4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Posts Tagged ‘running

Taper time for New York City Marathon

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Really wish I had more time for posting here.  So much to tell, and no time to sit and write it down.  In a nutshell, things are OK.  Not perfect, but still very much OK.

I’ve had a mixed go of it in my long runs.  The good news is that my best long runs have been my races – awesome job at the Tune Up 18 mile race and the SI Half Marathon.  My other long runs have been OK, but less than spectacular, and then my last long run, this past Sunday, was cut down to 13 miles, from a planned 21, due to the cold and windy weather, but also because of my not so fresh legs.

My legs are a bit of a concern.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had issue with a shin split on the right side.  Been manageable, but it is ‘there’ and I have to pay attention to it.  I do not fear it giving me a hard time in the marathon, since uphills always loosen it up, especially at the start of a run, and, the New York City Marathon has one long hill to start the race!  But also, I’ve had problems with my groin.  I’ve had nagging groin issue for probably almost a year now, but it had not been a problem at all when running.  However, last week, I somehow tweaked the right side playing softball, and it has been much worse in the last week.  I’ve been resting quite a bit, working it out in the gym, icing, stretching, etc, and I seem to have it under control.  Did a hard 4.6 mile run last night with no ill effects. Not so much worried about it, but a little concerned about what it will do when I’m 20 miles into the race and ready to push hard in the last miles to get myself under 4:30.

All in all, I’m in really high spirits, and very excited about marathon week.  Hoping to join in on some Tweetups, or DailyMile meetups, etc, and meet some of the great people in person that I’ve met online in the last year.  I’m also really going to try to savor the week and race, as I do not intend to run this marathon for at least 5 years.  This will be my 7th in New York City, and I will start running fall marathons in other states next year, so I can add to my state collection – which stands right now at 4 – and maybe hit 50 states sometime around when I turn 65!

Anyway, good luck to everyone out there preparing for the big race, and I’ll try to be better about posting updates here.  Looking forward to the Nike Human Race on Saturday in Prospect Park, despite the rainy forecast.

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Written by SCL

October 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Autopilot

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Went out for a 4 mile run yesterday, and I definitely got the ‘autopilot’ feeling.  The one where running feels very fluid, very consistent, and feeling like I could run for miles.  I don’t get there too often, but really enjoy it. 

My autopilot pace felt like around 9:30 per mile.  Hope I can continue to hit that as I enter the late stages of NYC Marathon training.  Would be great if I could maintain that for awhile (15 miles?) in the marathon.  Eventually it will start degenerating into 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, etc. 

Sunday’s 18 mile race in Central Park will be a great test.  Race conditions, and hills!  Wonder how long I can keep to 9:30 pace.

Written by SCL

September 22, 2009 at 11:29 am

Great long bike ride yesterday

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Only 13 days till the New York City Triathlon!  Nervous about it in generally, and most specifically, nervous about the swim.  Since the pool I go to has been under renovation for the last 2 weeks, its been 4 weeks since I have last gone swimming.  Pool supposed to be open again as of today, so I should still be able to get 4 swims in between now and race day. 

Thanks to all the bike riding I’ve done lately, the tri distance of 24.4 miles does not scare me at all anymore.  Yesterday was my longest bike ride ever, at 36.5 miles!  See the main course here.  At the end I was really beat and  didn’t feel like biking through the streets of Queens and Brooklyn all the way back to the city.  So, I hopped on the A train, took it to Fulton St, and biked another 2.5 miles from downtown Manhattan back to my apartment.

It was a great day for bike riding, although a little windy.  Headed over the Manhattan Bridge, through downtown Brooklyn and then down 3rd Ave to the 68th St pier.  Took in the sights for a moment, and then followed the path along the Belt Parkway around to Coney Island.  Picked up a corn dog, and then followed the bike path all the way around to Flatbush Ave and took a right turn to Rockaway.  Brief stop at Riis Park to admire the beach, and then heading back to Queens by the long, long, long way of Cross Bay Blvd.  All in all, a great ride, and I’m hardly sore today, which is great news.  Took a few pictures, which you can check out on my DailyMile profile.

Was quite active over the last week.  Had good longish runs (6 mile range) on Thursday and Saturday, and rode my bike to and from softball on Wednesday.

