign that said mile 7. I knew that a large part of the race was in Central Park, and soon realized that it was the first 8 miles, since mile marker 8 was just past mile marker 2. As I was running mile 1 to mile 2, I realized that I was running the same part of Central Park that I had this past November 1st as I headed towards the finish line of the NY City Marathon. It put a smile on my face, rather than the grimace I had back in November! Mile 2: 8:57. I was flabbergasted. I was thirsty as heck. The first water station hadn't helped quench my thirst or gotten rid of my cotton mouth. I wasn't pushing my pace at all, and I had run a sub 9 minute mile. I guess the beautiful morning, cheering people, and company of runners was making it easy for me. Too easy. I still felt that I needed to make a conscious effort to slow down. Miles 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 featured the Central Park horse poop trench. The road was cement, with a slight trench on the left side which happened to have areas of dried horse poop in it. So between avoiding the trench and poop, I was confident I could slow down my pace. Mile 3: 9:04. Again, I was still concerned about my pace being too fast and eventually catching up with me early on and me running out of gas too soon. Around mile 3 1/2, I came to another water stop. I slowed to a walk, made sure I walked and drank two cups of water, and resumed running. My cotton mouth was gone, and the small, continuous up and down hills of Central Park weren't bothering my knee. Mile 4: 9:20. Better, I had slowed my pace down with the help of a water station walk. I was drinking a cup of water at each water station, which were at the 1/2 mile points of each mile. Mile 4 1/2, a quick walk and drinking of water, and a mile 5 split of 9:01. I was still running with little effort, and the hills weren't yet a factor. During mile 5, my bladder let me know that all the water I was drinking needed to find a new home. At about 5 3/4 miles, there were portapottys off to the left, and most of them were empty. I made a quick detour to one. While inside, I laughed about the time I was wasting, but knew it was a good waste of time. Peeing also gave me time to do a quick reality check. I had about 7 1/4 miles to go, my knee was fine, my breathing was fine, and my legs felt strong. Out I went, and rejoined the pack of runners. Mile 6: 10:00 even. Not bad for taking a pee break. I wish I had more details to report, but I was quickly growing tired of running in Central Park, and was glad to pass the mile 1 sign again and get to mile 6. Miles 6 to 7 via mile 2 went well, and Rachael showed a 9:13 mile 7 time. I knew that I was only one mile away from mile 8, which meant I would finally be exiting Central Park and heading to Times Square. First I had to run up a hill I had run up the first time around, but this time it seemed more difficult. Miles 7 to 8 were a bit of a struggle, and Rachael beeped a 9:23 split time. I was starting to lose my mojo, and was hoping that running through Times Square would help me regain some of it. It was the part of the race I had been looking forward to since I learned I had been accepted to run the half. It was a downhill portion out of Central Park. People were standing along both sides of the street, clapping and cheering. I ran past the Winter Garden Theater, and saw the marquee with Mamma Mia lit up on it. I ran past other theaters, restaurants, and hotels. There was a sing- along complete with the words being shown on a large screen. Unfortunately, I've forgotten what song I was singing as I ran by. Mojo restored, I reached mile 9 at 9:09. I made the mistake of starting to count down how many miles I had left to run. Just 4 miles to go....I scolded myself for breaking my golden rule of focusing on one mile at a time, and NEVER thinking about how many miles were left. Somewhere around mile 10 they were giving out Powerbar gels. I don't really like their gels, but decided to grab 3 of them to help get me through the final 3 1/2 miles. Yes, as I was running to mile 10, I was getting increasingly annoyed at the fact that Rachael was beeping about 1/4 mile before the mile marker. Every mile she was telling me I had reached the mile way too soon. I hate that race courses are measured around their shortest points, and 99.9% of us don't actually run that shortest part. Anyhow, I opened up what I thought was a vanilla flavored gel and sucked it down. The Double Latte flavor caught me off guard. Expecting vanilla and getting Double