Thursday, October 30, 2008
Classic Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel
Yields 5 servings
12 ounces fine noodles
4 Tbsp canola oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Cook fine noodles as per package instructions (boiling water, about 5 minutes). Rinse and drain noodles. Put noodles in a bowl and mix in oil. Set aside to cool about 15 minutes. Add beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a greased 9x9 inch baking dish and bake at 375 for approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until top is brown and crisp.
Click here for the nutritional analysis.
B'Tayavon! (that's Hebrew for enjoy!)
The New York City Marathon expo had a lot more to offer than the MCM expo. The first thing I noticed about the MCM expo is lack of "official" MCM products. There was a decent selection of Men's and Women's running shirts, shorts, jackets, socks etc.... but not much beyond that. At the NYCM expo, I remember purchasing a teddy bear for my daughter and a bell for my grandmother (she has a bell collection). I also remember seeing snowglobes, books, shot cups, etc.... The only non-running items I saw at the MCM expo were pint glasses and coffee mugs. There were also running "celebrities" at the NYCM walking around and at various booths. For example, Bart Yasso, from Runner's World, was hanging out the RW booth. At MCM he was only at the "expert booth" at scheduled times.
The thing I like about the NYCM shirt is that it was a long sleeved tech shirt. I run in it quite often during the fall months. The MCM official shirt is a non-running mock turtle neck. I definitely can see myself wearing it on a Sunday afternoon with a pair of jeans. But part of me thinks that a tech shirt should be given out at all marathon expos.
Number of Participants:
NYCM is much bigger than MCM. NYCM has about 35K+ plus finishers whereas MCM had only 18K+ finishers this year. Aside from the first few miles, I did not feel as crowded in DC as I did in New York. I was defintely able to settle into a good pace at MCM. Granted, NYCM was my first marathon and I didn't know as much.
I loved the fact that I wasn't stuck at the MCM runner's village for 3 hours before the race. There were people walking off the Metro at 7:00 - 7:15 for an 8:00 start in DC. In NY, all runners must be at Fort Wasdworth, Staten Island by 7:00 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. start. That's a long time to be sitting out in the cold before a race. With that said, the NYCM race organizers did a good trying to make the atmosphere in Staten Island festive for the participants by supplying live music.
The start of NYCM was absolutely dreadful. It took me at least 30 minutes, maybe a little more, to cross the start line after the gun went off. At MCM, I crossed the start line within 2 - 3 minutes.
I'm no expert but from what I've been told, NYCM is a tougher course than MCM. The first mile of NYCM is uphill on the Verrazano Bridge. The other 4 bridges, 1st and 5th Aves. are tough as well. The were 2 hills early on at MCM and the cruel uphill finish at the end. Other than that it was mostly flat. However, there were certain parts of the MCM course that did not have much to offer visually. MCM made up for it with the miles on the National Mall. Yes, running through NYC's diverse neighborhoods is cool but I have pictures of me running on the Mall with both the Capitol and Washington Monuments behind me. The NYCM course doesn't take you past any landmarks.
NYCM wins this hands down. There was not one part of the course where the crowd was not 5 or 6 deep. New Yorkers embrace the marathon and come out to party. There were many parts of the MCM I felt I was running in a small town 5K or 10K where there were only a handful of people cheering the runners on. Even on the Mall, where I expected tons of people, the crowd support was sparse.
Finishing Area & Finisher's Medal:
The finisher's chute at NYCM was terrible. Shortly after crossing the finish line , things came a complete stop. There's nothing worse than having to stand still right after running a marathon. I don't remember how long I waited to get my heat sheet, medal, food bag, and my clear plastic bag from the UPS truck but it must have been a good 30 to 40 minutes. I didn't bother to wait on line for the finishers photo because there was nothing special about it. All it was a photo with the typical New York Road Runners backdrop. At the time, I thought the NYCM finisher's medal was nice. It will always be special since it was my first marathon.
I thought the MCM's finisher's chute was pretty efficient for a big marathon. Things didn't come to a complete stop after crossing the finish line. I immediately recieved my heat sheet, water, Powerade, and food bag. My only complaint about the food bag is that there was no bagel in the bag as advertised on their website. Right after that a U.S. Marine awarded me my finisher's medal, which is much bigger, heavier, and nicer than NYCM's. Unlike NY, I waited for the finisher's photo at MCM. I barely had to wait to have my picture taken in front of the Iwo Jima memorial. One more thing, there was no wait for chip returns at MCM because a disposable tag was used.
Despite the crowds before, during, and after NYCM, it is still a race that every marathoner should run once. You probably won't PR at NYCM but it's one big party for 26.2 miles.
