4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for May 2009

Nice track workout

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Inspired by Runners World, (although I still want to know how to properly run a true mile on the track) I set out to do a track workout at East River Park.  Needed to be sure I timed it just right.  If you go too late, and it is dark, the lighting is terrible.  If you go too early, the track is swarming with running groups, soccer games, and lots of people.  So, left my apartment at about 7pm.  Worked out really well.  Central Park Track Club was just finishing up, so there were hoards of people on the sidelines, but the running crowd was definitely thinning.

I’ve had a nagging upper leg / groin injury that is still not going away.  First started bothering me after the NYC Marathon last year, and was just a slight for awhile, but in the last 2 months has started to get worse.  I thought recently that it was getting better, but the reality is that the pain is still there.  In fact, while it only affected the left leg originally, it is starting to affect the right as well.  It doesn’t bother me so much when I run, so I will continue to run through it, hope I can make it past the NYC Triathlon in July and the NYC Marathon in November, and then take care of it properly, if it does not go away.  I’m again icing and stretching (the stretches really help, but I’m not at all diligent in doing this, which is part of the problem!) so maybe that will help.

Anyway, between the leg injury, and playing softball the night before (legs a little sore, and hip hurting after I had an ‘incident’ with the fence in the outfield), I was definitely not feeling 100%, but good enough.

My fastest mile ever on the track is 7:10, which i did in December.  Yesterday I did two 1-mile repeats, first was 7:24 and the second was 7:37.  Very happy with both.  Then I did 2 half mile repeats, in 3:39 and 3:41, very consistent!  Again, happy with both considering my leg issues.

Lots of activity in the park.  2 soccer games happening on the south end of the track, and a large group of women doing rugby drills, first ball handling, then hitting.  That is soooo cool…

Need to get a long run in this weekend in preparation for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and then a long bikeride, in preparation for a sprint tri coming up in a few weeks.

Until next time…

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May 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

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May 18, 2009 at 9:37 pm

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Track workouts – Runners World

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While I don’t do track workouts all that often, I do enjoy them.  My ‘home’ track is at East River Park. It is about 1.1 miles from my front door to the track, which is a perfect warm up / cool down distance. In the last year, my typical track workout is 2 x 1 mile and then 2 x .5 miles.  The last time I did this workout, in late November, I clocked an unbelievable 7:21 in my first mile.

While working through this month’s issue of Runners World, I came across their 4 page spread on track workouts.  I’m glad they covered the topic, as they provide great tips and information, and also, remind us of the fact that the track is there, and is a great way to do speed workouts.  As I mentioned, my last track workout was back in November, and I think I’ve been inspired.  I WILL do a track workout this week!

As informative as the article was, it did not answer a question I’ve had for a long time.  Exactly how do you run 1 mile on a track?  I know that a mile is 4 times around the track, but, is that measurement from the inside lane, or the center lane, or some other way?  The article points out that the outside lane can be 40-50 meters longer than the inside lane, and over 4 loops, that can be a significant difference.  At this point, I assume that the measurement is taken from the inside lane, but it would be nice if the article spelled out exactly how that works. I know the difference is negligible, but, 4 loops around a track is 1600 meters, and 1 mile is actually 1609.344 meters.  So, 4 loops would leave you 9.344 meters short!

I typically run in lane 2, giving me lanes 1 and 3 for passing,. Maybe this is just right, if you consider the 9+ meters you’d be short with 4 loops!  Inquiring minds want to know…

EDIT – I reposed this question to my DailyMile feed, and big thanks to Stephen W (http://whereswaldon.com/running/) for coming through!  He pointed me to this site, that allows you to do all kinds of calculations on all kinds of tracks! http://www.eracewalk.com/CalcTrac.htm

Written by SCL

May 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

A Rather Blustery Day

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Was too busy last week to get much exercise in.  I was only able to play softball on Tuesday (7-6 loss in extra innings) and go for a run last Monday night.  The run was a hill workout, over the Williamsburg Bridge and back.  My anger has fizzled over the last week, but I was really mad because the bridge was a total mess.  The north side of the bridge path was closed, for some reason, and the walk, run and bike traffic over the bridge was  completely messed up.  I’m not going to get into all the details, but the bridge needs better signage about where bikers and runners/walkers should stay, the lighting needs to be improved on the Brooklyn side of the south path, and when one of the sides are closed, ALL of the access points to that side need to be properly closed down (for some reason, the cross paths mid bridge were open).  All in all, it was a big fat mess, and hopefully Transportation Alternatives, or some such group, notice this and can open a dialog with NYC about necessary improvements.

