4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

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Movin’ On Up

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This marks the end of the road for 430orbust.wordpress.com.  But… the blog will live on at http://430orbust.com!  Please go to the new site (you should actually already be redirected there) and update your shortcuts or RSS feeds, etc.  Hope to see you on the other side 🙂



Written by SCL

September 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

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Today I played the role of a healthy triathlete consumer 🙂

I spent a little time at the JackRabbit New York City Running Show.  What drew me in was the Atlantic City style payment.  Yes you have to pay $10 to get in, but you get a $15 discount card, and since I was going to be buying at least $15 of stuff, plus getting my normal 10% discount, I felt like I would be getting a deal!

What was also nice about the event is the long list of speakers, including some famous people like Matt Long and Scott Jurek, covering a multitude of topics of interest to runners and triathletes.  I was only able to listen to the half hour discussion on ‘running a faster and more enjoyable marathon’, and it resonated with me and I enjoyed it.

Otherwise, the event was similar to a marathon expo, just without the ‘discount racks’ and the multitude of options you’d see at large races.

I felt I hit jackpot as I was able to buy the 3 critical items that I’ve really had my eye on for a long time.

  • swim goggles – I’ve been using a pair of basic swim goggles that were uncomfortable and constantly pinching me.  So I picked up a nice new pair of BlueSeventy goggles that adjust nice and easily and feel great
  • hydration backpack – I’ve been wanting to buy one for a long time, but when I’ve shopped for them in the past, I’ve only seen models that are marketed for trails and hiking.  I really liked the Nathan brand they had, it felt comfortable to me, and I now will be carrying 70oz of liquid on my longer runs in the summer, and on my bike rides!
  • Sunglasses – my old sunglasses, which I only use for biking by the way and not for running, were messed up and scratched up, and just plain falling apart.  I picked up a new pair.  I offhand don’t remember the brand it was they were selling as I don’t have them handy, but I’m really happy to have a new pair to wear on my bike rides.  They claim a lifetime guarantee to cover even scratches to the lens, so I hope these will last for several years.
In all, I really enjoyed the event, just wished I had more time to listen in on the different speaker sessions.  For those interested, it runs for one more day, tomorrow 4/23.

Written by SCL

April 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

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Inspiring Video

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This has probably made the rounds before, but I’ve never seen it.

Talk about falling and getting back up.  Go and watch this: http://tridigest.com/the-race


Written by SCL

April 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

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Loving Runmeter

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I’m a tech guy at heart, and over the years have experimented with different tech related to running.  While I skipped the whole Garmin movement in the last 2-3 years, I did previously toy with the old Timex model that GPS-mapped runs based on a device you would strap to your arm.  That was awful, and I very much looked forward to the day that I could map my runs more easily.

My appetite was whetted in 2009 when I first starting running with my iPhone:

  • Initially I tried using MapMyRun, but didn’t like the web interface and mobile app, and found that it drained my iPhone battery so fast it was not very usable.  That was also in the day before IOS multi-tasking so it was sometimes difficult to both record the run and listen to music.
  • My next attempt was using RunKeeper to map my runs.  I loved the RunKeeper site, and the maps it generated, and I loved that it could automatically tweet my runs when completed.  I used it for a few months, but only for short distance runs as it also seemed to drain my battery.
  • Then, this past July I bought the new Timex GPS watch.  The watch itself is awesome, and I love how it can easily record my triathlon splits, and GPS map my runs, but I HATE that it uses Training Peaks as the software.  Leaves much to be desired for my needs, compared to what I know about Garmin and the Garmin Connect website that tracks runs and miles.

So, anyway, my previous attempts were all good, but not quite perfect.  In the last 2 weeks, I’ve started using RunMeter, and it is as close to perfect for my needs as I can get.  Let me count the things I love about it:

