4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for the ‘gym’ Category

A Nice Week of Training

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Today was a big day in NYC running circles, the New York City Marathon.  A thoroughly exciting event which makes for a distracting (in a positive way) week leading to the race, and an amazing race weekend.  I was not running this year, and nor did I have time to get to the expo or spectate, but I did follow all of my virtual friends on Twitter today, which was loads of fun.  Congrats to everyone that got it done!

My 2009 experience, including expo, can be found in several installments.  I’ve also got my 2008 race report here.

As for my current activities, I’m knee deep in training for my next marathon (First Light in Jan), and trying to take the training very seriously this time around.  For fall races, I blame my typical poor showing on not training well in the summer.  I don’t have that excuse for a winter race, and so am trying hard to follow through on getting in the miles.  This past week was pretty stellar:

  1. Monday – after a 16 mile long run on Saturday, I was going to take Monday off because I already had a softball game, but the softball game was cancelled, and I decided when I got home late that I should get a workout in.  Just went for a 4 mile run in East River Park, but got the work in, rather than taking the rest day.
  2. Tuesday – went to the gym to lift weights for the first time since Feb.  Will try to do this once a week as a cross training activity
  3. Wednesday – was a busy day at work, followed by a reception which caused me to get home past 8pm.  Again, I felt it was really important to get some work in, and went out late for a 4.4 mile run down to East River Park.  My other option was to go to sleep early, which I really wanted to do, but instead I dragged myself out and got in the miles, done at a strong pace
  4. Thursday – My 4th week in a row of speed work, did some hard intervals into the marathon finish line, which was really inspiring since the finish line was already built up.
  5. Friday – Took the day off, partially because I had no time to run, and partially because I think it is important to take days off after hard efforts, but mostly because I came down with a fever on Thursday night.  Thankfully I was able to ditch the fever quickly and had no other cold symptoms.  I chalk it up to liberal use of Zicam!
  6. Sat – easy 1.1 with my 14 y/o daughter – really happy my daughter is interested in light running to stay active, and this is the 2nd time we’ve been able to go out together around the park on a weekend morning.  I’m definitely not a ‘push your kid into stuff you like to do’ kind of parent, but also hope that my long history of running and staying active will rub off.
  7. Sat – I felt I still needed to get a real workout in on Saturday because the run in the morning was really nothing more than a warm up.  Headed down the East River for an extended run.  3.1 out and back for a 10k in total.  This run was very rewarding.  It is a little complicated to explain in detail, but on the way down, there was another runner than passed me and opened up a big lead on me.  On my way back, when I hit the promenade, the same runner was in a similar position to me and opened up another lead.  However, as we made it up the greenway, and started running along the water, it because very windy, with a still headwind.  She was clearly affected by the wind and slowed considerably, enough for me to catch up, pass, and then open up my own lead by the end!  I was grateful for her presence, as it gave me a little extra motivation to push a little extra hard to get a good quality workout done.

At the end of the day (or week, I suppose) I only covered 22.2 miles, but that was with no long run, and with some quality efforts in there.  A good week to build on.


Written by SCL

November 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

My weekend

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Just a recap of my recent activities:

Friday – in the summer time, I get out of the office early on Friday and so took advantage of the extra time to go to the gym for a workout.  With my leg issues, I focused mainly on my lower body.  Little surprised at how crowded the gym was in the mid-afternoon.  Seemed as if many were regulars.  It must be nice.

Friday night my wife did a comedy monologue at Magnet Theater, the culmination of the improv class she’s been taking for the last 2 months.  Just prior to the class, found I had a flat tire on my car (second tire in 2 months), which wiped out our plans to head to my New Jersey house Friday night.

Saturday – got the tire fixed first thing in the morning, and then went out for a nice 4 mile run down to East River Park and back.  Run actually felt great.  My leg injuries kept themselves to a minimum, and I felt like I ran a pretty good pace.

Sunday – Father’s Day so didn’t do much of anything.  Just took it reaaaaal easy.

Monday (today) – got up early for a run.  Decided to run my 6.5 mile Lower Manhattan Loop.  It was very hard.  I think it was a combination of the humidity, and also just not being accustomed to running long distances in the early morning.  Had to stop and walk at about mile 4 and then stopped again to buy a Gatorade at mile 5.  Then, tonight, played softball.  We had a really nice come from behind win 9-7.  Our record is 3-4, and we are still in this thing!