Fast forward to today’s activity, a bike ride up to the George Washington Bridge and back.  Decided on a bike ride, rather than swim or run, because it is hard to get a good bike ride in on a weekday after work.  Much easier for me to run or swim on a weeknight, or early in the morning if I was so motivated.  Did not want to ride in Central Park, because I’m sure it would be too crowded.  Also, didn’t have the time for a long bike ride out to Brooklyn or Queens.  Was then left with a ride up to the GW as my best training option.  While the hudson river path is very flat, I figured I would go up the hills to get to the foot of the bridge, and come back down Riverside Drive, which has several hills, to make sure to get a strong workout.  In addition, the strong wind would create additional resistance, to make it feel like a good workout.  I also correctly suspected that the bike path on the west side would not be so crowded due to the cool, cloudy and windy conditions.

The ride up was tough as it was into the wind, although it was a slight cross breeze off the river.  I was a little short on time, so wasn’t able to bike across the bridge to the NJ side.  The way back down was much easier with the wind, and I was able to work up some of the hills on Riverside Drive.  Was thwarted, though, near Columbia, as Riverside was closed for the AIDS walk.  Had to detour around on Broadway to 96th, where I was able to get into Riverside Park.  I see that the AIDS walk also takes up the west side of Central Park, so avoiding the park today was a good move.  (As an aside, this is probably also why the Healthy Kidney 10k was run on Saturday, which is a bit unusual for NYRR events in Central Park.)  Further south, a strong biker passed me around 59th St, and I decided to try to stick with him.  Was able to do so for the 2 miles down to 20th St, where I turned off to head home – was nice to have a pacer!

It must have been a good workout, because I totally passed-out mid afternoon and took an hour plus nap!

Written by SCL

May 17, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Too busy, grumble grumble, to blog…

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…and also too busy to run, bike or swim, apparently.  In a long all day seminar Friday at Sat (today), so back on the running, biking, swimming, and blogging horse tomorrow!

Sarcastic good news of the day – flat tire as I pulled up to hotel holding the seminar.  Now I have something to do at lunchtime.  That’s just… peachy.  At least it didn’t happen on I95…

Written by SCL

May 16, 2009 at 7:16 am

Posted in Time time time

Brooklyn Half Marathon Nearing Capacity

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NYRR announced that the Brooklyn Half Marathon, on May 30, is nearing capacity, and registration will soon close.  So, if you want to run and are not signed up, go quickly! 

My original impression was that it was just the Central Park races that were capped, not all races.  Perhaps I mis-understood?  Good to know…

UPDATE 5/22/09: Well, NYRR is announcing again that the Brooklyn Half Marathon is nearing capacity.  I’ve also read recently that they expect upwards of 10,000 for the race.  Guess the original announcement on May 8 was a mistake, and it is nice to see that they did expand the field for this non Central Park race.  So, if you still have an interest, but have not signed up, do so quickly!

Written by SCL

May 8, 2009 at 9:47 am

Posted in NYRR

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3 runs in a row!

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Following my pitiful miles covered in April, and my so-so run on Saturday, I made it a point to continue getting work in in on Sunday and Monday, even though it turned out to be 10pm on Sunday and 10:45pm on Monday.  The important thing is that I was able to get 3 days of running in a row!  In going through my running log, it seems that 4 days in a row is my high water mark, done only a couple of times, but 3 days in a row is a lot for me as well.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a 5.2 mile run down 1st Ave to the FDR, then down the East River to Wall St and then back up Ave A, done in 48:12.  

