Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 westport summer series 10 miler: race photos & results

weather conditions for this edition of the westport summer series 10 miler were pretty tough - so humid it seemed like we were running under water during the first few miles of the race!  the only saving grace, despite the heat and humidity, the sky was overcast for most of the race.  even so, this 10 mile loop course is one of my favorite races - at any distance!

while i had hoped to run 7:30 miles and finish in 1:15 or so, i dialed back my expectations to 7:45 miles and a 1:17:30 finish in the face of the heat and humidity.  but, two especially tough miles along bayberry lane dashed any hopes of a sub 1:17:30 finish.  but i rallied back and managed a 1:18:20, 7:50 pace, for the distance.  not what i wanted... but good enough for the circumstances :D

i'll write up a short race report soon,

here are the race results from westport road runners.

the rest of my photos are up on facebook.

Monday, August 26, 2013

our newly minted college freshman!

well, it's official now - katie is a college freshman!  pat and i drove home yesterday, after 2+ days of helping her settle in to the dorm and her new surroundings at the university of michigan, ann arbor. it's hard to believe how fast the time flew by.  forget middle school and high school, and even elementary school - i can still picture katie in pre-school, as if was only yesterday!  it's going to take me a while to realize this isn't like dropping her off at summer camp and then picking her up 6 weeks later! 

as is obvious - we're very proud of her :D

Sunday, August 25, 2013

blue tractor bbq & brewery - once again!

when we visited the blue tractor bbq & brewery in june, pat and i came for lunch.  last night, along with katie, we went back the blue tractor for dinner.  as always, i love to try samplers - so i had another go at their 6 beer sampler.  i had the 4 regular selections plus two seasonal choices.  of the 6, the "lime flew over the cucu's nest" witbier was fantastic.  i'm a big fan of wheat beers in general - but this one, with a lime twist, incorporated cucumbers (hence, what i would suspect the "cuco" is about).

here are the six sampled:

smokehouse amber
bumper crop ipa
bearded pig cream ale
pitmaster porter
tiger cub session ipa
lime flew over the cuco's nest

while the tiger cub session ipa was also good, i'm not generally into ipa's.  on the food side, don't miss the fried green tomatoes appetizer!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

grizzly peak brewing company, ann arbor :D

on my third trip to ann arbor, dinner at the grizzly peak brewing company was my forth visit to a brewpub in this fantastic town.  i had planned on lunch at grizzly peak during my june trip here - but it was closed for renovations at the time.  no problem, because the blue tractor bbq & brewery was, literally, just a few doors down the street.

but grizzly peak was definitely worth the wait - if only for the elk burger that i had to go along with my 9 beer sampler - the full flight, so to speak (samplers varied from 5 to 9 selections).  my selection included not only the ginger beer, but a gravity pulled ginger beer infused w/peppercorns (my favorite of the bunch).

here are the nine i sampled:

victor's gold
gizzly peak pale ale
steelhead red
bear paw porter
blah blah ginger beer
anniversary black ale
county cork's irish stout
hms sheerwater ipa
gravity pulled ginger beer w/peppercorns.

as mentioned, the ginger beer infused w/peppercorns was my favorite, followed by the regular blab blah ginger beer.  the novelty of ginger beer added to my interest - i had only tried this stuff once, years ago.  the rest of the selections were good - among them, the pale ale and ipa were excellent.

in addition to the beer selection - the food was great.  i couldn't pass up the elk burger - again mostly for the sheer novelty.  but that burger was fantastic!

don't pass up a visit here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

greetings from ann arbor - again :D

we arrived in ann arbor late last night - just after 11 (and a drive that took us 10+ hours!).  it's our 3rd trip to michigan in the last 5 months.  today is the big day for katie - she officially move into her dorm room at the university of michigan - and transforms into a college student!  it's the start of a great new chapter in her life (and ours, as we suddenly join the ranks of empty nesters)!

after all the moving business is take care of this morning, maybe i'll get a chance to visit another ann arbor brewpub for lunch :D  stay tuned...

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 norwalk summer series 11 miler: race report

somewhat surprisingly, the norwalk summer series 11 miler on saturday was my longest road race of the summer (excluding the brooklyn half marathon in may and the escarpment trail run 30k).  the 7:20 pace i ran at the westport summer series 6.85 miler last weekend led me to think that i could run this one at a 7:30 pace. but the 2 martinis and glass of port with dessert weren't the ideal pre-race hydration plan!  when i woke up saturday morning, i found myself a little less than enthusiastic about the race on the drive over to norwalk.  i reset my expectations with a 7:45 pace and just wanted to run a sub-1:25 effort.

