Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation 5k at Yankee Stadium

Todd Brogan, Communications Coordination for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, sent me a message on Facebook after reading my post about my Yankee Stadium Run. His foundation is has recently launched a 5k run/walk at Yankee Stadium. The entire event will take place in the Stadium. Participants will run/walk the concourses and ramps, climb the stairs between levels and enjoy incredible views of the Stadium from all angles.  The race ends with special access to a victory lap on the warning track circling the field where you will see the Stadium from a player’s point of view. The event is limited to 2,500 participants. If you are interested in participating, sign up soon. More information can be found by visiting the event's website. If you cannot participate in the event but would like to contribute towards cancer research, please click here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur Begins Tonight at Sundown

Yom Kippur begins tonight at Sundown. It is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Starting tonight at sundown, I will be spending the next 25 hours fasting and in synagogue praying. It is customary before Yom Kippur to ask forgiveness for any wrongdoings I committed during the past year.

In that spirit....Please forgive me for anything that I may have to done to hurt, embarass, or upset you. I will try to do better in 5770. May you be inscribed for a year of health, peace, and prosperity.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why I'm Not Running a Fall Marathon (before I fractured my rib)

Before I fractured my rib, I was asked a lot which fall marathon I'm training for. My response was the same each time "none." My goal race for the fall was the Asbury Park Marathon Relay. Allen and I were each going to run 13.1 miles. Allen's plan was to use the race as a tune up for the New York City Marathon a few weeks later. My plan was to run the distance all out and knock my PR of 1:53:19 out of the park.

So here's the deal...I observe the Jewish holidays pretty strictly. I don't drive, use the TV, the phone, or run on the Sabbath or holidays. The Jewish holiday "season" began last weekend with Rosh Hashana, and will end on the weekend of October 10 and 11 with Shimini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. All of this means that there are 3 definite weekends where I cannot get a long run in. The only available Sunday is this coming Sunday, September 27. While there are no prohibitions against running on Yom Kippur eve, it's probably not the best idea to go out and run 20 miles and then later in the day start 25 hours of fasting. If I were training for a fall marathon, these 3 - 4 weekends would be the peak of training. It's hard to lose that many consecutive Sundays and still be in decent marathon shape. Not running on those weekends would also have weighed on my mind during the holidays. With the exception of Yom Kippur, the other holidays are joyous days. I look forward to spending theses days with family and friends. Not getting the long runs in would weigh on my mind and would detract from my enjoyment of the holidays. I also don't have a flexible work schedule where I would be able to get a long run in during the week. My only day to run long is Sunday.

I might have been able to get myself into shape for Philly on November 22  but my neighbor's son is getting married that day and we need to be at the wedding.

I'll write about how my injury changes my fall running plans in a future post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Early Re-Evaluation

At the end of my post Wednesday I wrote about a spill that I took into a NYC lamp post. At the time I thought I had bruised some ribs. I went to work on Thursday. I was sore but I was able to make to through the day with some Advil. Friday morning I couldn't get out of bed without screaming in pain. Somehow I managed to take a shower and shave without too much difficulty. The I started to get dressed. Again I started to scream in pain. Finally, Mrs. Ansky suggested I should go to the ER to get myself checked out. With Rosh Hashana starting that night, I thought it was a good idea. To make a long story short, I had some X-Rays taken and it turned out that my 10th rib was broken.

For those of you that have suffered through a broken rib, you'll know that the only cure for a broken rib is time. It can't be put in a cast or a in a sling. I left the ER with perscription for Percocet and Naprosyn. The past two days were a lesson in figuring ways to sit up and down without too much pain. Rosh Hashana services involve a lot if sitting and standing. I did the best I could. My family was great, I was allowed to relax and wasn't asked to help too much. Little Ansky (my 8 year old daughter) was big help. Helping Bubby (Yiddish for grandmother) set and clear the table, and serve the food.

As for running, I'm on the shelf for now. I don't even think I can make to the gym to cross-train. The doctor said to let my pain dictate what I can and cannot do. For now, it hurts to do anything. I'm not sure at this point if I'll be able to run the Asbury Park Relay Marathon. More to come.....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shana Tova!

