Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Actually have been on hiatus for a few days; too much in real life to support this for a while. Back in a couple weeks hopefully.

In Review From July 16

Tuesday8.25 miles59:15
Wednesday5 miles39:00
Thursday10.25 miles
FridayRest-- --
16 Miles2:00:15
Sunday4.9 miles37:47
Total44.4 Miles-- --
8.6 Miles
5 Miles

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Virtuti, Honori, Gloriaeque

My new mantra for the down spells in runs. If you see a guy running around New York City muttering "Strength, Honor and Glory" under his breath in time with footstrikes (hopefully, and not just raggedly), that'd be me.

Today, in the second half of my long run, I'd sometimes add forti (strength, power) for virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, et forti, et forti.

Why two words for strength? Well, the first virtus comes to us as virtue and stands for all the qualities of manly strength and virtue. Fortis on the other hand, is the more general physical strength. I puzzled over this choice for a while and I thought that virtus more closely captured the motivation necessary for a marathon mantra. In the same vein, when Maximus said to his troops "Strength and Honor," I don't think he said "Forti et Honori," but "Virtuti et Honori." (There was also a choice between honor and honestas, both of which mean "honor," but I decided on the English cognate.)

If you anyone's wondering why all this switching, e.g., from virtus to virtuti, the latter form indicates purpose and translates more fully into English as "for strength." Since these things aren't abstracts, but why I need to push through the my sore spots, struggle for virtue, for honor, and for glory and strength, that seemed the appropriate rendition of the mantra.

Virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, et forti, et forti.

If this is what I come up with on a two hour long run, imagine what's coming when I hit three.

Wednesday: 5 miles in 39:00 (7:48/mile)
Thursday: 10.25 miles in 1:20:43 (7:52/mile)
Saturday: 16.0 miles in 2:00:15 (7:31/mile)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finding the tempo

There's a double entendre to today's title. Partly it refers to (no surprise, I'm sure) my first tempo run of the new marathon season. Partly, it refers to this bizarre band that Erin and I went to see yesterday in Central Park for Summer Stage. For non-New Yorkers, Summer Stage is one of the reasons to live in New York. Concerts, dance, theatre in the park, often free, several nights a week all summer long.

Now, to be fair, Erin and I didn't go solely to see the bizarre band. Erin actually gave me tickets to the Decemberists concert for my birthday last week, which may have been one of the best gifts ever. I really like this band. Even though I may have written a few months ago that I sing the Killers at the top of my lungs while running, usually I don't. More likely would be the Decemberists or Modest Mouse, with the occasional TV on the Radio. The Killers would be a little odd for me, although I'm certain that everyone has run tempo to their "Mr. Brightside" at one point or another.

Anyway, the odd opening band was called Grizzly Bear and their music (I'll call it that because you couldn't really call it songs) consisted of caterwauls and moans with heavy, heavy use of the echo effect. It really kind of sounded like they'd just discovered this sound device and, like a kid with a new toy, wanted to use it in the entire set as well as during the intra-song banter. To add to this and, I suppose, to really appease of a crowd of NYU students and wannabe college radio disc jockeys, just when a rhythm started to develop, when what they were playing might develop into an honest-to-goodness tune, out of nowhere they'd pull a disconcerting drop in tempo that really felt the acoustical equivalent of the elevator drop at Six Flags. Erin's take, "I don't really go for psychedelic Gregorian chanting." Me neither.

But the Decemberists. Great Great Great concert band. I've never seen a crowd so happy to sing songs about sweethearts lost at sea, pirate's revenge, kidnapping ( She cursed, she shivered/She cried for mercy,/"My gold and silver if thou will release me!"/I'll take no gold miss, I'll take no silver/I'll take those sweet lips, and I'll deliver) or the lyrics "You'll not feel the drowning/You'll not feel the drowning," which the entire crowd sang along to, quite happily I might add. There really was something kind of perverse it the whole thing now that I think about it. I mean, it was a summer festival.

But lest you think the lyrics were the only weirdness at a concert by a band whose last album was based around a Japanese folk tale, and whose tunes are peppered to references to Shakesphere (In the lowlands, nestled in the heat/A briar cradle rocks it's babe to sleep/Its contents watched by Sycorax/And patagon in paralax/A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep/Come and see/Come and see) we also had a game of beach ball played with, not a beach ball, but a stuffed seal, we finished off the first set with Colin Meloy leading the crowd in a chant of "hear all the bombs... fade away, hear all the bombs ... fade away," and at one point during the encore, we had Meloy convincing the crowd and the band to lay down and pretend to be asleep. Bizarre, but very fun and highly recommended.

In all that, I forgot to mention the tempo run. McCarren Park track. 8.25 total miles in 59:15 (avg. of 7:11/mile). Breakdown of: Warmup of 2.13 in 16:52 (7:57/mile); 4 tempo miles in 6:27, 6:30, 6:29, 6:26; Cooldown of 2.13 in 16:22 (7:41). This felt pretty good although the last mile or so of the tempo was pretty tough. All in all, it was not bad at all for my first planned and structured speed workout of 2007. No, not bad at all.

