October 26, 2005

aborted workout

I'm a bit down about today's run. I was going to go for five and found myself aborting the run after a mile and a half.

I'd set out in the right amount of clothes for the weather and I'm glad I got THAT right, but there were other problems that just added up. My legs felt like wooden logs - not painful, though there was muscle soreness, but mostly just heavy, leaden feeling. There was the wind, which was brutal. There were times when I'd come to an intersection and the wind would slow me to a stop. It was just too bad to keep running in. Even dressed properly, I was getting very cold hands, my nose was running faster than I was, and I kept inhaling my own hair. I really shouldn't have left the house without some kind of cap, I guess.

Anyway, I feel like crap for ditching the run; but I guess we all have days when it just doesn't work out. I did hop on my bike and go for a 2 1/2 mile ride to mail a package and retrieve mail from the old apartment...but it still doesn't make up.

In other news, I got my assignments today for the Marathon. I'll be helping out at the Friendship Run, the Expo Registration tables for two days, and - as noted before - some medical thing on the big day. Somehow, I've managed to fill a solid week with marathon activities...and I'm not even running the damn thing! God, I'm going to consider this payment in advance for a good run in 2006, alright?

October 25, 2005

just a collection of random thoughts

Not running today. If the rain slacks off, I'm going to go get in 10 miles on my bike. My bike isn't an ultra-fast uber-racer, like Wil's new machine, but it is a standard Schwinn men's 10-speed, a few years old, non-descript black, uncomfortable to sit on, but just fine for pedaling around, even getting some speed up. Problem is, I'm as bad at it as I was at running a year ago when I tackled my first Turkey Trot. I need practice. And, yes, I have the idea that maybe by spring, I'll be in bike-shape enough to tackle a small biathlon.

I'm considering Nashville as my next marathon. It gives me the winter to train up, but promises more mild weather to run in. I'll have to broach the idea to my sister, who has already suggested a few other places we can run together.

I'm enjoying my first morning off in a month. I finally got a full eight hours of sleep last night - ten actually - and I feel well-rested. My landlord - god bless him - got my voice message asking him to reschedule the plumber and he actually did so! How unheard of is that? A landlord who put my comfort and rest before the needs of the finicky scheduling of getting a plumber in for some maintenance?

I've begun taking my resting pulse rate at various time of day. Oddly enough, its higher upon waking than it is just before I fall asleep - or at other resting moments of the day. I suppose it's because my body expects me to get out of bed and go and is adjusting accordingly. Anyway, it's a good heartrate, at rest: 54 BPM. I think I can say my heart's in reasonably good shape.

I'm stoked about helping out at the upcoming marathon. I haven't got word yet from NYRR and suspect it's because I haven't picked up my mail at the old place in a couple weeks; must do that today on my way into Manhattan for rehearsal.

October 23, 2005

Ghost and Goblins run for CF

Several months ago, I got wind of a 5K that was going to happen in Rhode Island to raise money for CF. I signed up, conversed with the organizer Ken McGill, and generally got ready to run for CF.

What is it about races that makes me get up at hours I would never entertain in the course of my job? Last night, instead of heading up to Pawtucket and getting a hotel, I opted for my own bed and my own cooking. But that meant that I was out of bed and on the road by 3:45 a.m. this morning. After all, Pawtucket is 4 hours away! I rented a car for this one and am glad I did so; the weather heading up there - indeed, right up 'til the race began - was miserable: cold, drizzly, and a little windy.

I arrived at Dagget Farm in Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket at 7:15. The hours listed on the entry form were 8 a.m. to noon. I didn't know that the race wasn't scheduled to BEGIN until 9:30! Shortly after I arrived, the organizers showed up. Ken is a swell guy, as is his brother. They introduced me to the kid they organized all this for, Ben, who also has CF. He looks very healthy for having recently gotten out of the hospital! He is tall and weighs 165. I struggle to maintain 120.

