Wednesday, May 30, 2012

croton dam marathon: race report

it would be something of an understatement to say that running the croton dam marathon was a major change in race distance for the memorial day weekend. i had planned to run the jim fixx 5 miler on monday (and had still been undecided about the weston 5k on saturday). then, on wednesday, michael oliva posted to the new york trail & ultra running meet-up group that he was organizing the weekend event (together with the shorter distance race).  weather concerns aside, i was in!

the course, which started and finished on top of the croton dam, was essentially a 6.55 mile out and back. roughly a third was on pavement/macadam roads and the remaining two-thirds on dirt road.  most of the dirt road portion was tree shaded.  in addition to the water and aid at the start/finish there was another unmanned water/aid station a the 3.275 mile turnaround point.  despite the "relatively" short distance, i carried a 22 ounce water bottle with me.

runners parked in croton gorge park and walk about three quarters of a mile up a series of dirt switchbacks to reach to top of the dam.  as we approached the start, about a half dozen runners went by - we were late a bit late to the start.  there were about 5 of us who took off in what could be called the second wave - with mike taking up the rear in case there were any last minute starter.  most of the runners in the first wave, as it turned out, only ran the first leg (6.55 miles).

i briefly toyed with the idea of a 4 hour target.  that would have meant sub-30 minute 3.275 legs (or an hour for each of the four out and backs).  when the first 3.275 leg took 31:13 and the return leg took 30:24, i quickly readjusted my sights to a 4:15 marathon.  that said, even the 4:15 target eventually proved to be overly optimistic given the heat and humidity.  mid-way through the first leg i was soaked to the bone in sweat - and remained sopping wet throughout the entire race!

here are my splits:

30:24  1:01:37
31:37  1:33:14
32:04  2:05:19
35:41  2:41:00
37:53  3:18:53
39:22  3:58:16
42:38  4:40:54

10:44 pace

at the half marathon point, with a 2:05 split, it was still possible to run a 4:15 marathon.  but once i started off on the 3rd out and back, that quickly became unrealistic.  the second half split, 2:35, pretty much summed up how much the weather negatively impacted my overall performance.  i took in plenty of fluids (in addition to drinking at the aid stations, i went through more than half of my hand held between the two locations).  but is still managed to get dehydrated.  nutrition-wise, it didn't help that all i had to eat was a chocolate gu and a pack of welch's gummies!  i had no appetite - and couldn't bring myself to eat.

still, despite the seeming death march of my last out and back- i was incredibly happy to have done the full marathon.  at one point i would have been more than pleased to just finish the half.  but once i headed out on the third out and back, it really turned into a challenge to finish the thing.  that said, the 4:40:54 turned out to be my slowest road marathon ever.  it easily eclipsed my previous personal worst at the 4:27 at sri chimnoy marathon - multiple loops of rockland lake in the heat of august!

these two pictures of me (finishing and done) are courtesy of ben ko :D

Monday, May 28, 2012

new york running show podcast: the croton dam marathon

last night's eposide (#77) of the ny running show started off with only joe and me.  joe covered some local items and recent news from the ny road runners (including the recent posting of their most recent form 990 tax return).  i covered the croton dam marathon, which was held up at croton gorge park on saturday.  midway through, we were joined by steve, and included a brief look back at the "need for speed" relay that spanned westchester county!

the croton dam races were put together by mike olivia and filled a major gap that developed since the nyc parks department killed the free holiday marathon races at van cortlandt park.  this is the second location (after the christmas races were held in tibbets brook park in yonkers) to host a free holiday marathon in the wake of leaving van cortlandt park!

listen to, or download, episode 77 from talkshoe.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

croton dam marathon: race photos and results

this morning i ran the croton dam marathon, which began and ended at croton gorge park in cortlandt manor, new york. it was a tough day to run long - heat and high humidity. but an intrepid handful of runners completed the 4 out and back loops to cover the marathon distance. completely drenched from the start of the first out and back, i finally finished 26.2 miles in 4:40:54 - my slowest road marathon. i was the last of the 4 runners to complete the distance (a dozen or so others opted for the 6.55 miles or half marathon).

despite the tough weather, it was a great day! many thanks to mike oliva, who organized this event - which conveniently took the place of the, sadly, defunct memorial day marathon held in van cortlandt park last year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

todd's hudson river run: completed!!

yesterday, just after 5 pm, todd completed his epic 315 mile hudson river run at battery park.  todd symbolically capped off the adventure when he poured the contents of a vial of water from lake tear in the clouds on the face of mount marcy, that he had carried with him on the nine days of trek, into the harbor! 