Latte initially caused me to have a gag reflex. Fortunately just after my 9:11 split for miles 9-10 I was able to chug down two cups of water to get rid of the heavy chocolate latte taste in my mouth. At this point my logical left brain started talking smack to me. I had about 3 1/2 miles to go, and left brain was done running. Legs weren't so thrilled about running anymore either. Left brain and legs were thinking that my entire body was ready to call it a day, since up to this point everything had gone well. Left knee also was starting to let me know that it was getting a little aggravated. It was gutcheck time for me. 3 1/2 miles to go, and my brain and body were going into "we've already overachieved and deserve a rest" mode. I forced myself to begin running again. Now it wasn't fun. It wasn't automatic. It became myself forcing my brain to tell my legs to keep moving. It became my right brain telling my left brain to shut the hell up. It became a mind game of "I can do this, I will do this, and nothing's going to stop me." Mile 11, a 9:32. Mojo was quickly disappearing, this time possibly for good. I sucked down a Raspberry Cream PowerBar gel. It tasted good, and gave me the psychological lift I needed. Since my Garmin was showing mile splits too soon, I knew I had about 2 1/2 miles to go. Less than a 5K, I told myself. I had ingested two gels, drank two cups of water, did a quick body check and decided left knee was going to be fine, and reluctantly resumed running. Left brain once again was questioning the logic of resuming running again. I was running, but it was a survival run. I decided a that point not to stop again until I reached the finish line. I knew the gels and water were plenty to get me through the last 2 1/2 miles. I had become way too fixated on Rachael, watching the tenths of a mile pass by more than I should have. I just wanted it to end. I knew that mile 12 would be somewhere around the 12.45 point on Rachael. Finally, mile 12 arrived, 9:48 after mile 11. Again, a psychological downer, since my 9:48 mile 12 Rachael beep meant I still had about 1 1/2 miles left to run. As I ran towards the final mile markers, Rachael started emitting a series of beeps. She was telling me that her database was full. Normally when that happens, she just deletes old data and continues on her merry way. This time she was continuing to beep and yell at me. I pressed "Enter" as instructed, and nothing happened. Underneath the words, I was trying to see how much further I had left to run. I couldn't tell. Plus I couldn't see the timer. At that point I focused on keeping my legs moving, and stared far ahead looking for any sign of a mile 13 marker. I was actually feeling better at that point, probably from the gels kicking in, and the reality that I was almost finished and was going to make it, and with a better time than I had expected. Finally, a beautiful sight appeared. The number 13, all blue and pretty. I passed by it, and the final countdown of 500 meters, 400 meters, 300 meters...I was turning into my normal get choked up and get a lump in my throat wuss self, then 200 meters, 100 meters. I gave it my all for the final 100 meters, and finished strong with a final net time of 2:05:39. I was expecting to finish around 2:10. Given the circumstances of not being able to run the entire month of February due to a groin injury, a back strain for a few days a week before the half, and then the severe left knee pain for 3 days that stopped two days before the half, I can't help to wonder how I did so well. I'm now convinced that a large part of running is mental as well as physical. We runners have the ability to run. That's obvious. We do it all the time. But it's the mental part of running that allows us to achieve our goals. All the training in the world won't work unless our mental state of mind is trained as well. In a nutshell, tell left brain to shut the hell up and you'll be fine. In closing, thank-you everyone for your well wishes before, and now after the half. I probably wouldn't have run the half if it wasn't for this blog. I probably would have stayed home and used the excuse I was injured. All of you played an important part before, during, and certainly now in my success. I love you all. Post post note: I attempted to take a lower body ice bath after I arrived home. I lasted a whole 10 seconds in the tub, followed by 60 seconds out of the tub. I repeated that 6 times, and was so done. How the heck do you guys do that?! I know they work, but damn, I was FROZEN!!

