Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Autumnal Equinox - 2017

Here on the east coast, Fall officially arrives at 4:02 PM.  Even so, Summer doesn't seem in any rush to fade away - especially with temperatures forecast in the 80's this weekend!  Hurray for that because I don't want cooler days - just yet.  We've already had an early taste of Fall over the Labor Day weekend (I can't remember a pre-race Westport 10 Miler where my teeth chattered in the chill as we waited for the race to start!).

Still, Happy Autumnal Equinox to all!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017 Norwalk Half Marathon: Race Photos & Results

What a difference a year can make.  I ran the Norwalk Half Marathon this morning (and it's probably the first time in 10 years that I managed to run all 6 of races in an entire season).  We had 100% humidity (without rain) at the start.  Half way through the first mile it already seemed more like a swim than a race :O

I finished the double loop course in just over 1:45 (1:45:06, 8:02 pace).  That was a bit disappointing since I had hoped to run a 1:42 or 1:43 for the Half.  Given the tough weather conditions, I'll take it!  Still, in significantly less humid conditions, I ran it almost 4 minutes faster last year (1:41:13) :D

Last year I finished third in my age group for the Half.  Amazingly, despite the slower time, I again finished third in my age group!  But the highlight of the morning was a 3rd place finish in my age group in the overall summer series standing! It's been a few years since I took home an age group award for the summer series :D

Here are the Half Marathon Race Results from Lightfoot Runners.

Here are the Final 2017 Summer Series Standing from Lightfoot Runners.

Great photo of the start - thanks to Tony!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forget 9/11 - 16 years ago today :(

It's been 16 years now - and it could have happened yesterday.  As I write this, I'm sitting in my office, pretty much the same place I sat when the first plane crashed into the north tower.


Here is my post from last year (which, in essence, mirrored my earlier ones on the subject):

It's hard believe that 15 years have gone by since the cowardly terrorists destroyed so much on September 11, 2001. Despite the physical destruction - and the loss of so many innocent souls - our collective spirit survived intact and emerged from the ashes.

Today the Freedom Tower rises in the former Twin Towers site. We have rebuilt and our lives have go on - despite the horror and sadness of that day. And for those reason, we must never forget what happened.

Never forget the evil.
Never forget the survival.
Never forget the souls that didn't survive.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile: Race Photos & Results

The Fifth Avenue Mile is one of my favorite races.  This morning we had great, if slightly windy, weather for a run down a carless 5th Avenue straightaway.  It was the second year in a row (I think) that the 50's men and women ran together in what was the 12th heat of the morning.

As I suspected, my finish was in between last year's 6:13 and last month's 6:44.  The 6:19 was a solid 25 seconds faster than the Peekskill Brewery Mile.  I don't know how I ran that fast without the prospect of a cold beer waiting at the finish - haha!

My quarter mile splits were relatively even: 1:30; 1:40; 1:35; and, 1:34.  The 1:40 reflected the only "climb" of the course.  The remaining two quarters were relatively "downhill" after that one.  All in all, I was very pleased with my finish.  It was race #8 of my 9+1 (and the NYC Marathon itself will complete the (9+1 for 2017).

Here are the official results from NYRR.

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Packet Pickup

Yesterday was the first time I ever picked up a bib and shirt (other than a race day, itself) on a Sunday (not to mention a Labor Day weekend)!  Since I had to put in a few hours at the office - Fall semester kicks off with a convocation on Tuesday and classes begin on Wednesday - why not stop off at the NYRR on the way home?!  In fact, the email notification from the NYRR had, itself, only arrived the day before (Saturday).

As for the race itself, it will be #8 on my road to 9+1 for 2017.  And as for a time goal, there's a 30 second window between the 6:13 I ran last year and the 6:44 I ran last month (at the Peekskill Brewery Mile) that I will probably finish in.  My 6:44 is a pretty soft target, while the 6:13 is looking pretty tough to beat right now :O

Time will tell (actually, in  less than a week now we will - in fact - know the result) :D

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Westport Summer Series 10 Miler: Race Photos & Results

Fall weather came to the Westport Summer Series 10 Miler this morning.  The chilly start was probably the coolest weather I can remember for this race!  When I left the house it was 50 degrees outside (and I immediately went back inside to grab my windbreaker)!  The temperature was much warmer when I arrived at Staples -- but it was great running weather :D

As for the race itself, while my time goal was a sub-1:20, I came pretty close to sneaking in under 1:18!  Maybe the weather was a plus after all.  When I saw the clock at the straightaway to the finish line, it had just turned 1:17:50 - and despite the old college try, I couldn't sprint fast enough to cover the remaining distance in 9 seconds - it took a whopping 16 seconds!  Nevertheless I was very happy with the 1:18:06 , 7:49 pace (with my sub 1:10 glory days long gone - haha)!