Anyway, I may or may not get up early to go to the gym tomorrow.  We will see!

Written by SCL

June 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Posted in gym, running

Think I messed up

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Last night, I decided I would go to the gym and swim, rather than run, to rest my legs for the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Good plan.  However, I did something kind of silly.  

Over the last few weeks, a nagging injury to my upper thigh/groin area, has gotten steadily worse.  Lately, I’ve been icing and trying to stretch daily, to try and loosen things up and get better.  But, the reality is that it has not gotten any better, and in fact, may have been getting worse.  My leg does not hurt when I walk and sort of does not hurt when I run (I can feel it when I start out, until it loosens up a bit), but I can definitely feel some pain when I flex my leg in certain ways, or when I do certain stretches. 

Anyway, when at the gym last night, I did some very light weight lifting before my swim.  I decided to have a look at leg machines to see if anything looked promising for exercising my thighs, and spotted the abductor/adductor machine.  Got on that, and felt like it was just what I needed, and worked the area where I am feeling pain.  So, without really thinking it through, I did 3 hard sets of both abductor and adductor, on a pretty strong weight.  Then went for my swim and didn’t think anything of it.  Until today, when I noticed my legs hurting more than expected.  Then, realization slowly washed over me.  Of course.  My thighs are in pain because of a rough new workout on muscles that are not used to that kind of work.  I’m sure the muscle soreness will not magically go away by 8am tomorrow for the race.  I can only hope that with a slow start in the race tomorrow, they reasonably loosen up and do not cause to much trouble in the race.  

I think I need to lower my 2:00-2:05 expectation to 2:05-2:10.  Drat…

Written by SCL

May 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Posted in gym, injury, swim

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Active, but didn’t get a run in

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Got home from my vacation on Thursday night with the intention of getting in a good bike, run and swim over the nice weekend.  Don’t you hate how things don’t work out as planned?  I guess with a swim and bike, I was close, but was not able to get a run in, and now am having additional muscle pains in my left leg.

To start, on Friday, I had a bunch of errands to run and then had to get my rental minivan returned to Newark Airport.  I was also trying to get my handyman to come to my house in New Jersey on Saturday to help me hook up my old dryer, after the installation of my new washing machine last week. (won’t go into any more details as this is a long story)  Anyway, he called me late morning on Friday and was available to come out on Friday afternoon.  This was perfect for me, as we really wanted to get that out of the way so we could do our laundry at the house Friday night and Saturday morning, but it killed the day for me in terms of exercise.  By the time I got out to NJ, then returned my minivan to Newark and got home, it was very late in the day, and time for my wife and I to turn around and head back out to NJ for the night to do 8 loads of laundry.  But, at least I had the foresight to bring my bike with me, as I planned to get a nice bike ride in on Saturday morning.

The ride went well, just as planned, and I had a nice 19 mile ride, from my house out west to Colt’s Neck on 537 and back.  I love riding my bike in NJ, as I can go out my door and go immediately into ‘hard ride’ mode.  In NYC, I need to get myself over a bridge, and in some cases, well out over the bridge before I can get into any sort of riding rhythm that doesn’t involve stopping for traffic lights every few minutes.  Even biking in Central Park first requires a 3 mile ride through the city traffic before I can start the workout, with the same 3 miles back afterwards.  I hope to get into a habit of bringing my bike out weekly to get a nice weekend ride when I can.  Only problem with that is I can’t leave the car unattended for fear of someone stealing the bike off the bike rack.

My 7 year old really wanted to go to the movies to see the Hannah Montana movie.  I was angling to take her next weekend, but some other late Sat afternoon plans changed, so we had the time, and she really wanted to go.  So, I relented and took her to Kips Bay for a late afternoon showing.  Also, before that, with the weather so nice, I took her outside so she could spin around on her bike a little.  Then Saturday night I was able to go to the gym to workout and swim.  I had not lifted weights in about a month, so took it easy there.  My swim workout was, as usual, kind of sucky, but I’m finding that I can do a front crawl type swim for several lengths of the pool without stopping.  This means my breathing technique is getting much better.  Good news.  But I still can’t put it together to do freestyle.

My intent was to go for a run on Sunday.  I had tickets to go see the Mets at Citifield, so needed to run first thing in the morning, or late in the day.  My wife was feeling kind of sick Saturday night and Sunday morning, so I stayed home to be around in case my kids needed anything.  Then, off to Citifield to see the Mets lose 4-2.  Citifield is a beautiful place, and a much better overall experience than Shea.  Losing Shea does make me sad, though.  I had a Saturday ticket plan for the last 15 years, and in the last couple of years got to at least 20 games per year.  But, Citifield has effectively priced me out and so I’ll probably only be going a handful of times this year. 