Some VERY Useful Information For Runners, Especially "Newbies"

I don't usually appreciate unsolicited e-mails, but in this case I've made an exception. I received an e-mail from a Suzane Smith, who came up with a list titled “50 Essential Health Hacks for Serious Runners”
It turns out to be a very informative article for runners. So, I've provided the link to it above. I must say I will not take her advice mentioned in #6. On second thought, I'm adding this a day later, but to respond to your comments, I've found that petroleum jelly works for male nipple problems too. Sorry if I just grossed you out. Please feel free to comment or add to any of her "50 things to remain mindful of when piecing together a specific, personalized training program."
In other news, I'm hoping to find the time later to write my what will not be exciting NY City Half Marathon race report. How's that for making you not look forward to reading it?! You've been warned....BUT, I will of course use my gift as a writer to make it entertaining. :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Did It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Official time: 2 hours, 5 minutes, 39 seconds. My knee is sore, but not as bad as it was. Details later...

2010 NYC Half-Marathon
List by Name: Rick Held

Distance: 13.1 Miles, 21.1 Kilometers
Date/Time: March 21, 2010, 7:30 AM
Location: Central Park to Battery Park, NYC
Weather: 53 degrees, 55% humidity, sunny.

Held Rick M53 #4361 Cheshire, CT USA Overall Place: 7109. Gender Place: 4133 Age Group Place: 223. 2:05:39 0:58:50 1:28:10 1:59:46 Pace/Mile: 9:36

First-Timers Kamais and Yamauchi win the
NYC Half-Marathon
Peter Kamais of Kenya took first in 59:53. Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain won the women's win in approx 1:09:25. A record 11,494 people finished the race.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Countdown Has Resumed

"Three-Hour Time Limit
Please note that in the interest of safety, any NYC Half-Marathon participant who is not able to maintain a 13:45-per-mile pace throughout the race (3:00 projected finishing time) will be picked up along the course starting at approximately mile 8 and transported to the finish. The time it takes the last runner (who was at the start line at the start) to cross the start line will be added to the overall 3:00 time limit, ensuring all participants a 13:45-per-mile pace. We thank you in advance for your cooperation with this policy."

15,000 runners; 66 degrees high temperature; New York City. I'm taking the train to get my race packet today. If all goes well, tomorrow morning at 7:35 I'll be running, walking, and/or crawling the half. My left knee pain is practically gone. I can ignore the occasional snap, crackle, pop Rice Krispies sound it sometimes makes. I CAN wake up tomorrow at 3:30 a.m.' drive for 90+ minutes, find a parking garage, get to the start, run/walk/crawl 13.1 miles, and then figure out how to take the subway 8 miles back to where I parked...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just When I Thought I Was Getting Better, This Happens

I'm self diagnosing my newest ailment...I'm fuming...Bye-bye New York City Half Marathon. Hello rest and ibuprofen. It's nearly 70 degrees outside, and will be that warm for the next 5 days. So now I'm even more mad. This sucks.

Update: It's 10 p.m., and I just received the following e-mail...Now I'm mad AND depressed
Your name: Rick
Your race number: 497780

Start: East Drive between 95th and 96th Streets
Finish: West Side Highway near Chambers Street
Race Details: See the race page

Please bring a printout of this e-mail and a photo ID with you when you come to pickup; this e-mail will be collected at the NYC Half-Marathon Expo.
You must pick up your own race materials at the Metropolitan Pavilion North, 110 West 19th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), from March 18 to 20.
No one else can pick up these materials for you, and you will not be able to do so on race morning.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Friday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. |
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. sharp
Write the name and phone number of a race-day emergency contact on the back of your bib.
On Sunday:
Use the clear bag provided—no other bags will be accepted—to check any personal items at the UPS truck on Fifth Avenue (between 97th and 102nd Streets) corresponding to your bib number between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m sharp. Enter your start corral by 7:15 a.m.
This race will have a three-hour limit; anyone who is not able to maintain a
13:45-per mile pace or less will be picked up along the course starting at approximately mile 8 and will be transported to the finish.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. EDT, your friends and family can watch live race coverage on Universal Sports TV or stream the race on You can set your DVR to watch it later, catch the archived on demand footage at, or check our website for familiar faces on Flotrack's feeds from the course.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hitting a Car; Hitting the Wall; and Poop Talk

Farmington Canal Linear Park trail: 57 degrees. 6.1 miles; Splits: 9:09; 9:16; 9:27; 9:34; 9:32; 9:40; :54; 57:32; 9:25 per mile pace.

