Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Other Hobby

It's that time of year where I start thinking about my other hobby.....fantasy baseball. I've been playing FB (not to be confused with Facebook) for a few year now. My draft is March 24th at 9:00 p.m. Our league is an "old school" roto league, meaning that we can gain and lose points in each category every day. Many leagues are now "head to head" one team plays another for the week and points are earned based on how you do against the other team. We also pre-determine our draft order. This way we can think about how we want to approach the draft before it starts. I'm not a big fan of finding out where I'm drafting 30 minutes before the draft is set to start.

The league is 5x5 meaning we earn points for home runs, RBIs, batting average, stolen bases, and runs scored on offense and wins, ERA, WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched), strikouts, and saves for pitching.

Since I don't know who's reading, I'm not going to write about my draft strategy. I will post my team and write about my during the season. For now it's back to running.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Night Speed Session - 2/25/09

Tonight's workout was 5 x 1000m intervals at 5k pace. Coach Kate wanted to get the group, or at least those who are running it, fired up for the Coogan's 5k. It was a great night for a run, no rain and not too cold. The group was larger than usual, I guess people are starting to come out of hibernation and realize they need to get their asses in gear for their spring races.

On the way to the track, Brad caught up with me and asked how the Cherry Tree 10 Miler went for me. I told him last week that my goal was to run that race at a tempo pace and race my half marathon this Sunday. As I said in my race report, I ended up running it at a race pace. Brad, "strongly suggested" that I take it easy this Sunday. I will do my best to listen to him. Racing back to back weekends is usually not recommended so I will make an effort to run my half at an easy pace.

We took the usual route to the track, stretched, and then broke up in groups. Kevin was taking the night off again to rest his achilles. Brad, last week's pacer, paced the sub-7 minute per mile group tonight. Tiffany was charged with pacing the 7:00 - 7:15ish group. Before we started, Tiffany said that she wanted to keep the interval splits as close together as possible but still have enough left for a fast last interval. Here are the splits for 4 out of the 5 intervals (I accidentally reset my watch after the 1st one):
4:13 - before the last interval Tiffany said that if anyone had something left in the tank when we got to the last 200, to blast past her. That's exactly what I did.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Race Report: Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC) Cherry Tree 10 Miler

One of my goals for 2009 was to participate in more smaller races organized by local running clubs and/or organizations. Today's race falls into that category. The PPTC organized today's race in Brooklyn's Prospect Park (PP). I left my house in NJ pretty early because I was unfamiliar with the area and I didn't know what the parking situation was going to be. Turns out I got there in under 40 minutes and found a spot right in front of Bishop Ford High School where race packet pickup was. As more runners filed in to pick up their numbers, I began to feel a little out of place. Most runners were tops with the name of their running club on it. I was one of the few runners not sporting a club top. It was no big deal, I usually know few, if any, people when I run a NYRR race.

The walk to PP was a few blocks so it gave me an opportunity to warm up. The course was a little more than 3 laps around the park. I've never run in PP so I didn't know what to expect. In many ways PP is a "mini" Central Park. It has a skating rink, a zoo, a large lawn area similar to the Great Lawn, and one killer hill. My plan was to run this race at a training pace since I'll be running the E. Murray Todd Half Marathon next Sunday.

The race started and I settled into what I thought was a comfortable pace. My mile 1 split was 7:53. Mile 2 took me up the big hill for the first time. While not as bad as Harlem Hill, it was pretty steep. I used this mile to regroup and came through at 8:07. Mile 3 featured some rolling hills and a nice downhill, I came through in 7:33, again too fast. Just past mile 3, I took some water and ran on. Mile 4 was mainly flat, my legs must have still must have been turning over quickly from mile 3 and came through in 7:28. If I didn't take my pace down a few notches, I'd bonk out before the end of the race. Splits for miles 5, 6, and 7 were 8:15, 8:15, 8:26. That's more like it. Mile 8 brings me up the hill one last time. My legs feel good from slowing down a bit. I come through mile 8 in 8:03. At this point there were plenty of runners that finished the race and stuck around to support teammates and other runners. It was just the boost I needed. Mile 9 split is 8:18. One more to go. I decided to see what I have left and started picking up the pace for the last mile. Right before the finish a runner shouted, "you're at 1:19, pick it up if you want to finish under 1:20!" That's exactly what I did. I stopped my watch and it read 1:19:14, a 7:56 pace!

After picking up 2 bottles of OWater, I walked back to Bishop Ford, grabed my bagel and hot chocolate and hung out for a bit. Again I felt out of place as teammates were comparing race results and congratulating each other on a good race.

