Monday, September 14, 2009

The New Digs


So a lot had happened since my 21 mile jaunt through Northern CT last month. In the past, my lack of posts have meant two things - laziness and excuses. This past month has been different.

I've made a move to NYC to take part in the New York Film Academy's Broadcast Journalism program. It all happened over a three week span and it included daily trips to NYC, selling my home in Suffield, switching over my real estate practice and eventually moving in and starting school. While I missed about ten days of training and had to pass on the trip to Montreal, I still managed to get a bunch of five mile runs in. I'm still planning on running the Hartford Marathon in October and hope to take part in the Philly Marathon on November 22.

The new running routes have been pretty awesome. I've run through Flatiron, Chelsea, East Village, Soho, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Financial District, Midtown, West Village along the East River and the Hudson River. I'll be making my first Central Park run tomorrow and have already joined the New York Sports Club. I must admit that I miss the barking of the dogs late at night on Main Street, but having the chance to explore New York City and still get my runs in have been exciting.

There is much more to tell as time goes on. For now, you all are going to have to be happy with this update. See in in Hartford in October!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recovery Days


I had no idea how I'd feel coming off of the 21-mile run on Saturday. I did absolutely everything wrong in preparing for the run and figured that I would pay dearly come Sunday and today. Well... I was wrong.

I feel freakin' great!

Yesterday I felt no pain anywhere. The getaway sticks were a little sore, but that was to be expected. The throbbing in my feet was gone, no lower back issues and my calves felt stronger than ever. As a reward, I treated myself to a massage and followed that up by inhaling the largest ice cream sundae I've ever seen.


Not actual Sundae, but pretty close to what it looked like

Coming out of the 21 miles pain free is a landmark in this marathon quest. The single biggest concern I had about over confidently registering for two marathons, and announcing a possible run in a third in November, was my recovery. I've read and been told that one should recover a day per mile run. That would mean that I would need to expect to take it easy for 26 days following the Montreal. That would take me to a couple days before Hartford. This logic never made sense to me. If the training called on you to do a 20-mile run a month before the race and to continue the training with several double digit runs after that than why would I need to take close to a month to recover from 26 miles?

What I did wrong heading into it? Well, for starters all I had to eat was a couple eggs and some bacon in the morning. Hardly the carb load needed to give my body the nutrients needed for such a run. I didn't properly stretch. I started my run around 1 pm on a 95+ degree day. I only had water, a few energy gel packets and a couple electrolyte pills. Even my I-pod wasn't fully juiced (it died around mile 14). I hadn't run more than 13 miles since the Fairfield Half at the end of June. I basically broke every training rule out there. However, I finished and as I sit here today I'm more confident, better prepared and more excited to do this than ever before.

Bring it on heat, humidity, hills and hydration wall! Not even my own bonehead moves can stop me from here on out. Bring...It...On... Snap!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Change of Plans

Today started off like any other Saturday. Woke up around 8, drove to West Hartford Center for a coffee at Cosi and then breakfast at Sally and Bob's. Arrived at Fleet Feet and picked up a new pair of the Brooks Trance 8 running shoes, a new pair of shorts, a shirt, a box of GU Vanilla Bean Energy Gel, some electrolyte tablets, Zulu socks and a hydrating belt.



I'm not sure if the shopping spree motivated me or if I was already motivated (which explains the spree), but on the way home I decided to stop in Simsbury and check out the details on the Farmington Valley Bike Path. I parked at Mile 11, just south of the Simsbury Band Shell. That's when my impulsive personality took over. I changed there in the parking lot, loaded up my gear and belt and started running north.

My original plan was to run 16 miles. I was gonna go from the Mile 11.2 point I was at to Mile 19.2 and turn around. If I was tired or feeling sluggish, I was gonna shorten it up. However, when I got to Mile 19 - I was still feeling great. So I figured I go to Mile 20. At Mile 20, decided to keep going from there. Eventually I got to the 21.6 mile marker which is right at Quarry Rd in Suffield. The only reason I stopped was that this was the end of the path. So, I turned around and ran back to my car.

It was a ridiculously hot day. The temp in my car read 92 degrees. Even though the weather was less than ideal, I was well prepared. I had my belt with four water bottles on it. I had my packet of four electrolyte pills and 5 energy gels. The four bottles ended up getting refiled four times each along the way. I would have never made it to Mile 19 the first time through if it wasn't for a little bit of luck and some nice people along the way.

The first person who helped out was a gal named Becca right around Mile 16.5 . She was outside her house and had the water going. I asked if she minded that I filled up my 2 empty bottles and she was very nice to allow me. About a mile and a quarter after that, I saw some farm workers filling up water jugs about 50 yards off the path. I went over, began to shoot the junk with them and quickly guzzled down three bottles (each bottle was about 10 ozs). When I finished they asked I wanted to fill them up and I was like a bobble head as I handed over the bottles. By Mile 20, I was a little nervous.I was down to two bottles and I figured there was no way my timing for water refill would be as fortunate heading back. However, I was feeling bold and took the initiative to run about a quarter mile off the path in Suffield and refilled at a farm stand and then refilled my bottles at the station that the farm workers were at when I passed by the second time. I made it last for the final 6miles.




The entire run took me about 4 hrs and 20 minutes. If I took the 10 minutes I talked to the guys, the 5 minutes I spoke with Becca, the three times I took a break to stretch and scarf down the gels and pills (about 5-7 mins each) and the 15 minutes between the two other to refills - I figure I was somewhere around 3:40-3:50 to finish the 21 miles. This was considerably slower per mile than I would like come Marathon day, but I had no idea what to expect going in. I can live with it and I am now on schedule to train with a schedule that I would normally have a month before a marathon.

What I learned today is that around Mile 15, my feet were swollen and incredibly sore. My calves were in better shape than I could have expected and didn't give me any problems. My breathing was solid and mentally I never said to myself, "you're not gonna make it." With that in mind, I could have never finished another 5+ miles today. The positive is that come September and October, the weather will be much more pleasant. Also, I wont have the concerns about water because the stations are at each mile.

As I sit here now, I'm definitely beat. My legs are tired and my feet are still throbbing. However, I know I'm gonna have the legs to finish this a month from now. As long as I don't get concerned with time, it should be enjoyable.

This brings my total miles run in six days to 56. Including the previous Friday, I'm at 63. This was a big boy week. I'm gonna take the next two days off to recover from today and most likely do week day runs of 5mi/8mi/5mi and a long run next week of 16 or 17 miles. I'm thinking of the following week being 5/8/5/13-14miles. The next week being 5/8/5/9-10 miles and the marathon week being 4/6/4 and then the race that weekend. If anyone who reads this has advice as to how I should prepare the next month, please let me know. There are plenty of guides for how to train for one marathon, but not many for running two 4-weeks apart. I am not going to be pushing it in Montreal. If I finish somewhere between 4:30:00-4:45:00, I will be very pleased. My goal from the beginning was to finish the Hartford in under 4:30:00. That is still a goal while just finishing is more of the priority.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Month Away...