WARNING: Written while I still had a runner's high. This post is all over the place.
Update on my back issue and my "training" for the half. My back pain is GONE! It disappeared as quickly as it came. Thank-you everyone for your suggestions. For now, I'm not seeing the doctor, PT, or a Chiropractor. However, I expect to have to see any or all of the above after running the half on Sunday.
I ran a 6 miler today. I decided that since I hadn't run since last Thursday, and because of my recent back issues, I would take it easy on my body and back and run on the trail. It was a comfortable 57 degrees, the sun was shining, and therefore it was a shorts day. I arrived at the trail at 5 p.m., and was surprised that the parking lot closest to the trail was full. After parking across the street in another lot, I did my stretches. Aren't you proud of me?! My Garmin, Rachael, was getting impatient, so off I went. I immediately noticed that there were a lot of dogs being walked on the crushed gravel part alongside of the paved trail. I learned the hard way a few weeks ago to make sure I kept my eyes open for doggy poo "minefields." One of them "exploded" underneath my right shoe a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I didn't know this until I took my running shoes out of my closet a few days later and happened to check underneath them. By that time, a screwdriver was a necessary tool so that I could chisel the dried super-pooper off the bottom of my shoe. I made the mistake of telling my wife about it. She of course wanted to know where exactly I had walked after entering our house with super-pooper shoe. I of course couldn't remember. Fortunately there wasn't a trail of poop around our house. I think the crushed gravel acted as doggy litter. Sorry, I got sidetracked...Today's run started off great. Here comes another "TMI" moment. About 1/2 mile into my run, I passed by "Pink Ponytail Girl" (PPG). PPG was making me look bad, which today wasn't too difficult, but I'll get to that in a minute. PPG was looking good. Here's the TMI part. Female runners with ponytails are visually appealing. Now, I know a majority of my readers are woman, so I just wanted to put that out there. You may comment on that if you'd like. Or, you can silently call me a "pig" and not comment. Your choice. My wife Kathy (Kash in my comments) reads my blog. I'm sure her comment will be in person. Our couch is comfortable, by the way. So anyhow, my first mile I'm smiling and waving to everyone as I'm running, and having a grand 'ol time. I'm thinking that the layoff wasn't such a bad thing, and my back's not hurting, and my stride is good, my 70's tunes and your suggested songs are sounding good, the sun is shining, life is good, and this planned 6 miler might become an 8 miler. I felt that good. Mile 1, and Rachael sweetly beeps and displays a 9:09 split time. I was psyched. Heck, I wasn't even trying, and I had run a 9:09. Yup, 8 miles was definitely a possibility. So I slowed down the pace a little, so that I could better pace myself for the soon to be longer run. I'm still feeling good, and pass mile 2 with a 9:16 split time. Heading to mile 3, I'm still running comfortably, but common sense took over. I decided that I would turn around at mile 3, complete my 6 miles, and if I was still feeling good, could do another mile out and back to get my 8. Who was better than me at that point? Of course, seeing a few more ponytails passing me by didn't hurt. Sorry, I had to say that. I turned around, and started back. Within the next 1/4 mile, my "mojo" started disappearing. I have no idea why. My fun run quickly was becoming a suck it up and finish run. Lead Leg Syndrome (LLS)arrived. At about 3 3/4 miles, the trail crossed the road. There were two cars coming, and although they are supposed to stop and yield, I could sense that the driver of the first car wasn't going to. I had misjudged the distance between us, and I arrived at the crosswalk at the same time he did. He didn't slow down, and I narrowly avoided running into the side of his car. Fortunately he was driving less than the speed limit (25), so I had enough time to call him a f*ckin' asshole and smacked the rear of his car with my hand as I crossed behind it. At that point he hit his brakes, and I saw him look back to see what had happened. I don't think he ever saw me until he looked back to see what had hit his car. I do think he was in his 70's. There was a couple that witnessed the entire incident, and commented something like "unbelievable that he never slowed down or stopped for you." Yes, I was childish in the way I handled it. However, at least I'm alive and able to admit I was childish. Mile 4 split was a 9:34, not surprising because my LLS hadn't improved, plus my "near death" experience. I continued to suck it up, and although I was slower, I was steady. I wasn't feeling any pain. Mile 5 arrived, "Rachael" beeped, and it was a 9:32. Yuck...but better than I'd expected. After mile 5, I had one last street to cross. There weren't any cars to be seen, so I started across. Suddenly, for only the second time in my running career, I felt as if I hit a wall. Yes, I "hit the wall" at mile 5. It only lasted about a minute, but it was definitely "the wall." So, obviously an 8 miler was out of the question. Making it the final what turned out to be 1.1 miles was all that mattered. It was difficult, but of course this blog makes me accountable, so I did it. That's why I added the extra .1, just to end with something positive. With 5 days to the half, and only one or two more runs to go before it, I'm in trouble. My endurance is poor. Hills are a challenge. My state of mind isn't as good as it should be. I'm hoping that running with 10,000+ other runners on Sunday will help, as will any crowd support that's there at 7:30 a.m. Yes, the race starts at 7:30 a.m. Oh, and I live two hours away, but that's another story...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back Attack= Training Advice Please