I spent the next couple of hours trying not to get chilled to the bone. Knowing I'd soon be warm enough wasn't a help. The time passed and soon enough, I and a about 70 other people were wandering over to a side road. A little after that and some idiot shattered the stillness of the no-longer-raining morning with an air horn. Then a bunch of other idiots, myself included, starting running away.

The course twisted and turned and looped on itself; I stopped keeping track of it after, oh... eighty steps. I figured I'd just run until either I stopped or until someone told me to stop.

There were a bunch of track kids from local schools there, all running together. The boys did quite well, as I recall, but I passed the girls' track group at about half a mile, when they encountered their first small hill. I wound up crossing the finish line way, way ahead of them.

I was soon way too warm and realized I'd once again overdressed, being unacclimated to the cold yet. I took off my hat and gloves and ran fairly comfortably the rest of the way, though I soon realized that my pre-race routine had been abysmal and that it was now costing me.

I started out at a slow pace and slowly worked up; but all too soon was running well -- and I do mean too soon! At that pace, I wasn't going to last. And...I didn't. For most of the second mile, my pace felt sluggish; I felt like I was wearing about 20 pounds of clothes; my coughing wouldn't stop; my legs felt like lead. Thinking back, perhaps a single cup of coffee at 5:30 a.m. and two ounces of spiced gumdrops were not the best race fuel, nor was standing in a less-windy corner of the park shivering the best pre-race warmup. I was stupid.

About mile three, or 3 1/3, I really loosened up, I got some energy back, and the promise of a finish line and something to eat and drink spurred me on. I got my pace back up and soon enough found myself crossing the finish line. I must say, that was the LONGEST 5K I've run yet!

And though I felt I ran lousy, I actually did quite well, besting my previous 5K time by almost a minute and a half, bringing me in at 27:08 - with an overall pace of 8:45 per mile! I really didn't think I ran that well, though I noticed I passed a LOT of people who fizzled at the mile mark.

I'm most especially intrigued by one woman named Penny, who came in second for the females - and who is 54! She's only been running for 4 years, she told me, but her time was almost 4 minutes faster than mine. I am in awe of her abilities.

I think Ben and I were the only two people there actually with CF. I'm going to try to rope some more NY runners into heading up there next year with me. I also may become one of the organizers next year; Ken and I are talking about it. It's really a good race to have and I wonder why I don't find any CF-fundraising races around here....


In other news, my sports doc, Dr. Maharam, gave me a clean bill of health and I'll have my last PT tomorrow morning. I still need to continue home treatment, especially for my IT bands, but my runner's knee is pretty much a thing of the past, as the Staten Island Half illustrates. Now, if I could just get this (literally) bloody left middle toe to heal up...

Also in the news, I now find myself a medical team captain for one of the aid stations en route for the NY Marathon. Maharam roped me into it.... sheesh. Well, this should be interesting. Two training meetings, though. More to build into my very busy next couple of weeks.

Emerald Nuts Pics

Look! Pics from Staten Island. I'm beginning to look like a real runner, especially with that tongue inexplicably sticking out of my mouth, which begs the question: is running like calculus? I only ask because I often find myself doing math problems in my head while I run, usually crunching clock numbers, splits, etc. Converting from base 10 to base 6 for minutes and seconds is killer.

October 21, 2005

Tag, you're it!

Well, it's been four days since I've run, meaning I have to have some excuse for not running. Work; that's it. Working pretty much 9 a.m. to midnight right now. I will, however, be running a 5K in Rhode Island on Sunday. The Ghost and Goblins Run is to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.

Another reason I haven't run is because the time on Tuesday I'd reserved to get in four miles was taken up on an emergency basis having to get this fixed. Getting a Source 4 in the face is no fun.

Anyway...there's some kind of game of tag going on, wherein one posts his/her fifth sentence from their 23rd post, then posts the URLs of their five favorite bloggers. I was surprised to find myself tagged by Fastchick, one of the runners I most admire for her speed and exacting expectations of herself. Of course Derek got into the game, too.

So. My entry:

"I've already done 9.3 miles in 1 hour 38 minutes, so I figured twelve miles would take about two hours, maybe a little more."