Exactly one month from today I will be enjoying a great cup of coffee and basking in the glory of finishing a marathon in some quaint Montreal cafe or being transported back to the States in a stretcher and eating out of a straw.

Nevertheless, I'm excited about both possibilities.

If I complete the expected 10 mile run today than I'll have logged in 47 miles in the last 7 days. By the end of the weekend, that total should be somewhere in the mid-sixties. That's comparable to running from my home in Suffield to Black Point in Niantic. Not gonna lie to ya - I'm feeling pretty good about it.

I'm not feeling great about my ADHD running habits, but if it ends up getting me the same results in the end than I can live with it.

So, today will be another ten. Tomorrow will be considerably more, although I don't know by exactly how much. I've been finding out about more and more people who are taking part in the Hartford full or half marathon. Knowing that they are going through the same regimen and pain that I am is only making this whole experience more worthwhile.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting in the Groove


I ran my third ten-mile run of the week today. This was far and away the best yet. The weather was a little cooler and I went into it much more confident than I had the first two. The biggest aide was carrying a 16oz water with me. It was a little bit of a pain and it only lasted til about mile 7, but I didn't care. I never hit a wall and finished in somewhere between 1:30:00 - 1:40:00.

I am looking forward to this weekends long run. I'm definitely planning on doing somewhere between 14-18 miles. A lot will depend on the weather, the route and what time I start. This past week had gotten me off the regular schedule. I have missed the long runs from the three weeks previous so I needed to make up some miles. I also decided that I would try and get at least one 18-20 mile run in before the Montreal. I'm thinking it will come next weekend. I plan on tapering down the runs a bit the two weeks before the race and will probably run one 15-18 mile run a couple weeks before the Hartford along with some 8-12 mile runs. I felt as though I could have pushed it a couple more miles today, but was happy with ending this run strong and looking forward to tomorrow and Saturday.

I have seemed to find my pattern. I push it for 5-6 weeks and than take about ten days off. This isn't what I wanted or what I expected but it has worked for me. I get back after a break and am fresh and not afraid to push myself. Only two weeks ago, the idea of running ten mile runs made me nauseous to think about. Now, I can't wait to go 15.


From the beginning, I knew I would have to be flexible. Flexible to my work/vacation schedule. Flexible to how my body reacted and flexible to where I was mentally. I thank God for keeping me healthy and for a relatively cool Spring and Summer. If we were dealing with 90+ degree heat since May, I don't know if I would have ever gotten to this point. These past few runs were miserable because of the humidity and heat. However, knowing I had come this far and knowing I was getting close to the big races was what got me out there. I wouldn't have felt the same pressure two months ago.



The final thing is a little bit about my route this past week. I've been running a gorgeous bike path between the CT River and Windsor Locks Canal. I have started on the Suffield side and would run to the Center of Main Street Windsor Locks. The path is just about 4.75 miles and I run about a quarter mile more to the Subway around the corner to get or in today's case, fill up with water. It's a beautiful run. However, the overgrowth of plants, bushes and weeds has become pretty bad. I spoke a couple months ago about the need for towns to offer these type of bike/running paths. We are lucky enough to have one here in town and its time we make maintaining it a priority. Sounds like a great campaign issue for someone...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back-to-Back


I wasn't lying when I said this week was an important week. Today I ran my second ten-mile run in as many days. I've learned the past two days of the importance of staying hydrated while running. I hit a couple walls during these runs. I drank some water prior to the run and at the 5 mile point each day. Each day I was a hurting unit around the 5K point after hydrating. This has made the next mile and a half after hitting the wall brutal. I can take away from this that I can fight through the wall. Fortunately, when I hit the walls during the marathons, I will never be more than a half mile from a water station. I'll also be loaded up with plenty of Gu Energy Gels and electrolyte pills. At this point, I seem to need the replenishing of water at each 5K. In past races, the energy gels were a huge help between the 5-6 mile points. This will allow me to stop for water, stretch the 'ol getaway sticks and see where I'm at seven or eight times. I'll be loading up on energy gel three or four times. I'd like to run this same ten mile run twice more this week with a 12-14 mile run this weekend. I'm gonna have some energy gel and electrolytes during the run and see how much of a difference it makes. I need to figure out how to get water at the 5k points. I recovered pretty well from yesterday's run in the heat. While today was hot and humid, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as yesterday. I'm gonna try and get up to an 18-mile run within the next two weeks and than taper it down for the week or two heading into Montreal. Physically and mentally, I need to get to get the confidence that I can go the whole 26.2. I feel as though if I get to the 18 mile point, than I'll know I can go the last 8. I'm only gonna push myself as far as I can right now. If I need to make a ten mile run only 7 than I will. Time isn't the priority, but health and mental strength are.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A New Day


There was a heat advisory in CT today. The weather was 94 and with humidity it felt even hotter. I was running around all day with work. I hadn't ate all day. I had a 6:30pm appointment. However, what I lack in brains I more than make for in heart. It was 4:30 and I was hot, cranky but feeling motivated. So what do I do. I go out for a solid ten mile run. I brought no water, had no energy gel and no clue how far I'd be able to go. Who cares that by the final two miles I was running for three minutes and walking for two. Who cares that it took me almost 11 minutes per mile. Who cares that I got heat stroke and blisters on every toe. All that mattered today was that I proved I could do a ten mile weekday run. It was freaking horrible from start to finish, but I finished. This was what I needed to get me back in the game. I don't know what the next 32 days will bring, but I do know that if I finish the Montreal and Hartford marathons in somewhat respectable times than this will be the day I point to for doing so. Also, if I never run again and pull out of both races, this will be the day I blame. Time will tell, but for tonight I feel like I accomplished a pretty good feat. We'll see what tomorrow brings... and if this insufferable head ache goes away.

