Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - the year in review

This is the first time as a runner that I'm writing an annual recap for my blog.  After the NYC Marathon, I almost wanted to give up blogging entirely, but Amy C convinced me to stick with it, if for nothing else than a personal record of my training, and a tool to chart my progress over time.  Thanks Amy...

When I kicked off 2011, I called it the Year of Rebuilding.  I had some heart drama in 2010, which resulted in an abrupt halt to training, three trips to the cath lab and a less than stellar NYC Marathon (personal worst by > 1 hour, a feat I hope never to repeat).  Following that, I dedicated 2011 to getting myself back to the levels of fitness that I had achieved prior to the heart problems.  Here's what I did:

  1. Ran 1,012.7 miles for the year.  Believe it or not, this is my highest mileage year since I've started running.  I have come to realize that if you want the results, you have to bank the miles.  I think 1,200 is a reasonable goal for next year - will see how it goes.
  2. Signed up with Coach PRSAri G used him, and has had a pretty remarkable progression as an athlete - so I decided to do it as well.  Coach PRS is a good coach, committed to his athletes, and really leverages technology and social media to create a sense of cameraderie among his clients.  I definitely see where having a coach makes you accountable to someone (makes you less likely to miss workouts), but at the same time, it created a greater sense of isolation, as I was frequently doing my workouts alone. I'll admit, I missed the cameraderie (and positive peer pressure) that I had built up with my NYC crew.  I'm going to stick with it in 2012 - my new job offers me less flexibility in my schedule, so I suspect that my group training would have fallen off organically anyway.
  3. Got my weight under control:  I had gained around 25 lbs during the heart drama of 2010, and developed some pretty awful eating habits.  Coach PRS suggested the Paleo for Athletes diet, which I followed pretty religiously.  Sure enough, the weight came off, quickly.  I am now at my lowest weight of adulthood, feeling great, and running well. I have slipped a bit since the marathons are over, but in 2012 I plan to recommit myself to the diet and get things back on track.
  4. Moved up a level with the Half Fanatics.  I joined in 2010 by running two half marathons in 15 days.  This year I ran 6 half marathons in 6 months.  I've learned that I really love the half distance - it is so much easier to recover from than a marathon, and doesn't require the intensive committment that marathon training requires.  Like Ari G, I think I'm a 1 marathon a year runner.
  5. Qualified for the Marathon Maniacs.  I did this by running the Brooklyn Marathon 2 weeks after the NYC Marathon.  I'm not sure that I'll do that again...but I had fun running both (in hindsight).  I also enjoyed running the Christmas Half in my new MM singlet.  People on the course definitely notice you when you are wearing it
  6. Set a half marathon PR (twice):  I set my first PR at the Yonkers Half (surprising, given how tough the course was supposed to be) and again at the Staten Island Half.  This was my key indicator that the Year of Recovery was actually paying off
  7. Set a marathon PR: Even though I didn't have the performance I would have liked in the NYC Marathon (blew my goal time by about 20 minutes due to cramping in mile 19), I still managed to eke out a 2 minute PR.  It was disappointing, but I'll take the PR.
What's coming in 2012?  I don't really know yet.  I ended the year with a bit of burnout on running and training.  I think that the stresses of my new job, family, change of seasons, lack of recovery from marathons, and a savage cold that has plagued my family for weeks have finally took their toll.  I'm hanging up my running shoes for the remaining days of 2011, and plan to revisit things when I re-start in 2012.  Here's what I know so far:

  1. Spring Half Marathon: TBD, but I'd like to focus my training for a spring half - I think a goal of 1:50:00 is tough, but achievable.  My current PR (set this fall) of 1:55:xx was set with 6 miles already on my legs.  With the right conditions, this one is ready to fall.
  2. Fall Marathon: TBD (likely Marine Corps):  I'm going to take a second attempt at a sub 4 marathon.  This early in the year, it's impossible to predict - but that's my goal, and I'll work to it.
  3. PR in a shorter distance:  I think a sub 25 min 5k or a sub 32 min 4 miler is within the realm of possibility, and should be achievable during training for my spring half.  I feel like my performance in the longer distances has consistently improved (as evidence by my half marathon PR) - I think it's time I focused more on top end speed, and the shorter distances.
  4. Run more local races.  I really enjoyed the races that I ran this year, and I no longer feel beholden to NYRR and the NYC Marathon.  I'd like to continue to branch out, check out other races, and enjoy the lower key, more intimate atmosphere that they offer.