The official results are still not on the PPTC website. Once again, I am happy with my finishing time, I am not happy with the way I ran the race. I need to control my energy during the early mile and unleash it later on.I'll have a chance to do that next week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Night Speed Session - 2/18/09

Tonight's workout was 6 x 600m intervals on the E. 6th St. track. Coach Kate posted on the RUNNYC Facebook book page that the group spent a lot of time, when the track was covered in ice, working on our strength with tempo runs and fartleks on the West Side Highway. Tonight, it was time to work on getting our legs turning over a bit faster with 3k pace intervals. After our usual warmup (see link to map below) from Paragon and some stretching, it was time to begin. Kevin, my usual pacer, was taking the night off due to a sore achilles so Brad was pacing the 7:00/mile (5k pace) group. Here are the splits for the 6 intervals:

Each interval was followed by a 200m recovery. Brad led the first 2 intervals and then asked if I, and the other runner in our group wanted to lead. I took the 3rd interval and the other runner took the 4th. The other runner had to stop at after thr 4th interval because her knee started to hurt so I took the last 2. While I was leading, Brad was right on my shoulder telling me I was right on pace, my form looked good, etc.... I never got that kind of attention when I was running with the NYRR group. The Nike pacers really take the time to talk to you about your training, what races you have coming up, and how to approach your race. I'm sure as the weather warms up and the group gets bigger, some of that attention will wane but for now I'm really enjoying it.

Here is the link I promised to our usual warmup and cooldown: View Interactive Map on

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Official!

I signed up for the New Jersey Marathon tonight. Race day is May 3.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"I Don't Understand....

how my husband can wake up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning to run 16 miles."

That's how my wife's Facebook status read when I came back from my long run on Sunday. I really don't have a sense of humor, so I'm not going to make a lame attempt at writing a humorous entry. Instead, I'll say that my wife really does understand why I do it. Getting my miles in early in the day is my way of fitting my hobby/sport/obsession/addiction into my daily life. I've previously blogged about my struggles to balance, work, running, and family. So far, my early morning schedule (not just on Sundays) is working out well. I've always been a morning person, so waking up at 5 a.m. is no big deal. I turn into a pumkin after 9 p.m. What my wife doesn't understand is how anyone in their right mind can wake up at 5 a.m. She is not a morning person.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Long Run

As much as I love running in Saddle River Park, I decided that I needed a change of scenery. SRP is pancake flat and with the Prospect Park Track Club 10 mile next week, I decided I needed to work some hills into my run. I met co-worker and fellow running blogger, DailyRunner in Central Park. DR showed me a part of the park I had never seen before, The Bridal Path. It's closest you'll get to trial running in New York City. I have to admit, I felt like I was running the park for the first time. Many of the familiar sights and landmarks looked different from the Bridal Path.

The first 5 or so miles took us north on the west side of the park, across the 102nd St. transverse, south on the east side, around the south end of the park, and back up to Tavern on the Green. I took my first GU pack here with some water. As we approached the 102nd St. Transverse again, DR asked if I wanted to keep going north up Harlem Hill. I said sure, after all wasn't my goal to work hills into the run? At the 10 mile mark, I took another GU pack and focused myself for the last 5 miles. DR didn't bring any water or Gatorade with him so when we hit Columbus Circle, we stopped at a vendor so he could get something to drink. The last few miles took us around the Jackie O reservoir. I have to be honest, in all of the miles I've never run in Central Park, I've never run near the reservoir.

Back to the run....the last few miles were a real grind. My legs were starting to feel heavy and I developed a small side stitch. I fought through it and last we were back at Tavern on the Green. We covered 16.04 miles in 2:17:31 for a 8:35 pace.

Splits and other run details can be found here: 16 in Central Park.

It was a good day. The rest of the week is shaping up like this: tomorrow I usually cross train but I'll be off from work with my daughter so I'm not sure that'll happen. Tuesday I run the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge loop, Wednesday is speed night at Paragon, Thursday will be a recovery run.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blown Away....Well Almost

This morning I met co-worker JS for a run before work. Since I had done speed work the night before I planned on treating this morning's run as a recovery run. I've talked about JS before, he is new to running and is training for the Cherry Blossom 10 mile in D.C. sometime in April. We decided to run our usual 5 mile route, past the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and up the Battery Park Esplanade to Styvestant High School and back again. The winds were gusting every which way this morning. One minute we're running into a headwind and the next we're getting helped along by a tailwind. At one point as we were running in Battery Park, the wind blew the water over the barriers and we got wet. Towards the end of the run, the winds were gusting so hard, they blew me towards the railing that separates the sidewalk from the water. I thought for a minute I was going to get blown into the river. It's a good thing we didn't run on the bridge today, we might have been blown off.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Night Speed Session - 2/11/04

We have not been to the 6th St. Track since the first workout back in early January. Yves-Marc, who was subbing for Coach Kate tonight, posted on the RUNNYC Facebook page that tonight's workout would be a repeat of that first session. 3 x 1600m (1 mile) intervals for 2 fastest groups, 3 x 1200 for the next 2 groups, and 3 x 800m for the last 2 groups. The goal was to run each interval within 10 second of each other. Pacer Kevin, who paced me through last week's workout, was pacing the 7:00/mile group. I decided to give that group a try even though it is slightly faster than I'm used to for a 5k. Kevin took us through the first mile at 7:15, the second mile at 7:05, and the third mile at 7:08. He did a great job keeping us on pace made sure the 3 intervals were within 10 seconds of each other.