During the day on Sunday, I noticed my left leg was in a little pain.  The left side is where I’ve had some kind of nagging groin pull for the last few months that has not gone away.  The pain I started feeling yesterday was more in the upper inner thigh, on the side or even back of the leg.  Not sure if it is related to the groin, or if it was caused my my bike ride or swim Saturday, but I thought it best to not run, and instead, start up a serious ice regiment.  So, I’ll be focusing on icing my leg the next few days, and trying to decide if I run should run easy or not while I wait for the pain to go down.

Anyway, off to work.  Catching up from missing a week of work will not be fun, so we’ll see how much time I have for exercise this week.

Written by SCL

April 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in bike, gym, injury, running, swim

Still alive…Just not motivated!

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I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog since the marathon in Austin last month.  Just haven’t been able to get myself properly motivated.  I think this is partly because I’m starting to step up swimming and biking, and I’m just not so strong in those disciplines yet!

I’ve also had this nagging groin pull for several months.  Not anything bad (I did run a 4:22 marathon on it, after all!).  I think I aggrevated it around the time of the New York City Marathon last year.  Figured it would just go away on its own.  Well, no luck so far, and it has recently started bothering me a bit when I run, so I’m starting a regiment of icing to see if that helps.  Since I’m between big events right now, it seems like the right time to slow down a little, take stock of injuries and recover properly.

Last week I lifted weights and swam on Saturday, biked on Sunday, and ran on Monday and Tuesday.  Tuesday, my run was in Miami, as I had travelled there on business last week.  It was nice to run in the 80 degree weather on Tuesday afternoon, after running in 40 degrees Monday night!  My run took me from Miami Beach to downtown Miami – very beautiful after the long New York winter. 

Since then, though, I have been mostly inactive.  Felt the beginnings of a cold on Saturday, so skipped my planned gym/swim workout.  I did manage to go for a 14 mile bike ride yesterday morning, but am still feeling the effects of the cold today, so will take it easy today.

For the next couple of days, I’ll stay home, rest as much as possible, and ice up the groin to see if I can get that all healed.  In the meantime, I’m praying for the warmer weather to come, and planning out my spring schedule of races.  I prefer running in the colder weather, and definitely run more in the winter than in the summer, but this cold weather is really getting to me now – really looking forward to some 60 degree days in the coming months!

Written by SCL

March 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Posted in bike, gym, injury, running, swim, weather

Forward progress

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Since I’m stepping up the biking and swimming aspects of my training, I have spent significantly less time on running.  Only 4 runs this month so far for ~24 miles.  Even though I know it is not true, it somehow makes me feel like I am accomplishing less.  I think that may be because a good swim or bike ride makes me very sore right now.  It will be slow going the next few weeks while I get my body used to a different kind of pounding.

Since the last time I blogged, I got in a good swim and bike workouts.  On Saturday I lifted weights at the gym and then went to the pool.  As sad as it may be, I love going on Saturday nights because the gym is empty!  The pool I use is 20 yards long and I have been doing nine 40 yard repetitions.  On this last workout, I again did nine repititions, but two of them were for 60 yards rather than 40.  It may not seem like much, but I can see small improvements each time out, which makes me happy.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I went for a 16 mile bike ride across to the west side and up the hudson river bike path to 135th St – see map here, generated on my iPhone.  There are no hills so it was not a very strenuous workout from that perspective, but it was windy, a bit cold, and only my 2nd workout of the year, so it felt hard.  I’ll try to get a short run in tonight. 

Next up for me is a business trip to Miami tomorrow through Thursday.  I’m excited to get two warm weather runs in, although the run workouts in my last trip to Miami in December (here and here) were a total disaster.

Written by SCL

March 16, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Posted in bike, gym, running, swim

Blogging outdoors!

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It is still kinda cold outside, 40 degrees, but I’ve got spring on the brain and so am walking downtown to pick my 13 year old from dance class.  Stopped off at Madison Square Park to take advantage of the free wi-fi to kill some time.  Funny, last time I did this, I also had weather on the brain.  The answer to the question I posed back then is that the weather in Austin in Feb is wonderful!