Whether you are celebrating or not, may 5770 be a year a happiness, health, and prosperity to you and your families.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday Night Speed: 9-16-09

What a difference a few weeks make. The last time I wrote about Nike Speed I was hemming and hawing about how I couldn't finish a workout for the third week in a row. August was a brutally hot month and the humidity was aggravating my asthma. For the past few weeks, life got in the way and I couldn't make it to the workouts. Well it's now September. For the most part, the mornings and evenings have been cool and crisp. Perfect running weather.

I didn't feel in 7:00 shape so I decided to drop down and join EN and others in the 7:30 group. The workout for our group was 1600, 2000, 1600 at 5k pace. I have to say that this was the best track workout I've had in while. My legs felt fresh and my asthma was under control, so much so that I was able to pick up the pace for the final 400 on the second 1600. Here are the splits:
1600: 7:18
2000: 9:16
1600: 7:11

The run back to Paragon did not go so well. Around 1st Ave., I REALLY needed to find a bathroom. I thought I saw one in a park across the street but it was locked. Thankfully a restaraunt on the corner was nice to enough to let me use their facilities. Thanks to EN for waiting for me. Then, a few blocks away from Paragon, I caught my foot in an uneven part of the sidewalk and SMACK! right into a lamp post. I saw that my kneee was bloody and when I got back to Paragon, I had a cut on my nose as well. When I got home, my right side started to hurt so much that I was screaming in pain if I bent down or twisted the wrong way. Today I woke up to a huge welt on my right arm and my side is still hurts pretty bad. I didn't workout today and won't tomorrow. With Rosh Hashana this weekend, I have 2 more days to rest. Hopefully by Monday I'll feel OK to run again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Sports and Religion

Most of us know about Sandy Koufax's decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. His decision not to pitch is the classic example people mention when social pressures and personal beliefs conflict.

This year, the Jewish High Holy Day of Rosh Hashana falls out on Saturday and Sunday, 9/19 and 9/20. Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Sunday, 9/27. The remainder of the Jewish holiday "season" also falls on the weekend. I will write about the challenges this poses for me in a subsequent post. I want to devote this post to my thoughts towards how certain organizations have handled this challenge.

2 Examples of Poor Behavior

1) I came across an article yesterday about the Newton (MA) North Girls Cross-Country team choosing not to participate in a state-wide meet on Saturday because it conflicts with Rosh Hashana. When a local Rabbi e-mailed the organizer of the meet about this conflict, the organizer replied "we knew it was Rosh Hashana but didn't understand the significance of the day. The meet is scheduled and there is nothing we can do to reschedule."

First of all, I applaud the Newton North team for choosing not to participate. Second, I find the reply by the meet organizer appalling. I am sure that Newton North is not the only team with Jewish runners on the team. Would the meet organizer schedule a meet for Christmas or Easter? I don't think so! Most non-Jewish people that I interact with know that Rosh Hashana is a holy day for me. Public schools (at least in NYC) close for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Saying that you can't reschedule the meet is, in my opinion, complete bullshit! If you don't know the significance of the day, educate yourself. There aren't many Jewish holidays on a standard calendar. It's there because it's important. This is just an example of the meet director being insensitive.

2) New York Road Runners scheduled the Queens Half Marathon for the second day of Rosh Hashana, 9/20. When I e-mailed them about this, I received a reply saying "we know it's Rosh Hashana but there is nothing we can do." Again, complete bullshit. They could have just as easily scheduled the race for the Sunday before, 9/13. Yes, there was a race scheduled for Saturday, 9/12 but it wouldn't be the first time NYRR has races on both days of the weekend. NYRR releases their race schedule for the entire year in January, surely they knew that 9/20 is Rosh Hashana. Shame on you NYRR!

2 Examples of Good Behavior
1) Major League Baseball and ESPN rescheduled a game on Sunday, 9/27 between the Yankees and Red Sox from 8:00 p.m. to 1:05 p.m. so it wouldn't conflict with Yom Kippur.

2) The New York Jets rescheduled their Sunday, 9/27 game from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. so their Jewish fans could be home in time for the start of Yom Kippur.

