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!