Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 running year in review

it's time to close the books on 2010! in a few hours, another year running year will come to a close. in terms of annual mileage (2,562.9), i managed to surpass my 2009 total (2,459) but given the fall off in monthly mileage for the last quarter of 2010, i just missed my 2008 total (2,571.1). for the first 9 months of 2010 i ran 200 or miles a month but, for a variety of reasons (chiefly travel) my monthly mileage dropped below 200 for october, november, and december.

in terms of races (57), i ran 10 fewer races than 2009 (67), but equalled my 2008 total (57). in a first, my total connecticut races (28) exceeded the number of races i ran in new york (24)! i crossed a few interesting milestones during 2010. i ran my 50th marathon (nyc) and my 50th ultra (jfk), reaching the 100 marathon/ultra mark. and, a few days after the jfk 50 miler, i ran my 500th race overall (the thanksgiving 10k in van cortlandt park)!

here is the breakdown of the 2010 race stats:

57 races
824.2 race miles

ultras: 12
marathons: 4

15k - 18 miles: 15
1 - 9 miles: 26

the race mix, with 12 ultras and 10 fewer races at shorter distances (1-9 miles) is similar to the 2008 composition. in 2009 i ran few ultras and more shorter distance events (inluding a stair climb). that said, my most frequently raced distance in 2010 was a tie between 50k (6) and 5k (6), with half marathons (5) a very close second!

a couple of high points during the year included my fourth straight age group win at the 2010 new york ultra running grand prix and a third place age group win at the 2010 norwalk summer series! also, a return to boston after i had gotten closed out for the 2009 edition was great (and i managed to register for the 2011 edition in that incredibly brief 8 hour window last october)!

as in prior years, i volunteered at a few races. in a first for nyrr i volunteered at packet pick-up (instead of a course marshal on race day) at the scotland run. and, in another volunteer first, i worked the timing clock at the bedford turkey trot (instead of race day registration). as in prior years, at the putnam county classic i had a blast cutting up watermelons at the pre-race food prep (not nearly as much fun as eating it after the race)!

there were no race lows (aside for a handful of slow finishes) during the year. thankfully, i had no injuries to speak of this year (although i was sidelined for a week during october with a nasty case of the flu). on a sad note, the scarsdale fall foliage 5k run was inexplicably cancelled this year. hopefully, the historical society will get its act together and resume staging the race in 2011 (fingers crossed for that one).

happy new year everyone!!

hope to see some of you at the races next year!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a few christmas books :D

as most of my friends know, books are probably one of my favorite things! there is zero likelihood i will ever trade the great pleasure and experience of reading a physical volume for an electronic version (whatever the attendant bells and whistles attached) thereof. i also love libraries, book stores, and book sales :D

christmas generally brings me a treasure trove of new books (and book store gift cards). this year i had 4 fantastic titles waiting for me under the tree. in no particular order: keith richard's "life," edmund morris' "colonel roosevelt," "little girl blue: the life of karen carpenter," and tom clancy's "dead or alive." i've just started the keith richard's book, and look forward to reading the other three. the clancy book will be my first fiction in years!

thanks to gift cards, i also ordered the new anthony bourdain book, "medium raw: a bloody valentine to the world of food and the people who cook." i just finished rereading his classic, "kitchen confidential," in the week before christmas, so this will be a great follow-up! and i also ordered "reagan: the hollywood years," and suze rotolo's "freewheelin' time" a memoir of greenwich village in the sixties."

i've got some great reading on deck for the next few months :D

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a post-christmas blizzard visits :O

thankfully, the snow arrived the day after christmas! where it came from is something of a mystery for me because i don't remember hearing anything about a huge snow storm on the weekend horizon. given the heads up, i got in an easy 10 miler on sunday morning and the snow flurries arrived just after i got back home. if the snow fall was as predicted, that would be my last run for a day or so.

as forecast, by mid-afternoon it was falling fast - and accumulating. the most interesting news of the day (aside from the typical weather related items that accompany these events) was the rescheduling of the philadelphia eagles game from sunday night to tuesday. that prompted an angry newspaper reporter's outburst that called us a "nation of wimps!" now, that's an attention getter! i'm not in the business of defending the nfl. but i think it had more to do with fan safety (as in getting to and from the stadium during a blizzard) than on-field concerns about the players! anyway, once the giants continued their embarrassing slide into oblivion with another humiliating loss sunday afternoon, my football season was put to bed :(

getting back to the real business - snow: i woke up early monday morning (after a night of listening to the wind howl outside like a non-stop locomotive) to confront a foot and a half of snow that blanketed my front porch and driveway. i spent the better part of an hour digging out of that mess - and still hadn't touched our cars (not that we had any intention of driving anywhere that morning)! so i took a shoveling break and went back inside to warm up. in what turned into a marathon session on t.v. - the travel channel had anthony bourdain's "no reservation" queued up for the entire day!