On tap for this week is the gym and pool today, running tomorrow, softball (bike ride to/from again?) Wednesday and then time to start my taper into the triathlon…

One last note, so very thankful for the low humidity July.  Really making for nice training weather at a time of the year where that is usually not the case!

Written by SCL

July 13, 2009 at 8:22 am

Hill Repeats in Central Park

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The twist… on my bike, not on my feet!  First time I’ve done hill repeats on my bike.

I only have 19 days till the New York City Triathlon, and think I need a little more hill work on my bike.  So, last night, biked out to Central Park, did 3 hard repeats of Harlem Hill, and then a full loop of the park, including the hill again.  In all, it was about 17 miles.  Feeling great today, with the exception of my constantly nagging knee and groin.  Good news on the groin is that I found a stretch online that works the exact muscle causing me the most pain.  Trying to do that stretch once a day.  Still keeping it firmly in check.  Tendinitis in my knee is not as bad as it had been, and I’m continuing to ice it, and focus on lower body exercises at the gym.

Had a couple of other good workouts over the last week.

Ran 5.9 miles over the Williamsburg Bridge and back on Sunday morning.  It was a beautiful morning.  About 66 degrees with low humidity.  The sun was strong though, and was tiring on the bridge.  I had to stop at a bodega for water, which would not be necessary in cooler temps.  The bridge was not too crowded, and it was cool to see 3 other runners both times I crossed the bridge.  Guess I wasn’t the only one doing that workout!

On Saturday morning, I did a long bike ride at my house in New Jersey, from Little Silver to downtown Freehold and back.  Came out to about 29 miles.  The return trip was done about 7 minutes faster, I think because of the wind, and also I think the return trip has more downhills.  Length of the bike portion of the olympic distance triathlon (24.4 miles) does not scare me at all anymore!  As I mentioned, I just think I should work on hills a little more.

Also got a run in midweek last week.  It was on Thursday night, when it kept raining on and off.  Rained hard for my first 2 miles, which helped keep me cool in the humidity.  Overall, had a nice 4.6 mile run.

Just trying to keep on keeping on, in spite of the ‘discomfort’ in my knee and groin.  Very excited about the upcoming New York City Triathlon.  Biggest issue for me is swimming.  I have not been in the pool since my last sprint triathlon in Harriman State Park 3 weeks ago, and of course, the pool I go has been closed for the last week for renovations.  It opens tomorrow, so tomorrow, I will need to go swimming!

Written by SCL

July 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

Perfect end to a perfect weekend

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Had an awesome weekend.  Was off on Monday so spent almost 3 days down at my weekend house in New Jersey.  Topped it off with a long 8.7 mile run Monday night – more on that below.

Friday, kicked things off with an early morning run to East River Park.  It is notable that it was my 3rd early morning run in the last week and a half, not counting an early morning trip to the gym.  Starting to make a habit of getting up at 5:30 to get a nice workout in before going to work.  Friday morning was a little rough because of the humidity, still trying to get used to the warmer weather.  My splits for the 4 mile run were 18:22 and 18:23, pretty darn consistent if you ask me!  I think negative splits are too much to ask for in the humidity, so nice consistent efforts will have to do.

Friday night, went to Citi Field to watch my beloved Mets get pounded by the Yankees.  Despite the score, I had a great time.  Citi Field is such an upgrade over Shea.  It was nice to experience batting practice from so many outfield vantage points, and to enjoy Blue Smoke and the other great food options, and just be able to wander around the stadium during the game.  Was even very comfortable during the massive thunderstorm that blew through before the game.  Plenty of under cover areas to stay dry.  The place also just has so much more character than the old dump…

On Saturday, dragged all our stuff out to New Jersey (lots of laundry), including my bike.  Had a simple BBQ (just burgers and hot dogs) and then went out to the beach.  On Sunday, started my day with a 23 mile bike ride (see course here), followed by a more complicated BBQ (steak, chicken, corn and hot dogs) and then another trip to the beach.  The bike ride was really fun.  It is nice being able to leave my house in NJ, and immediately go into long ride mode as there are few traffic lights to stop at and the traffic is light.  I’m preparing for the New York City Triathlon, so was aiming for a 24-25 mile ride to approximate the race distance, but turned around a little too early, and settled for 23 miles.  This ride used to seem a little hard to me, but after recently biking in Vermont and then at Harriman State Park, where they have real hills, this ride seemed like a piece of cake!