That would be when I was about to tackle my first twelve miles EVER. And it happened to be on one of the last days of the Gates project in Central Park. Twelve miles then took me two and a half hours. It still takes a good solid two hours.

I'm proud of Beast for his inspiring triathletic efforts, and of Danny for getting into training for his first marathon - a mere 17 days away! I'm also happy to keep reading Wil as she began running about the same time I did, but has taken the whole thing to the ultimate level, training right up for triathlons and heading for her first Ironman. Finally, though this is tagback number six, I have to mention Brian and his efforts to swim handcuffed to raise diabetes awareness. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from him since his planned date to swim the Hudson -- a date he didn't keep. Does anybody know what happened?

October 17, 2005


Legs are sore today after yesterday's half-marathon. Going to concentrate on work and take it easy from the running for the next few days; I've earned the break. Will try to get out Wednesday morning maybe.

Doing lots of stretching, especially of the hamstrings, IT band, and calves. It is nice that while things are sore, they're not TOO sore; just enough to let me know I worked it yesterday.

Left middle toe is in sorry shape, though; I expect to lose the toenail.

October 16, 2005

makin' my personal best my personal bitch

Let me get it out there: I rocked the Staten Island Half.

I ruled.

I spanked it. My previous personal best for a half-marathon (at the Flying Pig): 2:26:37. Today I smashed it! I snapped it like a cheap chopstick. I beat it like a gong. In short, I shredded the old PR!

Today's time: 2:06:44!

More than that, my average pace was well below a 10-minute mile, which, truly, surprises the hell out of me. And my age place ranking has risen significantly above the 50th percentile. I think I'm offically no longer a jogger, but a bona-fide runner. Perhaps as important: I began running one year ago today. I have come a long, long way, in every respect. *pats self on back*

Here's how things went:

Rose at 6 a.m. and was on the road towards Staten Island at 7. I needed to pick up my number and thought the race began at 9, and I didn't know if I'd be able to find the Richmond County Bank Balllpark easily. It was a cold ride over and very windy. My first big positive of the day was as I crested the top of the Verazzano Bridge, the sun peeked over the horizon, bathing the bridge, me, and a large portion of the city in a rosy orange glow.

As I parked, a guy who noticed I rode in called me a biathlete. Hah! Picked up my number and shirt and realized I actually had about two hours 'til the race. Over that period of time I drank a cup of honest-to-god real coffee and slowly acclimated myself to what was, frankly, a very chilly morning. The wind cut right through my clothes and I wished I'd brought my running pants, not my running shorts.

By the time the race was about to start, I'd shed everything but my running clothes with the race shirt over my technical shirt. I was cold still and was lucky to find a trash bag, which I put on like a poncho. That helped a lot, particularly during the last 10 minutes of waiting and the first half-mile of the race.

Once away from the immediate shore area, I warmed up significantly. My pace improved, my legs loosened up, and I took off the trash bag. I had a cap on and that proved to be a good idea, as it kept me warm and provided stray hair control.

I was running with the music on, but not letting it control my pace; I concentrated on my breathing. I concentrated so much on my form and breath that I nearly ran over a couple of people, but in general, the course was less crowded than I'd expected and it was a pleasure to be slowly passing (many) people. I was looking for two people in particular, whom I knew from previous races and had greeted that morning as they arrived.

Somewhere between mile two and four, in a nicely wind-shaded warehouse area, I finally caught up with Crista, a Mercury Master, and asked her how she was doing. Typically, she was doing fine, just chugging along. She is a machine!

Moderate hills presented themselves during the next three miles. The water stations were on hills much of the time. I avoided the stations, having brought a bottle of HEED with me. My plan was to finish up the HEED about mile 9 and ditch the water bottle, which was rather leaky.

We passed through several interesting areas, some of which were uber-windy, but my pace was not much affected. I was steadily reeling off the miles and couldn't believe how good I felt. My coughing was sporadic, though it was hard to bring stuff up - so I tended to have some hilariously protracted coughing fits. I don't know what the runners around me thought, particularly as I didn't slow to a walk for these fits, but continued to run. I'd be interested in getting an objective observation from someone.

At five and a half miles, on a long, long dowhill, I started seeing runners coming back the other way. At mile six, I finally, finally caught up with James Lu (the bells guy, as most people think of him) and passed him. He, too, was looking strong. I can't believe it took me six miles; that dude is fast!

The turnaround came right at six miles, meaning the return leg had to be folded to make it longer than the outbound trip. One of the detours was through the Army Reserve base at the foot of the Bridge. It occurred to me that with Army bases at the foot of both ends of the bridge, it would be possible, should martial law ever be declared, to secure the Verazzano faster than I could get out of New York using it. Scary thought.

Remember that downhill? Well, now it was a long, long uphill - and steep. This overcame several people and walking was much in display. I nearly gave in myself; but I wanted to see if I could keep my "no stopping, no walking" goal intact. After mile seven or eight, and another couple of hills, my energy was sagging, but I had faith that if I just powered through, I'd be fine in a few minutes.

I felt better soon enough and was finding myself powering up each hill at passing speed. I was also changing my breathing patterns like a bicyclist changes gears in preparation for different grades. Weird. It's almost like I'm getting good at this.

I ran out of HEED at mile 10 and threw the bottle to the side at that water station. I resolved to just snap on through the last 3.1 miles and not worry about hydration. I looked foward to the bottle of Recoverite I had stashed in my bag back at the finish.

At this point I picked up my pace pretty good, even though through most of miles twelve and thirteen we were running directly into a strong headwind. But I couldn't let that slow me down - I had to pee! I'd had to pee since mile 2, but hadn't seen any porta potties and the one place I actually veered off to find a bathroom, the gas station attendent waved us all off. Did I miss the mid-course porta-johns?

At 12.5 miles, I was sure I was about to piss myself, but was reassured that I was a mere six minutes or so from relief. My thirst didn't matter; my pace (while still good) didn't matter; the fact that the route passed the finish line and folded back didn't matter; I just wanted to get to a bathroom!

As a nice touch, because the course folded back for the last 4/10s mile or so, we were pushed to the finish by a tailwind. This made it easier to generate a finishing kick. When I spied the finish clock, it was thirty seconds from clicking over to 2:10 and I really wanted to beat that clock. Crossing the line was awesome, but I was beat. I bypassed the chip clip and went straight to the first green plastic structure I could reach and finally, finally let loose. (Clear urine; good sign).

It was as I was draining the tank with my head resting against the wall that I realized I wasn't running anymore, that I had actually come to a stop. You see, I didn't have to think about my legs during this race; they just did their thing, which is kind of a first. My brain was checking on my lungs frequently - and getting a lot of feedback - but every time my brain checked in with my legs, they sent back a simple "we're fine down here," so I checked in with them infrequently. By the end, my legs were tired, but not sore and even now, as I write, only my right hamstring is giving me shit. I wore the custom orthotics for this race and - aside from two bloody toenails, which I expected - I had zero foot or knee problems. Sweet.

I waited around and stretched and drank Recoverite 'til Crista appeared about fifteen minutes later and I cheered her in to the finish. She must think I'm nuts - that I always make sure to find her and cheer her on. But it's nice to have someone know you and cheer for you, I think, and if I can be Crista's own personal cheerleader, then I will try to be.

Getting home was cake. Other vehicles plied the brake pedal for 45 minutes just getting through the first half mile - I got through in about 5. The next fifteen, I threaded my way past closed streets (there were still runners on the course) and finally got to the SI Expressway and the Bridge. My ride home was very pleasant as I basked in the sunshine, the fresh breeze, and the afterglow of a run well done.

Now I'm thinking ahead. I will research and find an opportune marathon and keep training up to it. I think if done on a long, judicious schedule, I stand a very good chance of cutting 15 minutes off my marathon time, perhaps even doing a sub-5-hour run. I also think that if I got in some speed training, I could whisk a flat 2:00 in a half-marathon.

To paraphrase Reepicheep: Onwards and Upwards!