On a more serious note, had a visit to my doctor today.  I’m used to dealing with running injuries, but lately having a health issue.  Nothing to be concerned about, and 2-4 weeks of Cipro will hopefully kill the bacterial infection my doctor suspects I have.  We’ll see!

Otherwise, had a great workout lifting weights at the gym last night.  Had another pathetic swim session in the pool, but I can already see some small improvements after 3 visits.  I still have 4+ months to get myself up to swimming a mile before the New York City Triathlon.

Probably will stay inactive tonight, and maybe drag myself out of bed for an early run in the morning.

Written by SCL

March 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Feeling better and planning the next few days

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Feeling a lot better today.  The knot in my back that suddenly popped up on Saturday is gone.  That one was strange.  It was not lower back or neck/shoulders, areas where I’ve had trouble in the past and are a major source of concern.  It was on the left side of the back below the shoulder.  The best was to describe it was a knot – it only really hurt when extending or stretching my left arm.  I can’t recall doing anything in particular that hurt it.  Hopefully it does not come back.

Also, the neck and shoulder soreness resulting from my first bike ride of the season Saturday has melted away.  So, I can clear myself to work out and swim at the gym again!  Unfortunately it won’t be tonight, as tonight is my last group speed session in Central Park (running), which I don’t want to skip as it will be my last group organized speed session for awhile.  So, speed workout tonight, and hopefully the gym on Thursday to workout and swim, and then another bike ride on the weekend, with another run mixed in between.  I would really like to get to the gym tomorrow night, but the problem with Wednesday’s is that the window to use the pool for lap swimming is only 9-9:30.

Written by SCL

March 10, 2009 at 8:42 am

Posted in bike, gym, injury, running, Speed Workout, swim

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Getting my bike and swim on

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Time to start focusing on the swim and bike portions of the triathlon as I start training for the New York City Triathlon, coming up late July.

Took a couple of big steps today.  First, took my bike into Metro Bikes to get a tune up.  In addition to basic free tune up I get from purchasing my bike there, I’m also getting the more extensive ‘drivetrain’ tune up.  I want them to do a good cleaning of my chain and a good thorough check of everything else.  I’m also getting the handlebars retaped.  One of these days, it will warm up and I’ll start getting some rides in.  I think we change the clocks next weekend, which means we’ll start getting daylight till 7pm – can’t wait.

I also went to the gym tonight and went in the pool for the first time in about 8 months.  I am a really bad swimmer, and I’m essentially starting from the very beginning.  Did about 18 pool lengths in a variety of bad forms, but trying to work on breathing, which is my big weak spot.

Will be running in the Coogan’s 5k race tomorrow morning.  Forecast is for rain, sleet or snow, so we’ll see what happens.  This is a very fast 5k course due to the hills, especially the downhill in the last half mile.  I’ve set PR’s the last 2 times running the course.  I was hoping for dry conditions so that I can attempt to finish in 25 minutes.  My PR is about 26 minutes.  I just hope the weather is good enough that they don’t turn it into a fun run.  I want to use this to bring down my NYRR corral pace time, which is currently 8:14.

Wow, that session in the pool really wiped me out.  Need to get to bed!

Written by SCL

February 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Posted in bike, gym, swim

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ICY speed workout

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I was recovering pretty nicely from Sunday’s long 17.5 mile run.  By Tuesday, I only had some muscle tightness in the right leg.  Otherwise felt fine.  So, went ahead with my normal Tuesday night speed workout in Central Park with NYRR.  I hardly ever stretch on my own, but in this class, there is a very thorough 15 minute stretch before we get started.  Good thing, because it loosened up any lingering muscle tightness and I was ready to go.  The workout was 2 mile intervals at the lower loop of Central Park.  The problem was that some sections of the course were icy from the snow over the weekend.  The lower loop is 1.7 miles, so our 2 mile course was slightly longer than 1 loop.  I would estimate that about 1/3 of that loop had poor footing conditions due to the ice.  That kept the times down a little bit.  My intervals were completed in 16:15 and 16:20, very consistent.  Weather was on the cold side, about 25 degrees, thankfully with little wind.

I’ll get 1 more run in before Sunday, where I will run the Manhattan Half Marathon at training pace, and then complete another 6 mile full loop of the park.  This will be my 2nd to last long run in preparation for the Austin Marathon, quickly approaching on 2/15.

Made it to the gym tonight – been able to go 1-2 times each week.  Not a lot, but enough to keep some momentum.

Written by SCL

January 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm