Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Work to Do

Today was a planned MP run. Didn't quite work out.

The weather: warm, 50s. It's been a balmy November here in New York, with temperatures routinely in the 60s. Hopefully, this doesn't foreshadow a bad December.
The route: the Stuyvescent Cove O&B for 8.6 miles.
The plan: 3 mile warmup over the Billy-burg Bridge, 3 miles at MP (7:15), 2.6 miles home.

Here's what happened. After getting over the Bridge, I started the MP portion of the run, having noted the mile points in advance. Mile One: 7:00. Doh! That seemed a little tough, but not that tough. At this point I made a conscious effort to slow down, which led to Mile Two: 6:46. Well, that worked about as well as Ford's business model. How exactly "conscious effort to slow down" translates to a 15s faster mile I'm not sure, but I assure you Mile Two was easier than Mile One. Clearly I have pacing work to do. Mile Three: 7:20. Before anyone gets all gushy over how Mile Three was so close to my target pace, you should know that it was easily the most difficult part of the course, with its last third being uphill. Effort-wise, it was probably closer to a 7:00.

There you have it. Looking back at my MCM results, I have this addendum to my report. My first five miles were in 35:25 (chip) for a 7:05 pace. However, the first two miles involved some wicked hills and took 15:30. A little math reveals that the average pace over miles 3, 4 and 5 was a blistering 6:40mm! After mile 5, I managed to slow it down to about 7:05 per mile, but I can't imagine three miles at faster than 1/2 Mary P.R. pace (6:45mm) was helpful. Today's "MP" run revealed that this pacing issue isn't going to resolve itself, and I'm going to need to make it a focus for the 4 weeks remaining before Taper 2. Clearly the speed's there, the question is whether I can harness it smartly or will it throw me from the sky like Phaeton? We shall see.

In other news, I went to see the Scorsese film The Departed over the weekend. A fantastic, if extremely violent, movie. Apparently, Scorsese filmed the majority of the film in New York instead of Boston because of fears relating to Boston politics (given the film's subject matter) and New York's 15% tax credit. Which led to a very unheralded cameo by Park Luncheonette, a very cute diner where a couple key early scenes were set. PL is just off McCarren Park (seen in the background of the scenes in the restaurant) and also just down the street from my apartment (alas, not seen in the film). It sports a pretty tasty omelette and Greek yogurt. Although PL has a Bloody Mary, for a really great one after your long run (a tradition in my house), I recommend walking up the street to Matchless. However, you should eat first because Matchless doesn't have food. So, I guess the best plan would be to go to Park Luncheonette and then Matchless, having Bloody Marys at both!

Week (of 11/20) in Review

MondayRest-- --
Tuesday8.6 miles1:05:35
Wednesday7.0 miles51:41
Thursday5.0 miles38:45
FridayRest-- --
16.0 Miles2:01:54
Sunday5.0 miles38:227:40/mile
Total41.6 Miles-- --

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Good Day

Today's run was a good run. Actually, all my runs over the past week have been good runs, but today's was especially strong. Finally, have my legs back under me.

Today's run didn't start as a good run. With New York's "length of day's" now being well under 10 hours (according to Weather Underground) and with pre-dawn temps in the 30s, I've rediscovered the gym in the past week. As much as I enjoyed being able to roll out of bed and head out the door over the summer, there is something nice about going to a place designed so that you can run, stretch, lift and do everything else you need for fitness. Because, let's face it, when I get home from a run to my apartment, I'm not going to stretch or do crunches -- I'm going to eat breakfast! So, along with the gym, I've also rediscovered free weights (my god! I've gotten weak over the summer!) and long ab workouts. And along with the free weights, I've rediscovered DOMS. I headed out this morning and about 50 feet into my 16 mile run, tripped over a cane stuck in the road and there was DOMS, leaning on that same cane and laughing at the corner. DOMS sauntered over, patted my pecs and with a sinister smirk said, "enjoy that." And as they started screaming at every arm swing, DOMS walked off whistling.

Fortunately, that only lasted about 2 miles, and (hopefully) the extra movement will make the pecs less sore for the rest of the day (hopefully). The rest of the run? Boy, oh boy! The first two miles were at 8:05/mile. 6 miles was at a 7:50 average. 10 miles? Now averaging 7:45. And for the last 6? Machine-like (except when being stopped at traffic lights) I blistered the average down to 7:37/mile (including traffic stops!). Four weeks out from MCM I finally feel like I have my legs back under me. This was a fantastic long run that turned into a progression run because it just seemed like the right way to go in the middle of running it.

So, for Houston the plan is to finish 5 tomorrow to get this week to 41 and continue to build-up to re-peak at 55, which is where I peaked for MCM. In a couple weeks, I'm going to rehash the last 6 weeks of my MCM plan, with some exceptions. That's probably another post.

Today: 16 miles in 2:01:54 (7:37/mile)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


And thus ends my blogger-slackerdom. It was well needed because, although I could have written about movies I've seen, books that I've read or the opera I went to see over the last ten days, invariably I would have ended up writing about, thinking about, obessessing over, even, running. And to think through my next steps I needed a clear head that the nose to the trees perspective of blogging would not allow.

So, what to do? There are lots of considerations. It's cold and dark when I'd be training. I'm enjoying running fast again. I twisted my knee funny at a water stop during the Flyers group run on Saturday and it's a little stiff. It'd be good to spend more time with my wife. I've learned we may be running a trial right after the first of the year, which could make for an incredible amount of work. These considerations clearly point in one direction, and so . . .

Registration: Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon & Houston Press/Smart Financial 5K
Purchase Date: 11/21/06
Category: Chevron Houston Marathon - 26.2 Miles
Event Date: 01/14/07
Name: Jonathan Daugherty

P.S. For those of you who know JBL in real life, be sure to ask him about his dissertation on collective action problems. It sounds really fascinating.

Today: Stuyvesant Cove O&B, 8.6 miles in 65:45 (7:39/mile).
Last Week
Total: 33.8 miles
Long Run: 16.0 miles
Speed: None
Week of 11/6
Total: 20.0 miles
Long Run: 11.2 miles
Speed: None
Week of 10/30
Total: 22.7 miles
Long Run: 9.3 miles
Speed: None

Saturday, November 11, 2006

That's Better

OK folks. I'm feeling better. This illness lasted a total of about three days, which confirms that I picked it up from Erin, who'd had a three-day mystery illness with many of the same symptoms about a week before. Of course, she didn't have the fever, but I assume that I'm just lucky, or maybe, as Thomas suggested, it was worse for me because of the marathon, or maybe, as NY Flygirl suggested, it's because of my workload (Tuesday, I was behind my desk until 11p, but doped up on Tylenol and Sudafed and with my overcoat pulled up to my chest. Quite comical, I assure you). Whatever. The fever broke on Wednesday evening and I can honestly say I've never been so happy to be uncomfortably sweating in my suit at the office. I know that's gross, but deal. I felt much better.

The bad nights of sleep carried over into Thursday's run, which I did in McCarren Park for the dirt surface. It went fine for a 'coming-of-a-cold' run. (Today's run was tough for a different reason, namely the 15mph headwind that I ran into for the length of Manhattan.)

Can I add, for the record, that I find this just awful.

Nealis guessed the two women took a shortcut that made the race about 20 miles, instead of the standard 26.2.

"We get so much data on the runners now that it's become very hard to cheat," Nealis said. "They either made a quick turn and cut off about 6.5 miles, or they got a little aggressive and jumped on Metro."
If you're going to cheat at a marathon, don't cheat your way into the top 10. Or how bout this? Just don't cheat!

I've been having trouble figuring out what to do with myself. Even though I'm still running about 25 miles a week, that frees up hours of time. So far, I've spent most of that time watching t.v. and playing PlayStation. That may change soon as by the end of this week I'll have to commit -- either way -- with regard to Houston.

Thursday: McCarren Park for 4.0 miles in 29:15 (7:19/mile)
Saturday: Queensboro Loop for 11.2 miles in 1:27:44 (7:50/mile)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


So, today's run was HARD. Of course, when I got home and found out I was running a low grade fever (99.9) and considering that since about lunch yesterday my head and chest have started getting really congested and stomach's been more and more upset, I think we've found the reason. I don't like this game.