October 14, 2005

dark rainbow

It has been raining in NY for eight days straight. Fortunately, the rain is supposed to let up before the Staten Island Half.

But, between the rain and work, I missed Wednesday's scheduled run, and I didn't make it up today, I just ran the 3 my schedule called for. My IT band has been hurting the last few days and I haven't been able to keep my PT appointments...

But tonight was different. Tonight, I made a decision to run come hell or (likely) high water. I didn't have much energy today, haven't had enough sleep for a week, and didn't even get pumped up listening to my running mix. But upon stepping out of the subway, I got my first good sign: It had stopped raining!

I took this as a message from above, saying that if I wanted to run, I better get a move on; that God would let me run rain-free if I'd just get to it. So, after a very brief stop at home to drop my bag and take off my clothes (I had underdressed in my running clothes, thinking I might be able to run Central Park at lunch), I was out the door.

For being so stiff and sore all week, the run was amazingly good. Usually it takes three miles just to warm up, but I was warmed up in a quarter mile and really doing well headed uphill at a half mile. The pain in my tendons melted away.

I made the loop to Prospect Park, my old place (to pick up mail) and home. As I ran, it was almost like running in the country at night. Everything was black and wet. Crossing an expressway was like crossing a raging river - the wind, the rush of wet sound, the works.

Continuing on, I crossed tributaries and followed rights or lefts without willing myself, carried along by red and green lights like a blood cell approaching capillaries. The trees along the route shadowed the sidewalks, sometimes quite darkly near burned out streetlights, making the journey over the broken concrete, pitted with years of weathering and cracked from upthrust tree roots, a cross-country trail run.

As I pounded uphill, my speed actually increased. Thanks to the antibiotics I'm on, my breathing has gotten easier; I sped up towards the park breathing a 2-in, 2-out pattern without stress. My legs felt good; my lungs felt good.

As I crested the Hill and headed back down towards my old apartment, a warm, drier breeze whipped past me and I looked up at the sky. I could see clouds skudding past, with big breaks between. Had the sun been up, I'm sure a rainbow would have been out. Instead, the dark and dirty ink of the night sky, frosted with the salmon-colored glow of civilization, would have to serve as my dark rainbow; a promise - I hope - that God will never again send me eight days of rain to ruin my schedule before a big race.

Damn, the shower felt good!

Oh, and before I go, I would like to make mention of Fage authentic greek yogurt, the stuff with the honey in the separate little pot. I can't believe how good this stuff is! It's loaded with fat and natural sugars, both of which are good for me. And the taste and texture - sweet jeebus, could Man find a way to cram more decadence into such a little cup?

October 12, 2005

start of the taper

Schedule called for the beginning of the taper; 3 miles this morning. Though I'm putting in some very late nights, I got up and did it.

Actually, I was supposed to run Monday, but had no time, so Tuesday a.m. had to do. I'll next run Thursday and Friday, then the Staten Island Half on Sunday!

This morning's run felt pretty good. Decided to go up to Prospect Park and back, so the run was probably closer to four miles than three. Still, I'm getting some of my lungs back (I'm on cipro and double TOBI at the moment) and my feet felt good. The climb up to the park didn't have me distressed; just pleasantly stressed. I even settled into a two-in, two-out breathing rhythm and it was comfortable! My pace was also good, especially on the return trip.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next three runs are as good.

October 9, 2005

hamstrings, the betrayers

Long, hard run today. The rain from yesterday slacked off to a mist. My game plan was to run 8 laps of the reservoir, making 12.8 miles. As I got to Central Park, I thought maybe I'll just do four, then do a loop of the park. Funny how the first game plan has a way of winning out.

It was cold today; I dressed in two sets of running clothes, the summer stuff underneath the running pants and long-sleeve T. I used the first lap as a warmup and stretched out for several minutes afterwards. Then I took the pants off. The cool air hitting my legs was quite a shock. But I was pretty warm so that was ok. Second lap, I did a little more stretching, not yet having achieved that loose easiness I felt Friday. Took off my long-sleeve T; kept the baseball cap on.