Reorganizing

August has started much like July ended. With family vacations, work, rain, wakes and excuses. I have only ran three times since my last post for a total of 15 miles. The long run in these two weeks was 7 miles and was miserable. I couldn't find a comfortable pace. My neck, back, stomach and legs were sore the whole time. I couldn't find any normal breathing pattern. The good news is I finished it. The bad news is I was in worse shape when it ended than when it began. I'm just over a month away from Montreal and a little concerned. Mentally, I feel like I could finish a marathon tomorrow. Physically, I don't think I could drive a marathon course. This week is another gut check week. I'm gonna take some time to reorganize my schedule for the next two months. Having been away for the last four or five weekends has hampered my progress. I'm gonna be away the next few weekends as well. I may try and fit my "long" runs in on Fridays. Whatever I do, this week needs to be a positive one. I'll worry about next week when it comes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off the Bench

I think I owe some of you an explanation for the lack of posts the last ten days. The Thursday night following the Boilermaker weekend, I started out on what was to be a 3-4 mile run. I had run 6 miles the night before and 4.5 miles on that Tuesday. As I went out on that night, I couldn't get it going. My legs were heavy, my back was sore, my knee was tender and I had absolutely no energy. So, I decided to shut it down for a week. I had pushed it pretty hard over the 6 weeks since my previous ten day shut down. I ran a four-mile, 15K and half marathon in that time and committed to run at least one extra marathon. The last thing I wanted to do was get hurt. Now - I'm back! I'm looking to reshape the schedule. I don't think I'm gonna run more than 6 miles on any weekday run. I'll keep up the plan of making my long runs on weekends. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So I just meed to maintain where I'm at and try and make baby step progress with each extra mile. Tomorrow is opening day at Saratoga, so I'll be running the next few nights from my home away from home. This next six-week push will be ending in Montreal. I can't believe we are heading into August already! Getting closer to the big day...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Marathon Oasis de Montreal and Hartford Marathon - Just Do It...



I'm officially registered for the Hartford Marathon on October 10 and the Montreal Marathon on September 13. I'm gonna stay at the Delta Centre Ville hotel and be there from Friday Sept 11 to Monday Sept 14.

Still kinda thinking this is a little crazy, but whatever. This is a fun way to get my 20 mile run in and will be used as a prep for the Hartford Marathon a month later. I pray that I come out of it healthy and looking forward to doing another in less then four weeks.

So no excuses here. Money is in and plans are made to run two marathons with only four weeks between them. I can honestly say that is a sentence I never expected to see typed out of these fingers. Let's do this!

This Week...

I can't wait to hit the streets this week. I ran a total of 26 miles last week to bring my total up to 149 miles. I ran 3 miles Monday, 4.5 miles Tuesday, 6 miles Wednesday, 3.5 Miles Thursday and the 9.3 miles Sunday. This was four miles more than the schedule called for. This week is a "step back week" that calls for 3mi/6mi/3mi/7miles.

I picked up four of the 21 miles I was behind in the original schedule. I see no reason why I won't pick up another four or five this week. I need to try and find a 10K in the area for the upcoming weekend.

Following this week, things start to really pick up in the mileage front. I am scheduled to run 104 miles in a one month period. It gets even crazier the next month. I'll be running anywhere from ten miles to 20 miles on weekends until September 26. The big run being the Montreal Marathon on the day of my scheduled 20 mile killer September 13. Now is make or break time. This is the last week of running for leisure and I can only hope the nights and mornings remain on the cooler side.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Boilermaker Finish Line Video

Check out the clock from 1:32:38 - 1:32:41. Yours truly can be seen on the upper left corner wearing a blue shirt with dark shorts (about ten o'clock on your screen)

http://www.wktv.com/boilermaker/50546107.html - Left Camera Angle

http://www.wktv.com/boilermaker/50545837.html - Right Camera Angle


The Boilermaker 15K - 1:27:28


Incredible Day!

The Boilermaker 15K is billed as one of the top races in the country... and it is! I can't imagine many others being able to compete with the course,community participation,organization, level of competition or the excitement.



I didn't beat my goal of 1:25:00. However, I couldn't be happier with how it went. I ran the 15K or 9.3 miles in 1:27:28. The part I'm happiest about is that I got increasingly stronger as the race went on. This race had splits at the 5K and 10K points. With 11,000 runners completing the race and hundreds more than that starting it, the start was crazy.



I started way back. As a matter of fact, it took me about five and a half minutes to get to the starting line after the gun. With the horde of people basically on top of you at the beginning, it is very difficult to get into any sort of comfortable pace. Not that I cared. Thousands of people line the streets, bands are playing every quarter mile, and runners are literally running with their hands in the air waving to family, friends, and t.v. cameras for most of the first 5K of the race. With this in mind, I ran my first 5K in 31.16. This was almost as slow as my first 5K in April but, as I've indicated,enjoying the surroundings and taking in everything going on around me was the priority.



Almost immediately after the 5K split, the course begins a not so gradual up hill run for the next two miles. It takes you through Utica Country Club and seemed to keep getting steeper and steeper with each step. This also is where runners began getting little more elbow room- although not much. It's also where I started to find my groove. Mile 4 was the only stretch that wasn't five deep with spectators. Approaching the six mile point, I stopped(for the first time) in order to take some electrolyte pills, energy gel and water. I didn't as much stop as I got off to the side of the road just sort of inhaled all three at the same time. It couldn't have cost me more than ten seconds and the re-fueling definitely helped as I finished the race. I ran the second 5K in a great pace and completed it in 28:21 for a total time of 59:37. I knew at this point I could come close to beating my goal of 1:25:00. However, I would need to run my fastest 5K ever to do it.

The final two miles are absolutely incredible. The spectators are ringing cowbells, water stations were at every half mile and runners are cheering each other on like I've never come close to seeing before. As I approached the 9-mile marker, I was at a clock time of 1:29:00. Knowing I had started over five minutes past the gun/clock time, I realized I wouldn't beat the 1:25:00 but that I could come pretty close to running my best 5K. As I got to the finish line, the clock read 1:32:46. The final 5K was 27:52. Not my best 5K, but certainly better than I could have ever imagined running miles 6.3 - 9.5. Looking at the splits, If I could have run the first 5K in the time I ran my second or even my third, than I would have beat my goal by close to a minute. I'm not gonna second guess though. I mean, if my aunt had a mustache she'd be my uncle, right?

I ran this at a 9:24/mile pace. The best part about it was that I could have gone longer. If I can ever run the marathon in anything close to this pace than I will come close to breaking 4 hours. The 4-hour mark seems almost unthinkable to me. This was close to a minute and a half better than my average for the Fairfield Half Marathon.



Following the race, close to 40,000 people packed into the Saranac Brewery park. Free sandwiches, beer, powerdrinks, and fruit for everybody. Bands played, a pretty bad ass military flyover and the awards ceremony entertained everyone. The Boilermaker was really a great experience and one that I look forward to enjoying for years to come.




The winner, Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco, won with a time of 43.56 in what was a very exciting finish.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Boilermaker Weekend

I've been looking forward to this weekend for about two months. From the day I was first told about the Boilermaker in Utica, NY , I started planning for it. I looked forward to this race for a bunch of reasons.



