Sunday, November 30, 2008

Runners are the Friendliest People

Today I finally decided to explore Saddler River Park. I left the house a little later than usual, around 6:30 and noticed some white stuff falling from the sky. "Is that snow I asked myself?" I knew it was supposed to rain later in the day but I didn't hear anything about snow. I'm OK with running in the snow so I continued on. I arrived at the park around 6:45 and was happy to see other runners getting out of their cars and stretching. One guy asked me how long I was going. I told him between 8-10 miles around an 8:30 - 8:45 pace. He saw I was alone and not familiar with the park so he offered his and another buddy's company.

We started out and I got to know my 2 new friends and take in my surroundings. It was as if I was the only runner in Bergen County that didn't know about this park. There were runners of all paces running through the snow saying good morning and offering other words of encouragement. Even though it was an out and back, I did not feel like I was running in circles. That's what was driving me crazy about running in Votee or Overpeck. There were only so many times you can run in circles. The entire park trail is 15 miles, has year-round bathrooms, free of cars, and plowed when it snows. What more can you ask for? If I decide to train for a spring marathon, I have a feeling that most of winter long runs will be in this park.

Oh yeah, there's a run to talk about....most of the run was in the snow. Around mile 5 it began to change over to sleet and footing became a little slippery. We ran 8.08 in 1:08.17 for a 8:27 pace. You can find all the run details here: Snowy 8 miles in Saddle River Park.

At the end of run, I gave my e-mail and cell phone number to my new friends. They asked me if I wanted to join them for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had to decline due to family obligations. They told me they are usually there every Sunday at 7. I asked that they keep me posted and mentioned that I look forward to seeing them next week.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Race Report: Dick Meighan Memorial 5K Thanksgiving Day Run

Today's race was in Upper Saddle River, NJ and was my first Turkey Trot since I started this crazy hobby 4 years ago. I arrived at the Cavallini School around 8:15, parked the car and headed into the school gym to pick up my number and chip. A chip timed 5K? Who ever heard of such a thing? I put my race shirt and knit hat in the car and started to warm up. I can't believe I never ran this race before, this year's race was the 10th anniversary of this race and unbeknowest to me, quite popular in Bergen County. Many of the Jr. high school and high school cross country teams show up and compete against each (as if the regular meets aren't enough). About 20 minutes before the start, I hear the race director announce that this year's race reached record participation, approximately 1,600 runners. This is by far the biggest 5K I've run. Most of them have a few hundred runners at the most.

As for the race itself, the course tok us through some lovely residential areas of Upper Saddle River. The first 3/4 of a mile was uphill but we were immediately treated to a nice downhill. The rest of the course was mainly flat with a few rolling hills thrown in for good measure. I wasn't exactly sure when to start my watch because I never saw a timing mat at the start. Anyway, according to my Garmin I finished the race in 22:53 for a 7:20 pace. My official time was 24:00 for a 7:43 pace. I'm not sure if that's the gun time or not. I ran a much better race today compared to the Westfield Garden State Plaza 5k. There was a lot of weaving in and out but I did manage to run negative splits. You can check out my Garmin splits here: Dick Meighan 5K Turkey Trot .

On a personal note, I wanted to thank everyone for reading. I truly have a lot to be thankful for this year. I made an extra effort today to thank all of the volunteers, both civilian and public servants, for helping out. In general, I try to thank the volunteers and race organizers becuase without them our favorite races would not happen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Morning Run

I was finally able to get outside for my morning run today. I went out a little bit before 7 and headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. I am used to the bridge being packed with tourists taking pictures in the middle of the day. I was amazed at how empty the bridge was in the morning. There some people who were walking to work but for the most part it was me and other fellow runners getting their miles in before the daily grind. I came back to Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge. When I showed my ID to the security guard on the way in, he asked me to see it again. He's not used to seeing people come into the building at 7:40 in the morning dressed in cold weather running gear. I simply told him "just trying to get some miles in before work." He appreciated that and wished me a happy Thanksgiving.