Third and fourth laps grew progressively more difficult. I was pausing after ever lap for a drink of HEED and I wonder if that pause was actually contributing to the growing tightness and soreness in my hamstrings. My IT band wasn't bothering me much, or anything else. Just the hamstrings. I stretched out quite well after the fourth lap, but it just didn't help much. This is familiar territory: I'd felt just like this after the 19th mile of the Flying Pig Marathon. Had today been a marathon, and with such tightness and tenderness so early on, I would have DNFed.

As it is, my pace sufferd a bit. I had been running at a steady half-marathon pace, perhaps a little slower, most of the time. The fifth and sixth laps saw the mist stop and my spirits lift, partly because I was past the halfway point. But I was also contemplating finishing six and calling it a day.

I pressed on.

Seventh lap was downright painful and after very quickly sucking down some more fluid and starting the eighth lap, it quickly became apparent that on this last lap, if I slowed to a walk at all, I wouldn't be able to finish the lap running. I carried through and am much pleased I ran the whole 12.8.

However, this does not bode well for the half marathon next weekend. I am hoping my distress today was partly the weather, partly the flat, dirt course (which I am unused to), and partly the new orthotics. I hope by the time next weekend rolls around, things will feel better.

I did get a new foam roller and hit it hard both before and after the run; my legs feel pretty good right now. I need to keep on it this next week, as well as my TKEs and such. I'm hoping that Staten Island will have at least a few hills, as the hills give different muscles a chance to do the work and give others a chance to rest, much better than all flat.

I am thankful that my problem was NOT runner's knee! Also, many thanks for all the responses I've been getting lately; it's nice to know you guys are rooting for me.

October 7, 2005

the eye of the storm

Scheduled run: 5 miles. Actual run: 3.2

Talking with Amy the therapist yesterday, she suggested that since I'm wearing the custom orthotics full-time in my regular shoes now, I could start running in them as well. Start small, she said. So I took today's run to try it out. Being as I was in the neighborhood of the reservoir in Central Park, I decided to take a risk and run the reservoir.

Why was this a risk? Simply put: I'm afraid of dirt. Or, rather, afraid of what running on the cinder track did to me the last (and only) time I tried it. I was in pain for days afterwards. Of course, that was almost a year ago and I've changed a lot since then. So it was two laps of the reservoir today.

And what a good run it was! Sure, I started out with the same little pains I've had for a long time now, but after stretching again after the first lap and getting about 1/3 of the way 'round the second, all the pains just melted away and I finished the run (actually did most of the run) at a speedy pace. I also finished pain-free for the first time in a while. For that reason, I may do my long run this weekend around the reservoir, though I can imagine the potential tedium of 8 laps.

I was, yes, afraid I'd be bored. Not so; I found the opportunity to concentrate on my running form a welcome change from the kind of concentration on external obstacles most runs entail.

I find running to be an elegant form of exercise; if not in execution, then in style at least. It requires very little in the way of specialty equipment, requires no membership dues, no clubs, no coaches or trainers, no insurance, no agents, no contracts, no team members, no competitors, no machines; nothing but shoes and shorts - and some people run without those even! The reservoir is an extension of that simplicity of form - on the cinder track, most concerns need not be heeded. No cars to dodge, few other runners or pedestrians, no potholes, no cracked sidewalks, no hills, no sharp turns; just forward motion.

This running thing is beginning to appeal to me. It might - just might - not suck as much as I used to think.

Staten Island coming up, hoping this next week is a good week of taper.

October 6, 2005

seven long miles

Had a very hard day yesterday; very tiring.

Seven long miles, extending my new five-mile route by two. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the five-mile-route turnaround point is a place I've been before: the end of the Shore Road, where it joins with the BQE. So continuing on, to extend the route, I found myself jogging a flat, straight path right on the waterfront away from Manhattan toward the Verazzano. What a great stretch! I think it will be good for some speedwork in the future. Yesterday, however, it was a bit rough to run.