  1. GPS maps my runs.  Yes it is limited to the GPS capability of the iPhone, but that honestly is comparable to what I get on my Timex GPS watch, however it gets a good GPS signal right away, rather than the several minutes it takes my watch to lock into a signal
  2. When I start a run, it posts to both Twitter and dailymile.  Followers on those sites can click the map to see what route I’m running and how I’m doing in almost real-time.  If they post a comment to me, RunMeter will read it back to me on the run!  How cool…
  3. If I choose, it will read me my stats on the go, either at set time or distance intervals
  4. Allows me to store routes, reuse them, and compare my times from one effort to another
  5. At the end of the run, it will cross post to Twitter and dailymile, and send me an email with vital stats.  I can also edit the tweet and enter the dailymile narrative before posting.
  6. The data is all stored on my iPhone.  The data is MINE.  It is not locked away on another website.  If dailymile or RunKeeper or MapMyRun, etc, shut down, guess what, my data is gone with it.  With RunMeter, so long as I have an iPhone, I have access to my data, can export it to a standard file format, and view in a Google map, etc.
  7. Great use of battery life.  Because all the data is stored locally on the phone, and it only updates my map every few minutes, the battery drain is low.  On my long run this past weekend of about 3 hours, it only used 30% of my battery, and I was also listening to music the entire time.  This is amazing, and much better than I saw with previous apps I’ve tried!  It means I can use RunMeter for marathons, which I knew I could never do with RunKeeper or MapMyRun.

It works for me because I already always run with my phone.  My phone has my music, and unless I’m running a race or speed workout, I listen to music on the run.  Since I am used to running with my phone, it is great that I can take advantage of the GPS capability to map the run as well.

I still rely on my Timex watch for my heart rate readings, and as a backup GPS, and I still intend to use it in races for accurate manual mile splits (as auto GPS miles splits are worthless), and for timing my triathlons, but I would love to find a way to get my heart rate directly on my iPhone.  If that were possible, then I’d leave my watch at home for most training runs.

Yes, it cost $5 for the app, and another $1 for the custom voice, but so far, it is money well spent!

Written by SCL

March 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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Successful Recovery Week

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It has been a week since the Chicago Marathon. The more I reflect, and read other people’s accounts of the race, the prouder I am of my accomplishment. It was one of my slowest marathons ever, but I ran a consistent race and was done in by the sun and heat only in the late stages, when the temps topped 80 degrees. I was also within 5-10 minutes of my predicted time. Not bad at all! My race report is in progress, and I will finish it soon.

I’ve had a nice recovery week so far. Took 2 days off and then went for an easy 2 miler on Wed. Wanted to loosen things up and test out my sore right leg before speedwork on Thurs. All systems go!

Speedwork Thurs was perfect. It was hill repeats, but a short workout, and not too strenuous. Perfect way to ease back into speed. That effort was about 3.2 miles.

Then today I ran 4, at a nice clip. Was rough though because it was very windy, and it seemed like I was always against it. I also continue to have lingering right shin discomfort, but nothing too bad yet, and I’m sure it will be fine with some attention paid to it.

I finally looked at the calendar and think next weekend should be my first long run in my training for First Light Marathon. But, some Twitter folks are planning a long ride to Nyack, which I might do instead.

Written by SCL

October 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm

24 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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24 days to the Chicago Marathon! My goal was to ride my bike this morning, and run tomorrow morning, but I didn’t get the ride done.

My plan was to be out the door by 5:30, go to Central Park for 2 loops, and be back by 7am, when it would be time to get Katie (my 9 y/o) ready for school.

Couple of things happened. First, last night, I noticed some discomfort in my hip, a recurrence of nagging pain I had last year. Not serious, but one of those little signs the body gives to slow down.

Second, at 5am, simply could not get up. Well, I could get up, but my personal trainer constantly preaches time to rest and recover and to get enough sleep – essentially the importance of recovery. Since I am seeing him today at lunchtime, I decided an extra hour of sleep was called for, and skipping the ride would keep me fresh for the lunchtime workout.

I preferred to sleep until 7, but it turned out my wife was sleeping in too, and one of us needs to be awake to make sure my 14 y/o gets up (by 6) and out of the house (by 7) on time. So I got up at 6, got freaked out by some things at work, and worked from 6 to 7.

It is a sad state when getting up at 6 is sleeping in, but it is what it is. My hip feels better today, and I’m feeling well rested. Depending on how intense my personal trainer session is today, I may or may not ride tonight, and definitely plan for a 4-5 mile run in the morning. Then off day Sat and 20 miles (last long run) on Sunday!

Previous entries:

25 26 27 28

Written by SCL

September 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

More maintenance – blogroll

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Made some major changes to my blogroll.  Removed a few stale entries and added a bunch of the active ones that I’ve been reading faithfully.  Welcome:

Written by SCL

July 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm

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