Monday, October 30, 2006

Say what?

This race was a total bomb . . . as in a 39 minute positive split bomb! This just ticks me off, because I'm in much better shape than a 3:43 marathon. On the one hand, it sucks. (I was actually joking with the eventual women's 40-45 winner before the race how awful a 3:30 would be! That's irony folks.) On the other hand, I missed all of my goals in such a spectacularly grotesque fashion that it doesn't sting as bad as, say, a 3:11 would have. I mean, I had basically 75 minutes during the race after it became impossible for me to reach 3:10 to resign myself to the result, while I was blasting (HA!) through 11:00+ minute miles. I'm MOST annoyed though, in being passed by one Dean Karnazes just before the final mile. One thing was clear, Sunday was not my day.

Haven't decided what I'm doing next, whether it's another race in 6 weeks or so or phasing down until the spring. At the moment I'm leaning toward the former, mostly because of righteous (I think) fury. However, what happens at the office tomorrow and how well I recover over the next week will to a large extent be outcome determinative. In any event, this race has certainly been a learning experience, but all of these topics are really their own posts.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's done

Training, that is. Perfectus est. I catch Amtrak tomorrow morning to D.C. for Sunday's race. My bags are packed; my singlet, gloves, shoes and throw-away clothes are all ready to go. After a busy couple weeks, I've had two days down and am now champing at the bit to go. There's nothing left to do except watch the World Series and fret. The forecast looks like a mixed bag. Although the temp is set for a high in the mid-50s, with partial cloud cover, the wind predictions are around 20 mph with up to 40 mph gusts. All in all, it's not so bad, and the forecast has improved since earlier this morning.

I really don't have anything else to say . . . I'm going to muse on what needs to be done, and sign off here until the results are in. When I'm back I'll either be a Boston qualifier . . . or I won't . . . . All that's left now is to perform.

Today: 4.15 mile Pulaski O&B in . . . who the $@#* cares?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Feel Fat . . .

So, if anyone needs a primer on how a taper shouldn't go, take my training schedule as a example. After spending the first two weeks putting in steady 12-14 hour days at the office, I thought I'd be coasting in to the finish. The irony is that, after months of asking out-of-town folks to visit with no bites, two do and Erin and I are doing our hostly duties during the last week of the taper. That alone would be fine (and really, I'm glad to see these folks), but the visits, three must-attend birthday parties (all, obviously, at bars and starting late because I'm in my 20s) and various other dramatics that I really just can't get into have combined to create a not-very-restful taper-time. I'm really not sure how, but although I've been running significantly less in the last few weeks, I'm not getting any more sleep and I certainly don't feel well rested. I have the feeling that when I hit that BQ time in DC, it will be because I've overcome the taper, not been aided by it. Oh, and, as the title suggests, after two weeks of light duty, I feel kind of sluggish and puffy. Please, can I just go race???

On the other hand, my times certainly appear to reflect rest. Take today for instance, after a consciously slow 2.5 miles in 20:10 for the first half of the Billyburg Out-n-back, I scorched the return trip in 18:20 with no real effort increase (in fact, since I opened my stride it felt a little easier). So, hopefully the body's been resting and I just need to find time over the next four days to pull it together mentally.

Last night went to eat at Daisy May's BBQ USA on 11th Ave in Hell's Kitchen. Now those were some good ribs! I also had baked beans with burnt ends (sooo smooth) and cole slaw (sooo good), which was too much becuase I had so much food left over. And as someone who's from the home of the International Bar-B-Q Festival, to give my credentials, let me say it again: those were some good ribs! My friend, who had the Kansas City ribs was equally impressed as I with my Memphis dry rub. And, AND I got sweet, mint iced tea in a mason jar! How cool is that? Let me answer the rhetorical question -- it's very cool. You'll be put off if you go, because the restaurant's really in the middle of nowhere and you order (and likely eat) at a counter, but it's all worth it. Go try this meat.

Friday, October 20, 2006


And not in a good way. But I believe that my crazy workload over the past couple weeks has finally broken. Two major deadlines passed yesterday, and while I have plenty of things to take care of (most of which was back-burnered over the past week) I have nothing that has to be finished, say, Saturday. However, the weight's been steadily building to the point that today's 4 mile "recovery" run felt more like mountaineering. Anyway, what's done is done, and hopefully a normal week to refresh the mental stores and recover from my current sleep debt will leave me ready to go at MCM in 9 days.