despite my plan to dial back expectations, i still went out with a 7:30 pace in mind.  the double loop course is tough - with not just a long climb up comstock hill road, but a short very steep hill at mill road.  the first 5.5 mile loop wasn't the problem - keeping it together for the the second one was.  i went out too fast with a 7:15 first mile, and eased back in mile 2, with a 7:50.  that gave me a 15:06 split, 7:33 pace - right where i wanted to be.  but mile 3 was short - i didn't run a 6:31 mile (which is what my watch showed).

then i missed the mile 4 marker entirely!  it wasn't until mile 5 (after a 2 mile split of 16:07) in 37:45 that i was still on a solid 7:33 pace.  mile 6 was another good mile in 7:21, and actually brought down my pace a couple of seconds to 7:31.  but that would be my last sub-7:30 mile for the race.  in fact, with only 4 miles left, it only took 2 miles to knock the wheels off my bus.  i ran a 7:50 mile 7, for a 52:56 split.  i bounce back with a 7:38 mile 8, but it was a short-lived effort.

the next two miles (9 and 10) were the slowest - a pair of 8+ minute efforts (8:09 and 8:29).  mile 10 included the second climb up mill road.  while i nominally ran up that hill, i may have done equally as well if i had just walked it! but i rallied back in the final mile, shook off the slow last 2 miles and finished up with a solid 7:39 mile.  my 1:24:54 just squeaked in under 1:25 (with a 7:44 overall pace).

while i wasn't especially happy with miles 9 and 10 (and, to a lesser extent, mile 7), the rest of the race was fine - and i pretty much held a 7:30-35 pace.  overall, i was more than pleased with the outcome.  while i'm a long way off from the days when i ran this course in sub 1:20's - the days of my chronic compartment syndrome are, thankfully, in the rear view mirror :D

here is the link to the race photos and results.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 norwalk summer series 11 miler: race photos and results

we had some great weather to run the norwalk summer series 11 miler this morning - maybe the nicest conditions of the 5 races this summer, actually.  the hilly double loop course is probably the toughest of the series (a toss-up with the double loop half marathon next month, which is, technically, not part of the summer series).

i was happy to run a 1:24:54, 7:44 pace, for the 11 miles.  i ran 7:30's for the first 7 or so miles and slowed over the final 3-4 miles.  it was good enough for 4th place in my age group :D

her are the race results from lightfoot runners.

the rest of my photos are posted on facebook.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

nine for ix documentaries on espn - "runner"

i watched the premier of "runner" last night - a documentary on the career of mary decker-slaney, which is part of espn's "nine for ix" film series.  it was an incredible time capsule - with archival footage of a young mary decker in the 1970's and of decker in her running prime in the 1980's.  the bulk of the film centered on her - shall we say, w/the benefit of hindsight - now "infamous" performance at the 1984 summer olympic games in los angeles.  in practically an instant she went from the queen of american running to a poster child for an ungracious sore loser! it was painful to watch her blame game in the wake of the 3000 meters.

ironically, back in 1984 i was hardly obsessed with running (seriously), and mostly ran 3-4 miles a few times a week in lower manhattan.  the highlights of my runs were loops around the world trade center or out and backs over the brooklyn bridge from my dorm room at pace university.  and while the summer games were in the united states, i spent most of that summer traipsing across europe with the benefit of my eurorail pass.  i came back in early august, just in time for the games.

like most, my only awareness of mary decker at that time was from what i had read in the papers in the lead up to the games.  as the documentary points out, the media built up mary's race as a showdown with zola bud - a running phenomena/prodigy from south africa.  plenty of controversy surrounded zola's appearance at the games as a member of the british team.  she had somehow gone from a banned south african runner to a passport holding brit (said passport obtained in just 10 days, instead of the typical 2 year wait).

in any event, the 3000 meter race would be less stressful for the both of them because soviet union had decided to return jimmy carter's favor of boycotting the 1980 moscow games and, in turn, boycott the los angeles summer games.  a cold war tit for tat.  as it turned out, decker wasn't the only one knocked out of the "running."  while she was writhing in pain on the infield, zola dropped from leading the pack down to a 7th place finish.  instead of the predicted one-two finish (toss-up for the order), neither one medaled.

but while zola tried to apologize for the incident, decker wanted no part of it.  rather than accept a bad day, bad outcome, whatever euphemism you'd like to employ, decker's first instinct was to lodge a protest.  that lead to zola's initial disqualification - which was subsequently reversed once the officials review the tape and concluded she wasn't responsible for mary's fall.  rather than accept that determination and move on, she continued to maintain that "there was no doubt" zola was responsible.  a more ungracious and unsportsmanlike moment couldn't be scripted.

decker took the next 3 months off to recover and plan her wedding.  she was married on january 1, 1985, and proceeded to win ever race (and collect a few american and world records in the process) she ran that year!  those races included decisive victories over her former summer olympic opponents.  she was a woman on a mission to prove she was still the world's best - and did it convincingly.