In writing this, I feel like I had a better year than I currently recall (this was good therapy for the burnout I have been experiencing lately), and look forward to recommitting myself for an even better 2012.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The marathon continues to elude me...a tale of two races

After running the NYC Marathon this fall, I swore off race reports.  I didn't feel like what I had to say was really worth writing down, and to be honest, I didn't feel great about my performance in NYC.  In talking with Amy over the first 14 miles of the Brooklyn Marathon (more on that later), she convinced me that it was worth doing - if for nothing else than to have a record of my races for me to read later.

I'll start with a brief recap of the NYC Marathon.  Incredible weather, perfect conditions.  Ran the first 13 miles with Erika, then she succumbed to cramping, and I continued on my own.  Held my goal pace (9:05 min / mi for a 3:58 goal time) through around mile 19, and was hit with SAVAGE cramping to my left quad.  Climbing the bridge into the Bronx, I looked down and saw my quad literally pulsating, and it felt like someone was twisting a knife into my muscle.  I walked, stretched, massaged, you name it - but by the time I got it back under control, the damage had been done, and my goal time was shot.  I ran/walked the rest of the way and finished in 4:20:36, which still represents a 2 minute PR over my last marathon in Philadelphia in 2009. 

Crossing the finish line, I felt really disappointed with myself and really upset with my performance.  In retrospect, there wasn't much I could have done differently.  I have come to accept my race, and the 2 minute PR, and have moved on from there.  Which brings us to the Brooklyn Marathon.

The Brooklyn Marathon was everything that the NYCM was not.  It was a local race, for the people of New York.  There wasn't an over-the-top expo, there weren't wave starts (or even corrals for that matter) - just a local race.  There were so many people (like myself) who had completed the NYCM 2 weeks prior (even the winners in Brooklyn had just raced New York 2 weeks prior), but what was more impressive than that was the fact that there were a good number of people that had completed the Knickerbocker 60K in Central Park THE DAY BEFORE!

The atmosphere at the start was low-key and jovial.  I saw Sam, caught up with some JRunners, and I met up with Ari and Amy, who had agreed to pace me for the first half.  The gun went off, and we started off on our MANY loops of Prospect Park.  Ari and Amy led me out at around a 9 minute pace, which was more aggressive than I had planned, but still felt OK.  We encountered Claire on the course, cheering like a madwoman (having just completed a 60K of her own the day before).  I crossed the halfway point in approximately 2 hours, and felt really good about my (soft) goal for the day of 4:10.  In truth, I shouldn't really have had any goals for the day, considering that I had never run Prospect Park before, and had completed a full marathon 14 days before.

Ari and Amy peeled off at mile 14 and wished me well.  For the next 2 miles, I realized how lonely of a day this could have been, had I not recruited a group of folks to keep me company on the course. Robin joined me for a while, then reversed course to go find Sam.  Then it happened.  I started to feel nauseous.  I reached the next aid station at mile 16, and grabbed some pretzels, thinking that it would help keep the nausea at bay.  All it really did was create a spackle like paste in my mouth.  At that point, Dave picked me up to run with me for a few miles.  I started running, but quickly was overcome with nausea and slowed to a walk.  Soon after that, Scott joined the party.  I ran/walked as best as I could, and tried various remedies at the next aid station to try to relieve the nausea (bananna? blech, flat coke? helped a little).  I was starting to think about Sam, and wonder how she was making out.

