Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013 greenwich alliance for education turkey trot: race photos & results

what an incredible turnout for the 3rd edition of the greenwich alliance for education turkey trot!  there were about 850 participants combined for the 5k and 1 miler this morning.  and, in a first, i was one of them!  in a break from the prior two year when i volunteered but didn't run, this year i ran the 5k race in between stints at the finish line.
in something of a surprise, the 21:25 finish, 6:54 pace, turned out to be my fastest 5k of the year!  given crowded first mile - i didn't break 7 minutes for that one - and that i missed the markers for the 2nd and 3rd miles, i was even more astonished with the sub-7 minute pace. 


Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving 2013!

happy thanksgiving everyone!

this is the first thanksgiving in years that i haven't run a turkey trot in anticipation of burning off the turkey day calories.  given the early winter chill outside, i don't feet too badly.  but i will get in a few miles once i get the turkey in the oven later this morning.

this afternoon my brother, his family, my mom and enrico, will come over for thanksgiving dinner.  and, just back from michigan, katie is home for the holiday (then heads back to ann arbor for her finals next month)!

i hope everyone gets to share this thanksgiving with family and loved ones!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 after the leaves have fallen 20k: race photos & results

this was my second time running the "after the leaves have fallen" 20k - a race that i can only run when it's rescheduled from it's traditional first week of november date - which generally conflicts with the nyc marathon.  in 2011 the course ran counter clockwise.  this year the course ran clockwise around lake minnewaska.
aside from the spectacular scenery, this edition featured the most unusual weather conditions - which ranged from sun, rain, snow, sleet, hail - and lots of wind!  despite (or maybe as a result of) those conditions, i ran a 1:44:50 (unofficial).  that was a solid 4+ minutes faster than my 2011 finish (which featured beautiful, i.e. sunny, weather).
i'll write up a brief race report.
here are the race results.


the rest of my photos are up on facebook.

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013 ing nyc marathon: race report

my 11th nyc marathon is officially in the books!  this finish was especially meaningful to me because it's the first marathon i've run in almost a year - since the roxbury marathon in december. and that had been basically a long training run in the midst of my crawl back from the chronic compartment syndrome that had sidelined me since last summer.  the long island marathon back in may, 2012, was officially my last marathon.  but what a difference a rebuilt mileage base can make!  i've spent the last 5+ months rebuilding my weekly mileage, with some occasional speedwork at the track thrown in.

the payoff from the slow, steady recovery was covering the entire distance without pain and without having to walk.  even though this was my slowest nyc marathon (but not by much), i ran it at a pretty even pace.  my 2011 nyc marathon, which came in a few seconds faster than this edition, included a 1:46 first half and a major slowdown (with some walking) in the second half (2:09).  this time around i ran pretty even splits - a 1:55 first half and a 2:00 second half.

as for the logistics, i was on the 5:30 westchester road runner bus that left from white plains high school.  i've taken that bus ride to start in staten island for almost the last 10 years!  undoubtedly the best part of that commute to the start is the on board bathroom.  in response to the boston bombing, there was a strong, very visible police presence (including bag checks) on the way into fort wadsworth.  even with heightened security, however, there wasn't much of delay getting to the athlete village (aside from the sheer volume of runners).

once inside it was sort of eerie not having to check a bag. all i had taken with me was a mylar space blanket and the fanny pack that i would run with.  the space blanket was a life saver because i had it wrapped around me until i was actually on the bridge - whereupon i immediately swapped it for a discarded windbreaker!  it wasn't cold per se, just uncomfortably windy and overcast.  i actually continued to wear that windbreaker over the bridge and into brooklyn!

the highlight of the nyc marathon is running the streets of brooklyn (which constitute the largest segment of race miles in any of the boroughs).  i also look forward to seeing my mom cheering on the runners as we turn the corner of bay ridge parkway onto 4th avenue. of all my nyc marathons, she's only missed cheering at 2 of them.  my 5k split (which included a bathroom stop and picture w/my mom) was just over 27 minutes (an 8:43 pace).

by the 10k split (53:39), almost at the end of the run down 4th avenue, my pace had inched down to 8:39 - and by 15k (1:20:23) it had fallen one more second to an 8:38 pace.  but that was the extent of my sub 8:40's because the rest of the miles would continue to inch upward into the mid 8:40's (20k: 1:48:50 - 8:46 pace) and mid 8:50's (30k: 3:45:52 - 8:54 pace).  from the 35k mark to the finish i ran a steady string of 9:00/9:01 miles.  at no point did i consider walking.  but perceived effort is a strange concept.

for the last 4 miles i imagined that i was running faster - an illusion brought on because i was passing runners on 5th avenue and in central park.  i was not running faster, they had simply slowed down (or started to walk).  regardless, it was still a great feeling (as illusory as it was) to think that i was speeding up as i approached the finish line! and, actually crossing the finish line never gets old - it's always a rush! 

i had expected that we would have gotten the ponchos (in lieu of baggage) much sooner than the exit points beyond central park.  once again it was a space blanket that came to the rescue as i joined the long line of finishers shuffling out of the park.  by the time a volunteer wrapped me in the poncho, i was in full shiver mode!  but that didn't last long thanks to the fleece-lined poncho... and my bag with dry clothes was on the wrr bus parked 5 minutes away at lincoln center.