Although just heading home to sleep would have been fantastic last night, it felt almost equally wonderful to sink into the plush seating of the New York State Theatre to watch City Opera's production of L'elisir d'amore with my friend Alison. This story's all about the magic potion, which in addition to being a major plot device must have helped inspire Jonathan Miller in this Donizetti update -- inspire being the operative word. Nemorino the grease-monkey loves Adina from afar as she is courted by soldiers, bikers, greasers and other men. However, when the quack-doctor Dulcamara arrives in his town in his swank convertible, he impresses enough that he's able to sell the gullible Nemorino a "love potion" that will guarantee Adina's love, setting in motion a series of events and coincidences that actually lead to their becoming a happy couple. The update works very, very well and morphs Donizetti's rustic Italia into a scene of Americana that makes the story resonate in a highly relevant way with contemporary viewers. (And John Tessier's rendition of the aria "Una furtiva lagrima" was absolutely stunning.)

Wednesday: 7.75 miles in 5X:XX (didn't log this because had to be in the office early, so not really sure; close to an hour), with 3X1600 in 6:06, 5:55, 6:04 with 800 recoveries.
Friday: 4.15 miles in 30:44 (7:24 pace).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Bestest Part

I totally forgot the best part of Sunday's long run. After I ran across the Queensboro Bridge and reentered Long Island City, I noticed the neighborhood had some new flags on its light posts. "Great," I thought, "this neighborhood hasn't up and come yet and it's already went." See, I have a theory that when a hot neighborhood (like, says, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg) puts up flags on its light poles touting its own virtues (like, for example, the "North Side Shopping District" flags on the light poles along Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg) that's how you know that the neighborhood's reached the point where it's too full of itself to be a viable destination for living (and then, everyone who's not a Yuppie moves to Bushwick). Anyway, as I looked closer at the Long Island City flags, I realized they were something different.

They were bright blue, and not on every street. They didn't mention the neighborhood. Splashed across these flags in Long Island City, in bold, block lettering . . . "ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON ROUTE"

The most wonderful time, of the year.

Today: 7.45 miles at 55:35 (7:28/mile) with 8X100 strides.
Question for Pfitzers, this run was supposed to be, and ran at what felt like, "general aerobic" pace. However, it's about 30s/mile faster than g.a. pace was a few weeks ago, which is a big drop that's clearly due to reduced volume. Should I be slowing this down for the taper to "g.a. marathon training pace" or keep it at "g.a. effort pace"? (Does that question make sense?) I'll look up what Pfitz-y says later, but anyone have thoughts?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So much for . . .

a restful taper. Work's still nuts. Missed yesterday's run due to being tired. (A couple 14-hour days will do that, but the upshot of an extra day off? Today's LR was wicked fast.) Expect this heavy workload to settle out by the middle of the week.

Week in Review

MondayRest-- --
Tuesday7.9 miles59:12
Wednesday5.0 miles39:00
Thursday4.15 miles31:04
FridayRest-- --
Sunday16.5 miles2:03:277:29/mile
Total33.5 Miles-- --

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Tenacious Fr. T.

Work's taken a hold on me like Friar Tuck's on his beer keg; no time for blogging. Here's the last two days.

Tuesday: 7.875 miles (I know that looks anal, but I miscalculated the track and was 200m short of 8 miles.) in 59:12 (7:31/mile) with 5X600m:

  • 2:05 (so much for a slowdown from Sunday's 22)
  • 2:13 (more like it)
  • 2:12
  • 2:10 (liking the trend)
  • 2:02 (strong finish)

Wednesday: 5.0 mile WB O&B in 39:00 (7:48/mile).

I just purchased TV on the Radio's new album. Fantastic. Go buy it.

This posting marks this blog's 50th. (OK, perhaps balloons to myself is a bit narcissistic.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ding! Dong!

Yesterday was my last long run for the year and I have to admit to being thrilled to be starting the taper. Sure, I have a 16 scheduled for next weekend, but that's only about 2 hours 8 minutes. No biggie. I'm mostly excited that there aren't mid-week runs that are so long I need to be up crazy early anymore.

Anyway, yesterday I went in for the NYRRC's 18 mile "race" in Central Park. (3 loops; so dull. How'd no one say, "Let's do part of this on the Westside Highway?") I did the 4 mile middle loop before the "race" so that I'd get to 22 for the day, and passed numerous, dozens of people running extra miles. Yeah, this "race" is going to be really competitive. After the 4, I ran into NFG and several other Flyers while waiting for the start. I'd lined up back in the 8:30/mile range and then we went off.