after a couple of episodes of "no reservations" i went back outside and completed the job. not only did i knock off the cars, but i managed to tunnel my way to the backyard and shovel the deck as well. that second session of shoveling was enough cross training for the day. while i toyed with the idea of putting on my trail shoes and making an effort to log a few slushy miles (especially when the sun made an appearance in the early afternoon) - i was too caught up in bourdain's newest travelogue to drag myself back outside. so with a fridge full of leftovers - and some unfinished bottles of wine, i happily joined that erstwhile nation of wimps in front of the t.v., warm and totally sheltered from the howling wind outside :O

today, back in the office, after a somewhat icy drive to the station (where metronorth is running on a saturday schedule - hey, don't they know it's tuesday!) it's back to the grind. and i'm actually looking forward to putting on those trail shoes for a few slush-filled miles when i get home!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas 2010!!

merry christmas everyone!!

i just couldn't resist this image - normally i'd opt for a vintage merry christmas card. but this year, with news in the air that boston plans to announce tighter qualifying standards next month - and, more importantly, i'm in need of a bq for the 2012 race - it seems almost perfect :D for the non-runners out there, traditional christmas greeting will return next year!

we're just about to open the presents under the tree. this afternoon my brother and his family will join us for christmas dinner. my mom has already begun work on it as i write this post! somewhere between presents and dinner i have to find some time to run a few miles. my plan was to run the 10k at the christmas marathon. but a trip to van cortlandt park doesn't seem likely at this point. too much activity here!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 norfolk pub 10 miler: race report

i worked on this report (which was planned as a short recap) a handful of times since saturday, but was repeatedly overtaken by christmas week events - a final exam (and the attendant grading) for my undergrad students, a couple of client meeting to execute documents, a christmas tree, christmas lights (inside and out), and our office holiday lunch (this year, at les halles downtown). it's been a busy, but fun (except for the grading) stretch. the only negative was the increasingly ice box-like conditions for running. it's been a brutal slog logging the miles this week.

by now it seems that the norfolk pub 10 miler is a distant memory. this is one of my favorite 10 milers - and one of my favorite race distances at that. it was my 3rd norfolk pub in 2 years (with 2009 seeing one race in january (the postponed 2008 edition) and one in december). it's a tough, hilly course - ignoring the usually freezer-like weather conditions that somehow manage to arrive for race day (and a hometown logo that's apt, "norfolk: the icebox of connecticut").

my times up there have been pretty inconsistent: 1:20, 1:15, and 1:25 (this time around). i had a time goal of 1:20 in mind on the drive up with emmy. an 8:00 pace was about the best i could push - and even that was too optimistic. instead, the race morphed into a long training run. i found myself walking up all the major hills (basically three) and running the rest. rather than that 1:20 i envisioned, i didn't break 1:25 (finishing in 1:25:10).

i wasn't disappointed because, when the running was all said and done, there was some great post-race socializing at the pub. one of the best perks of this old school event (low fee, no shirt, tough course) was the beer each runner was entitled to for trading in his bib tag! todd (who was running his first norfolk pub 10 miler), emmy, lyn, and i had a great time at sitting at the bar drinking berkshire pale ales! and, an even brighter spot was the $20 emmy won for taking first in her age group!

for the record, here are my splits:

9:30 17:12
8:18 25:30
8:24 33:54
8:01 41:55
8:02 49:58
8:10 58:09
10:37 1:08:46
7:25 1:16:11
8:58 1:25:10

8:31 pace

on a technical level, i wore my road shoes for the race. i should have gone with trail shoes because there was plenty of snow (and some ice) on the dirt roads. while it didn't make a too much of a difference this time around, trail shoes would have made a positive difference racing the course.

the next day, switching gears and regions, i went to fairfield for the annual holiday run for toys 5k. i managed to pick up the pace on the nice, flat loop course (with about a mile run on trails) for a 23:26, 7:30 pace.

a couple of days later, tuesday, i did a 10 mile training run (via the post road where the hills aren't an issue). with no walking breaks, i ran a comfortable 1:22, which made me smile at the stark contrast between relative effort for the two 10 mile distances :D

here are my 2010 race photos

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

happy 2010 winter solstice

while the official winter solstice is just over 2 hours from now, as i post this - here in the northeast, winter arrived 3 weeks ago. it seems like we've had an incredible run of below average temperatures for december, with no abatement in sight. maybe the weather picture will balance out next month with a warmer than usual january.

even though winter is my least favorite season, it's still fun to get out there and run - if only to savor the warmth when you get back inside - haha. in a great surprise the folks who brought us the free thanksgiving day races at van cortlandt park are back with another series to celebrate christmas on saturday. i'll be there for the 10k - and wish i could stay for the marathon, but have to get home to prepare dinner (a pleasant replay of my thanksgiving)!

happy winter solstice everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 holiday run for toys 5k: race photos and results

the turnout for the 2010 holiday run for toys 5k was more than twice that of the 2009 edition (both "versions" of the race last year). tough weather resulted in such a low turnout for the originally scheduled 5k last year (which i missed), that marty scheduled a rerun the following weekend (which i ran). great weather, albeit nippy, this time around - and a huge crowd to go along with it!

this was going to my last race of 2010 - but the great folks that brought us the thanksgiving marathon (and half, and 10k) at van cortlandt park last month are bringing us a christmas version next weekend! count me in for the 10k :D

here are the results from the holiday run for toys.

here are photos from the 2009 edition (a/k/a the "rerun").