WB O&B, 4.8 miles in 37:24 (7:47/mile)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Women's wear

What's up with clothing sizes? Why have they gotten so huge? After the marathon yesterday, Erin and I were feeling inspired and went shopping for more gear. At Filene's Basement, which is where I tend to shop for gear because I refuse to pay $70 to $150 for a pair of workout pants, everything was huge, regardless of the actual size. I ended up with this pair of women's size small tights! Size small??? I'm not a big guy, but that means basically every woman I know is below small? How fat has the U.S. gotten?

Anyway, I got a new pair of tights for $19, so I'm a happy camper. And congrats to Speedy Gonzales' sub-3 and beating Lance yesterday, Ny Flygirl's first marathon sub-4, Sempre Libera's first marathon, Sister Smile's BQ by the skin of her ass and Skylight for being the super volunteer! Also congrats to everyone else who ran! Great job.

Here's a shot from MCM. This is from Georgetown, early, well before I looked like death in sneakers.

Sunday: Pulaski O&B via Humboldt, easy 4.4 miles in 32:24 (7:22/mile). So, basically, I think what's going on is that I ran the second half of MCM so slowly that I'm not getting hit with the wipeout I'd expected. Certainly mentally that's the case, as I totally think of MCM as just a bad long run.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


There were certain parts of the trip to D.C. that worked out very well in spite of the marathon. It is only a race after all, and there's much more to life than a race. However, any marathon -- and especially a goal marathon -- becomes so much of a part of life that it has the power to distort or provide clarity to the remainder. In my case, I think the result was, to steal from the Asics ads in the New York City subways, clarity of vision.

First, the time in D.C. led to one conclusion. The city has no soul. I know almost no one who lives in the District who's really happy to be there. The number of people I knew there who hate their jobs, are going through a divorce, or are just suffering from depression is staggering. The perception I had leaving D.C. this time was much the same as last December, "Thank god I got out." However, being in a city I love, doing a job I enjoy, living a life I'm very happy brought the near suffocating melancholy I felt in Washington while living there much more clearly into focus and totally validated my return to New York.

My other story is from during the race. As I was leaving Haines Point, walking up the ramp onto the 14th Street bridge past mile 20, in a 30mph headwind, the thought kept running through my head, "I've put Erin through a lot these last few months, and I'm not even going to come close." She'd been fantastically supportive but, and I don't think she'd disagree, a little jealous of my time. And here I wasn't even going to be able to give it a good effort near the end. As I ran through Crystal City, an out and back part of the course, I saw her near the side line, waving. I knew the course would come back by and, as I'd been unwillingly Gallowalking for several miles, I thought, "I have to run past that spot. I have to just run past that spot." I gave it a mighty effort, but about 30 yards away, my legs quit and I was, dejectedly, walking again. At this point, I wanted nothing more than to sit down. I walked up to Erin, gave her a hug through near-tears and she said what needed to be said, "Are you hurt? Then go finish it." Back at the hotel, she'd stocked breads, bars and Gatorade, because obviously I'd need it and, after lunch, she decided I needed "retail therapy" to make me feel better. (I got really great Euro shoes!)

Clarity of vision.

Thanks for all of your kind comments and good luck to those running NYC tomorrow. I'm still on the fence on next steps, even whether to give it another shot this year at all, but am considering Jacksonville or Houston. As far as recovery goes, well, let me say that today's run felt as easy as the pace did during the first part of my marathon, except my quads are still a bit fatigued, so you be the judge . . .

Brooklyn Bridge Loop: 9.3 miles in 65:43 (7:04/mile).

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Today's weather is somewhat like my mood. It's dreary, rainy, cloudy and there was a patch of hail as I ran over the Williamsburg Bridge. On the other hand, days like this always give hope that a lot more hail and ice will fall and school will be canceled.

So, while I'm still bummed about last Sunday's results, I have zero doubt that I can run a 3:10 or even a sub-3 with more slightly more training and a lot better strategy. For the former goal, I've decided the MCM timing chip is staying on my shoes until I reach it. Hell, I may carry that chip in the Boston Marathon when I go, just an "I've overcome" sort of gesture. Some people have a chip on their shoulders, I have one on my shoes.