All of a sudden, at mile 22, I hear Maura and Sam coming up behind us.  I was still walking at the time, and feeling pretty miserable.  Maura just scooped me up, and took me with her to the finish.  Scott and Dave stayed back with Sam.  Maura was an unstoppable wave of encouragement, and something just clicked in me.  I found my stride again, blocked out the pain, and just kept going.  Around mile 25, Sam and her entourage caught up to us again, and we just hoofed it in to the finish.  Just past mile 26, Dave took a nasty spill, but Maura shouted at us to keep going.  I dug in, and got my finishing kick, turned around and saw Sam cross just behind me.

This race was great for me because I had my friends join me, pace me, encourage me, and just keep me company.  I could see this being a long and lonely race (and one I may not have finished) without them.  By far though, the highlight of the race was having  Maura pick me up and take me in to the finish, being able to dig in, and find that hidden store of energy and determination and just bring it in.  I think that was what I was missing in NYC.

Over the years, I feel like I have achieved a pretty good degree of proficiency with half marathons.  I can formulate a plan based on my current level of fitness, and execute on that plan pretty reliably.  For now, the marathon continues to elude me.  That doesn't mean I'm done with the marathon (well, I am, until next fall - or so I say now), but I know that I need to keep at it before my marathon performance gets to where I want it to be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

United Water Half Marathon - Race Report

I only signed up for this race because the half marathon I had planned to do the previous weekend was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene (NYRR Bronx Half Marathon). In talking with the coach, we agreed that I'd run the race, then tack on another 45 minutes afterward to complete the assigned long run for the day.

Arriving at the start, temps were about 72 degrees, and the humidity was 85% plus. I should have given that some thought right away, but instead, set off with the pack. The race was small, around 300 participants in total. The race was partially on roads, partially on trails and pancake flat. This had the makings of a good race.

I ran the first 5 miles at around an 8:30 pace. Surprisingly, the pace felt good, easy, conversational. I was conversing quite a bit with a guy that seemed to be of a similar pace, who was using the half marathon as the first part of a long training run (sound familiar?). We ran, and chatted for around the first 5 miles.

The second five miles were on trail. My pace slowed to a 9:00 min/mi, partially due to the terrain (still pancake flat), and partially due to the rising heat. The water stations were only about every 2 miles, and I skipped one or two at the beginning. I was starting to regret that decision. I stopped at every water stop, took two cups of water to drink, and eventually, a third to pour on my head.

Fortunately, I had banked a lot of time at the beginning of the race, so I wasn't too concerned with my goal of a sub-2 half slipping away from me. By mile 10, I needed to slow down, so I did, and the guy I was running with kept going. Then we hit some hills. Miles 10 - 13 were my slowest, at 9:30, 10:00 and 9:30 respectively. I really pushed with everything I had, but my body was just not giving me what I needed.

For the last half mile of the race, I didn't see anyone ahead of me or behind me. It was a pretty surreal feeling to be this close to the finish line, and have NO RUNNERS in sight. Rounding the last corner, I picked it up, and brought it home with a strong finish. Finished with a 1:58:10 (Gun time - no net time for this race) - which isn't a PR, but was the sub-2hr finish that I was looking for.

Thinking back on the race, I'm most proud of several things:

  • I started with an aggressive pace, and held it for a respectable distance
  • I pushed through the heat better than I expected to
  • When things got tough in miles 10-13, I didn't quit (like I have in the past), but really gave it everything I had
I have been flirting with an aggressive (for me) goal in the New York Marathon this year, but this race really gave me a much needed boost of confidence - maybe everything is falling into place, and maybe I really am capable of hitting my goal this year...

...feels so good to be back.

Overall Place: 133/321
Gender Place: 99/193
Age Group Place: 16/32

Monday, August 15, 2011

Year of Recovery: Over. Year of AssKickin: Begin!

Haven't posted in a while, but I haven't had much of substance to really post about, until now. On Friday, we welcomed out second child into the world - I am still amazed by the miracle of childbirth, and truly overwhelmed by the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. I am so grateful for my wife, my two kids, and everything else in life that I have been blessed with.