I had pain throughout the run, especially up through the fourth mile; I had to stop and stretch several times, so it felt like I was doing the run in spurts of 3/4 to one mile. I have a theory that now that I'm getting adjusted to the custom orthotics, the temporaries, which are still in my running shoes, are causing problems, instead of helping. I dealt with hip pain, knee pain, shin splints, and a little plantar fasciitis. I nearly gave up on the run several times, but pushed on, promising myself to go short on Friday if I have to so I can run Saturday's 13 miler as planned. After the fourth mile, however, the pains started to go away and I had a nearly uninterrupted jog back home.

The turnaround point for the new 7 mile route is along Shore Road across from a large high school, about 1/3 mile short of the Verazzano Narrows Bridge. I believe the running/biking path continues for several more miles and will have to find out on Saturday. The route is all flat, though (minor hills in one spot), so I have to remember that it's not good training for a typical New York race. It would be great training for Las Vegas, Chicago, or Phoenix tho!

The rest of the day was hard, too. I iced, drank Recoverite, and took a shower. I was out of energy and suspect my uneven diet as of late is partly the culprit. Juggling four shows is playing hell with my ability to train effectively. After the run, I went to a production meeting for one show, then a run-through for that show, then a production meeting for another show, finally getting home in time for John Stewart.

I can't wait 'til Thanksgiving. It will be my chance to get out of New York for a while, run in some warmer temps as a brief respite from the colder NY temps, and just generally decompress. In the meantime, I have three more shows to open, the Staten Island Half to run, a 5K for Cystic Fibrosis to run the weekend after, and an apartment to finish moving in to.

October 3, 2005

new five mile route

I did a five mile run this afternoon. It was far more difficult than I anticipated, probably because my legs were still tired from yesterday, though not sore, which I was thankful for.

The route I chose was new to me, heading out towards the Verazanno Bridge from my house and keeping down towards the water, so I ran mostly third and second avenues into higher and higher street numbers. I passed a number of useful-to-know places, including my nearest post office, which happens to be two blocks away. (Yet another advantage of moving!) I also passed a large Costco, a number of little delis and coffee shops, a large number of wholesale-only type warehouses, though one was selling Timberlines out the front door apparently to the public at wholesale prices.

I took the Forerunner today, as I had no desire to go long by accident, and I wanted to tick off some landmarks as mile markers. As I got to the second mile out, I came to a place where 2nd ave stopped and the road crossed over some expressway I haven't traveled before. Off that, was a small, tree-lined residential road that quickly ended in a path leading past a park, a Millenium Skate Park, and farther down, ended in a nice quarter-mile loop with a steep, short hill. My Forerunner's batteries gave out, but not before I noted that the far side of the loop put me at 2.5 miles exactly -- so the whole route out and back is five miles on the button. I'll try to confirm this with gmaps pedometer later.

Another new thing: my e-caps order came in today and I not only got some HEED to take with me (better than Gatorade for sure), but also some Recoverite to try out. We'll see the long-term effects of it. So far, I like the taste; it should be a helpful after-workout drink.

October 2, 2005

active recovery

Legs hurt after that 12-mile run? Try "4 mile bike ride". Coming soon to a road near you!

Running is not pretty, part 4

I've discussed before some of the various ways running isn't pretty, ways that apply to everyone. But today, as I put in my long run for the week, a 12-miler, I pondered the grand forces of the universe that conspire to make MY running less-than-beautiful to behold.

One aspect of this - not the gruesome aspect - is my mode of dress. At best, I'm not a snappy dresser. And though I'd never characterize myself as a slob, or even sloppy, I have a tendency to show up in jeans where khakis are better suited. And when I do show up in a dress shirt and khakis, my belt rarely matches my shoes. Keep this inability to dress well in mind.

I woke up this morning at 8 a.m., having gotten in bed last night before midnight. It felt great to have a real night's sleep! I took my time getting ready for the run, allowing my body to slowly come to alertness, revelling in staying in bed an extra 20 minutes listening to NPR. But, duty calls, and I had to get a run in while the sun was anti-meridian, as the post-meridian held other plans (since cancelled).