I left my Garmin at home today and wore my "old school" Timex Ironman watch.
This is the route we took to warm-up and cool down:

We ended up running 6.8 miles in 1:10. That includes warm-up, cool down, 90 second recovery between intervals, and waiting for the lights to change. Thursday I'll run a 5 mile recovery run with co-worker JS then take Friday and Saturday off.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Long Run

I could not run the Bronx Half Marathon today so I decided to run the distance on my own. My wife had to work today so that meant another 6:30 a.m. start. Out of habit, I grabbed my cold weather gear. Even though they were predicting warm temperatures for today, I was expecting cold temperatures in the morning. Boy was I wrong. I walked out of the house and was greeted by a blast of warm air. I was able to find a long-sleeved tech shirt but for the life of me I couldn't find any shorts so I just kept on my tights.

The run started off well. After a 8:35 warm-up mile, I settled in to what I thought was a good rhythm. The next few miles were between 8:02 and 8:10. At mile 7 I started to feel sluggish. I hadn't been sleeping well the past few days so maybe the lack of sleep was starting to set in. Maybe I was over heated because I was not dressed properly. I had a long-sleeved tech shirt and cold weather tights on and it was well over 50 out. I should have been wearing short sleeves and shorts. I also hadn't run that distance in quite a while. I'm still planning on running the NJ Marathon on May 3 so I needed to started ramping up the miles. I grinded out the remaining 6.5 miles and finished the run in 1:51:46 (8:16/mile). Splits and other details can be found here: 13.5 miles in Saddle River Park.

Lastly, congrats to everyone who finished the Bronx Half Marathon today. The weather could not have been better for a Sunday in February.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Isn't It Cold Out?

That's what people ask me when they see me before or after I've come back from a run in cold temps. Case in point today, I met up with co-worker JS for 5 miles before work. The temperature was 12 degrees, 3 with the wind chill. I treated today's run as a recovery run after last night's intense speed workout. We ran 5 miles in 44:22 (about 8:50/mile). As I was walking to my desk, a bunch of co-workers barked "I hope you didn't run outside today!" I immediately responded "I sure did!"

Personally, I would much rather run in these conditions than 85 degrees and 100% humidity. There is nothing you can do to beat the heat. No matter how much you hydrate, wear light layers, the heat has a way of draining every ounce of energy from you. As long as you dress properly, running in the cold is not so bad.

Wedesday Night Speed Session - 2/4/09

It's been 3 weeks since my last speed session at Paragon. So it was with bated breath that I was anticipating last night's workout. I had a real stressful day at work and I was looking forward to releasing some steam.

Once again, the East 6th track was not runnable so last night's workout took place on the West Side Highway running path. Coach Kate described the workout as a "pyramid" workout. After warming up we ran "pickups" (slightly faster than 5K pace) of 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes with 2 minute (except for the 1 minute pickup where we recovered for 1 minute) recoveries in between. I felt good throughout the entire workout and had no problem keeping up with Coach Kevin. All in all we ran about 7 miles. I had a hard time picking up a Garmin signal so I'm not going to share the details from MotionBased. When we got back to Paragon other runners in the group told me that I kicked ass.

The other highlight of the evening was meeting fellow running blogger, TK from Pigtails Flying. I had no problem picking her out; her trademark pigtails gave her away. We warmed up together and ran in the same pace group. For some reason she struggled with last night's workout. It was great putting a face to the blog. I'm looking forward to running with her at future workouts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good start to the month

Thank goodness January 2009 is over. I'm not sure it was obvious from the tone of my blog entries but I was feeling down in the dumps about my running during January. I'm not quite sure why, I was not sick nor was I injured. I'll chalk it up to the snow and ice.

Because of other obligations, I could not run the Gridiron Classic in Central Park today. I needed to start my run no later than 6:30 today and be done around 7:30 - 7:40. I decided to run in Overpeck today. It was still dark when I got there so I started my run on the 1/4 mile track. I did not feel safe running where I could not see the ice. After 2 miles, I moved on to the 1.2 mile walking/jogging path. Even though the end result was good I was feeling off today. I did go to sleep later than I usually do when I need to wake up at 5:00. In the end, I did 8.02 miles in 1:02:37 for a 7:48 pace. Other details can be found here: 8.02 miles in Overpeck.

Now it's on to some good eats at a Super Bowl party. I'm making wings 2 ways, sesame terriyaki and spicy Buffalo style wings (baked, not fried).