Monday was also very relaxing.  Was able to sleep in and take it easy until the drive back to the city in the early afternoon.  Monday was a beautiful day, with low humidity.

I had already penciled in a run for Monday night.  The decision was how far to go.  With the nice weather, I decided to go a little long.  Summer months are always lowest mileage for me, and my June monthly record was only 42 miles.  I noticed that 8+ miles would break that record.  My 6 and 6.5 mile runs would not be enough, and I really didn’t feel like my 10.3 mile 3 boro 3 bridge route.  So, settled for a route that I rarely run, and haven’t done in almost 2 years.  Down East River Path, up Hudson River Path, and across 14th St back home.  That route is 8.7 miles, and flat, so perfect.  Biggest problem is the trip across 14th St requires a lot of car dodging, and lots of stops at the avenues, but that is OK as I was not so concerned about time.

Even though the humidity was down, the direct sun bothers me and the heat bothers me, so I decided to wait until the sun was well on the way down before getting started.  Got out around 7pm, and picked up a bottle of Powerade to help me stay hydrated.  First part of the run was to and through East River Park.  It was so crowded with runners.  I typically run the park early in the morning or very late in the day when it is not that crowded.  Not sure if it was extra crowded because of the nice weather, but there were dozens of runners in the park, which was really nice to see.

Tried to hold back a little in the first few miles, but the pace was about 9 minutes per mile.  A little too fast.  At about 1 mile, I drank from the water fountain in front of the track at East River Park, conserving my Powerade.  Good thing because I felt like I needed to stop often to stay hydrated.  In fact, the Powerade only lasted until about mile 4.5, heading back up the west side.  It is still quite a ways up to 14th St from there and really wanted to find some water.  Luckily, I thought, there was a detour around the construction site just past the World Financial Center and I passed the Pick-A-Bagel in Battery Park City.  Perfect place to pick up a water.  First though, they did not have the medium sized squeeze bottle, just the regular small size and giant size.  I refuse to pay 1.35 for the small water, so kept going.  The Runners Station was closed, as they are only open till 6pm, but salvation was found when I got to pier 40, where they have vending machines outside.  Was able to buy a Gatorade and continue on my way.

While not overly hot or humid, it was hotter and more humid than I care for, and I was definitely starting to lose it as I neared 7 miles and 14th St.  Caught the light and crossed over West St at the bottom portion of 10th Ave before 14th St, then up 10th, to the turn onto 14th St.  I was quite suprised to see people standing on the high line tracks, as I forgot that it was open, and that it overlooked 14th St in that spot.  I was starting to get a little delirious at that point and decided to have a little fun with the tourists staring down at 14th St by pointing and waving to them.  I was also able to see the great improvements made to 9th and 8th Ave’s as well.  So much easier to cross 9th Ave, now that most of the intersection is a pedestrian square and car free.  On 8th Ave, there is now a protected bike lane.

Anyway, even though I was overheated and my belly full from too much Ade (Power and Gator varieties), I was aided by having to stop a couple of times at traffic lights across 14th St, and was able to finish strongly in just under 1 hour 26 minutes.  For 8.7 miles, this is just under 10 min per mile pace.  Not bad at all with all the stopping.

Yesterday, my groin injury was acting up so no running yesterday or today.  The pain that I have (which I actually DO NOT experience while running) seems to be migrating now to the pelvis area.  I think it is time to get it checked out by a professional!  In the meantime, will continue to build in trips to the gym and off days, and continue treating with ice and stretching.

Written by SCL

July 1, 2009 at 7:50 am

Back in the morning run routine

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Got out for a morning run.  Hopefully today is the start of a good new habit of morning workouts.  Yesterday was the last day I needed to get my 7 year old out of bed at 6:30 and out of the house at 7:05.  That schedule was just not conducive to morning workouts.  My kids don’t sleep till 10:30 or 11, and then it is really hard to get up any earlier than 6am.  Therefore, morning runs have been scarce the last 3 years.  Katie will be at a new school next year, closer to home, so the new morning routine in Sept will hopefully allow for running or time at the gym.  It is also quite possible that I was inspired by Jason and Ari, who both wrote about morning running this week.  Some of my friends on dailymile also run and workout in the morning, which is great.