Here are the race results from HiTek Racing.

As usual, thank to Tony for great photo of the start!

Friday, September 1, 2017

September 2017 Race Schedule

Hard to believe Summer is ending and Fall begins just 3 weeks!  Given the "cold" spell (if 50s and 60s fit that bill) of the last few days, it seems as if Fall has gotten a jump on its official return (9/22).  But this weather would be ideal for the Westport 10 Miler tomorrow :D

Aside from Westport to kick off the Labor Day weekend, I'm still on the fence about heading up to New Haven for the 20K on Labor Day proper.  I've done that double many times, but won't really decide until after the 10 Miler.

The following week is the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (race #8 of my 9+1).  Looking forward to it, as running down a car-less 5th Avenue is always fun!  But I gave serious thought to the South Nyack 10 Miler before signing up for the 1 Miler.

The Norwalk Half is on the 16th.  While not the official end to the Summer Series, it does bring it to a close for the 2017 season.  Looking forward to it (but can't say the same for the double loop course - haha).  The open question for me, again, is the next day.  Should I run the NYRR 18 Mile training run, or the Fall Frolic 30K.  Will definitely do one, just not sure which at this point.

As of now, haven't penciled in a race for the last weekend.  The Bronx 10 Miler is on the front burner.  It would be a nice bookend to the month (starting and ending with a 10 miler) :D

Here's how it looks so far:

9/2 - Westport 10 Miler
9/10 - Fifth Avenue Mile
9/16 - Norwalk Half Marathon
9/17 - NYRR Marathon Tune-up 18M, or
        - Fall Frolic 30K

As always, if you're at any of them - say Hello!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 NYRR Percy Sutton 5K: Volunteering

Last year I ran the Percy Sutton 5k (an initially hilly course, with a flat finish).  This year I was a volunteer and it took care of my +1 for 2017.  I had planned to run the race because it was a team points event.  But with the Sri Chinmoy Marathon on Thursday, it volunteering at the Start/Finish seemed like a much better choice :D

The absolute highlight of the morning was watching a guy get down on his knee and propose to (his totally stunned) girlfriend at the finish!  I've been at a lot of races over the years (and have heard of proposals every now and then) - but this was the first time I witnessed such a happy moment up close and personal (I was just a few feet away when it happened)!

Now I just need two more races to wrap up my 9+1 (and one will be the NYCM).  I'll probably run #8 next month (either 5th Avenue Mile or the Bronx 10 Miler).

Friday, August 25, 2017

2017 Sri Chinmoy Marathon: Race Report


This was my third time running the Sri Chinmoy Marathon at Rockland Lake (albeit the last time was way back in August, 2009).  Previously, it had been called the Self-Transcendence Marathon.  Despite the official name change to honor Sri Chinmoy himself, my race bib still used the old name.  There are very few official marathons run mid-week, such as on a Thursday (and the 2009 edition was actually held on a Tuesday).  That made running the Sri Chinmoy Marathon feel as if I was playing hooky from my day job :D

I will say that entering the race was a last minute decision.  When I missed the Escarpment Trail Run at the end of last month - a 30k trek up and over a few mountains that typically takes me 5+ hours to complete - I figured the easiest way to atone was to spend 4 hours or so running a marathon!  Since Rockland Lake is 30 minutes from my house, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, it was a very easy decision.

Despite the relative convenience, I haven't run a marathon since the 2016 NYC Marathon!  In fact, the longest training runs I've done in the last few months ranged from 15-18 miles (with half marathon distances more likely on the weekends).  So my initial plan was to treat the event as a long training run.  I wanted to run 20 miles at roughly an 8:40 pace (around 2:50) and then walk/jog the remaining 10k.  Given the tough heat/humidity that surrounds a late-August event, I thought that was a more realistic objective.

Luckily, the weather Gods smiled upon us yesterday.  While the humidity was pretty high throughout the morning, we started off with temperatures in the 60s!  The course itself, a just under 3 mile loop around the lake, is mostly shaded.  There are a few open patches of road, but very manageable combination.  On the plus side, the course is basically flat! Altogether we did 8 full loops of the lake and 3/4 of a ninth loop.  There were 3 aid stations spread out along the course.

This event reminds me of the typical 6 hour ultra than your typical road marathon.  A good number of runners had drop bags and chairs lining the start/finish area.  Most of the runners were focused on completing the distance, rather than a particular time objective.  It was much more a social atmosphere than would be found at more commercial races.