One week to go until the New York City Half Marathon, and I hurt my back. I want to come up with a "macho" type explanation like I was having wild sex with my wife and threw out my back, but I cannot tell a lie. Yesterday morning I bent down to pick up my shirt, and my back went into wicked, hurts so bad I was dropping f-bombs, spasms of pain. I couldn't even walk, never mind run yesterday. Every time I sat down and got up, my back felt like it was locked in place. It feels better today, but I don't know if I'll be able to run. With a week to go, my longest training run for the half has been 7 measly miles. I didn't run because I couldn't run for the month of February. My longest run of 13 miles or longer was last November 1st, the NY City Marathon. Not running the half is not an option. I'm asking for your advice. I'll probably only be able to run 3 times in the next week. Should I try for a 10+ miler for any or all of those runs? Should I just "take it easy" and get in some miles, and hope I can run NY on adrenaline and determination? I don't care about my finishing time for NY. I just want to run it, experience it, and most importantly have fun and finish it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. UPDATE: 10 a.m.: Back pain is pretty much gone! I've already been to a P.T., as you know, and going to a chiropractor is not an option. I'm actually looking for training advice, not medical advice. Thanks!! :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Sing-along

Yesterday's Run: Road: 53 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:20; 9:24; 9:25; 9:25; 37:34; 9:23 per mile pace.Hey, slow, but consistent.

"Nuno nuno, nuno nuno
hey hey-ey, goodbye"
*To be sung to the tune of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam. Don't know the song? Click on the red "Steam" word above, go to the YouTube link, and sing along!

Welcome my new Followers/Stalkers Adam, Hannah, Staci, and Anton.
Asterisk time:
* I'm done, AKA "discharged" from P.T. a week early. "Finding Nemo" Nuno, my former P.T. guy, informed me that I no longer needed his services since I have been running pain free.
* ADHD Dave, the gym dude, gave me some more exercises to do at home. He also informed me that he would run the half too if he were me. He admitted that he was saying what he was supposed to say as the gym dude a few weeks ago when he recommended I not run it. He told me he always thought I could run it all along. Thanks ADHD Dave.
* My first exercise in the gym was riding the exercise bike. Within a minute of me being on the bike, "Hot Chick" Lindsay came over and asked me if I had tried (I have no idea what flavor she said since my brain went into OMG here she comes to talk to me and she's so hot mode) DORITOS® yet. We talked for a few minutes as I rode the bike. It was another "deep" conversation about snack foods. If I wasn't married and about 20 years younger, I think I'd have a shot with her. This coming from me, a guy with absolutely no game. I'm a happily married (28 years) runner, not a "player!" To my wife Kathy, who seems to read my blog on a regular basis now, I love you.
* I left "Finding Nemo" Nuno a 4-pack of Guinness, ADHD Dave a Dunkin' Donuts gift card, "Hot Chick" Lindsay a bag of Swedish Fish (Now THAT I remember she said she likes), and assorted other sweets for the rest of the staff there. Yes, I liked them that much and appreciated their help. No, I didn't ask Lindsay for her phone number. Read previous comment about me being happily married.
* Yesterday's run was difficult. I purposely ran a short, 4 miles, mainly hilly road course to help better prepare me for the half in 9 days. The hills killed me. I'm still not where I need to be with getting back my hills mojo. I'm hoping that since the half is in N.Y. City, it won't be too hilly.
* I again dedicated my run to Jill. She is asking runners to dedicate the miles they run to her since she's injured and can't run. In return, she's donating a nickel for every mile we run to Back on My Feet. So, all of my Followers are strongly encouraged to support this worthwhile cause and donate your miles run to Jill.
* Thank-you Lisa for teaching me how to properly put a link in my blog. Have you noticed how I put an annoying amount of links in this post?! Please don't hate her for teaching me how to do it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Behind