Thinking back to Wednesday's cold run, and hearing the temp was in the high 50's, I took my inability to find my running shorts and tech T as a sign to dress warmer, and put on my running pants, a cotton T, and my hoodie.

Big mistake. Remember that axiom about not changing anything major right before a race? How about not changing a whole bunch of stuff all at once before a long run?

After a tough warmup run to the park, I was sweating heavily and realized I'd overdressed. Also, I was carrying way too much shit and just needed to lighten the load. I stopped at my favorite tree and crammed my water bottle and gel flask into its hollow, then stuffed the hood of my sweatshirt in, too, leaving the rest hanging out. If there was ever a "free stuff; steal me" sign, that was it. Well, I reasoned, there's a water fountain in the park if my stuff disappears. (I needn't have worried. The athletes in Prospect Park are, for the most part, honest people; I often get "hey, that's a good idea" feedback from people who see me stop at my cache for re-fueling and hydration.)

So there's me, already half-soaked in sweat, tucking my t-shirt into my running pants, hiking the pants up to my waist, and rolling the top down a couple turns, a practice I also do with my shorts. Why? Package control, my friend. Ladies have boobs, men have other parts that aren't good to have bouncing around.

The upshot is, I look goofy dressed like that. My white socks blaze out like I'm fresh from nerd boot camp and I look most emphatically un-cool. Other runners manage to look good; even graceful, in their sweaty things. Not me. To top it all off, I ran with music again, and my cord management system is a knot in the middle of the cord, fastened with a safety pin to my shirt.

Why do I obsess over the appearance issue? I don't really; if I did, I'd change the way I look. Fact is, I'm simply stalling for time and avoiding talking about the real reason running is not pretty. I'll get to it eventually.

Besides, I haven't even touched yet on the mouth boogers. You know what I mean, right? That junk that builds up on your lips from drinking and licking your lips and breathing through your mouth... not that that is real visible, but still, I have to deal with it.

Three difficult - but not terrible or overly stressful - laps of the park later, I gathered up my stuff and took a minute to fueld and hydrate before heading out of the park. Another mistake. I should have just grabbed and run. To finish my twelve, I had to run on down to my old abode, which also allowed me to pick up some mail. But my legs at this point had had it and weren't too happy with being asked to do another .9 miles.

Overall, a good run, even if I am a tad sore. Not in a major way, though, and I was conscientious about my stretching before and after, so I don't think I'll suffer like I did two weeks ago. I think that with a nice easy couple of runs mid-week, I should be ready to go for the Staten Island half.

12.8 miles total:

October 1, 2005

BAM! Back on schedule.

I'm happy with today's run. Did a PT session this morning with snarky Amy, who was actually in a good mood even though every single patient was late - she seems to look forward to the challenge of seeing the hordes of pre-ING Marathon patients that are beginning to flood the schedule.

As I was leaving, she asked me about next week's schedule, which I hadn't scheduled yet. So she jumped my case about that; wants me to nail down a month's worth of schedule because October is booking fast. Good advice!

Got out afterward and into Central Park. Schedule called for five and that's exactly what I ran, doing the loop, but taking the 102nd street cross, instead of the north hills. That shortcut is a rarity for me. I believe in the no pain, no gain mantra when it comes to hills.

Legs still felt heavy; lungs not cooperating fully. Coughing a lot. Have decided to give my CF doc a call on Monday, see if I can get on some Levaquin while they cook a culture. I'm pretty sure I'm culturing something that's gunking me up more than normal.

But the run itself was, overall, pretty good. COLD, though. Not, like, Jack Frost Run cold. Certainly still 50 degrees away from that January 22nd 7-mile Frostbite. But with the temps in the low 50s for the first time in months -- it was a little chilly. I threw my hoodie on over my summer running clothes and found myself fairly comfortable, though I think it's time to dig out the running hat and stretchy gloves.

Man, I do love this weather. Come on October. I'm ready for ya.

And lastly, to Wil: your friend lacks belief because success seems like a myth until success has been tasted. It is difficult to breathe rarified air - nay, even to believe rarified air exists - until one has taken one good lungful.