As for my performance, I ran the first 8 loops in a relatively consistent pace.  After the first two loops you pretty much knew what to expect, what was ahead so to speak.  I was positive that the course was long.  Each mile was clearly marked with a placard (that also listed the loop # in addition to the actual mile itself).  My Strava/MapMyRun programs were consistently reeling off the mile marks before the official markers.  In fact, at the end of the race Strava had 26.6 miles as the distance (and MapMyRun came in at 27.7+)!

That said, I reached 20 miles between 2:50/2:55 and felt pretty good.  Not sure what to attribute that to, but I reckoned that I had just over an hour to finish the last 10k and come in under 4 hours.  I went for another 2 miles in that mindset - then boom, I hit the wall!  At the start of mile 23 I just fell into a dark patch and switched over to walking (this happened without warning, as if someone had simply flipped a switch).  I wallowed in that mood for about 5 minutes or so, then just as suddenly it lifted.  I started to shuffle along - and by the end of mile 23 was back to running!

Except for that patch in during mile 23, I kept moving at roughly the same pace.  During the last few miles, beginning at 22 and continuing straight through to the finish, I was beset by some calf cramping.  I wore compression sleeves to forestall that issue.  From prior experience, I'm sure the cramps would have been much more pronounced/worse without the sleeves!  Other than that, I had no physical issues.

I finished in 3:56:43, a 9:01 pace for 26.2 miles (slightly faster for 26.6 - haha).  Afterwards I filled up on watermelon - and then headed home.  The traffic Gods must have been on board with the weather Gods because the traffic back across the bridge was surprising light!  All in all it was a fun morning!  Many thanks to the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and volunteers for putting on another fantastic event!

Here are a few of my race photos.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

2017 Sri Chinmony Marathon: Race Photos & Results

This was my third time running a mid-week marathon at Rockland Lake Park.  The first was way back in 2007 (and Sri Chinmony himself was at the event).  Back then (and the second i one I ran a couple of years later) the race was called the Self-Transcendence Marathon.  It's now been renamed the Sri Chinmoy Marathon in honor of the race's namesake.

The course is eight full loops of the lake and one short loop.  As with any race in August, it can get pretty hot and humid - less than ideal running conditions.  This race was a late addition to my schedule.  I added it after I couldn't run the Escarpment Trail 30K last month.  It was my way of atoning for missing out on 5+ hours of trail running :D

I'll write up a fuller race report tomorrow - but my initial plan was to run a solid (e.g. race pace) 20 miles and walk/jog the remaining 10k.  I ran the first 20 in under 2:55 and felt good enough to keep going.  But by the start of mile 23 - almost at the end of the 8th loop - I hit the wall and did a little walking.  Amazingly, that dark patch lasted for less than a mile and I got back to running!  I finished in 3:56 (unofficial), just under 4 hours and was thrilled :D

Here are the official results from the Sri Chinmony Marathon Team.

Here is my race report.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Waveny Summer XC Series 2.5 Miler: Race Photos & Results

Never let it be said there isn't room for bonus mileage (even in 10ths) at a 2.5 mile race!  Somehow I managed to miss a CLEARLY marked turn on the trail at the Waveny Summer Series - and ran 2.6 instead of the 2.5 mile course!  It pays to pay attention - haha!  That little bit extra distance kept me from breaking 20 minutes (20:35, 8:14 pace) :O

This was my first Waveny Summer Series race of the summer.  My twice a week Summer Session class ended last week and freed up a bunch of time (albeit far to close to the end of Summer).

Here are the official results from ClubCt

Thanks Jim, for the great photo of me in action :D

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Peekskill Brewery Mile: Race Photos & Results


What a great night (late afternoon) to run a mile!  The Peekskill Brewery Mile went off just after 5 PM and the best part of it (aside from the net downhill) was getting to run it with Katie.  We haven't run an official race together in years - since she was in middle school.  Instead of road races, she spent her middle and high school years playing field hockey and lacrosse :D

And what better way to finish a mile (or any race/run for that matter) than to rehydrate with some excellent beer!  In fact, I'd venture to say it was the prospect of a cold beer that got me to the finish in 6:44 - haha.  I was a little dubious of running fast after the Westport Summer Series 8.4 Miler yesterday, the post-run miles after that race, and the trail miles I ran this morning.  But where there is cold beer, there is always a way :D

Here are the official results from the Taconic Road Runners.
and here are more race photos from the Taconic Road Runners.


Thanks Bette for the great photos of me in action (during the race and post-race with Hiroshi)!