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 norfolk pub 10 miler: race photos and results

this was my 3rd straight norfolk pub 10 miler. it's an awesome (read tough) course and fun race overall (which includes post-race beer at it's namesake pub)! in addition to emmy, lyn was back for another go. todd and brian ran it for the first time. it was todd's first 10 miler, in fact, and he knocked off a 1:13 - pretty excellent for someone who's spent the last few months logging his miles on trails! emmy collected another check (the second in 3 norfolk pub 10 milers) for winning her age group!

race report to follow; here are the race results from greystone racing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the return of tights - or, confronting an early winter :(

i finally put on tights to go running yesterday - argh. it's not that i have a problem wearing running tights when it's cold out - but, psychologically, putting them on for the first time at the start of a new winter season is tantamount to capitulating to the arrival of COLD - argh again! every day still in shorts is a moral victory. mentally, once the tights are on, going back to shorts before spring is on the horizon is a tough call.

so yesterday's 8.5 miles was nothing special in the way of training - but a bittersweet milestone that winter has arrived very early this year. on the other hand, while i don't remember it as an especially cold winter, i did switch over to tights around thanksgiving last year! pushing it back to mid-december, by comparison, is a big improvement this time around.

on the topic of winter running, i also wore mittens over my gloves yesterday. in extreme cold weather (especially in windy conditions) i always use a base glove together with a mitten. the double pair keeps my hands comfortably warm (the one downside is having to deal w/the ipod). given the line layer of snow that covered the post road, i also wore an old pair of trail shoes to improve my footing.

yes, cold weather running has finally arrived - brrr :(

Monday, December 13, 2010

brett favre's record of consecutive nfl starts ends at 297 :(

brett favre's remarkable streak of 297 consecutive nfl starts ended as he sat out the giants-minnesota game tonight. even with an extra day of rest because of the rescheduled game (a snowstorm moved the game from sunday afternoon to monday night), his shoulder injury kept him out of the game. including favre's post-season starts, he's started a remarkable 321 consecutive nfl games across his 18 year career!

the next closest quarterback, with 205 straight regular season starts, is peyton manning - with an impressive 205. his brother, eli, started his 100th consecutive game - as the giants beat a hapless minnesota vikings 21-3 tonight. favre's streak is comparable to cal ripken's amazing record of 2,632 consecutive baseball starts!

given the nature of his shoulder injury, and the length of the remaining regular season (just 3 games), it's an open question whether favre can add to his overall total starts if he sits out the remaining games. he has repeatedly "retired" at the end of the last few seasons - only to be pulled back into the game. at 41 years old, it's a tough call!

anyway, brett, congrats on remarkable run!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

wash-out of a race weekend :(

this weekend was a racing disappoint since i didn't run the roxbury marathon yesterday, nor did i line up for the pete mcardle xc 15k in van cortlandt park this morning. cold weather (my car was frosted over when i woke up saturday) and the long drive (1.5 hours there, longer on the way home) turned me off to the prospect of that road trip. i figured i'd make up for it w/the 15k in van cortlandt park this morning.

instead, i woke up to torrential rain and some heavy winds. i actually ran the pete mcardle 15k in those conditions - in 2008. so i wasn't up for repeating that mud fest. i ran 15.5 miles on saturday, another 8.5 miles today. the 24 miles was 11 fewer miles than 35.5 miles i would have logged with the marathon/15k combination. argh!

oh well, not going to dwell on it. hopefully this will be a more productive running week/weekend - albeit significantly colder... brrr....

other weather-related news: the giants had their game against minnesota postponed because (a) they were unable to fly into minnesota because of a snowstorm and (b), the metrodome's dome collapsed under the weigh of snow! the game was rescheduled for tomorrow night - in detroit!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

no roxbury marathon this morning, 15+ miles on the roads instead

i skipped the drive up to roxbury for the marathon this morning. while i had hoped to run it, the prospect of chipping the frost off my car and making the hour and a half drive there really didn't appeal to me. instead, i put on my shorts and went out for a chilly 15.5 mile run.

my days running in shorts look to be numbered - forecast for the week ahead is for even colder temperatures. the early arrival of winter and this ridiculously long stretch of below average temperatures is not fun. if this is what running is like now, what can we expect in january?!

on the great news front (a/k/a proud dad post): last night katie competed in the first track meet of the winter season over at rockland community college. she won her heat of the 55 meter race and went on to take second place overall in the finals!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

jim morrison receives posthumous pardon from florida's clemency board!