Week (of July 9) in Review

Tuesday8.6 miles1:10:00
Wednesday4.15 miles29:34
Thursday10.3 miles
FridayRest-- --
14.5 Miles1:52:53
Sunday3.5 miles26:09
Total41.1 Miles-- --

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heat Wave

With the thermostat rising, seems like a good time to mention automobile pollution. Awful. Awful. Awful. There's nothing like running through 80+ degree temps and then getting a full blast of hot exhaust from a passing car.

Fortunately, Time Out New York this week rates some of "NYC's favorite running spots" against pollution. Here's some highlights and comments.

  • 3. Central Park: "Try to avoid the loop around the outside and the main thoroughfares." The outside loop part is good advice, but if "the main thoroughfares" refers to the loop, it's closed to traffic on weekends and is a runner haven.
  • 4. Riverside Park: "There are plants between you and the highway, which is good." I guess that's something.
  • 5. Williamsburg Bridge and 6. Brooklyn Bridge: "There are cars here, but at least they're moving." In addition, there's generally a breeze blowing from the south which I would think would help dissipate some of the exhaust.
  • 8. Hudson River Park: "This is such a congested part of town."
  • 9. East River Park: Just Bad.
  • 10. Queens Bridge Park: "No one should exercise around there."
The universal message from all the ratings? Try to stay as far away from automobiles as possible while exercising. Basically you want to be at least 500 feet and if possible 1500 hundred feet from traffic. Yes, that's right, the experts say that "[t]hough 'it's almost impossible in Manhattan,'" you should ideally have a quarter-mile between you and traffic while working out. To me, "almost impossible" is not quite strong enough. It is impossible. To make matters worse, while exercising you breath as much as 10 times the pollution of a sedentary person, subjecting yourself to higher risks for pollution-induced asthma, cancer or heart problems. And, as a last ironic twist, because of the pollution, the benefits of the exercise on your lungs is retarded, meaning you're not even getting the benefits you think you are.

Finally, just to make this more depressing, breathing auto-exhaust while exercising can lead to "coughing," "irritat[ion of] your lungs ... kind of like getting a sunburn on the inside of your lungs," "cancer and heart problems," and "brittle and weak" lungs.

With all this good news, it's a shame that Albany's going to block congestion taxes. (Although I understand that rerouting that traffic to the FDR will make East River Park even more toxic, charging drivers for the damage they're doing to my lungs seems fair.)

So, enjoy the heat wave folks. But try to exercise really early or indoors because the heat, thanks to certain chemical reactions, only makes the pollution worse.

Today: 8.6 mile Stuyvesant Cove in 1:10:00 (8:08/mile) with 10X100m striders.

UPDATE:The Times ran its own article on air pollution and exercise on Thursday. "In the calculus of health concerns, 'Breathing air pollution is not nearly as bad as smoking,' Dr. Lippmann said." Well, I guess that's comforting.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Week One Down

Yesterday wrapped up the first week on the road. The Plan, ah the Plan, there really isn't much of a plan yet. I'm thinking a modified combination of Pfitzenger's 18-55 plan and the Flyers' plan (which accounts for NYRR races). I'd like to peak around 60 miles, which is about 10% more than last fall. And I have to take account of a week off/light for vacation in Central America at the end of July. In short, I haven't really written the plan yet. I know I'm running 8 or so miles tomorrow and 40-ish this week, but, beyond that, everything's a little up in the air.

Everyone seems to like pictures (especially of the Marathon route) and I'm not above kowtowing a little. But I make no promises since I'd planned to take a camera running last year and that never happened. So, we shall see...

Week (of July 2) in Review

Tuesday7.3 miles52:55
Wednesday9.1 miles1:11:11
Thursday4.1 miles
FridayRest-- --
12.2 Miles1:37:00
Sunday4.4 miles31:20
Total37.2 Miles-- --

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This is this blog's 100th post!

It's also Week One of training for the NYC Marathon. So far, I've modified the plan, rearranged the dates of runs, and run hung-over. Hardly an auspicious start. I've also discovered that if you want to listen to Latin Podcasts while on the run, a strong headwind or heavy traffic make it really difficult to make out the words.

Tuesday: 7.3 miles in 52:55 (7:15 pace) with 10X100 striders
Wednesday: 9.1 miles in 1:11:22 (7:51 pace)
Today: 4.15 miles in 31:20 (7:33 pace)

Today's run was along the Pulaski O&B, which is great because it's the middle miles of the marathon. And I get to imagine I'm hitting the halfway point, which is here...

Slightly before you get here...

And a long way before you get there...
Queensboro Bridge

Which is after you run along this bridge...
Pulaski Bridge

And you leave Brooklyn.
Welcome to Brooklyn