Yesterday's Run: Road; 53 degrees. 7 miles; Splits: 9:13; 9:15; 9:15; 9:26; 9:18; 9:17; 9:04; 1:04:48; 9:15 per mile average pace.

If my title has you expecting an ass shot of me, you're out of luck. Trust me, I have no ass to speak of, so you're not missing anything.
I'm behind in my half training and I'm behind in reading your blogs. It's tax season, my wonderful wife is working 7 days a week, so I have extra parental responsibilities and less free time. That's my disclaimer.
Yesterday's run was dedicated to Jill at
Please go tell her I told you to say "Hi."
My run couldn't have gone any better. Once I got past my left brain trying to convince me I was tired and should quit halfway through, I was fine. Except for temporarily getting lost running down a "court" that led to two house's driveways. My splits were very consistent (See above), and I surprised myself by averaging a 9:15 pace. That was totally unexpected, since I had such difficulty with my road run a few days ago. I even conquered "Hell Hill." I ran for 7 miles, and think I could have run a half marathon distance yesterday if I wanted to push myself. I'm sure my split times would have increased, but so what? Back to P.T. today. I'll update you later or tomorrow about that.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Yesterday's (Sunday)Run: Farmington Canal Linear Park trail: 57 degrees. 6 miles; Splits: 9:30; 9:28; 9:37; 9:46; 9:33; 9:10; 57:04; 9:30 per mile pace.

I found a cool website that gives you a better idea of where I sometimes run:

I'm VERY short on time, and want to get this out into "bloggerland," so here goes:
I'm making progress. Slow progress, but progress none-the-less. After Saturday's "I thought I was going to die" run, yesterday's run on the Farmington Canal Linear Park trail went well. It was warm enough to wear shorts. WOO-HOO! I so ♥ it almost being spring. Plus we "spring ahead" Sunday morning and will gain an hour of daylight. I felt great the entire run. My legs were loose and felt strong (Thank-you stretching) and I was in a running zone. I only planned on running 5 miles, but had a roller-blading young couple who paced me starting at mile 4, so I ran an extra mile. We played "cat and mouse," with me catching up to them at times, only to have them skate away. It was nice having someone to run and talk with. They were such a cute couple, and probably about 16 years old. So #23 gray shirt teenage dude, and #14 teal shirt dudette, I thank-you. I felt faster than my split times indicated, but that's OK. With 13 days to go until the New York City Half Marathon, I'm finally feeling excited. I believe my running "mojo" is returning. I'm taking today off from running, but will do my exercise program. It's working, so I'm never going to stop doing them. Maybe I'll even find time to do some yoga. Tomorrow I'll attempt another road run, and see if I can do better running up "Hell Hill."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Runs Would Suck Without You

"Because we belong together now
Forever united here somehow
Yeah you got a piece of me
And honestly
My "runs" would suck without you"
-My apologies to Kelly Clarkson

Road: 55 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:17; 9:26; 9:27; 9:21; 37:31; 9:22 per mile pace.

Welcome new Followers Donekerking, Iron Mike, ajh, and Cynthia O'H.