On to matters training / performance related. I have been living the healthy lifestyle for about 1 month now, and have lost almost 20 lbs. I have been on a modified Paleo diet, but the key takeaways are that I have completely eliminated processed carbs and refined sugar from my diet, and have greatly reduced my intake of dairy. The changes are notable, to say the least, but above all - I FEEL healthy. My body is so much more responsive to tuning and tweaking via nutrition, and my running performance has really blossomed.

On that note, the combination of the cooler temps and my lighter weight have resulted in some really satisfying runs lately. I am feeling really good about where I am at the moment, training-wise - and am looking forward to bringing on the intensity of marathon training. I feel like each year, I've had something to handicap my marathon training: in 2009, it was being a first-timer (if you can count that as a handicap). In 2010, it was my cardiac drama (read my posts from July - November 2010). In 2011, my training will be a great case study in the effects of sleep deprivation on training performance (see the first paragraph about my newborn). I don't want to think that I'm pre-loading my training with excuses, but I'm going to work my training plan to the best of my ability, and see where it takes me.

Above all else, I can't adequately express my gratitude to my wife. SHE PRODUCED A MANCHILD FOR ME!! But she's also super-supportive of my passions (addictions) and does what she can to enable me, support me, and cheer for me. I couldn't ask for more in a spouse.

Finally, I'll leave you with a picture of the man-child - which is a little reminder to myself what life is really all about...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I learned while earning my #7daychip

I finally hit a tipping point. My weight had increased to an unacceptable level, and I finally faced the fact that I had a problem. My eating habits had deteriorated to the point that I felt that I had no self control whatsoever. If I wanted a Slurpee, I bought a Slurpee. If I wanted candy from the gas station, I bought candy from the gas station. Fries with my meal? Sure! After all, I'm a runner, I burn calories. Why not??

After reading "The 4 hour body" I decided that I was going to stare this problem in the face, and make some serious changes. I committed myself to one week without refined sugars, processed carbs and dairy. All I was going to eat was proteins, vegetables and "slow carbs" (legumes mostly).

The first few days were MURDER. I felt like I was constantly hungry, I felt like I was constantly craving sweets, and I had no energy to speak of. My mood was pretty miserable, and I felt the impact in my workouts. I thought about giving up a number of times, and walking the aisles at the supermarket seemed pretty intolerable. One day, while paying for gas at the gas station, I walked by a rack of candy, and really contemplated throwing in the towel. I was SO HUNGRY, and wanted a fix right then and there. I didn't think I was going to make it.

But I did.

After 7 days, things started to turn around for me. The cravings subsided, I started to have more energy, and I started to come to terms with my new reality. Certain foods were just off-limits to me. I decided not to say, "I'm never having ice cream again", I preferred to say, "I'm not having ice cream TODAY" as I pass the Mr. Softee truck that was screaming my name.

I developed a taste for unsweetened coffee.

I realized that I don't need refined carbs in order to feel "satisfied".

I learned that feeling anything less than "Full" does not equal feeling "Hungry".

I have also become much more in tune with my body. I started logging my intake on, and when I felt like I was DYING yesterday afternoon, and some fruit and some nuts didn't fix the problem, I realized that I was dramatically short on my protein intake for the day. I fixed that by eating an early dinner with a large helping of lean red meat, which set me right for the remainder of the day.

Yes, I'm only 9 days into this journey, with 8 lbs lost, and plenty more to go. I'm not going to evangelize to the world about the benefits of what I've done. I'm also not going to publicly proclaim that I have transformed my life, and that this is the new me. All I'm going to say is that I'm in control of what I eat TODAY. I'll worry about tomorrow another time, and the day after that even later.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Prediction Race

I got this idea from an e-mail sent out by the Morristown Running Company, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do with the NYC Running Tweeps crowd. Basically, a prediction race is one where you run a set distance (I'm going to propose the Central Park 4 Mi Loop that we all know and love), and give a planned finish time before you start. The runner who runs closest to their planned finish time (without wearing a watch) wins!

I think it would be a great opportunity for those that aren't gifted with speedy legs to have a chance at winning something!