afterwards, i went to the taconic road runners post-race party to rehydrate with a couple of great captain lawrence fall seasonal beers and some sandwiches.  this trrc club party has become an essential post-race tradition, although the location of the party changes from year to year (this year was the first time the party was south of central park). there really isn't a better way to start kick off the marathon recovery process :D

now, since i've finished my 9+1 for 2014, it seems very like there'll be nyc marathon #12 in my future :D

here's a link to my nyc marathon photos.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2013 ing nyc marathon: race photos and results

woo hoo!  nyc marathon #11 is in the books.  this is undoubtedly my favorite race, at any distance.  it also was my first marathon in almost a year!  all in all, there was no pain, no walking, no crashing into the proverbial wall.  all the months of recovery have taken root.

my 3:55:52, 9:01 pace, was a solid 10+ minutes slower than my sub 3:45 target (and my slowest nyc marathon to date).  but run through the streets (and over the bridges) of nyc was still a fantastic time.  now i just need to work on getting back some speed :D

here's the link to my nyc marathon race report.

here are the searchable results from the nyc marathon.

the rest of my photos are up on facebook.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2013 nyc marathon expo

while the 2012 nyc marathon was cancelled in the wake of hurricane sandy, there was a 2012 marathon expo. that expo, sans an actual marathon, was in the pre-boston bombing era.  this year the experience was vastly different.  i'm not sure if it was a because i went on friday, instead of the typical thursday trip to the expo, or the heightened security (principally individual baggage exams) that resulted a monster line that stretch across the front of the javits center - just to enter the building!  either way, the place was a crowded madhouse.

since my flight back from paris landed at jfk thursday afternoon, i wasn't able to get to the expo on the first day.  i noticed plenty of marathoners on my flight home - as well as jfk itself, waiting to get through customs.  most of my friends went to the expo thursday, so i missed socializing with them. that was a major disappointment.

on friday i was completely caught off guard by the sheer number of runners lining up just get into the javits center.  this was my 12th nyc marathon expo and i've never seen anything approaching the line to enter the expo.  not only did it stretch outside the building, but once inside it was folded over on itself 3 times before arriving at the actual baggage inspection - then onto the actual entry line!  the only saving grace to this experience was the line kept moving...  don't know if it was the time of day, the day itself, or just plain bad luck - but that experience was ridiculous!

once inside, the actual bib and shirt pick-up went quickly and smoothly.  but the bane of all these expos was the final gauntlet - where you're funneled through the official merchandise store before being permitted to actually enter the expo proper.  of all the hassles this is truly the most crass bit of commercialism runners are forced to endure.  if it was an easy path to zip through, i wouldn't care.  but having to zig, zag, and maneuver around every soul inspecting those souvenirs as if they were somehow the holy grail was exhausting.

for every person who wants to stock up on official marathon merchandise, i bet there are at least 2 who couldn't care less about it.  it wouldn't be hard to have an entrance that bypassed the official store.  it just wouldn't be profitable :(

hopefully the 2014 expo will be a less trying experience...

Friday, November 1, 2013

november 2013 schedule

november kicks off with the nyc marathon!  after the cancellation last year, it almost seems like something new - instead of the annual fixture it had been on my calendar for the 10 previous years!  it will also be my first marathon in almost a year.  the last one i ran was the roxbury marathon last december, which was more of training run given my battle with chronic compartment syndrome at the time!

the other highlight for november is the jfk 50 miler. i was registered for it last year, but had to miss it because i couldn't properly train for a 50 miler as a result of the chronic compartment syndrome.  now, even with a string of six 200+ mile months behind me, i'm still worried about this one.  i haven't run an ultra (much less a 50 miler) in well over a year.  finishing jfk will be a challenge - but hopefully i'm up for it :D

given those two races, except for volunteering at the greenwich alliance for education turkey trot at the end of the month, i haven't really settled on the remaining races.  the week after nyc, i'd probably run the beachfront bushwack.  but, the date for "after the leave have fallen" 20k was pushed back this year (it typically conflicts w/the nyc marathon).  so i'm very, very tempted to drive up for that one - especially w/the 11 am start!

the following week (leading up to jfk) i'll probably run the fred lebow xc 5k at van cortlandt park.  it will also be a rest week leading up to the 50 miler.  after jfk, is a thanksgiving day race.  that will probably be the gateway gobbler, as much for its distance (6m) in the wake of jfk, as for it's proximity (so i can get back in time to put the turkey in the oven).  if i wasn't cooking turkey day dinner, would drive up to the mid-hudson road runners 25k :D

here's how it looks so far:

11/3 - nyc marathon
11/10 - after the leaves have fallen 20k
             or, beachfront bushwack 5m
11/17 - nyrr fred lebow xc 5k
11/23 - jfk 50 miler
11/28 - gateway gobbler 6m
11/30 - alliance for education turkey trot 5k (volunteer)

as always, if you're at any of these - say hello!