Today's run sucked; or rather at times I was sucking wind. You, my 57 Followers, kept me running until the end. Our blogs unite us a runners, and what's very important for me is that writing this makes me accountable for what I do as a runner. My runs would suck without you.
That being said, I was fortunate enough to win a pair of Yurbuds™ from Christy at It Just Looks Like Slow Motion. Yurbuds™ are "custom sized earbud enhancers that increase comfort, don't fall out, and enhance sound quality. All of this is accomplished while allowing you to listen to your device at a lower volume." I must say that they're a BIG improvement over the loop over the ear earbuds I was using. The sound coming out of them is clear, and best of all since they're custom fitted they won't fall out of your ears. Here's my disclaimer. I am NOT receiving any compensation from Christy or Yurbuds™ to say this. Lets regress for a moment to this past Wednesday. I went to see "Finding Nemo" Nuno for my PT appointment. Funny thing was it just so happened that Lindsay, aka "Hot Chick" was at the receptionist's desk as I checked in. Since I was early for my appointment, she and I had a wonderful conversation about her and her co-workers favorite candy. Let me tell you, it was a "deep" conversation. I'm embarrassed to say that I have no idea what candy she likes. I was too busy having an interior freakout thinking that Hot Chick was actually talking to me. I do remember that her two co-workers like Skittles and Swedish Fish. I first went to Nemo/Nuno, who asked me how running went the day before. I told him first things first, and told him that I knew he had told Hot Chick that I said she is hot. He laughed, and I said that since he wasn't denying it, it must be true. Again, there was no denying it on his part. Great, so now Hot Chick knows I think she's hot, and probably that I call her Hot Chick. Anyhow, I told Nemo/Nuno I had some lingering pain, but thought it was good pain from having done my stretching before and after running. He had me lay on the PT torture table, and pushed, twisted and turned my legs all different ways and asked me how it felt. It truly felt like he was trying to rip my legs out of their sockets, but of course I responded "Fine" since nothing he did really hurt. He saved the best for last, meaning the groin area pain check. He started pressing around my groin area, and my laughing indicated to him that not only was I still giddy from talking to Hot Chick, but also wasn't feeling any pain. Nemo/Nuno then had me go to the gym, where he and ADHD Dave, the gym dude, showed me and had me do several exercises on the big blue ball. Speaking of blue balls, icing my groin area after running really does help. Sorry, I got sidetracked there. So as I started to do the blue ball exercises, I notice that Nemo/Nuno is not watching me do my exercises. Instead he's looking to his left. It just so happens that Hot Chick had gone into the pool to do aqua therapy. I loudly reminded him I was "over here," and that snapped him out of it. I did notice that he and ADHD Dave stood over by the pool area the entire half hour I was rolling around on the blue ball. If you've never experienced the thrill of exercising on an oversized ball, let me tell you it's a lot more difficult than you'd think it would be. I worked up more of a sweat than I do when I'm doing the 15 different stretches I also have to do. As far as PT, I now just have to go every Wednesday until the end of this month, and then see how I'm doing. Which brings me back to today's run. I planned on another 3 mile run, this time on the road. Nemo/Nuno told me to continue running 3 miles max. until I see him again next Wednesday. If I want, I can run faster, but not further. That means my 13.1 mile half marathon, which is in two weeks, has become even more difficult to train for. Nuno/Nemo still says I can run it, but yet can't run more than 3 miles right now?! I don't think he quite understands what's involved in running a half. So Yurbuds, my Garmin "Rachael," and I took off from my house, turned left, and headed up what's normally a challenging, but not- too-difficult hill. Today it felt like Mt. Everest. It was the "Hill from Hell." I made it to the top, but it sapped away some of my energy. So 4/10 of a mile into my run, I was already feeling sluggish. I wanted to quit. The left brain is a funny thing. Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that left brain is
* Logical
* Detail oriented
* Fact oriented
* Interprets words and language
* Mathematical and scientific
* Order and pattern perception
* Strategic

meaning that if you're running and feeling any type of pain or discomfort, then left brain starts freaking out and wants you to stop. Left brain will come up with lots of reasons for you to stop. However, the key to defeating left brain is by distracting it or tricking it. For example, listening to music through your cool Yurbuds will distract left brain, especially if you're singing along. Also, tricking left brain by telling it that you're only going to run a little further, say to the corner, or 2 miles instead of three works. Left brain likes to be fooled. So left brain and I agreed that since Hell Hill made us tired, we could take it easy and run slower, and we would worry about one mile at a time, and if we got too tired, or it hurt too much, then we would walk instead. Sucker! Sure, I slowed down, but at the end I had talked left brain into not only running three miles, but an extra mile because we were feeling better. Overall, I ran at a snail's pace for me, but I'm OK with that. I want to really push myself tomorrow and defy Nuno/Nemo even more by seeing how far and how long I can run on the Farmington Canal Trail. Left brain's really going to be upset with me tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What layoff?!

