4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Cold and icy week

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Been too lazy to write lately, so this is an attempt to catch up over my last several runs.  Sorry for the length!


Been very cold and stormy here in the northeast this past week.  In the last week, we had snow on (last) Tuesday night, then had snow followed by sleet and rain on Friday, and then finally snow again Saturday night followed by lots of rain Sunday morning.  We seemed to have a deep freeze between each storm, including Monday’s lovely low of 13 and high of 25 degrees.  As I edit this on Wednesday, we are having a cold rain, at 33 degrees.

On Saturday, I decided not to run the Ted Corbitt 15k, and instead just ran my typical 4 miler to the end of East River Park and back.  Except on Saturday, it was anything but typical.  When I went out at 2 in the afternoon, it was still only 22 degrees outside.  This meant that the snow, sleet and rain from Friday turned into ice.  The path from Stuyvesant Cove (18th St) to East River Park was a complete mess.  It looks like they had plowed the path at some point before the snow changed to sleet and rain, and then not again after the storm was over.  So, instead of a clean path, or unplowed packed snow, we had an inch of jaggedly frozen ice, with footprints turned into frozen craters.  Since it was so cold, the ice had no give to it at all, making for a very uneven surface.  I was only able to run on the unplowed parts to the side of the main path.  Thankfully, the main path at East River Park was halfway decently plowed (some pavement between the ice sheets) from the track down to the south end, so I only had to deal with the really bad conditions for about a mile of the 4.2 mile run.  Slowed down the pace as a result, and was very happy with the 36:53 total.  While it was more than 3 minutes slower than my record setting effort 2 weeks ago, I can’t complain!

My next run was on Monday night.  I was feeling a little down in the dumps.  On Sunday I was feeling under the weather, and I’d recently cut 2 different runs down from a planned 10 miles to something less.  I’m growing concerned that my training runs are not long enough.  On Monday, my cold had passed, and I really felt like I needed to run, despite the cold weather, and it was very cold.  I went out at 9pm, and it was 22 degrees, 10 with the wind chill.  I opted to do my lower manhattan loop, 6.5 miles.  I definitely got some odd looks from people as I ran down the street in the cold, but I’m sure I was more comfortable then they were. 

Some cool sights along the way:

  • Large crowd of people waiting on line outside on the east side of 4th Ave, just below 8th St.  Wonder what that was about – they are crazier than me
  • Corner bodega bathed in bright white light around Spring St.  Some kind of filming going on I guess, in the cold – they are also crazier than me
  • Two sets of people taking pictures on the East River Promenade between Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge – they are also crazier than me
  • One old guy doing tai-chi on the Promenade, and not dressed warmly enough – he is crazier than me.

It think you get the idea.  Running at 9pm when 22 degrees outside may be crazy, there are many other crazies out there, doing crazier things.  My favorite part of the run was coming north on the bike/running path, just past the Governer’s Island Ferry and the Heliport.  All of a sudden, you can see the full view of the East River, stars in the sky, the downtown Brooklyn skyline across the way, the cars streaming both ways on the BQE, and the beautiful Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges ahead.  It was wonderful, and always lifts my spirits.  Oh, my time – 58:20, the same exact time I had on 11/16 (see bottom of this post), which is my fastest on this course.

Last but not least, I got out for a run this morning.  My kids are off from school, which gives me the flexibility to go out.  Of course, I was lazy and didn’t get out until 7.  Another stormy day, 33 degrees and rain.  Decided to run my new favorite stormy weather course, 5.1 miles down to the East River, then to Wall St, and back, with 2 miles of covered roadway under the FDR!  It was a typical wet weather run, working around puddles, cars, etc.  Still ice in some spots, especially on the curves in the path around the old Fulton Fish Market.  It is an out and back run – the out portion was in 24 minutes, while the back portion was in 22 minutes, a nice negative split.  In all, I finished the 5.1 miles in 46:15, or 9:04 pace.


Written by SCL

December 24, 2008 at 11:50 am

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