the last leg began in nyack and included a run across the george washington bridge.  i joined up with todd on 83rd street and riverside park.  he had a great group of pacers with him throughout the day (tony, micah and mat covered the entire day's distance w/him).  when we reached the javits center, mat broke out a growler for some non-traditional rehydration :D

afterwards, the celebration continued at amity hall, in greenwich village!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

todd's hudson river run: day seven

yesterday tony, emmy and i spent the day running w/todd on his husdon river run.  todd was on the 7th leg of his nine day run that will spand the entire length of hudson river.

we met up with todd on route 9w, 5 miles into his run, in the town of esopus.  we ended the day, almost seven hours later, at painters tavern in cornwall-on-hudson - after todd had logged 34 miles for this stage of the run.  tony and i logged just over 29 miles.  emmy, who not only ran, but crewed as well, logged 21 miles!

todd's epic run will conclude on sunday - in battery park, nyc!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 brooklyn half marathon packet pick-up

yesterday i picked up the bib and tech shirt for the brooklyn half marathon. it was bit strange heading over there on wednesday, since most packet pick-ups are on thursdays and fridays. this time around, in an effort to accommodate the 15,000 strong field, nyrr added began the pick-up on tuesday.

the brooklyn half is one of my all time favorite races. logistically, however, it's a nightmare.  the early start (7 am) makes the trek down to prospect park from westchester a challenge (that said, it is a bit shorter than the trek to the old start - in coney island!). 

on the qualifying point side, this will be my fifth on the road to nine for 2013 (and i still need a volunteer credit).

as always, if you're at this one - say hello :D

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 japan run: race photos and results

it was with a sense of deja vu that i lined up for the japan run 4 miler this morning. the second 4 miler in as many weeks, preceded by a long race the prior week. this time around it was the long island marathon. the week before the run as one 4 miler it was the sybil ludington 50k. in hopes that i could repeat my 4 miler from two weeks ago, i set a sub-28 minute goal. that was pretty doable, but i missed it by 7 seconds. my 28:07, 7:02 pace, was 14 seconds slower than my "run as one" finish.  even so, i was happy with it :D

the only downside to this morning was i had to miss the mothers day 10k in norwalk.  it i hadn't fallen behind in collecting my nine nyrr races for 2013, that's the race i would have liked to run today.  be that as it may, it's all good!

happy mothers day!

here are the results from nyrr.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 japan run packet pick-up

i picked up not only the japan run bib and shirt yesterday, but also for the healthy kidney 10k. this rare double weekend of nyrr races would have been numbers 4 and 5 on the road to nine for 2013. but plans change, and as i mentioned in the earlier post, no healthy kidney race for me today. instead, tomorrow's 4 miler will be my 4th nyrr race of the year. and if plans don't change, the brooklyn half marathon will be race number 5 next weekend.

as always, if your at this one - aay hello :D

2012 healthy kidney packet pick-up

this post is really to show the tech shirt for this years edition of the healthy kidney 10 race in central park this morning. i had signed up for it as the 4th on my road to 9 nyrr races this year. but shortly after i registered, learned the my nephew's first communion is today - so instead of heading down to central park, i'm off to marlboro for the ceremony!

instead of a double weekend of nyrr races, i'll be at only one - the japan run tomorrow morning :D

Friday, May 11, 2012

2012 long island marathon: race report

when i ran the long island marathon in 2009 my 3:31:14 was just shy of my goal of a bq finish. i had that same goal in mind for the 2012 edition - to bq with a 3:30 finish. in between these races boston tightened the standards, shaving 5 minutes from the 50-54 age group. i'd really miss that extra 5 minutes. but, even if i had the extra time, i would still have have missed a bq. my 3:36:56 was almost 2 minutes off the old standard, 7 minutes off the new one.

that said, i really didn't go in with the expectation that i'd run a 3:30 that morning.  while i had done the distance work, i couldn't myself over to the track for any speed work in the months leading up to race.  my more realistic target was in the 3:40-3:45 range.  but even that goal seemed somewhat ambitious because my marathon split at the sybil ludington 50k was a 4:06 - not an overly auspicious time.  so the idea of running a string of 8 minute miles seemed more daunting than it should have.

as the day turned out, i had a great first twenty miles - and a relatively lackluster second 10k.  without getting too far ahead of myself, i reached 20 miles in 2:39:21 - and had 50+ minutes for the remaining 10k.  a 50 minute 10k is more than doable - it's pretty much the pace do my daily training runs.  but the lack of training took its toll and i took 57+ minutes to finish up.  it was mildly disappointing because i had run a solid first half, and got myself to twenty miles in decent shape.