it's official - the four member florida board of clemency voted, unanimously, to pardon jim morrison of his 1970 conviction for indecent exposure. the charges stemmed from a 1969 concert appearance by the doors in miami - where, the prosecution alleged, morrision dropped his pants and exposed himself to the audience.

news of a potential pardon surfaced last month when governor charlie crist announced his support for the pardon. the governor, acting alone, could not grant the pardon. he needed a majority votes of the clemency board, which took action this morning, to secure the pardon. governor crist took the unusual step of speaking on behalf of jim morrison at the hearing. here are some excerpts from his remarks:

Much controversy surrounds this conviction, and not only because many witnesses testified they did not see Mr. Morrison expose himself.

Controversy also exists because Mr. Morrison was not arrested until four days after the concert. A case was brought against him only after newspaper articles recounted the alleged events at the concert, based on a complaint filed by an employee of the state attorney’s office who attended the concert.

Mr. Morrison appealed his judgment and sentence; however, he died before the appeal was heard. His death prevented him from exercising his right to a direct appeal, a right given to every American by the United States Constitution. If his appeal had been heard, a reviewing court could have resolved the controversies surrounding his conviction.

The words of an appellate judge, penned a decade before Mr. Morrison’s trial, provide insight into the question before us today: When death prevents the accused from appealing his judgment, the conviction is “a nullity” and “[j]urisdiction to determine the issue of guilt or innocence is now assumed by the ultimate arbiter of human affairs.”

a full copy of crist's remarks are appended to the ny times story reporting the pardon.

congratulations, in heaven, jim morrison :D

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

john lennon was murdered 30 years ago today :(

it's hard to believe that it was 30 years ago today, december 8, 1980, that john lennon was brutally murdered outside his apartment building here in new york city. as with millions of other fans, i'll never forget that day. i was a college freshman at the time and i remember that night as someone ran down the hall in our dorm shouting "john lennon's been shot!" i remember how we sat around glued to the t.v. coverage of his grisly murder at the dakota. it was a very, very sad moment in time.

john lennon was only 40 years old (8 years younger than i am right now). he was in the middle a creative rebirth, so to speak, having been working to get out the "double fantasy" album with yoko ono when chapman shot him. he had retreated from the music scene to be a dad and raise his son, sean. lennon had weathered an incredible effort by the u.s. government to deport him - and he was a proud nyc resident. he had reemerged in the public eye.

but the murder tragically ended an incredible life. just imagine how much richer the world would have been with 30 more years of john lennon's creative spirit coursing through it.

rest in peace john lennon

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 joe kleinerman 10k: race photos and results

i went into the city this morning for the joe kleinerman 10k - not to run it, but cheer on my trrc teammates. while they ran the race, i ran the outer loop course in reverse (in a nice and easy 52:00 minutes). afterwards, we regrouped at the rambling house irish pub in the bronx for some post-race rehydration (in the form of draft guinness, and the stray irish coffee).

on a non-running highlight, our bartender turned me on to an awesome irish whiskey, tullamore dew! we were discussing the relative merits of jamison versus bushmill, and he volunteered that he liked tullamore more than either. after he let me have a taste of it, i have to agree (and it may become my irish whiskey of choice)!

here are the race results from nyrr.

a few more photos, via facebook, here and here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

new york running show podcast

in a first for me, i just participated in a "podcast" for the new york running show. while i've joined my share of running discussions, in various circumstances and guises, this was the first time my words were streamed live on the web and recorded for subsequent download! the main topic of discussion focused on running clubs, but we also talked about upcoming races and other running items.

joe garland ("runwestchester") was our moderator, and the participants included julie ("races like a girl"), amy ("runnin around uptown"), steve ("nycruns"), and me. the program ran (pun definitely intended) for just over an hour. it was an fun time!

listen to/download the program here at talkshoe (episode eight of the series).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

december 2010 race schedule

hard to believe december has crept up so fast and 2010 will soon be history! december normally finds few races on my schedule, and this year will be no different. i had planned on just a pair of races, the pete mcardle 15k in van cortlandt park and the norfolk pub 10 miler, both old favorites of mine.

but, in waht may be a first, the ted corbitt 15k doesn't conflict with the norfolk pub 10 miler - so i can't pass up the opportunity to run it! as an aside, i already have my 9 +1 requirement taken care of for the 2011 nyc marathon, so the 2 nyrr races aren't needed for guaranteed entry.

the one real variable on the schedule is the roxbury marathon. while my friends have run it in the past, it's one that i haven't tried yet. if i can get myself motivated for the hour and a half drive up to roxbury for the 8:30 start, i'll do it this year.

still open is whether i'll run a race this weekend. but there's a good chance i'll run a short race (a holiday 5k?) towards the end of the month. two weeks seems like too long to wait before the new year's day races arrive :D

here's what it looks like so far:

12/11 - roxbury marathon
12/12 - pete mcardle xc 15k
12/18 - norfolk pub 10 miler
12/19 - ted corbitt 15k

as always, if you're at any of them, say hi!