I'll suggest that each runner tosses $10 into a hat, and the proceeds get divided between the top 3 finishers - then, most importantly, WE DRINK! Hell, there may even be a case of Odwalla bars in it for each of the top 3 finishers.

Leave a comment if this sounds interesting to you - and if we get enough interest - I can put together an evite for the race!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Portugal Day - 5 Miler

Stepping out of the car this morning, I didn't have particularly high hopes for this race. The temperatures were increasing rapidly, and I had a lackluster night of sleep the night before (woke up with two women in my bed, one being my daughter). I did a few strides to warm up, and confirmed to myself, I didn't have it.

Met Mark Cohen (fellow Flyer) and made our way to the corral. Slow first mile (8:22) battling crowds, then settled into a nice second mile (7:58), heading downhill. Some time during mile 3 (9:12), I inhaled what felt like a pigeon, or a tumbleweed (most likely a bug or some pollen), which aggravated my already scuzzy lungs (I have been grappling with chest congestion for about 3 - 4 weeks now). I had a couple fits of coughing, which reduced me to a walk, just trying to get the stars to clear out of my field of vision. Passing Cat Hill (running down it this time), I picked up speed for mile 4 (8:37) and tried to salvage some of the time I lost. Crossing the 72nd street transverse, I settled into a good groove (this is just one lower loop interval), and tried to bring it home (8:08).

All in all, not thrilled with this race, since I know I'm capable of more. On the other hand, looking back on my previous times this year, I shaved 3 minutes off of my last 5 Miler (in January 2011), so I'll just say that the year of recovery continues.

As always, it was the highlight of my day to run with my daughter, who just gets such a kick of out of the kids races.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friends help friends PR (a.k.a SuperHero Half Marathon Race Report)

Having just attempted my "A" race two weeks before (the Long Branch Half Marathon), and having had a fairly high mileage week (for me at least) the week prior, I didn't have much in the way of expectations going into this Half. Coupled with some awful weather on race day (forecasted 60 degree temps and %70 chance of rain/thunder), I had relegated this race to little more than another long training run. I packed my bag and hoped for good weather.

Picked up Sam and headed on our way to the race. We passed through some HEAVY downpours on Rt 80, and started to think about what we would do if this weather greeted us out on the race course. Trip to the race was uneventful, as was parking and making our way to the start (a start comparison to my last Half Marathon). The lines at the port-o-potties were quite lengthy, so we missed the gun, and started a couple minutes after the main pack (only about 1800 runners in total).

The weather was muggy, but at least it wasn't raining. This was definitely one of those races where you start to sweat, then just wear your sweat for the remainder of the race. We ran the first few miles at around a 9:20 - 9:30 pace, and just settled in. Some time in the early miles, Sam remarked that she could potentially PR if she kept up that pace - so I made it my mission to attempt to pace her to that PR.

I thought back to being paced to my 5k PR by Ansky, or seeing Eissa pace Elyssa for her recent Half Marathon PR attempt, and decided that today was going to be the day that I paid it forward to another runner.

Towards the end of the first loop, we passed a few older women making their way on the course. I noticed their ragged breathing, and the gaspy conversation, so I thought I'd turn around and offer some encouragement. I looked over my shoulder and said, "Lookin good, Ladies!" as I passed them and continued running. Sam passed them as they were saying to each other, "Look at that guy in the blue shirt, he makes it look so easy, just gliding along efortlessly", and Sam realized that they were talking about ME. For those of you that have run with me before, you'll appreciate it when I say that I never really expected anyone to say something like that about ME! I envision myself more as a loping, plodding Clydesdale - who somehow manages to keep moving forward, and finishing half marathons, even the occasional marathon. If they had BMI graded scores, vs. Age Graded scores, I'd be in the top percentile, I'm sure.

Either way, I realized that it's all relative. I'm faster than some people, slower than others, but what we all have in common is our desire to train, to improve ourselves and to have fun in the process.