Today's Run: Linear Trail: 45 degrees. 3 miles; Splits: 9:05; 8:47; 8:50; 26:42;
8:54 per mile average pace. (Thank-you (Garmin) Rachael for keeping my stats)

Welcome to my newest stalker/follower "Thomas."

As I sit here icing my previously injured area (Talk about blue ones), I'm happier than happy. After a 29 day layoff from running, I toughed out a 3 miler and ran a heck of a lot quicker and easier than I expected to. It was an expect the worst and hope for the best run. I was expecting to feel sluggish (only the last mile), some slight pain (nope), and 9:30 to 10 minute per mile pace (nope again). I wasn't going to push myself, and I didn't push myself. I just wanted to have a nice, comfortable, feet and groin don't fail me run. I did. The last mile wasn't as easy as I would have liked, but my stubbornness prevailed and I finished well. Overall, I averaged an 8:54 per mile pace. My per mile pace hasn't suffered on the short runs. It will be interesting to see how well my body handles the increase in mileage the next 18 days. "Only" ten more miles needed per run, and I'll be at half marathon distance. Only 18 days to accomplish this. I'm guessing the hare will soon be running like the tortoise. That's alright, since my only goals for the New York City Half Marathon are to finish injury free and with a smile on my face. By the way, I've learned my lesson. I stretched before and after my run. Now I'll just need an occasional friendly reminder from all of you to keep doing that. Thanks to Lisa, Lindsay, and EZEthan for already nagging/reminding me to stretch.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Am I Cleared to Run? Damn Right I Am!!

"I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it
I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it
And I know, I know, I know, I know"
I'm So Excited by Pointer Sisters

PT couldn't have gone better. Not only is my PT "Finding Nuno" satisfied with my progress, but gym dude "ADHD Dave" is happy as well. Yes, who would have thought that something as simple as stretching and occasional yoga would do the trick? OK, I know, pretty much all of you! ADHD Dave gave me two additional exercises to do, and actually told me I did a good job. Finding Nuno has cut me back to one visit a week, just to monitor my running progress. I also found out that "Hot Chick's" name is Lindsay. She is a PT as well as the aqua therapy babe. I've informed Nuno that should I require additional PT that he is to refer me to Lindsay. I also suggested that aqua therapy would be very beneficial to my running. He didn't buy that. Hey, at least I tried. So I had time to kill after my PT appointment and before I went to work at my one night a week gig at Weight Watchers. I decided to stop by the bowling alley and "look" at bowling balls since my bowling ball is older than most of you reading this (35 years old). The pro shoppe had a very lonely looking ball, with the cutest blue color and named "Pin Slasher."

It was the very last bowling ball of that color and weight. It really needed a new home. Plus it was on clearance for $50 off, and Pro Shoppe Guy said it was a good ball for a 53 year old 162 average guy who wanted to become a better bowler with a ball designed to better grip today's synthetic lanes and therefore produce better scores for a competitive person like myself who wants to win the staff bowling league team championship. Well, those weren't his EXACT words, but you get my point. I just had to buy that bowling ball. It needed a good home, and my New York Giants bowling bag is the perfect home. So, you know the ending to this story. I'll be practicing with "Pin Slasher" tomorrow after work. Make that Wednesday after work. Tomorrow is the return of "Marathonman Runs Again." Watch out Farmington Canal Linear Trail. That slow and steady runner pounding your pavement will be willing to "Perspire to Inspire." By the way, that's part of what you telling me your running words for my February 21st post is all about. But that's all I'm telling you for now...