First,I saw it was coming up on the weekend that I was supposed to do my first ten-mile training run. Back in the beginning of May, actually completing ten miles in less then two months time appeared to be a real long shot. My first 5K at the end of April in Glastonbury was nothing short of pathetic. I couldn't make it a two miles without wanting to crawl under a hole and hide. Amanda and Hilary dragged me through it though. Since then, I've already exceeded running ten miles when I finished the Fairfield Half-Marathon. Tomorrow isn't a question of finishing, but in how long. My goal is to break 1:25:00. It will be difficult, but I think I can do it.




Second, I read in Runner's World that this is supposed to be one of - if not the - funniest race in the country. I got a sense of what to expect when I registered yesterday. From the huge banner proclaiming the start of the race as I got off the highway, to the two miles of cars and entire army of traffic police along the road heading into the expo on the Masonic Care Community Campus to the thousands of people roaming through at least a dozen circus-size tents. One television report said 30,000 people are expected for this race. Now, I don't know if that's just runners or includes all the volunteers. Whatever it is, its a huge number. Utica is not exactly a thriving metropolis. I drove through farmlands and old mill towns for almost two hours before I got to the "city". The community involvement for this race is nothing short of spectacular and the excitement should only feed my adrenaline. The race is covered from start to finish by the Utica TV stations and the coverage has been neat to follow online throughout this week.



Although, the preparations for the race have caused stress to some Utica residents.



The third reason I was looking forward to this was that it marks just about the halfway point of my training. When this started, I had no idea if I would even get to this point. The continuous weekend races, the support from other runners and seeing steady results have helped fuel my desire to run and finish the marathon in October.

I'm two months to the date of the Montreal "need to run 20 miles that weekend so might as well run 26" Marathon. 26.2 miles still seems like an impossible feat, but I'm alot closer than I was after finishing the Glastonbury River Run. Tomorrow will be the first race I set as a long term goal and didn't just run on a whim. I'm gonna enjoy it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Week Ahead


It's time for me to get back on schedule. I've a run a total of 123 miles. This week calls for runs of 3 miles Tuesday, 6 miles Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday and 10 miles this weekend. The Boilermaker 15K will be just under 10 miles, but if I throw in a one mile warm up just prior to the race than I will meet the goal.

The month of June took me off schedule, but after taking the time off I've seemed to get back on track. The original plan had me running a total of 144 miles by July 4Th. The fact that I'm only 21 miles behind considering I pretty much missed two full weeks is not all that bad. My hope is to make up these miles wherever I can. I'll try and run five miles on a Tuesday when I'm supposed to run 3. I'll throw in an extra Friday run of five miles when I'm scheduled to take it off. I know I'm gonna make up at least 6 miles in September with the Montreal Marathon. So I'm not too disappointed with where I'm at. Continuing to put in 15-20 miles a week on the bike will also make up for the lost miles.

I knew from the start this would take flexibility. My mileage plan was more ambitious then the regular beginner's marathon plan. I called for much longer weekday runs and know that I may not be able to get ten miles in on a Wednesday in the future. I know that this past weekend called for a nine mile run, but I only did the four mile race. This doesn't upset me because the previous weekend only called for five miles and I ended up doing the 13.1 in the half marathon. As long as I keep making progress, avoid injury and continue to enjoy making working out a regular part of my day than this is all worth while.

The only positive I can think of for all this rain we've had is that the evening runs have been pleasant. I've learned quickly that I would much rather run outdoors than on the treadmill at the gym. While I'd like to get a few beach days in by the end of Summer, this mild weather has served at least somewhat positive for my own personal training.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saratoga 4th of July Firecracker 4-mile - 35:17

The appeal has been made. I'm appealing the official time for this weekend's Firecracker 4 four-mile race in Saratoga. As I crossed the finish line, the clock time was at 35:13. I started towards the middle back of the pack and took at least 10-15 seconds to get to the finish line. However, according to the official results, I ran a time of 35:17. Now, I know this is by far my best time yet. I realize that the clock is not always completely accurate, but I have yet to find a clock that is inaccurate on the slow end. I would normally be pumped with an 8:50/mile pace. This beats my previous best pace time of 9:13 at the Kiwanis Shad Derby 5K. I finished 507 out of 967 people. This race, though, was the first that I set a goal time for. That goal was to beat 35 minutes and run a 8:45/pace. Those damn 17 seconds will eat at me for the next week. Other than this unfortunate timing snafu, the Firecracker was a great race to be a part of.

Race time started at 8:30 Saturday morning. I woke up around 7:15 and took the five minute walk to Broadway in Downtown Saratoga. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning. I grabbed a bagel with peanut butter, small coffee and bottled water at Uncommon Grounds and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the city waking up. The registration was a couple blocks away at the City Centre where two dudes were stringing acoustic guitars and singing happy hippy songs.




Prior to the race, a kid who couldn't have been older than ten years old sang the national anthem and absolutely nailed it.



Immediately after the rendition the gun went off and close to 1000 runners started up Broadway.




The first hill was about a three minutes in and wasn't too bad. Room was tight but I managed to get up it without losing a step. I forget what song I was listening too, but when it ended I looked down and noticed I forgot to start my watch. I knew that I started the I-Pod at the gun and the song last 5:25 so as the watch started I knew I was almost exactly 5:30 into the race. The first mile came shortly after and I was at a pace of 8:30. I was pumped. This meant I was 15 seconds ahead of my goal pace. The second mile was pretty flat. It had a few turns and about 4 minutes into it I spotted my parents. My mother, with camera in hand, seemed very excited to see me running by. My father, on the other hand, gave me one of those looks as if to say," Do you know there are hundreds of people- including senior citizens, pregnant women with strollers and pre-pubescents - ahead of you? Step it up, Kid!" Needless to say, I picked up my pace and approached the 2 mile markers at 17:10. This meant my pace was still ahead of the goal.

I wanted to avoid the water stations this race. However, it was pretty hot and I decided to grab a couple cups on the run just before the 2.5 mile marker. I'm happy I did and feel as though it didn't really slow me down. I hit the 5K point right around 26:30 minutes. This was almost a minute and a half better than any 5K I'd run. It also meant if I could run the final mile in 9 minutes - I would reach my goal. I was well on target until the last 1/2 mile. It was straight up hill and seemed to go forever. I was passing people, but it was definitely here that I lost those pesky 17 seconds. The final few hundred yards were flat and I was in an all out sprint. When I finished, I was pretty sure I had beat the goal of 35 minutes. We now know it was premature.



Which one of you punks messed with the clock?