So, here's how the 18 went down. The first mile went by in about 8:50. Sometime prior to mile 2, I caught a Flyer chick who's also trying to BQ at MCM and happens to also be an attorney. We chatted through the end of the first loop, when she decided the pace was a little too quick. The first loop ended at about an 8:20 average pace. On the next loop, I chatted with some more Flyers, including one guy who was shocked that we'd gotten lapped. I went through 13 in 1:45:15 (8:06) and 14 in 1:53 (8:04). Also, over these stretchs, I passed Sister Smile running the opposite way a couple times. Her cheers and those of the other Flyers on the watching the race makes these Central Park long runs worthwhile.

At about 15 miles (19 total), my legs started to not feel so good. My feet felt somewhat numb and my legs felt somewhat spaghetti-y. I did the only reasonable thing: sped up. The run finished in 2:22:43 for a 7:55 average pace. With the early 4, the daily total was 2:52:58 for 22 miles (7:52 average). Leaving aside the first 4, I feel pretty good about this because, even though I felt like I'd been beaten with a f-ugly stick, I kept the pace dropping for each lap. Moreover, it wasn't until around 20 miles that I really started to feel bad. I can justify that somewhat through poor hydration and not really eating enough on Saturday, two things that I can fix marathon day, which is exactly 20 days away.

The marathon quote of the week is from Virgil's Aeneid: Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito qua tua te Fortuna sinet. (Yield not to adversity, but press on the more bravely against that which your Fortune would allow for you.)

Week in Review

MondayRest-- --
Tuesday5 miles38:30
Wednesday10.4 miles80:46
Thursday10.25 miles77:02
FridayRest-- --
Saturday4.1 miles
Sunday22 miles2:52:577:52/mile
Total51.75 Miles-- --

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Maybe It's Time to Try Something Different

Here's some photos from Grete's . . .

I showed them to Erin yesterday and told her I looked like a "drowned fish." She didn't really get it, "How exactly do you drown a fish?" she says. My reply: "It takes a lot of water."

So, I did the 4.1 mile Pulaski O&B today, which is supposed to be a recovery run. (Geez, this post feels like deja vu!) I didn't look at the watch until I was about 1.5 miles in because I was just trying to run a nice steady pace. Anyway, at 1.5 saw I was well under 7:20 pace. Finished up at 7:02/mile. I'm thinking I need some new routes. I always go slower when exploring and that should make my recovery days more recovery-like.

Hopefully today doesn't kill the legs for tomorrow's 18 miles in Central Park. Since this will be my last pre-taper run, I'm thinking of getting there early to do 4-6 before the 18 starts, and if any of you in NYC want to join for that part, drop me an email.

Erin and I went to City Opera today to see their matinee production of Carmen. The show was nice, although Erin is sick, should've been at home in bed, and appeared to have quite an awful time. I really don't have enough opera knowledge to analyze the show; so, I'll just say I enjoyed it.

In other news, the Cats are in the process of losing again to Steve Spurrier.

Speaking of the devil, the Times has an article on the fear among Evangelicals that they're losing their youths. The gist is that someone published a "study" that if Evangelicals continue losing youth membership at the rate they currently are, they'll be only 4% of the population in 20 years, or something like that. (The numbers really don't matter since it appears that pretty much everyone agrees they're not legit. They've just been quoted extensively to unquestioning flocks to build an apocalyptic recruitment frenzy.) However, I found this segment, which is from near the end of the article, partilcuarly illuminating:

Outside the arena in Amherst, the teenagers at Mr. Luce’s Acquire the Fire extravaganza mobbed the tables hawking T-shirts and CD’s stamped: “Branded by God.” Mr. Luce’s strategy is to replace MTV’s wares with those of an alternative Christian culture, so teenagers will link their identity to Christ and not to the latest flesh-baring pop star.

Apparently, the strategy can show results. In Chicago, Eric Soto said he returned from a stadium event in Detroit in the spring to find that other teenagers in the hallways were also wearing “Acquire the Fire” T-shirts.
Does this strike anyone else as a modern day sale of indulgences?