by way of comparison, in 2009 i ran 1:46 for the half marathon split.  this time around it was a solid 1:41 - 5 minutes better.  my 20 mile split in 2009 was 2:41, so i managed to shave 2 minutes from that split this time around.  but the major difference was the final 10k - 50 minutes versus 57 minutes.  in 2009 i had averaged a 7 minute pace from miles 24 through 26.  this time around i my average pace for the last 5 miles didn't break the low 9 minutes!  i didn't have any leg speed left to speak of.

aside from the lack of speed work, the only other item that crossed my mind during the post-mortem was the wisdom of running the full 50k two weeks before the marathon.  i had planned on running the rely - only 15.5 miles instead of all 31 miles.  but in the final analysis, i don't think that decision was determinative because i had enough time to recover.  maybe is should have run fewer than the 24 miles in the week leading up to long island, but that too is speculative.

my gut feeling is that had i done the speed work, the last 10k would have been faster (or at least matched my prior performance and/or daily training pace).  in any event, despite missing the bq, it was my fastest marathon since the 3:25 at the 2009 maine marathon (my last bq).  so that brought a smile to my face.  now i need to find another marathon to run before september - if i want a shot at another bq before the registration window for the 2013 race opens up!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 long island marathon: race photos and results

i missed my target of 3:30 by almost 7 minutes at the long island marathon this morning.  my 3:36:56, 8:16 pace was, nevertheless, probably my fastest marathon in the last two+ years!  so i'm happy with that (it was actually a half hour faster than my marathon split at the sybil ludington 50k 2 weeks ago)!  i'll have to find another marathon to run before september if i want another shot at getting a bq in time for the 2013 application window.  we'll see.

i'll write up a short race report.  here are the race results from newsday.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"town of runners" documentary review

"town of runners" chronicles a 4 year span in the lives of a pair of aspiring ethiopian runners, together with the development of their small (but relatively famous) village over that same period.  the documentary premiered at the tribeca film festival and i had a chance to watch it last week - online, and free, thanks to the tribeca online fim festival!  in a word, it was sobering.  a sobering view of a world in which success at running was a means of survival!

the primary story focused on hawii and alemi, at the begining of what would hopefully become their running careers.  they train - as do all the other children from the village of bekoji- with coach eshetu.  he is a local hero to the villagers because he coached local runners to success at the olympics.  at the beijing olympics, runners from bekoji took home four gold medals in running events!

we see hawii and alemi at a regional meet.  hawaii is the stonger runner of the two at the competition. both girls are subsequently recruited to running clubs - which will provide them with room, board and a small stipend. but as fate would have it, alemi is assigned to a well-funded club and hawaii to one that the local village actively discourages (complete with unfinished living quarters and a scarcity of food for the runners). 

as one would expect, alemi flourihes in her new surrounding.  hawii, unfortunately, not only gets discouraged from the wretched surrounding, but also become physically ill. under the circumstances, it takes more than innate skill to succeed in something as straightforward as running.  hawii eventually finds herself back in bekoji and under the sympathic eye of eshetu.  her future as a runner isn't clear - although she remains optimist.

in fact, alemi - even with the advantage of a well-funded club system - isn't guaranteed a running career. the documentary, while relentlessly upbeat in tone, is anticlimatic.  so much so that one is almost left with a palpable sense of frustration (bordering on sadness) with the outcome.  that said, it's certainly worth seeing.  the cinematography alone is reason enough to watch "town of runners."  if you're a runner - at any distance, or level of competition - it's a film you'd enjoy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

may 2012 race schedule

the may schedule had originally included 3 nyrr races, but a conflict has cut that number down to just two: the japan day 4 miler and the brooklyn half marathon. i had registered for the healthy kidney 10k, but my nephew's first communion is on that day - so i'll be in church, not central park, that morning.

the month kicks off this weekend with the long island marathon.  i've run this one before (2009) and missed a bq by just a few seconds!  my goal, on the ambitious side given my training, is a 3:30 to bq.  we'll see how it turns out.  on the downside, it conflicts with one of my favorite races, the law day 5k in darien.

i haven't settled on a race for the memorial day weekend.  last year we had the memorial day marathon in van cortlandt park.  but since the free holiday marathon series seems to have gone kaput, i'll need to find another long race to run that weekend.  as it stands, i'll probably head over to greenwich for the jim fixx 5 miler on memorial day - another great race.

here's how it looks so far:

5/6 - long island marathon
5/13 - japan day 4 miler
5/19 - brooklyn half marathon
5/28 - jim fixx 5 miler

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