Despite the bitterness I expressed at the beginning of this post, I was very happy with this race. I thought 35 minutes would be tough to beat. I didn't sleep well at all the night before the race and the course had it's share of hills. My legs were sore all week after the half marathon but I proved to myself I can push it and still finish strong. After not planning on setting any goals for time in next week's Boilermaker 15K, I now am gonna try to beat 1:25:00. This will be just over 9mins/mile. I'm gonna need to stop at three or four water stations next week which I know will add some time. I'm also gonna wanna take in everything that is going on around me. A 9 mine mile pace, though, will be almost 1:40 better than my pace in the half marathon. This would be a considerable improvement in just two weeks time.

As for the rest of this weekend - it was great. Played 18 holes Saturday and was took advantage of Saratoga's famous mineral baths and massage today. I'm feeling good and ready to take on the mean streets of Utica next weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

UPDATE to come

I know that the so many of you are wearing out the refresh button to see how today's Firecracker 4 went today, so I'll let you know we finished with a clock time of 35:12. I didn't start my watch until five minutes in and have no idea how far back I was at the start. So, we're gonna have to wait for the official results to come in on the website to see if I beat my goal time of 35 minutes. It's gonna be close. I started in the middle of the pack but with close to 1000 runners, It took a little time to get to the start. I'm just hoping it took at least 15-20 seconds.

Happy 4Th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July 4-Miler in Saratoga




In a last minute decision, I'm gonna compete in the Firecracker 4 four-mile race in Saratoga Springs, NY tomorrow morning.

I couldn't find any 10K's in the area for the entire weekend, so this 4-mile run will just have to do. Following the race, I'll be playing 18 at Saratoga National which should be the true highlight of the trip.

My legs are quite sore this week. A combination of the serious uptick in running and lifting this week are to blame, but that's not gonna stop me from setting a goal of finishing this race in under 35 minutes. That will be a pace of about 8:45 for the run. The best pace I've kept in any single race was 9:13 in the Kiwanis Shad Derby 5K. However, I believe I can do this. I won't be messing around with water stations and in-race stretching. I'm gonna try and start a little closer to the front of the pack and get into a comfortable stride earlier than usual.

In the past, I haven't taken too much time stretching pre-race. I usually start off very slow and stretch after a mile or two. I may try and run a couple miles before the race. I was hoping to run 6 or 7 miles anyway this weekend and this will also allow me to get a good stretch in after a solid warm-up. I know I should be doing this before every race.

This race will take us along the beautiful streets of downtown Saratoga Springs. It starts going along Broadway to Circular St, turns onto Caroline St, and ends down Excelsior. I believe this race should be mostly flat, but if I'm thinking of the right streets, there are a few hills that I'll need to tackle.



We'll let you know how it goes. Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Over A Week 'Til the Boilermaker




I'm ten days away from the most highly anticipated run yet - The Boilermaker 15K.

The Boilermaker is held in Utica, NY. It is known as one of the best 15K's in the country and will have close to 15,000 people competing in it. From what I understand, the entire city shuts down for this race and has the best post-race party for any race this side of the Mississippi.

According to the website, there are over 20 water stations. Bands, DJ's and bagpipers are playing throughout the run. Thousands of volunteers help out along the way and the race ends at the Saranac Brewery with concerts, fireworks and loads of food and drink.



This race is not only fun, but appears to be rather tough. The elevations bring you up over 400 feet in the first few miles, but is relatively downhill for the last half of the 9.3 mile run.




To say that I'm excited for this race is an understatement. This is the first race that I'm gonna try and shoot for a specific time in. I'd like to finish in less then 1:30:00. This will be about a 9:30/mile pace. Despite all the stations, I'm hoping to only water up at each 5K. I think this could save me at least five or six minutes in time and will allow me to get into a comfortable pace without starting and stopping every ten minutes.

I'm not only excited about the race, but the entire weekend. I'm gonna stay in Saratoga Springs on Friday and Saturday night and probably for Sunday night after the race. Saratoga is one of the coolest towns I've ever been and has hundreds of restaurants, bars, golf courses and attractions. The peak time to visit Saratoga is from the last week of July through Labor Day when the Thoroughbred meet is going on, but it is a fun place to visit any time of year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

100 Days to Go


72 Days ago this whole experiment started. In many ways, to get to even this point would have been considered a pipe dream. Thanks to my trusted ING Hartford Marathon widget, I can now see that we are 100 days away from M-Day.

As of June 10, I had logged in 70 miles running. Since then, I went through my two week soul-searching phase in which I only ran 7 miles. However, since last Monday I have tacked on 34 fresh miles on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9 odometer. With 20 miles coming on just Sunday and last night alone.

This brings my total mileage to 111 miles run since April 21. The last three days have been sort of a breakthrough for me. The half marathon proved I could finish a long run in a somewhat respectable time. The biggest breakthrough may have been last night's 7-mile run. I was only planning on running 3 miles. When I got to the 3-mile mark, I decided to try and make it 4.5 mile. When I got to the 4.5 mile point, I decided to make it 6-miles. As I came down the street to finish at 6, I decided to run a couple loops around the neighborhood to make it 7. I found a breathing pattern that has seemed to elude me so far. I also realized that I can go 7 miles without stopping for water, stretching or energy gel. It took me exactly an hour and those 8 or 9 minutes I took off had to have been from not stopping and going every mile. I was able to find a comfortable pace and keep it there. I don't know if I can make 5+ miles a night a regular thing, but if I can I'm convinced I can take my minute/mile pace to around 8:30.

So 72 Days in and 100 to go until the Hartford. We are about 75 days away from the Montreal Marathon prep run.

The total mileage accrued so far would take me to Schenectady, NY to the West:


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Lynn, MA to the East:



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And to the slot machines and harness racing at Yonkers Raceway to the South:


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Necessities

There are a few things I was missing at Sunday's half-marathon that I now know are absolute necessities for any run of ten miles or longer. The basics that I did have were a great pair of shoes, comfortable runners socks and a breathable shirt. I spoke of these purchases a few weeks back and they have made a positive difference to all my runs. Never again will I get laughed at for wearing clown shoes and polyester shorts that extend below the knee. However, I learned that I run the risk of getting laughed at on marathon day for bleeding through the chest, or as "The" calls them - the love buttons.

So what do you need to contain the bleeding from the love buttons? You need Body Glide. This will not only protect the chest, but will also protect the toes. I've got some pain in the middle toes on each foot. I'm a little concerned that by running in the rain that my new sneaks may have shrunk a bit. This is something I'm gonna need to keep a close eye on the next couple runs.



If that isn't enough for you, you can always go with the ultimate shield.