While MCM disappointed in crowd support, it certainly made up for it with the course and the Marines. Lastly, MCM is a race you can race to acheive a PR, I did!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I exited the Metro at Pentagon station around 6:15 began the hike to the runner's village. On the way, I couldn't help but to be in awe of the Washington Monument all lit up against the dark sky. This picture doesn't do the view justice but it was the best I could do with my cell phone.
After going through a security checkpoint where the Marines were inspecting our clear bags for any illegal items, I settled in at one of the tents in the runner's village. Around 7:15 I took my final pit stop and then headed over to the UPS trucks to drop off my bag. The Marine who took my bag said "Good Luck, Sir" and with that I headed over to starting corrals.
I was surprised how quickly I was able to cross the start line. Based on my chip and clock times, there is only a 2 - 3 minute difference. I waited at least 30 minutes last year in New York. I wanted to try and run with the 3:50 pacer but because of the crowds, it was not meant to be.
Before I go on, let me apologize in advance if I get the names of places or streets wrong. I am not from the D.C. Metro area and was not really paying attention to street signs.
The first memorable moment came around mile 4 when I hit Key Bridge and saw the spires of Georgetown University poking through the morning fog. As I made the turn onto Canal Rd., I saw the lead pack tearing up the course on the other side of the street. During training, I took gels every 6 miles, so I passed the water stop at mile 5 hoping there would be another one around mile 6 or 7. This was my first mistake. The next water stop did not come until mile 8. I sucked down a gel and some water and headed into Georgetown. At this point I looked at my Garmin and saw I was averaging 8:30/mile. I didn't think I'd be able maintain that pace for 26.2 so I decided to slow down to around a 8:40 - 8:45/mile pace. The atmosphere on M Street and Wisconsin Ave. was quite festive with lots of support from the crowd. I then ran past the Kennedy Center and began the approach to Hains Point. Even though I took a gel at mile 8, I wanted to stick to my every 6 miles plan so I took my next gel at mile 12 to get back on track.
Since this was my first MCM, I did not know what to expect in Hains Point. Everything I read described HP as this dreadful part of the course. I think that had to do with where HP was in the race. In previous MCMs, HP was in the latter parts of the race. This year, the race organizers made a change and we entered HP around mile 12. The crowd support was almost non-existant and there wasn't much going on in terms of scenery. I ran on knowing that the National Mall, with all of it's monuments and musuems, was just a mile or so away.
This is the part of the race I was looking forward to the most, and it did not dissappoint. The crowd around the Lincoln Memorial was great supportive. It was exactly what I needed after HP. I arranged before the race to look for my family around mile 17, which was at Ohio Drive SW and Buckeye Dr. When I ran by, I did not see them. I tried not to get disappointed and I took in the Washington Monument, the National Gallery, and the Capitol.
For future reference, I'm the one in the white shirt with red sleeves.
I got to Mile 19 near the Air and Space Museum and guess what I started hearing? "THERE HE IS! THERE HE IS!" As I got closer I saw MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER. I stopped (probably for a little to long) for a kiss from both them and this picture:
It was exactly the mental boost that I needed knowing that the bridge, and the final 10K, were only a few minutes ahead. The Marine in background had a smile on his face as this was going on. As I started running again he gave me a big OORAH! Mile 20 was the beginning of the bridge crossing back into Virginia. For me, this part of the race was absolutely dreadful. The surface was uneven and it felt like I was, if a may borrow a phrase from campaign, "on a bridge to nowhere." At some point on the bridge a TNT (Team in Training) coach started running with a TNT runner. I heard him say "Just focus on you upper body. Move your arms and run tall. Don't worry about your legs are feeling." I tried to heed this advice myself, but at mile 21 things started to go downhill. My left foot started to tighten up pretty badly. I had to stop for a good 4-5 minutes to stretch it out. I took another look at my Garmin and saw that I had enough time in the bank that if I slowed my pace I could still finish in under 4 hours. I decided not push the pace but to enjoy the last 5.2 miles.
The last mile took us past where we started a little under 4 hours ago. As we past Mile 26, everyone saw what was coming next. The CRUEL uphill finish to the Iwo Jima Memorial. It wasn't a long climb, just 2 tenths of a mile, but it was steep with a hairpin turn thrown in for good measure. I saw the clock on top of the finishing chute read 3:57, I had done it! I hadn't looked at my Garmin to get my unofficial time but I knew I had it. I got my water, Powerade, food bag, and heat sheet from the Marines. Then came a moment that will stick with me for a while. A member of the U.S. Marine Corps put my finisher's medal
around my neck and said " Congratulations, Sir! Job well done!" I simply replied "Thank you for your service." I made my way over to the Iwo Jima Memorial to have my picture taken.