Friday, October 06, 2006


I went to see The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre over the weekend and I have to recommend this piece of theatre fluff. The basic plot is double layered. On the one hand, the plot follows the ambiguously heterosexual, theatre-obsessived "Man in Chair." "Man in Chair" has an overly active imagination, and when he begins playing an old recording of the fake, 1920s era musical The Drowsy Chaperone, his small studio apartment is transformed into a Broadway stage. The songs in the musical spoof are awful, the characters are two-dimensional, and the plot asinine, but they're really just there as a foil to develop the "Man in Chair" (and to provide some smooth tap dancing). On the other hand, throughout the course of the performance "Man in Chair" steadily interacts with and comments on the musical, revealing the real emotional power of the piece. While I will concede that the production has a certain Mystery Science Theater 3000 feel to it, by the end of the show you can't help but identify with "Man in Chair" and his need for escapism into the world of fantasy and a well-loved story.

I skipped the interval part of Pfitzinger's recommended 10 miles with 4X1200 Wednesday, due to the legs still being somewhat tender from Sunday's race. Amazingly, I felt more recovered during my 10 on Thursday after running 10 on Wednesday. Things must be going well if 10 miles can be a recovery run.

Tuesday: WB O&B, 5 miles, 38:30 (7:42/mile)
Wednesday: BMW Run, 10.4 miles, 80:45 (7:46/mile)
Thursday: BS Run, 10.25 miles, 77:02 (7:31/ mile)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Grete's Gallop in Galoshes

Funny how God seems to hate New York City half marathons. Bronx was hot and humid, and really took a lot of some people. The New York City Half in August had rain. And Grete's yesterday involved a deluge for about the 15 minutes until the horn sounded and then steady rain throughout. I was running a little behind for the start thanks to the need to spend extra time on packing dry clothes (individual garbage bags for various items inside my travel bag; travel bag inside a garbage bag of its own), and therefore arrived right as the heavens went from a steady rain to a pour at 8:30. I overheard several people announcing they were going home and I considered it when I realized it was too wet for the waterproof bandages I use for my nipples. Finally, after working my way up toward the 7 min./mile crowd I heard Grete Waltz announce that, "This isn't Norwegian weather!" and then blow the horn. I started moving toward the line and could hear my shoes squishing from the amount of water they'd absorbed.

Fortunately, by the quarter mile the rain let up to just steady. Unfortunately, my shoes felt like lead weights and, despite the slackened downpour, I picked up more shoe-water-weight from puddles along the course. C'est la vie. I passed a number of Flyers through the first mile and the universal opinion of the race was, "This sucks." When we hit the first mile marker, although I felt like I was going slow, it was 6:45. Perfect. That's almost target and target should feel slow at mile one. And if I'm hitting pace and it feels slow given the conditions, that bodes well for the marathon no matter how this F.U.B.A.R. of a race goes.

The next few miles, I focused on consistency, and hit about 6:35-6:45 for every mile until 9. Why 9? Well, Grete's course was two loops of Central Park, and at 9 miles we were back in the West side hills approaching Harlem hill at mile 10. Miles 9-11 were spent dealing with (and about a mile recovering from) these hills. Although I'd powered through them on the first lap without losing pace, on the second time through the legs no longer had that kind of strength and this stretch stole about 20s/mile. Just didn't have it to give. After hitting the top of the climbs and getting my legs back under me, I managed to get back on race pace and regained a little of the lost time over the last 2.1 miles. During the last mile or so, I raced a chick from the Moving Comfort Club, whom I talked to briefly after the race with her boyfriend. He'd been madly ringing a cowbell as we ran by to announce the, ahem, "bell lap."

All in all, this was a success. (Even if I didn't hit my "secret" 1:27:xx target.) A nearly 4 minute P.R. of 1:28:32, my first sub-1:30 Half, and a predicted marathon finish of 3:04-3:06(depending on the calculator). I'm going to assume that 3:05's still a legit goal with the taper and will tweak my A-C schedule over the taper, but right now I have one more week of hard training to go and sore hamstrings to nurse through it. I'm hopeful though, that Grete's bought me some weather Karma for MCM.

Finally, one thing that was a little odd, for me at least, about this race was the amount of time I spent running solo between groups. The race had about 4200 runners and normally in races that size I almost always have a pack to latch onto. I haven't spent so much solo time in a race since . . . High School cross country??? I'd forgotten how much harder it is to hold the pace without targets and how draining it can be to try to catch the group ahead. Well, moving on, if this becomes a regular race occurrence I'll have to dwell on it, but for this race I'll assume it was the rain.

Week in Review

MondayRest-- --
Tuesday8.15 miles1:01:04
Wednesday11.25 miles1:28:30
Thursday6.1 miles46:567:42/mile
FridayRest-- --
Saturday3.11 miles
???? 8:XX/mile
Sunday13.11 miles1:28:326:45/mile
Total41.7 Miles-- --