Another necessity for a long run is the energy gel. I've come full-circle on the GU Vanilla Bean gel. I'm gonna want to test a few of the other flavors so I know whats out there, but this gave such a needed boost in this last run that I don't think I'll do any run of 6 miles or longer without it.




The final necessity are electrolytes. Either the pills or the drink, they will help your body absorb the water you take in during the run. This will not only help during the race, but will go a long way in making a speedy recovery following the race. I'm still researching more on these, but from what I hear, they are a runner's friend.



I feel almost totally recovered from Sunday. Takes an extra second to straighten the getaway sticks out after sitting down for awhile, but no pain to be reported. I took yesterday off from running, but did 25 mins on the bike before last night's lift. This week I'm expecting to run 3 miles tonight, 5 or 6 miles Wednesday, and three miles Thursday. With the holiday weekend coming up, there are plenty of races to partake in and I'm hoping to do a 10K one of the days.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Up'ing the Anti



What do Montreal, Hartford and Philadelphia all have in common?

Believe it or not, they are the three cities that I've decided to run marathons in this Fall.

You read that right Amanda - the THREE cities THIS guy is gonna run a marathon in.

I've decided that to go through all this trouble for one race is a little crazy. So, I've decided to go through all this trouble for big crazy and challenge myself to something unthinkable. I haven't thought it all through yet, but the Montreal Marathon is held on September 13. It just so happens that is the week I am scheduled to do my 20-mile long run in preparation for the Hartford Marathon on October 10. I believe running 20 miles through the traffic and streets of North Central CT sounds pretty unmotivating. However, tacking on an extra 10K and doing it in one of the greatest cities in the world- surrounded by thousands of other runners- is motivating. As far as the Philadelphia Marathon goes, its being held on November 22 a solid six weeks after the Hartford. I might as well get another one out of the way.

So there it is. While I alluded to this past week's half being the breaking news I wrote about last week, it was all just a smoke show for this announcement.

The only question that remains is: Who's coming with me?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

29th Annual Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon - 2:18:05




After today's Fairfield Half Marathon, I can honestly say I'm half way to completing this goal of competing in and completing the Hartord Marathon. However, the idea of running a second 13.1 miles that day will be freakin' tough.

I had the goal of finishing between 2:15:00 and 2:25:00 in today's race. I accomplished this, but I can think of so many things I did that cost me significant time. I stopped and walked at every water station. I walked the last 50 yards going up two hills. I only ate a bagel going into the race. I didn't properly stretch. What makes this encouraging is it appears I'm on pace to complete the full marathon in under 4:30:00. I could never complete it in that time today, but considering I ran my first mile just over two months ago, I'm on the right track.

There was never a point in the 13.1 miles that I said to myself," what the heck am I thinking?" I never swore to never do this again and I never hit a wall in the race. I credit staying well hydrated, which was important because it was about 85 and HOT, and in taking advantage of the GU Vanilla Bean Energy Gel station just before the 7 mile point.

I only tried the gel once before. It was a couple miles into the Iron Horse 10K and I hated it. It gave me a cramp and tasted like jung. However, as my long-distance long distance trainers (affectionately known as "THE")commented in a previous post, there is a time and a place for the gel. I found my time was right around Mile 7. It didn't go down very well but taken with water and some electrolytes, it wasn't too bad. I also found that about three minutes later I was in an all out sprint for the next mile and a half. This sudden burst of energy cost me a couple miles later, but I found that it was exactly the burst I needed at the time I needed it. I'm gonna test the gels some more as training goes on, but I think they will be well worth the investment.

There were 3116 people competing in the Half and I finished 2012. I ran at a pace of 10:39/mile. This is much slower as a whole compared to other races but considering about 500 people finished in the five minutes before me I felt I was staying with the crowd throughout the race. If I didn't stop at every water station, I am convinced I could have taken four or five minutes off the final time. What also needs to be considered is how slow the first mile or two were. With everyone starting at the same time and running down a two-lane road, it was a slow, crowded first 5k before it opened up. This race was incredibly well organized and was a beautiful course. It took you through Fairfield, Southport, past Fairfield Country Club and along the shoreline. There were some difficult hills, but I decided I wasn't gonna try and be a hero on them. The homes and the scenery were incredible and their were hundreds if not thousands of volunteers along the course. There were three times that amount of spectators. It amazes me how communities come out in support of these races. People were standing outside spraying the runners with water, kids were banging pots and pans and high fiving whoever would extend a hand, bands were playing at intersections in two or three different sections. It's incredible considering all we did was litter their streets with paper cups and hold up traffic for hours on the nicest morning of the month.

The race started and ended at Jennings Beach. There were bands, enough food to feed an army, thousands of people and medals being handed out to every competitor. I'm a little tight in the calves right now and I felt a little pain in my right knee and ankle at one point, but I'm feeling pretty good physically considering it was almost double any run I have ever done (minus the '99 Boston Marathon- which doesn't count).

When I ran my first mile on April 21, I could have never imagined running a half-marathon by July 1. I can guarantee this won't be my last before the marathon in October. I think I'm gonna try and incorporate any half marathons into my long training runs as time goes on. The atmosphere for these races is great, the courses are fun and the other runners are cordial and supportive. I can't wait for the next one.

The official race photos are here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Comeback Week


This week has gotten me back on pace. I ran 3.1 miles Monday, 3.6 Tuesday, 2.5 Wednesday and 3mi tonight. I'm gonna go three more tomorrow and rest Saturday before the big 13.1 mile half marathon on Sunday. That will be a total of over 28 miles in 6days. This will catch me up from my two week layoff. I know how important the days off are for me to recover. However, I needed to push it a bit this week.

Along with running, I have also put in 15 miles on the bike and three days of lifting. I'm sore, but it's a good sore. This is the kind of week that I need to continue through the month. My confidence is back and I'm excited again for the next 16 weeks.

I started this blog to help get me through months like I've had in June. It has made me accountable and the friends who busted me for not seeing posts correctly assumed I was slacking off. So thanks to all of you who stayed on me and don't hesitate to call me out if you don't see anything on here for a few days.

As for the race on Sunday - I can't wait! There will be 4000 runners in it. After the Boston Run to Remember,which had 7000 runners and just as many spectators, I had a true runner's high for the next few days. I can't imagine what the feeling will be next Monday and Tuesday.

King of Pop







Wednesday, June 24, 2009

13.1 Mile Test





It's time to man-up.

I've registered for this Sunday's 29th Annual Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half-Marathon. I know I'm unprepared. I know I haven't run farther then 7 miles at any given time. I know I haven't run in any sort of race in the month of June. However, I also know I'm approaching the half way point of this training schedule and now is as good a time as any to see how far I've come.