Back to the race - unfortunately, the humidity and a couple of strategically placed hills to their toll on Sam. We tried for the HM PR and didn't hit it, so we tried to keep the time under 2:10 - but eventually, a really rough hill at mile 10 took that from us as well. Finally, we settled in for the run to the finish, and our only goal became to enjoy the race, and make the best of the day. We both crossed the finish somewhere around 2:12:00 with smiles on our faces, collected our finisher medals, and made our way to the car.

All in all, it was a nice race - and definitely a change of pace from the crowded and hectic NYRR races. Just another good day out of NYC with a fellow runner.

Friday, May 13, 2011

NJ Half Recap (and catching up)

For whatever reason, I haven't been terribly motivated to blog these last few months. It's not for a lack of races (see Scott's Tough Mudder recap), but for whatever reason, I haven't been in a writing mood lately.

On 5/1, I ran the Long Branch Half Marathon. Several of the local NY Crowd were racing the half (Baker, Elyssa, Eissa) or the full (Neal and Sharon), and this was supposed to be my spring "A" race. After a solid showing in the NYRR Colon Cancer 15k, I felt that an appropriate goal for me would be to break 2 hours for the half (something I haven't done since the NYC Half back in March 2010). Remember, 2011 is my "year of recovery", so while my goal wasn't to PR the half - I just wanted to put up a time that was achievable, yet a good effort on my part.

Heading down to the race was a giant clusterf**k in itself. Traffic was horrendous, and the logistics of getting the car parked, and to the starting line were a nightmare. Despite having left more than enough time, we barely managed to swoop into the corrals before the start.

After waiting nearly 15 minutes from the race start to reach the starting line, I finally took off. The first few miles were very crowded, and I found myself pushing and jostling my way past walkers and slow runners. How they decided to line up so close to the front is just beyond me. After about 3 - 4 miles, I settled into a nice groove. I was battling an upset stomach most of the way, but I did my best, and kept a consistent pace, sufficient to hit the 2 hour milestone.

By mile 10, the heat started to get to me. I wasn't drinking much (for fear of throwing up), and the temps had increased substantially. I took a brief walk break, and started up again. Miles 11 - 13 saw consistent improvements in my pace, but by then, the damage had been done.

Turning onto the boardwalk (around mile 12), I looked at my watch and thought "I can still salvage this". I dug as deep as I could, but my watch clicked over the 2 hour mark some time between mile 13 and 13.1. I felt like I just wanted to sit down, and not even finish - but I loped the few remaining steps over the line.

I don't know why I am so bothered by missing my goal by 38 measly seconds. I ran a good race, put in a good effort, and missed a completely arbitrary goal by less than a minute. To put it into perspective, the best half marathon I was capable of (while struggling with heart issues) last year was > 2:30:00. To think that I beat my last few halfs by over 1/2 hour should be enough of a triumph to me. Considering that, I am grateful for my health, my ability to run, and my desire to continue improving this year.

In other news, it has been about a month and a half since I signed on with Team PRSFit. The workouts have been challenging, and have done a great job of pushing the envelope for me. My training plan has also gotten me back in the pool for cross training, something I haven't done in a LONG time. I am feeling really good about my training so far, and am starting to see my hard work pay off already. I am really optimistic as we head into the warmer summer months, and my training for NYCM starts to kick into high gear.

Stay tuned for what I am confident will be a great year!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Race Recap: Coogans 5k

In sitting down to write this race report, I realize that I haven't blogged in quite a while. Looking back on previous posts, I had high hopes for my return to running in 2011, and quite honestly, things didn't really turn out as well as I had hoped. The weather in January and February made training VERY difficult (not just for me), and I am still struggling with the comeback.

For those of you that have never had to "come back" from a hiatus, injury, whatever - let me tell you: IT SUCKS. What frustrates me the most is that I have no sense of what my "race pace" (or any other target pace, for that matter) truly is. I find myself comparing my performance to what I was capable of before heart problems sidelined me for 6 months - and it just frustrates and disheartens me.