Monday, November 29, 2010

todd's harriman state park "completion" run report: guest post

todd is one of my oldest running friends and we've run a lot of races together over the years (wurtsboro, escarpment, boston, for instance). i wasn't going to miss his "completion" run to celebrate the finish of his quest to run all the marked trails in the harriman state park system! it was a great day and i met a bunch of his other running friends in the process. here is todd's recap of his adventure (a fuller version is in the works for his blog).

As some of you rundangerously readers may know, I have spent the majority of the 2010 running season building a relationship with the mountains of the Lower Hudson Valley. In a quest that I began unwittingly sometime in mid-May, and which took on formality in early July, I have endeavored to run all of the marked/maintained trails of Harriman State Park in one season. According to most credible sources, the current trail system - maintained so wonderfully by the NY/NJ Trail Conference - comprises approximately 240 miles of trails. These trails range in difficulty from reasonably easy woods roads to highly technical single-track trails, but leaning much more heavily toward the highly technical. And so it was with this knowledge that I undertook the project of completing all of the trails.

To make the accomplishment "official", I have kept track of my progress via a large map of the park system, which I have detailed with appropriately colored map pins to indicate trails which I've completed. In addition, I spent the latter two thirds of the project documenting each of the runs via a blog, "Into the Woods," which recaps each run, including photos from the trails. I had certainly been a trail runner prior to this season, having run the Escarpment Trail Run five times, using some of these very trails as training ground. But this year (and this project) has taken my trail running to a whole new place. Since June, I've run less than 25% of my total mileage on the roads, and I have to confess that I don't miss the pavement one bit.

A few weeks ago, I decided that in order to give myself the necessary focus, I should set a goal completion date of November 28th. Once that 'monkey' was out there, I knew that I had to live up to the commitment that I'd made to myself to get this done. And so, over the past few weeks, I have hastened my schedule, averaging about 5-6 hours a week out on the trails in an effort to knock out the last 25% of the project. My second-to-last run was last Monday, when I ran up and over Bear Mountain twice on the Appalachian and Major Welch trails. That run was the one that I essentially viewed as my "final run," knowing that yesterday's run would basically just be my "victory lap around the stadium." And so it was... :)

I had invited all of my runner friends in the area to join me on the final day. And to my delight, many did. Almost 30 of us in all ran across the meadow in the Elk Pen to begin the party that would be this run. And a party it was! We had runners from NY City, Connecticut, Sullivan County, and even five folks from Albany! As we traversed the trail, groups formed, mainly according to speed and ability. Some of the groups got lost. One group (the "A" group) even got lost somewhat permanently. ;) But in the end, everyone found their way back to the Elk Pen, where there was plenty of food and beer, and certainly lots of laughter and talk of the trails. The consensus seemed to be that you would have had to be in a coma not to have had a good time. And although that metaphor is somewhat ‘coarse,’ it pretty much sums up the spirit of the day.

The question people are asking me now is "What's next? Where do you go from here, Todd?", and I can't say that I know the answer to that at the moment. But I have great faith that the answer will manifest itself in due time. Yes, I will keep running these trails. And I will keep on sharing my enthusiasm and spirit for the trails with my running brethren. And in the end, I know the answer will come.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

todd's harriman state park "completion" run!

what a fantastic day to spend on the trails! todd invited a bunch of his friends to harriman state park to run with him as he finished up the last of the marked/maintained trails of the park system. the distance covered was about 5 miles - of technical trails, steep climbs and descents, water crossings, and spectacular views. when it was finished ("completed") we celebrated with some post-race food, beer and socializing.

here is some news coverage of todd's quest; race report to follow.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 bedford turkey trot 5k: race photos and results

this morning was another yeare volunteering at, instead of running, the bedford turkey trot. while in prior years i've been at the pre-registration table handing out bibs, this year was a little different. instead of pre-race duties, emmy and i were given the timing clocks to set-up and man at the mile markers. we waited at the top of the hill for the horn to sound, started the clocks, then drove out the markers and waited for the runners.

i took mile one and emmy was at mile two. the first runner reached me at 5:09 and the last one came through at 16:02. as soon as the sag wagon passed, i took the clock and jogged back the start. jogging while lugging a bulky timing clock was an interesting experience to say the least! it was a fun morning.

i'll add a link to the results once they're posted.

Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 thanksgiving marathon: race photos and results

yesterday kicked off with a trip to van cortlandt park - and a great 10k+ trail run (10.56 miles). i ran one loop of the 4 that make up the thanksgiving day marathon - a brand new fa event that i learned of less than a week earlier. the hardiest runners did 4 loops of the hilly (and sometimes technical) course for a full marathon. others did 2 loops for a half marathon. the rest completed one for the 10k. every runner received a proportionate sized fork after finishing.

so many familiar faces at this one. just to list a few - emmy, phil, grant, stella, charlotte (and her daughter), joe, lisa, laura, and lucimar (each running various distances). i'll post a short race (fun run?) report.

results were complied on the honor system. each runner recorded her time in a guest book. here are the results .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving :D

happy thanksgiving everyone! this is one of my favorite holidays (as is any holiday where family and friend gather around the dinner table and spend lots of time eating great food)!!

part of the holiday tradition involves a morning race, a pre-dinner calorie burn, if you will. this time i'm headed down to van cortlandt park for an informal 10k - while the die hard runners will be running a full (or half) marathon. it's a switch from my plan to run the gateway gobbler in greenwich. and either race is a drop down in distance from the mhrrc turkey trot 25k rob, emmy and i ran last year!

then it's back to the house to start work on thanksgiving dinner. lots of family coming this afternoon; including mom, my brother and his family, and my sister-in-law and her family. should be a great time. and i hope everyone else has just as great a day :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

tweaking the remaining november race schedule

this should actually read "rewriting" the remaining november race schedule. i had planned on the gateway gobbler 6 miler tomorrow and the cow chip xc 4 miler on saturday to close out the races for november. but a new event, the thanksgiving marathon, is on for tomorrow. not only is it at a great location, van cortlandt park, but it's FREE - and includes shorter distances.

i'm opting for the shortest distance, the 10k (one loop). i may go for a second loop and move up to the half marathon - but my real concern tomorrow is getting home early enough to put the turkey in the oven and start working on our dinner. so the marathon itself is pretty much out of the question because i won't get home before one!

on saturday, instead of running the cow chip xc 4 miler, i'll return to bedford and volunteer at their turkey trot 5k. i've volunteered there for the past couple of years and decided to keep up the tradition - so to speak. once the race goes off, we typically run the course backwards to get in a workout as well.

then, on sunday, i'll head over the tappen zee bridge for todd's "completion" run. it's more of a celebration as todd completes the last few miles of the trail system he's been systematically running over the last few months. aside from the running, there'll be a good deal of socializing as well :D

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 jfk 50 miler: race report

The 48th (2010) edition of the JFK 50 Miler was my third time running the point to point course from Boonsboro to Williamport, Maryland, the bulk of which traces the contours of the C & O Towpath. It would have been my fourth JFK if I had gotten accepted into the 2008 edition - instead my lottery entry for that year was rejected. Thanks guaranteed entry because of my time at the Caumsett Park 50K, I signed up for JFK over the summer. At that time I didn’t think I’d be line up for the race undertrained and unprepared for the distance. But, be that as it may, I was still glad to be there!

My major concern centered on the drop off in mileage over the past month and a half. I had logged over 200 miles a month for the entire year heading into October. Then, sidetracked for a week of no running because of the Flu that kicked off the month, my weekly mileage dropped over the ensuing weeks. When I returned from an extended trip to Bangkok, I found myself unexpectedly lining up for the Bimbler’s Bluff 50K! While not a great way to taper for the NYC Marathon two week ahead, it was still a great event, despite my slowest 50K performance to date.

I didn’t fair much better at the NYC Marathon - an annual event on my race calendar. Whether it was too slow a recovery from the 50K, low mileage, or a combination therefrom, the 3:51 finish was my second slowest NYC Marathon. The following week I traveled to Berlin, and managed to log just over 6 miles on that trip. I arrived back home on Wednesday, and drove down to Maryland with Emmy on Friday! Hardly much time to recover from the jet lag - but I was still game for the race.

While those were my pre-race concerns, I’ve run enough races to know whatever pre-occupations dog you going into an event - banish them once the gun goes off. The JFK 50 Miler is basically 3 separate races - 15 miles on the trail (with some roads mixed in), 26 miles on the towpath, and a final 8 miles on the roads. My target was 3/5/2 - 3 hours on the trail, 5 hours on the towpath, and 2 hours on the last stretch - for a 10 hour finish. It seemed doable - but certainly ambitious under circumstances (that’s what I ran in 2007, but slower than my 2006 performance).

I ran the entire distance in trail shoes because the race organizers don’t provide for drop bags. My biggest gripe about this race is not having the opportunity to switch out of trail, and into road, shoes before starting off on the towpath section. If you have a crew, or club support, that becomes a moot point. For everyone else it’s a issue. In 2006 I ran with trail shoes. In 2007 I ran the course in road shoes - and that was a big mistake. Trail shoes the entire way is the lesser evil.

Weather-wise we had great conditions. I wore way too much (two long-sleeved tech shirts and a vest) and suffered for that decision. Even so, I really can’t remember any point during the day that I would have ditched more than one of the tech shirts. It was pretty windy on the towpath - and it did get a little chilly when it got dark out. That said, it was outstanding running weather! I just wasn’t in a position to really take advantage of it.