Now that I have more cold weather running gear, I hope to get outside in the morning more often. It was very invigorating. Tomorrow I will be running a Turkey Trot and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who is that Masked Man?


No, I'm not about to hold up a 7-11 and the only thing strapped around my chest is my heart rate monitor. I wear the mask in sub-30 degree weather to help with my asthma. I've found the wearing the mask warms the air before I suck it in. Sucking in extremely cold air triggers my asthma and makes it difficult to run. I do occassionaly pull it down because it is kind of restrictive but it definitely helps me in the cold weather.

Oh yeah about the run.... I headed to Votee without any real distance in mind. I just wanted to get out there and see I how I would do in the cold. In the end, I ran 8.14 miles in 1:05:47 for an 8:04 pace. I'm really looking forward to my Turkey Trot on Thursday. I've running park loops for a while now, it'll be nice to get out on the road.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thanks to everyone who commented on my "What to do" entry. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only struggling with this issue.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, I woke up at 5:00, was on a bus into NYC at 5:30 and in my building in lower Manhattan at 6:45. I grabbed my sneakers and toiletry case from my cube and headed up to the gym. Wednesday I ran 4 miles on the TM at an 8:00/mile pace and Wednesday I ran 5 (also on the TM) at the same pace. I also made sure I was home before bedtime so I had some family time before my daughter went to bed.

One of the perks of my job is that I have every other Friday off. Today was one of those days off, so I woke up at 5:00 this morning and was out the door before 6:00 for a nice brisk 5.25 miles at a 7:50 pace. I was home a little after 7:00. That left me enough time to hop into the shower and put my daughter on the bus. She loved having me home this morning.

I've always been a morning person so for now I'm going to stick to the early morning routine. The running late at night thing does not wok for me. My wife needs some gym time too and she is not a morning person. Now if I can only find some inexpensive cold weather gear so I can outside before work. I can't stand the TM! Also, I'm itching to run the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun comes up. Too bad I can't a get a Garmin signal downtown.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What to do?

This is the first time where I've really had a conflict balancing running, work, and family. I recently took on a new position (more hours but not more $) at work that will most likely prevent me from running during luch time. I decided the best way for me to make sure I keep running is to leave my house around 5:30, get to my office around 6:30, run (either outside or on the treadmill) until 8:00, shower and be at my desk by 8:30. Before I took this job, I made sure my daughter was up and fed before I left the house around 7:00. Now, I will not be able to see her in the morning. She was very upset when I told her I wouldn't be with her in the morning. It broke my heart. My wife supports this idea knowing that she will be taking on additional responsibilities in the morning. She also knows how much running means to me and doesn't want to see me give it up. Ain't she great?

Anyway, if anyone out there is dealing with similar issues I'd be interested in reading about how you deal with it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Change of Scenery

Before I went to bed last night, I made sure to catch a weather forecast so I would have an idea how to dress for this morning's run. The meteorologist forecasted temps around 50 at 7 a.m. With that in mind, I laid out a pair of shorts and my Addidas 1/4 zip long sleeve shirt.

When I opened the door to my house around 6:00 a.m., I felt a lot colder than the 50 degrees forecasted the night before. I immediately went upstairs and changed into my Under Armour tights. I felt good about the wardrobe change and headed out the door at 6:15.

I really did not want to run in Votee Park today. I've been there so much recently that I needed a change of scenery. So I went to the Henry Hoebel Area of Overpeck Park in Leonia. Like Votee, Overpeck has a 1 1/4 mile running path and as well as standard 1/4 track. The path is pancake flat and offered a little more in terms of scenery than Votee.