Today (Monday), I was supposed to play softball, but that was rained out.  My original plan was to bike up to the game and back, in Riverside Park.  But, with the rain, a bike ride didn’t seem like a good idea.  Then I had to wait until late for my run.  My wife was out tonight, and my 13 year old was to babysit my 7 year old.  It turned out that our goldfish (goldie) was on her last fins, and was dying.  My 7 year old was not taking it well at all, so I felt I needed to stay home with her until my wife got home, which was after 10:30.  So, just did a little 3.1 mile loop around Stuyvesant Town, in 27:32, which is under 9 min per mile.  Had to work around some big water puddles in the service road.

Anyway, hope to hit the gym and pool tomorrow.  We’ll see…

Written by SCL

May 4, 2009 at 11:03 pm

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April 2009 in Review

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April 2009 certainly went out with a whimper.  Didn’t do anything the last few days due to a bad head cold.  I also lost a week in the middle of the month due to vacation, so this was a very light month.  

Running – 32 miles over 5 runs – I had such a great start to the year in terms of run miles, but the last 2 months were on the low side.  In fact, At 257 miles, I’m only 13 miles ahead of last year’s pace – considering I’ve already run a marathon this year, I thought I’d be further ahead.  From another perspective though, I’ve already outrun 2003, where I only totaled 123 miles the entire year.  My biggest Jan-Apr output was 2005, when I ran Big Sur.  That year I covered 298 miles through April, although tailed off considerably and only ran another 307 miles over the last 8 months of the year.  Anyway, with the Brooklyn Half Marathon at the end of the month, should have a higher number this time.

Races – 0

Biking – 95 miles – 4 rides

Swims – 3

Gym workouts – 1

Softball games – 1 (Win!)

Injuries – 1 (nagging groin pull)

Sicknesses – 1 bad head cold

Written by SCL

May 3, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Month End Summary

Back on the horse with a little 4 miler

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Feeling much better after being sick all week.  Still a little on the congested side, but running is good for loosening up, and getting out, all that extra congestion.  Since it was my first activity in a week, I decided to run my simple 4 mile run to the end of East River Park and back.  I went after 7pm, so the park was not all that crowded.  The weather was great.  The run was definitely tough, my legs felt very heavy.  First 2 miles was done in 18:11 and the return miles in 18:04.  Normally I get a pretty strong negative split on this run, so this is a sign that I was not running on all cylinders today.  After the long layoff, not complaining.

Most interesting part of the run was passing a bunch of people that had “Shore Walkers” race numbers pinned to their back.  I probably passed about 15 of them in East River Park.  The bib also said “Great Saunter 2009”.  The people that I passed definitely looked to be pretty well spent.  Well, turns out that the Great Saunter 2009 is a 32 mile walk around the perimeter of Manhattan, starting at 7:30am.  The end of the walk was South Street Seaport, so these people still had 1-2 miles to go at 8pm when I passed them by.  I definitely tip my hat to them.  Way to go!  I’ve never heard of the Shore Walkers, but it looks like a very well organized group, with multiple walks occurring every weekend.  Maybe will need to check them out sometime.

Written by SCL

May 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Still sick, but getting better

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Been down for the count most of the week.  No, not the Swine Flu (I think!), but just your garden variety head cold and nasal congestion.  I foolishly didn’t let it stop me from playing in our opening night softball game on Wed (we won!) so my recovery is a little slower than anticipated.  As a result, I’ve done nothing, repeat NOTHING, all week in terms of swimming, biking or running.  Need to get another day of rest, and then back on the proverbial horse  starting Sunday.

Next challenge is that my mother-in-law, who picks up and babysits my 7 year old every day after school and evenings when necessary, is on vacation for 2 weeks.  So, my wife or I need to pick up the slack after school or in the evenings, which means I’m going to lose my primo exercise windows.

Guess between full-time job, 2 kids, weekend house, and illnesses/injuries, there is always something waiting around the corner to eat into the training schedule…

Written by SCL

May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in sick