There were a lot of friends at this edition. Friday night, after a 5 and a half hour drive, Emmy and I went straight to packet pick-up (in 2008 she arrived too late and had to get her stuff race morning). Marge, Susan, Laura, and Tammy (swimming in hotel pool) were there at the time. We ran into Lucimar on the way out. After some Chinese food for dinner, it was an early night. A 5:15 wake-up call, then out the door just after 6 - with two glazed donuts in my belly for a pre-race breakfast! At the start we met up with Elaine - but didn’t catch sight of anyone else (Marge, Susan, and Lucimar opted for the 5 AM start).

I ran the first 2 and a half mile up the trail head with Emmy and Elaine. That road stretch took just over 28 minutes. Elaine went on ahead and then Emmy and I ran with Mat and Joe for a good stretch of the trail (walking together up to the cell tower). Our little group broke up heading down to the Gaitherton Gap (I wouldn’t see Emmy again until I was exiting the towpath at 42 miles!). I climbed out of the Gap with Mat, and then he eventually went on ahead.

I reached the Weaverton Cliffs at 3 hours - slightly behind schedule since I still had to descend the switchbacks! Unfortunately, I was stuck behind a line of runner (not that I had any intention of sprinting along the switchbacks). I reached the start of the towpath in 3:16 - slightly behind schedule. The towpath itself has individual mile markers - a mixed blessing. We start at roughly marker 59 and exit the towpath just beyond marker 84. I learned later, that there is an 8 foot elevation gain between each lock on the canal - which explained why it seemed that I was constantly staring uphill along the towpath!

The towpath was my toughest stretch - mentally. After the half way point I kept imaging myself in time trouble (“omg, I don’t think I finish this thing in 12 hours!” kept playing in my head). Along the towpath I would see Mat, Elaine, and Joe here and there. Later, approaching the “38 Special” aid station (mile 38) I ran into Bob, a fellow B.U.S. member. That was the extent of my socializing for the middle section of the race. I had reached the half way point (mile 24.8 aid station) in 4:57:45 - just shy of a sub 10 hour pace.

I spent most of the second half of the towpath counting mile markers. The high point was the “38 special” aid station - where my appetite finally returned. I ate, in no particular order, jelly bellies, gummie bears, red orange slices (that I at first thought were grapefruit), pretzel sticks, downed some mountain dew, and finished up some chicken soup! My somewhat full stomach slowed me down for a mile or so, but I was very excited to reach end of the towpath! I had promised myself that once I exited the towpath, I’d let myself walk - as long as I felt like it!!

So much for expectations! Just as I had my reflecting vest put on by a volunteer and was leaving the aid station, Emmy surprised me! I was already elated to be done w/the towpath - and have only 8 miles left - but this was an added bonus. Little did I know that she had no intention of walking. It took 5:23 to finish the towpath. Cumulatively, I was 8:39 into the race (39 minutes off pace). If I hit the 2 hour target I would finish in 10:39 - which, given my strong desire to start walking, didn’t seem likely at that point.

Amazingly, by hook or crook, I found myself continuing to run - mostly because Emmy kept insisting we could run it in at a 12 minute pace by then. I was almost incredulous as we continued to knock off the miles. At this point in the race the markers are reversed, noting how many more miles are left to go (8, 7, 6, and so on). When it started to get dark, I actually knocked off a sub 10 minute mile (mainly because I wanted get off the unlit country road before it got too dark to see). It was funny get some grief from Emmy at that point because I was running too fast. And we sped up again at the last aid station, with 1.5 miles to go, knocking off that remaining distance in 16 minutes! We finished the last stretch in 1:58 - 2 minutes faster than targeted!

Even the last quarter mile was interesting because a volunteer attempted to direct Emmy in the final turn, crossing an intersection in the process. They actually got into a mild shouting match! Hard to imagine Emmy losing her temper - however briefly - and yelling at a volunteer. Aside from that bit of excitement, we crossed the finish in 10:37! Although in my rush to get inside and change out of my wet clothes, I forgot to give back my chip. I had to revisit the finish to have it clipped off before taking the bus back to Boonsboro.

Post-race was fun. Inside the gym was Joe (who had finished his 10th JFK - woo hoo!), Mat, Elaine, and Lucimar. In an interesting twist on the post-race food, they added burritos to the menu. So I had a slice of pizza and a burrito before calling it a day. All in all, a successful day at the races :D

here are my race photos.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 jfk 50 miler: race photos and results

my 3rd jfk 50 miler is in the books. at 10:37:13 it's the slowest one. the running gods exacted a heavy toll on my performance this time around because jfk was my third consecutive marathon/ ultra (on the heels of bimbler's bluff 50k and the nyc marathon) in the last month that i ran both undertrained and underprepared. it's time to get back to basics - more training and fewer races (and this will be easier since no business travel planned for the foreseeable future). even though this one was a tough race to gut out, it was still a great day to be outside - and at was a fun time regardless of my finish time :D

here is my race report; and here are the preliminary results.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

pardon jim morrison?!