I ended up running 7.09 miles in 55:39 which averages out to a 7:50 pace. As you can see from the run summary, I did a much better job with pacing. After a warm up mile, I manged to keep the next 6 miles between 7:41 and 7:53.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Be Prepared

I had planned to run outside today during lunch. Unfortunately, the weather gods did not cooperate and it started to rain. Usually I would go up to the fitness center in my building and run on the treadmill (or is it dreadmill?) but I did not bring any indoor running stuff with me. I already leave a spare pair of shoes and toiletries at work, why not a t-shirt and shorts?

Lesson learned.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Race Report: Westfield Garden State Plaza 5K

Today was the 4th annual Westfield Garden State Plaza 5K to benefit my daughter's school. It's been 2 weeks since MCM and I ran 3 times last week after taking the week off after MCM. Last year the race fell out exactly 1 week after I ran the New York City Marathon. At the time, I set a PR for the 5K completing the race in 23:21.

The weather this morning was absolutely glorious, temperatures right around 50 and sunny skies. The course was pretty boring, 1 1/2 loops of the Westfield Garden State Plaza parking lot. I tried to get close to the front knowing that there were a lot of inexperienced runners who would sprint at the beginning and then bonk out about half way through. The horn went off and I went off at pretty fast clip. I hit the first mile in 6:37. I knew right away that I could not maintain this pace for 2.1 more miles. Once again, I slowed down and hit the second mile in 7:15. I thought I could keep that up for the last 1.1 but my legs started to feel heavy. I hit the 3rd mile in 7:31. I crossed the finish line in 22:51.

Even though it is a new PR, I feel like I didn't run a good race. This is the 2nd time (MCM being the first) where I went out too fast and had to slow down. I should be playing it safe at the beginning and have something left at the end for a fast finish. This is something that I'll have to work on during the rest of fall and through the winter.

Anyway, here are the final stats, courtesy of Bestrace:
22:51 (7:22/mile)
5/20 in 35 - 39 age group
41/134 overall

After the 5K was 1 mile fun run. My daughter is always bothering me to run with me. Usually it's after I've come back from a Sunday long run. This was a great opportunity for me to join her. Beth took full advantage of the run/walk method by running really fast and then walking. I must say I was very proud of her for sticking with it. When she came to the finish line, I told her to finish strong and she took off and crossed the finish line running not walking and of course, with a big smile on her face.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Next?

Now that I've started running again (granted, it's only been once since MCM), I've started to think about my fall and winter running plans. Here is what I'm thinking:
  • I will be running a 5k this coming Sunday, 11/9, to benefit my daughter's school. I'll post a small race report after the race.
  • Depending on my Thanksgiving plans, I hope participate in this Thanksgiving Day 5k race.
  • I'm seriously thinking of running a spring marathon in 2009. The Jewish high holidays are all on Saturday and Sundays in 2009 beginning in mid-September and ending in mid-October. That would be 4 Sundays lost during the prime of training.
    • My fear is I don't know if I can train for a marathon during the winter. I'm not so concerned about the cold temperatures, I'm more worried about snow and ice. That can seriously ruin any hopes I have of running spring race.
  • With the help of my wife, I'll continue to focus on nutrition. Both of us strongly believe that one of the reasons I recovered so well from MCM was because of the increased focus on nutrition.
  • My weekday runs will probably be forced inside on the treadmill. I only have 1 set of good cold weather gear. Good cold weather gear is so darn expensive.
  • I will also love to sign up for the January New York Running Class Session.
What it comes down to, is I have a lot of fears when it comes to winter marathon training. I would love to hear everyone's tips for successful winter marathon running.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Went out for my first run since MCM. The soreness in my legs was pretty much gone by Wednesday but I wanted to give myself a full week with no running.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. today in a great mood and headed out the door a little after 7:00 a.m. I ran from my house to Votee Park, ran 2 loops (~1.2 miles each) and then ran home for a toal of 3.38 miles in 28:37. I had no pain or soreness in my legs. After a bowl of oatmeal, I headed outside to take down my sukkah. I finished just in time to see Paula Radcliffe blow away the women's field and Marilson Gomes dos Santos make a late move to win the men's race of the ING New York City Marathon.