As for the marathon, I'm not really going to write about the interior of the race. I think the results largely speak for themselves. This data from the MCM site gives the tale of a guy slamming the wall, hard:

  • Miles 1-10: 8.4 mph
  • Miles 10-13.1: 8.1 mph (consciously slowing starting around mile 9 to try to avoid . . .)
  • Miles 13.1-20: 6.8 mph ( . . . this . . .)
  • Miles 20-26.2: 5.5 mph (. . . and this.)
Lest you accuse me of being overly ambitious, I believed my goals were sound before this race and I still believe they are achievable. I do, however, think a number of strategic mistakes were made during and before this race and I'm going to commit them to public scrutiny so (hopefully) I won't repeat them. My goals were set to be challenging. By Mile 5 I'd handicapped myself enough to make them nigh impossible. In chrono order, the mistakes are:
  1. Thinking that I'd be able to buy a bagel in D.C. on Sunday morning. I don't know why I thought this. D.C. has no residents to buy bagels. I lived there. I "knew" that anyone that actually wanted breakfast would drive to Herndon and go to Waffle House. I couldn't even find coffee. And no matter what the weight-loss people say, the 300 calories in two Gus and a bottle of Powerade is NOT the same as the 300 calories in a bagel with peanut butter. Oddly enough, my last bomb race also involved not having my ideal breakfast . . . (Erin's decided that we're packing Frosted Mini Wheats for every race I go to from now on.)
  2. Metro: MCM ran shuttles from automobile parking. Although they "encouraged" everyone to ride Metro. If you did, and you had baggage, then you had about a 1.5 mile walk as a warmup.
  3. Clothing: I wore a singlet and gloves. This only became a problem after the wind started howling on Haines Point. It was frickin' cold. My race was already over then, but it would have been nice not to have frozen.
  4. Port-a-Potty: This was actually no knock on MCM. Bathrooms were plentiful and with short lines. My mistake was that while going number 2, the invocation started. That's right folks. I shat during the invocation. I think my results are largely attributable to this unfortunate timing because God hates me.
  5. Oh, Muse help me sing of the misleading elevation chart. For a reminder, the elevation chart shows a 100 ft climb over two miles at the beginning and then nothing through the end. The climb is more than 100ft and much shorter than 2 miles in length. It was more like two Harlem Hills in a row. Looking at the chart, I thought we were running some of the rolling hills along the parkway, which I've run before and were fine. I wasn't prepared for this behemoth. Nor was I prepared for the immediate and somewhat steep downhill that stretched for several miles immediately following the climb (which, incidentally, is why the elevation chart only showed a 100 ft climb). This totally trashed both my quads (which are just now recovering) and my pacing, which leads to . . .
  6. Pacing: I went through the first mile in 7:15. Was at 15:00 at mile 2 (partway up the hill) and then lost track through G'town. I learned from another runner in RockCreek Park that we'd been doing around 6:50. I was doing about 7:05s through RockCreek, which would have been OK if I'd not had the 6:50s through G'town. C'est la vie. With the wind, I probably wouldn't have BQ'd anyway, but with better pacing I probably could have finished around 3:15-3:20.
  7. Hydration: This was a problem that I corrected (finally). The MCM water stations came only every second mile, which would have been fine if the cups weren't half full. By the third station I was taking 2-3 cups of water and Powerade on the way through and combining them. I'm glad for this in race adjustment because others were, well . . .
  8. Goals: The initial goals were fine. Given the breakfast thing, that by Mile 10 I knew I'd screwed up the pacing and that the wind really started to pick up about mile 11 on the Mall, I'd have been well served to at that point dialed it back to shoot for 3:20 rather than continuing to push for 3:10. An adjustment then would probably have gotten me across the line in a P.R., at least. I didn't do it and was rewarded by being passed by Dean Karnazes, the schmuck.
I'm sure there were more mistakes. These were the one's that I've come up with over the past few days. Most of them, fortunately, are planning mistakes that can be dealt with easy enough. The others are in-race decisions. Hopefully, I'll get better at those before I get too old to try for sub-3.

More to come . . .

Tuesday: Pulaski O&B: 4.15 miles in 32:18 (7:47/mile)
Thursday: WB O&B:4.8 miles in 37:55 (7:54/mile) -- The city's moved the pedestrian walkway entrance from the north to the south side, so the route's a little shorter.