if all goes as planned, the doors of posthumous pardon may finally open for jim morrison - more than 40 years after he was convicted of misdemeanor incident exposure and profanity charges (he was acquitted of others) and sentence to six months in jail. while morrison's onstage behavior was gross and disgusting, his prosecution was vile and politically inspired. the ny times has an interesting story on the atmosphere surrounding the news, which includes an interview with one of morrison's defense counsel.

morrison never served any of the six month sentence, the decision was still on appeal when he died in paris of a herion overdose the following year. the florida clemency board meets on december 9 and will decide whether to grant the pardon. doors and jim morrison fans have petitioned for his pardon in previous years and under earlier governors. but this is is the first time a florida governor (albeit with less than 2 months remaining on his term) has indicated that he is willing to grant the pardon.

hopefully the pardon will issue. then jim morrison can join the likes of legendary lenny bruce, who himself received a posthumous pardon in new york in 2004, from then governor george pataki, for his 1964 obscenity conviction that stemmed from bruce's comic performance!

pardon jim morrison!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

escape from berlin?!

what an interesting experience - to put it mildly - i had at tegel airport. for the first time in all my travels near and far, i was pulled out of line at security and taken to a customs office to have my carry on bag inspected (actually, it was my computer). it wasn't a big deal in retrospect - but in real time following the customs agent out of the gate and back to his office was way out of my typical airport comfort zone!

to put it in context, i had gone to the airport with a bunch of my colleagues (we were all on the same flight back to jfk). we checked in, cleared customs, and were on the same security check line together. i cleared the scan (and body pat down) without incident. but as i waited for my bag to come off the conveyor belt, the inspector called over an agent, pointed to me, had a quick chat in german, and off i went with him (i did get to put my shoes and belt back on).

he didn't speak english (or opted not to) but was pleasant enough as we walk back thru the customs area i had just cleared, through the gate, and into the terminal to another customs office. they had me open up my computer and pull out my adapters and other electrical cords. these were all dusted, put on a card, and that card was fed into a scanner which proceeded to test for what i suspect was gun powder residue!

after 30 seconds the machine gave a negative reading - phew! i was "cleared" - and after i packed up my stuff, the original agent accompanied me back to the security check. he took me to the front of the line, but i still had to have my bag passed through the machine again, and i too was patted down a second time when i went through the metal detector. the entire episode lasted, at most, 10-15 minutes.

when i got home, in what may be totally unrelated, my checked bag had been opened and examined! this i became aware of when i found the customs paperwork (bi-lingual) in the bag that explained it had been check - and cleared - and this was my official receipt, if you will. an interesting bit of reading on the tail end of the gunpowder test!

but none of it took away from the great time i had in berlin :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

berlin: day four

for most of the trip the weather was pretty gray, including drizzle and occasional light rain. on day four it became outright rain and wind - all day long. since most of the day was spent inside at meetings, it wasn't too bad. it wasn't until after we finished dinner (at ottenthal, an excellent austrian restaurant) walking back to the hotel, that we could finally put away the umbrellas.

despite the spotty weather, it's been a great trip. now it's time to head home :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

berlin: day three

day three included some time at the convention center in the morning at the world lung foundation booth. afterwards, andy, jack, marc, and i did some sight-seeing. later that afternoon we were back at the conference center for a meeting and conference call. we ended the day with group dinner at cafe des artistes.

on the running front, didn't get in any miles. except for the 10k on the treadmill in the hotel gym, haven't done much running :(

berlin: day two

after all the activity of the first day here, i looked forward to a more relaxed pace on my second day. i had a late breakfast w/marc and peter, then set off on the m45 bus to spandau where i was met by my very old friend, phil. i spent the afternoon w/him and his family (his lovely wife, maria, and daughter, frances).

back in the summer of 1984 i spent just over a week w/phil in berlin. those were some good times. when he took me to the reichstag, it was on the opposite side of the wall from the brandenberg gate (which i gazed at from an observation platform at the time). so it was with a mild sense of awe that i walk from one to the to the other the day before i visited with him.

maria made a great dinner for us and, aferwards, phil drove me back to my hotel. i got in my first run - albeit in the hotel gym - of 10k later that night. hopefully, my next run will be outside, at the teirgarten...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

berlin: day one photos

day one in berlin included sight-seeing, business, and socializing. here is a sampling of pictures (i'll post the rest on facebook). after a quick lunch at a neighborhood pub, dicke wertin (where we would return to a few more times during our stay), i went to the reichstag, brandenburg gate and a few more nearby attractions w/marc. we got back to our hotel only to head right back out to a conference reception at a nearby hotel. from there our little group went out a fantastic little restaurant, belmondo, for dinner (where jack and i had frog legs for appetizers). dinner was followed by a few nightcaps at our hotel bar and a late night return to dicke wertin to meet up w/a few more friends... phew!