The Fairfield Half is one of the most competitive races in the country. Many of the top runners in the world will be there along with close to 4000 other runners. I won't be anywhere near the front of the pack, but I also won't be bringing up the rear. I expect to finish this in around 2:15:00 - 2:25:00. Also, as I continue to get through the Summer training, I'll have that much more confidence that finishing the full marathon is possible.

So, there you have it. I'm gonna suck it up and throw myself into the fire with this one. I've set a goal of running a 5K, 10K, 15K and 20K in the next month. The 15K is gonna be the Boilermaker July 12 and I still need to find fun 5K and 10K races. This will be a morale booster or killer. I'll let you know which on Monday.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT COMING!!!




There is a major announcement coming in the following days.

Hint : Nope... no hints.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back in Action


The last week and a half have been less then inspiring. It has rained every single day. I've gone to Saratoga, Boston, Providence (twice), Newport and have had several late meetings. So where does a guy who has run out of excuses go to get out of his slump? The Judgement Free Zone, of course. Today was the true start of Phase II. I found the Planet Fitness in East Granby and decided to kick my own ass. I warmed up with 5 miles on the bike, ran 3.1 miles at a 9:40/mile pace and did an arms and shoulders workout. The lifting will be an added bonus to the marathon training. I'm expecting to lift Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For this week, I'm gonna run at least 3 miles a day and am gonna run at least a 10K this weekend. I need to prove to myself I can get back into this strong. It will also catch me up on the mileage total. I feel great tonight and am ready to finish what I started.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looking into the Abyss


"Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss."

Pathetic.

Pitiful.

Candy Ass.

I'm all of these things and more. I started this blog to hold myself accountable for all of my fleet footed actions for a measly 25-weeks out of my life. While I've had no problem patting myself on the back for some things over the first two months, I haven't been nearly as critical for some lapses in manhood.

Until today.

I've let myself, the legions (all 7) of faithful followers, and the running gods down this week. After being all gung-ho at the start of the season, I have basically quit. I've quit on myself, on my fans and most importantly on the October morning that is sure to live in infamy. I ran a total of seven miles last week. That's right. Seven. I ran 3.5 mile on Tuesday and Wednesday and then blew off the rest of the week. I blew off the 3 mile run for Thursday because of a little rain and a few puddles. I blew off the Niantic 10k on Friday because of a little interview. I blew off the Blum Shapiro 5K on Saturday because of a little beauty sleep. I blew off the Litchfield Hills 7-miler on Sunday because of a little, er, big headache. I need to find that handsome voice in the back of my head that says, "I jus' can't quit you!"

So what does a man-boy do when he comes to that fork in the road?

Does he choose to be Michael or does he choose to be Fredo?

Does he find that Spartan Spirit or does he turn to a life consumed by an assortment of spirits?
The answers to these questions will basically determine success or failure in both running and life. I don't have the answers this morning. I only have a pair of unlaced, sad and dry Brooks and an underutilized, silent I-pod that are screaming to be shown some love and attention. At this point, I can only stumble home, in the wee hours of the day, and beg for forgiveness and pray they will take me back.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where You Heading?


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One of the first posts I had was about the total mileage I was expecting to run in the twenty five weeks of training. It came out to over 600 miles which would get me to somewhere around Detroit if I had started at my front door. In the first seven weeks of the training, I ended up logging in approx. 70 miles running and 25 miles biking. That would get me to a couple of my former safety schools - Siena College in Albany, NY to the west or Harvard University in Cambridge, MA to the east.


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Running north I'd be getting off of Exit 6 on I-91 in Vermont and south I'd be in Stamford, CT.


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So what does all this mean? Well, not much really. I'm about 1/6th of the way there according to my original training schedule and the longest, hardest runs are to come.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spring Training is Over...



That's right. Spring training is officially over and from here on out every mile counts. Today was Opening Day of the Hartford Marathon Running Season. Exactly four months from today I'll be carbin' up and preparing for the following days epic test of will, strength, endurance and brawn. With the race a mere 122.5 days away, now is as good a time as any to evaluate where I currently stand and how my chances of completing this race are.

Now, I know that I am not a high draft pick on any one's marathon fantasy team. There are faster, more experienced, better nutritioned, sleeker fit and physically stronger runners available. However, for every Tom Brady or Peyton Manning taken in the first round there needs to be a Sebastian Janikowski or Kevin Faulk taken in the final round. I mean, you're only as strong as your 11Th guy. I'm the kind of runner that gets thrown in on third and short with a two touchdown lead at midfield when your starting backs are sore and you need to just keep the clock ticking. The kind of runner who you want to have run out in the rain or sleet to kick that 42-yard field goal with a couple minutes left and the over/under hanging in the balance. I won't get the headlines, but I'll fill the pockets.

Heading into tonight, I had taken the last week off. To be completely honest - I haven't been at the top of my weekday game since the Shamrock Duathlon. Curing myself of whatever virus or allergy I was suffering from and turning a year older was exactly what I needed to start the season off right. I went on a solid 3.5 mile gallop and ran at a comfortable 9-minute/mile pace. I'm gonna be restructuring the training schedule a little bit. This week I'm hoping to run three miles on Wednesday and Thursday and six miles for the weekend. I'm still debating whether or not to compete in a 10k in Niantic on Friday which could count for my weekend run.

Later this week, I'll go over the totals for so far and where I'm going for the next month. The six weeks of pre-training were well worth it and I am much more confident to tackle this 18-week regimen than if I hadn't done it. It's fun to hear about other people getting involved in 5k's for the first time and setting there own running goals. I'm convinced that if any one is ever feeling down, just spend ten minutes with people just before or just after running in a race. Or, you could just spend ten minutes reading this chicks blog. The natural high and optimism runners show is contagious. This is something I would have never known had I not just thrown myself into the fire. So let the countdown begin and if you're considering a half marathon or marathon at some point in your life - now is as good a time as any to start training. I'll need the help as time goes on and will be looking for people to run with along the way.

Finally, do you think this kid would have thought that 25 years later his Spring Training would include NU Energy Gel and Zulu Socks instead of a Louisville Slugger and Rawlings Ball?


What parent of a future major leaguer lets his kid wear jeans to a Tee-Ball game?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weekend off...


For the first time since I started this April 21, I think I'm taking a weekend off. Monday will begin the 18-week "official" training schedule. It will also be "Day 1" of strength training and of the next thirty years for THIS guy. I'm feeling sicker than I was last post and am gonna work on conquering this allergy/cold mcjigga that I've got. So, we're gonna throw the feet up and take it slow the next couple days.