but despite participating 4 olympics, she never brought home a medal.  it brings up the classic dilemma of a runner (athlete) who is spectacular on the field, but can't medal at the olympics. is she any less great?  of course not.  steve prefontaine, america's greatest runner - in my opinion (and hopefully shared by others) - didn't medal in his olympic appearance.  is he thought of any less?  the mark on decker's career, unfortunately, will always be her petulant conduct in the wake of that disastrous 3000 meter race.  is that fair - probably not.

that's especially true because, as of today - in 2013, mary decker still holds the american record in the mile, 1,500 meters, and 3000 meters.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

2013 westport summer series 6.85 miler: race photos & results

it was back to compo beach for the westport summer series 6.85 miler.  i ran the 4.1 mile race there just 3 weeks ago.  it was another record turnout for a summer series race!

i had no real time goal in mind.  i ran the norwalk summer series 7 miler at a 7:35 pace last month - which was well off my target of a 7:30 pace.  i figured, given the better weather conditions for this race, i'd want to run a sub-7:30 pace - but push to finish in sub-50.  even walking up the hill just before mile 4 (my slowest mile in 7:50), i managed to squeeze in 50 minutes!  last year i ran this course in 53+ minutes - so my 49:48 finish was a pleasant surprise!

here are the race results from westport road runners.

here are the rest of my photos posted on facebook.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

2013 sgt. keith ferguson memorial 5k: race photos and results

what a fantastic morning to run over the brooklyn bridge!  i ran the sgt. keith ferguson memorial 5k back in 2010 and have wanted to come back to run it since.  with my office right across the street from city hall park, and pace university right next to the bridge itself, it's hard to resist.
i didn't really have any time goal in mind, having done the nyrr club team championships 5 miler yesterday.  but i hoped to run it in under 22 minutes.  that target seemed out of reach during the very crowded first half mile. but when the pack finally thinned out, i managed to get into a groove.  on the downside, there were no mile markers!  still, i managed to finish in 21:33, a 6:57 pace - which really surprised me since my watch read 21:38 (a 6:58 pace).  regardless, both were faster than the 5k i ran 2 weeks ago at purchase college :D


the rest of my photos are posted on facebook.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2013 nyrr club team championships: race photos and results

it was a cooler for the club team championships this year - helped no doubt by the on again, off again drizzle.  in a twist, the races began a half hour later than usual - men at 8:30 and women at 9:30!  had i paid attention to the change, i could have taken a later train into the city ;D

in the wake of the escarpment trail run last weekend, i had to revise my goal time for this race.  that revision was easy - with my quads still sore - just finish and collect race #7 on the road to 9+1 for 2013.  then i was pleasantly surprised with my 36:49 finish - 10 seconds faster than my 5 mile split at the nyrr queens 10k 2 weeks ago!

but the best part of the morning was the post-race socializing :D

here are the results for the men's race
here are the results for the women's race

here are the rest of my photos on facebook.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

august 2013 race schedule

as i write this, my quads are still sore 3 days after the escarpment trail run - which may make the pair of races this weekend all the more challenging!  saturday is the nyrr club team championship 5 miler.  that one is race number 7 for my 2013 9+1 requirement. the best part of this event is the post-race socializing - not only w/my taconic teammates, but all the other club teams that turn out! 

the next morning i head back into the city for the sgt. keith ferguson memorial 5k.  this race is run over the brooklyn bridge.  i first ran it in 2010 and have finally gotten a chance to come back. the race is staged at city hall park - right across the street from my office!  the only downside is it conflicts with the taconic biathlon, which i would otherwise not want to miss.

i'm not sure about the following week.  i'd like to participate in the catskill 100k relay if i can get on team.  but the logistics for that one are a bit challenging.  otherwise i'll probably head over to westport for the summer series 6.85 miler on saturday.  the following weekend is the norwalk summer series 11 miler.  it will be only my 3rd of the 5 races in the norwalk series this summer, having missed the 3 and 9 milers.

a surprise entry on the august calendar is the brand new fa cove island marathon, which is part of an 8 hour run also being staged, in stamford, ct.  i'm pretty excited about running a marathon again - the last one i race was the roxbury marathon last december!

and, last but not least, on the last day of the month is the westport 10 miler on labor day weekend.  this, as i've often said, is one of my all-time favorite races.  a tough, hilly loop - in typically hot and humid summer conditions. it's also the final race in the westport summer series.

here's how it looks so far:

8/3 - nyrr club team championships, 5 miles
8/4 - sgt. ferguson memorial 5k
8/10 - westport summer series, 6.85 miler
8/17 - norwalk summer series, 11 miler
8/24 - cove island marathon
8/31 - westport 10 miler

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