Thankfully, with the help of my running friends, my clubmates and Coach SpeedySasquatch, I feel like I am finally turning the corner on all of that. Which brings me to today:

I had plans to run down to Coogans, but the iffy weather made me rethink that. I hopped in my car, and made my way down to the race. Getting ready for the start, I ran into fellow Flyer Mark, friends Sharon, Ari and Yosef - and we exchanged pleasantries and smalltalk waiting to head to the corrals. The weather was still holding up reasonably well.

Heading into the race, I didn't really know what to expect - but starting up the first hill, things felt good. I kept up my momentum all the way into Ft Tryon park, and looped back to the turnaround. The hill leading out of Ft Tryon park started to take the wind out of my sails, so I dug in, worked my arms, and gutted it to the top. Just when I thought I was out of gas, we hit the top of the hill, and I was able to coast for a bit.

The final hill ended up getting the best of me. I had to dial it back for the final surge up the top, but was able to pour the speed back on on the backside, and felt like I passed a lot of folks in the final few hundred feet before the finish.

I wound up running a 26:00 - my previous times for this race were 25:45 (in 2009) and 25:08 (in 2010). My splits were dead even (8:15, 8:17, 8:16) which I was really happy about - and I am showing a consistent pattern of improvement in 2011, which is all I can really ask for. I ran the 5 miler in January at a 9:14 min/mi, the 4 miler in February at an 8:49 min / mi, and the 5k today in an 8:23 min /mi.

The theme for the spring of 2011 is going to be a consistent pattern of improvement. That's all I'm looking for now - and I'm going to train hard and achieve it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Team Slogans

A while back, my running pal Sharon and I created a Twitter #hashtag when we were both injured, and unable to train. We called ourselves #teamsuck. Fortunately, Sharon was back at it in no time, and managed an incredible 3:50:27 debut marathon, while I languished with my medical issues for about 6 months, basically wiping out the rest of 2010 from a running and racing perspective. Thankfully, I'm back to running - and slowly building up what I had lost last year. The process is painful, but it will pay off in the end. But that's not why I'm writing today. I wanted to test out a few potential slogans for #TeamSuck, which happens to be my team name for Tough Mudder PA this spring.

I think that the theme behind #TeamSuck is to embrace your limitations, deal with your setbacks, make the most of what you have, and just have fun with your training and racing. That said, here are a few slogans for your consideration - and there's a voting link below for the best one:

  • #teamsuck: Because we can't all be the winner
  • #teamsuck: Embrace the Suck (it's a military slogan - but I like it)
  • #teamsuck: We all finish...eventually.
  • #teamsuck: Ehh...we tried :)
  • #teamsuck: Heroes of the mid-pack

Click here to take survey

Monday, January 3, 2011

First run of 2011

Happy 2011 all! To put this run into context, let me start by giving you some recent mileage numbers:

  • Total Mileage last week: 0
  • Total Mileage for December: 26.87 (I know, right?)
  • Total Mileage for 2011: 778 (Not as bad as I thought, but not the 1000 I was shooting for)
Needless to say, there's a whole lot of rust to shake off of these legs.

Taking advantage of the 50 degree weather, I hit Central Park with a couple of goals:

  • Get my fat ass out for a run [check]
  • Run 10 miles [check]
  • Run a sub-10:00 min/mi pace [check]
  • Have fun [not so much, read on]
  • Lay the groundwork for a solid 2011 [we'll see]
The first 3 miles, it seemed that my quads, knees, shins, ankles and feet all developed mouths, and were shouting in unison "What in the @#$@# are you thinking??" Fortunately, I shook the rust off and settled into my groove.

I realize that I have a long way to go to get back to my previous level of fitness, and as a result, I am having a hard time keeping my pace to something that I can run consistently. I ambled over the rolling hills of the park, and completed 2 5 mile loops in under 1:40 as was my original goal.

2011 is going to involve a lot of rebuilding. Motivation-wise, I almost feel like I am back to where I was when I started running. I knew that running was good for me, but every single run involved a battle to put on my running shoes and get out the door. The name of the game for January and February is re-establishing the routine, and putting in the hard work - and the fitness will eventually return.

Best of luck to everyone with their plans for 2011, running and otherwise!