In non-running news involving a runner




Our fashionable running friend Miss Hilary (left) strong armed the Legislature and was voted the "Best Dressed" Lady Lobbyist at the Capitol for this past session. A surprise to no one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pollen... pshhhh


I've never had allergies in my life. I don't know what they feel like, how to get rid of them or if they can be contained or stopped. What I do know is that I've felt miserable the last few days. My eyes are puffy, my throat is sore, my nose is running and I have no energy. I'm hoping it's just a cold. A cold will eventually break. Allergies are a gift that keeps on giving.

The Lady over at Nice Streets has been picking it up a notch. She is runnin' and gunnin' with a sense of purpose and is definitely motivating those around her. Knowing this, I can't let the sniffles hinder me from accomplishing this week's goals. I manned up this past weekend with a run of 4.5 miles on Saturday and 6.4 on Sunday. I needed to pick it up because I only ran the 2.5 mile run last Tuesday. I ended up with 13.4 miles for the week, but am not happy with having missed the scheduled Wednesday and Thursday runs. So this week I start the regular three mile jaunts. I'll be going with 3 miles tonight, four miles tomorrow, three miles Thursday and a scheduled 4 miles for the weekend. It will be a total of 14 miles, but I'm hoping to go a couple extra miles on Saturday or Sunday. I'm up to over 65 miles total in this training regimen and it's getting to "Go Time"...and I'm not letting a little pollen get in my way!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amica Insurance Iron Horse 10K - 1:01:21


The Iron Horse Half Marathon, 10K and 5K drew a total of 1315 people to Simsbury on a picturesque Sunday morning. I competed in the 10K and finished with a time of 1:01:21. Considering this was the longest continuing run I've made this millennium, I went in with no expectations. I finished at a pace of 9:53/mile. This is neither good or bad in my eyes. I expected to be right around an hour for the 6.4 or so miles and I was right there. This was a considerable improvement from my previous "long" run of 1:00:20 for 5.4+ miles in the Salmon River Run less than a month ago. However, this course was much flatter, not on any trails and the weather was much more pleasant for running.

Arriving about an hour before the 8:00 a.m. scheduled start, there were already over 1000 people roaming the grounds surrounding the Simsbury Band Shell. Dozens of vendors pushed there products to all of the bright eyed and bushy tailed competitors and it was tough not to notice the positively unbalanced proportion of women-to-men taking part in the festivities. The 10K started right at 8:00 with the Half and 5K starting at 8:15. This led to the first mistake of my day. Approaching the 1-mile marker, I was at a time of 7:15. This blew me away. I felt as though I was going at a solid pace, but knew this was much too fast for me to keep up. So I immediately slowed down. That went on for two minutes until I noticed another 1-mile marker at 9:25. Turns out the first clock and marker was for the Half Marathon runners, not for the 10K. It took me miles until I found another comfortable pace and probably cost me a few minutes in the end.

The second mistake was just after Mile 2. I thought it would be a good idea to scoff down some Vanilla Bean NU Energy Gel. I immediately regretted this decision. This junk is gross and definitely led to the painful cramp I had to work through around Mile 4.




The most positive aspect of this run was that I finished the race pretty strong. I'm willing to bet my final mile was my fastest and it surely had a lot to do with throngs of fans who came out to cheer on yours truly towards the finish.



Well, maybe it was only my brother Chris and his girlfriend Kim, but it was a definite boost nonetheless. I was impressed with both the early rising on a Sunday and the artistic ingenuity with the sign. However, nothing that took place on the streets of Simsbury could beat the victory brunch that Kim put on following the race. The food was great and they can expect big brother George at their doorstep every Sunday from here on out. So get planning and cooking for next weekend Kimmy!

The official photo of the event is here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Carbs No More




Ok... I'm finally giving in. After finding relative success with the no carb diet and being bullheaded towards trying any other way, I've decided to take the advice of pretty much everyone and change my eating habits to a more training friendly variety. Starting June 1, I'm going to be incorporating weight training into the schedule. I have purchased a training log (as if this site isn't enough) and am going to be lifting three days a week. The program will have a very regimented 12-week lifting schedule. I will be doing a three week loop of workouts, meaning if I do a certain exercise Week 1 than I won't do the same exercise again until Week 4. I will be focusing on the same muscles each corresponding day of the week, but mixing it up. I blame Adam Waters(see below) for this addition to the training.

In order to give myself the best chance at success, I need to eat the right foods. Good nutrition, or bad nutrition, is the best friend or worst obstacle to reaching any fitness goals. The eating plan will include 6 or 7 light meals a day. I will have around 15-20% PROTEINS, 20-25% FATS and the 60-65% CARBOHYDRATES. I already know this is going to drive me nuts. I'm hoping to plan my week's meals out a head of time (at least for the first 12 weeks). This will be difficult to do during the Summer, but is there ever a "not difficult" time to completely change one's bad eating habits. I've finally reached the Mendoza line and I don't plan on getting back on the scale again until Fourth of July. I expect that by adding muscle I will gain weight, so looking at it daily or weekly could only end up distracting me. Like cavemen before me, I'll go on how my clothes fit and how I physically feel to judge my weight.

So... there it is. I will be getting into much greater detail in the week ahead. I'm gonna have to get over my lifelong objection to eating vegetables. I'm gonna stock up at Costco on chicken breasts, tuna, brown rice and oatmeal and try to give this a go. Just know ahead of time that I'm not gonna enjoy it and come September 1, if I don't see the results I hope for(see top of post), I'm going back to a steady diet of eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, more cheese, steak, ham salad and cool whip.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

136 days to go...




Last week was a 'step back' week and step back I did. It was the first week that I didn't run more than the scheduled mileage, but I'm ok with that. Following the Shamrock Duathlon, I spoke of taking it easier for the week ahead. I was scheduled to run a total of ten miles last week and that is what I ran. I took an extra day off and ended up running two miles Tuesday, three miles Thursday and the 5 miles on Sunday in Boston. This week I'm gonna pick it back up again. The plan calls for runs of 2mi/4mi/2mi/5mi and a total of 13 miles run. I'm hoping to compete in the Iron Horse 10k in Simsbury on Sunday which will be close to a 6.4 mile race. This will be the longest straight run I'll make yet. I've considered really pushing it and attempting the half marathon, but I don't know if I'm really ready for that. In five weeks time, I am now at a somewhat respectable 9:00+ minute/mile pace and I'm going to use this weekend's race to build up some confidence and attempt to finish it in under an hour.

Since April 21, I've now logged in 52 miles running and 25 miles on the bike. Slowly but surely, we're getting there. Only 136 days to go til Marathon Day. To give you an idea what sort of transformation can happen in 136 days - check this guy out.