On the way to the family meet-up area, I picked my USAA commemorative coin. My wife and daughter were delayed a bit because of the crowds at Rosslyn Station. We finally met up and after some hugs, kisses, and this picture:
To wrap up the race here are my 5K splits and some other stats courtesy of the MCM website:
Gender Place: 2664/11129
Division Place: 494/1994
Age Grade: 53.1%
We got on a very long line to board a Metro at Rosslyn Station. After about an hour we finally got on a crowded Orange Line train. On the way to Metro Center I struck up a conversation with a finisher who was active military. He told me that he ran a satellite marathon in Fallujah last year. Something about that really humbled me. Military life is so foreign to me. I simply thanked him for his service.
We finally got back to Twinbrook Station around 2:40 p.m., drove back our friend's house, said goodbye, packed up the car and started the drive back to New Jersey around 4:30. The trip home took a lot longer than the usual 4 hours. There was construction on I-95 in Maryland, and 2 accidents on the NJ Turnpike. While in the car, I massaged my quads and calves with The Stick. It really helped because my legs were not as sore the next day. We also stoped at a bunch of rest stops so I could get out of the car and walk around. Every rest stop we stopped at, it was easy to pick out other MCMers who were doing the same thing. Some, including me, had their medals around their necks others were wearing running clothes and stretching. We all offered congratulations to each other. We finally made it home around 10:00 p.m.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my 3:55:08 was a PR besting my 4:21:57 at the 2007 New York City Marathon!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008:
My family drove down to Rockville, MD Thursday night (October 23) after work. We got to Rockville around 11:00 p.m. settled in and went to sleep.
Friday, October 24, 2008:
We planned out our day so we could get some sightseeing in and hit the expo. My daughter really wanted to see the White House but tours are only available for groups of 10 or more. So we decided to get tickets for the public tour of the Capitol. We had some time to kill before our tour so we went across the street to see the U.S. Botanic Gardens. We saw plants and flowers from different climates including tropical rain forests and deserts. There was also an interesting exhibit about medicinal plants. After the gardens, we headed over to the expo to pick up my race stuff. Even though it was around lunch time when we got to the armory, there were few lines at the bib pick up tent. After picking up my bib we headed into the armory to pick up my t-shirt, goody bag, and to check out the expo. Sadly, I didn't win one of the super-sized goody being advertised. After I got my t-shirt and goody bag we walked around the expo for a bit. I bought 3 things:
I didn't have any throw away pants for the start so I bought a pair of Sport Shell pants for $8,
a stick of bodyglide for $6, and a MCM Brooks Running shirt for $34. .
We hopped back on the Metro for our 2:30 tour of the Capitol. The public tour features the Rotunda, National Statuary Hall, and the Crypt. Had I known ahead of time, I would have contacted my representative and requested tickets for the gallery tour. After the tour, we hopped back on the Metro to Rockville and got ready for Shabbat.
Saturday (Shabbat), October 25, 2008:
We woke up Shabbat morning to dark skies and lots of wind. As the day went on the rains came and throughout the rest of the day I kept saying "I hope it's not like this tomorrow." Our friends kept reassuring me that it will pass and that race day will be great. I tried to focus on eating and relaxing. towards the end of the day, around 5:30 I was going out of my mind so I went downstairs to the basement where we were sleeping and started to get my race day stuff together. I pinned my bib to my shirt, attached my "D" chip, packed my clear plastic bag with my post race stuff. After the kids were asleep around 8:00 p.m., my wife said "I don't think you've eaten enough today!" I said "OK" and prepared another hearty plate of pasta with marinara. I topped it off with a bowl of cookie dough ice cream with chocolate sauce. Around 10:00 I set my alarm for 4:20 a.m. and went to bed.
View of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Capitol
Picking up my race packet
To be contiued........
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Overall MCM was a great experience, I finished in 3:55:08. My goal was to finish in under 4 hours, so I am thrilled that I was able to accomplish that goal. There is no question I was much better prepared for MCM that I was for NYC in 2007. My wife has a lot to with that. She really focused on my nutrition and made sure I was well nourished in the weeks leading up the race. Aside from a blister or 2 on my feet and what I think is a bruised or cracked rib (more on this in the detailed report), I have no major aches or pains.
More to come later.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
My bag is pretty much packed. I packed different clothing for different weather conditions, my shoes, socks, hat, sunglasses, GU, Albuterol, throw away clothing, clothing to change into post race, my Garmin, band-aids for my nips, extra safety pins, and my e-confirmation card. Without that I can't get into the expo to pick up my race packet. Did I forget anything? Please let me know before Thursday evening.