Anyway, back to today’s workout.  4 miles total, out to the bottom of East River Park and back.  Felt very sluggish, either because of not being used to the morning, or still shaking the cobwebs from my triathlon on Sunday.  In terms of injuries, my groin only bothered me at the beginning, and loosened up within the first half mile.  My ice and stretching is, I think, helping to keep the problem at bay, and I think it is finally starting to get a little better.  The tendonitis behind my left knee also did not bother me at all today running, although I still feel it when I press around the area with my fingers – will continue the ice treatments.

Total time was 37:16.  2nd half was slightly slower than first half.  That is a big sign that things weren’t perfect.  Normally, I negative split this course.  Should have happened today as well, since I was running into the wind in the first half and with the wind the 2nd half.  Rain was also a factor.  While it was light when I started out at 6:30, it got progressively heavier and I was soaked through by the end.

We’ll see if today is a one-shot deal, or if I can make it a habit again…

Written by SCL

June 18, 2009 at 8:47 am

Week in review

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Haven’t had a chance to write in the last week, so here is a review of what I’ve been up to!

Went to Middlebury VT last weekend.  My wife was speaking on a panel at alumni weekend at the college.  Middlebury is very nice.  We stayed at a great bed and breakfast, and tooled around the various small towns there including Bristol and Vergennes.  Also went to the Robert Frost trail in Bread Loaf, but it was mostly closed due to some flood damage from the winter.

I brought my bike with me to Middlebury, and had an amazing, and humbling ride.  My intention was to bike out and back from Middlebury, on rt 125, to Lake Champlain (see route here).  It was about 15 miles each way.  The hills were relentless, and wore me down to no end, and I could only cover about 12 miles before turning around.  24 miles in total, and a really awesome and hard workout.  I realize that real bikers and triathletes can handle these kinds of hills with no issues, so I need to figure out how to add more hills to my bike workouts.  I like riding at my weekend house in Little Silver, NJ, but there are very few ‘real’ hills out there.  Anyway, it was an awesome ride, and a great tune up for my triathlon this weekend.

As good as the ride was, I think the hills aggrevated my groin.  It was really acting up on Sunday and Monday.  The good news is that it helped me to isolate exactly where the pain is coming from, so now I know where to focus my ice treatments.

Monday night was softball, up in Inwood.  With my groin issue, I was not able to run full out, but the light running in the outfield and on the bases, combined with lots of stretchng, actually made it feel a little better.  Collectively we had a great game, and won 11-7.

Didn’t do any workouts on Tuesday because I had to run down to my weekend house and do some lawn and grounds care, and morning workouts are too hard until school is over for my kids.  Wednesday nights are no good for swimming because there is only a small window the pool is available for lap swimming, so I went for a run last night.

Did my 4 mile out and back to East River Park.  I have a hard time doing ‘easy’ runs, and ran it pretty hard.  Finished up in 34:56, about 8:45 pace.  The groin issue is so far not preventing me from running.  It only bothers me a little as I get started with a run, and loosens up pretty quickly.  However, I’ve lately also been feeling some tendonitis behind my left knee, and that I can feel with every step in a run.  It is not a lot of pain, but just a little bit of very noticeable discomfort.  While not preventing me from running, I think it would prevent me from running all out in a speed workout or race condition.  So far, ice on its own has not done anything.  May need to work on leg based stretches and exercises to smooth it out.

It is interesting.  These are my first real injuries since I started this blog over a year ago.  In the past, I constantly had injury issues and I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone without issue.  My last big injury was when I blew out my lower back in July 2007.  Historically, I’ve always had leg problems on my right side – patellar tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splits, etc.  Left leg was always great.  Therefore, never really focused on left side.  My current injuries are on my left side.  Ooops.  Guess I need to pay attention to both sides going forward!

This morning, heading to my older daughters school.  She is 13 and graduating middle school in 2 weeks.  Today is an honors ceremony, and she is doing a solo tap dance routine.  Then off to work, and hopefully to the pool to swim tonight.

With my triathlon coming up quickly on Sunday, I need to make sure I’m well prepared for all 3 events, for the transitions, and most importantly, need to practice getting the wetsuit on and off!

Written by SCL

June 11, 2009 at 7:24 am