I hope to hit the runner's expo early Friday morning and then do some sightseeing with my family. Maybe a tour of the Capitol or a museum. My wife and daughter will probably do some more sightseeing along the Mall on Sunday before I run by there. I'm looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat with our friends. After Shabbat, I'll make my final race day preparations and try and get some sleep.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I really did not push the pace today. I ended up running 9.47 miles in 1:19:05 which averages out to 8:20/mile. There was a time when I thought 8:20/mile was pushing the pace. Now it feels easy. I'll probably do a few shorter runs during the week before I head down to D.C. Thursday night after work.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Once MCM is over, I will be sure to post regular recipes. For now, I'm enjoying my taper. I hope to run 8 - 10 tomorrow and then enjoy the last 2 days of the holiday. Thursday night it's off to D.C.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I was also fortunate the the holiday falls out during my taper. It is not in the spirit of the holiday for me to run so I did not feel as bad losing out on some miles. At sundown tonight the prohibitions of the holiday were lifted and I was able to run. Since it was dark, I went to the only place in town where it's safe to run at night, good ole Votee Park. I did an easy an easy 6.56 miles just to get out and work off some of the extra calories I consumed during the holiday.
The next week is going to be quite busy between catching up on work, and 2 more days of holidays next Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, it's down to D.C. next Thursday after work for MCM. It's hard to believe MCM is 10 days away.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
and today's run:
were very similar. Votee Park is largest park in my town. It's not particularly scenic or challenging. I run there when I want to keep my runs simple and close to home. What I like about is that there are year-round port-a-potties available which makes it a good and safe place to run in the winter.
My biggest concern during my taper is getting to MCM healthy. I've put in the miles so I know I can cover the distance. So many of my friends have been coughing and sneezing. Yesterday in synagogue the sounds of sniffling were just as common as those of prayer. I've been taking extra vitamin C, trying (I emphasize trying) to get to bed early, and reduce the amount of stress in my life. My wife is also adjusting my diet to include more foods that strengthen my immune system. Extra fruits and veggies, and red meat, etc...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
A question I hear over and over again from co-workers and others who have never fasted for 25 hours is "how do you prepare for a fast?" Over the years, I've figured out what and how to eat the day before the fast. Now that I'm a runner, I've noticed many similarities between the way I prepare for a fast and the way I prepare for a long run or marathon.
It may come as no surpirse that the main component of a pre fast meal is is complex carbohydrates. A group of Israeli doctors studied 5 men and 8 women between the ages of 19 and 64, all healthy. All spent their fasts indoors and staying mostly in air-conditioned rooms. The researchers wanted to know whether the discomfort of a food-and-water fast could be influenced by the composition of the pre-fast meal, and if so, what basic nutritional components would promote the easiest fasting. Their findings, summarized below, were published in the September issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal.
They found that the protein-rich meal created most discomfort and side effects during the fast. Weight and blood pressure decreased at the end of the fasts that followed each of the three types of meals, and heart rates increased after the high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals but not after the protein meal. There was a 40 percent increase in blood urea nitrogen and more excretion of sodium and creatinine after the high-fat meal and least after the high-carbohydrate meal.
Water is better conserved when one eats a meal high in complex carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, beans, and other pulses. When protein breaks down, however, more water is excreted as urine to eliminate nitrogenous metabolic products from the body. (source article: Jerusalem Post, September 25, 2001)
Now that I've mentioned some scientific findings, here is how I will be preparing for the fast:
During the day:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- I ate a substantial breakfast of cereal , fruit, and whole wheat toast
- I will eat a light lunch in order to save my appetite for the pre fast meal
- Challah bread
- Chicken soup (a Jewish meal would be incomplete without Mom's chicken soup :) ). Soup is also very hydrating and fills you up.
- Roasted potatoes
- Small Chicken breast
- Assorted steamed veggies
- I will finish the meal off with a small piece of mom's angel food or sponge cake
Lastly, I wanted to briefly mention the post fast meal. The key here is not to eat too quickly. I usually start with a glass of orange juice. The tradition in my family is to eat cold noodles with cottage cheese. My dad and wife like to include to cinnamon.
May 5769 be a year of peace, prosperity, and good health.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 3)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add chicken breasts; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; cool.
Mix celery, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, onion, tarragon, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes; stir into mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
Arrange wraps. Divide salad topped with lettuce amongst wraps. Roll salad into wraps. Slice in half and serve.
Let the taper begin......
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The battery on my Garmin died during the run so I don't have a workout to upload to motionbased.com. I did hear the coach call out 29:11 as I finished the run. This translates to 7:17/mile. Clearly, I ran this faster than my tempo pace. I guess I felt then need to make up for 2 days of not running. With 3 weeks before MCM I'm feeling pretty good. I'm looking forward to a solid 15 miler on Sunday and an enjoyable taper.