Again, I applaud MLB, ESPN, and the New York Jets for understanding the significance of Yom Kippur and making every effort to accommodate their Jewish clientele.

If ESPN, MLB, and the Jets can navigate the complexities of scheduling, networks, and TV contracts to move games so they don't conflict with Yom Kippur, why can't a high school track meet or NYRR make similar decisions? Are you telling me that scheduling road races and high school track meets are more complex than professional sports? PUH-LEASE!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Race Report: South Nyack 10 Miler

If anyone ever needs advice in how not to run a good race, then this race report is for you. Julie has run this race a few times already and she gave me this piece of advice before the race "conserve your energy because there are some killer hills in the later miles." Needless to say, I didn't heed her advice, instead I shot out like a banshee. All I remember going through the first mile and hearing a volunteer say 7:05. I regrouped and slowed my pace to something more manageable. I guess I didn't slow down enough because I remember seeing the clock at mile 5 and it 38:xx. That's still a pretty fast pace.

The last 5 miles is where the hills made their presence known things started to fall apart. First a slow climb between miles 6 and 7. Then a series of more hills between 7 and 8. The doozy came right before mile 9. We made this left turn and there it was another hill. All I could say was "oh shit!"After what seemed like an eternity, I crested the hill just passed mile 9 and then made the right turn onto the trail portion of the race. Most of the last mile was on a flat gravel trail. I was able to muster the energy for a fast finish (or at least it felt fast) and I crossed the line in 1:19:48. Guess what? That's a new 10 mile PR by about 10 seconds!

Thank you to the Rockland Road Runners for a well organized race. The course was tough but there were some great views of the Hudson River. After crossing the finish line, each runner was rewarded with free beer and a free ice cream courtesy of the local Mr. Softee truck. Lastly, congrats to Julie who took 1st in her age group and Justin who took second in his.

Friday, September 11, 2009

8 Years Ago Today

19 hijackers took control of 4 planes. The hijackers flew 2 of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Ailines Flight 175 into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. American Airlines Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, PA.

I exited the A Train station at Broaway-Nassau St. as I usually do to what I hoped to be a fairly routine day at the office. As I got closer to the street I noticed a large group of people congregating on the corner looking up at a burning WTC tower. As we all stood there in shock, a 2nd plane crashed into the 2nd WTC tower.

I still carry that image with me. It's that image that still causes me to freak out when I see low flying planes. It's that image that still causes me to freak out at the sound of fireworks. Every day as I commute to and from work via the Lincoln Tunnel, my heart races praying that my bus makes it out safely.

It is because of that day that I make an effort to tell my family how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate them. It is because of that day that I try to do more acts of kindness and be a better person.

Never Forget

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This past Sunday, after visiting my Bubby (Yiddish for grandmother) on the Lower East Side, my family decided to check out Governor's Island. We had a great afternoon picnicking near Fort Jay and enjoying the spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. But what I wanted to write about was our experience on the City of Dreams Mini Golf Course on the Island. Each hole is designed by a different artist or group of artists. Despite what the website claims, some of the holes are quite frustrating but they are all fun.

Anyway, for those of you that don't already know, I am an observant Jew. Other than when I'm at work and other social situations, I usually wear a kippah/yarmulke on my head. The reason I bring this up is that there was at least one, most likely 2 or 3  observant Jewish families playing mini-golf ahead of us. I'm not sure if it was one family or more than one but there were a lot of children with their mothers. Let me just say that these children were not the best behaved. My family would be playing a hole and some of the children would drop their ball and play right in front of us as if we weren't there. The children were swinging the putters like baseball bats on these works of art. The next thing I know, I hear one of the older children yell "Ema (Hebrew for Mom), [insert child's name] broke the hole!" I think the jaws of everyone near by dropped at the same time. So what did the mother of the child do? Rather than disciplining him, she said "don't worry about it. Let's continue playing and someone will fix it." I was appalled. If that were my child, I would have taken her off the course, given her a good talking to, and taken her home right away.

As a member of the same "tribe" I couldn't help but feel somewhat embarrassed by what happened. Unfortunately, there are still people in the world who think that because I'm "one of them" that we behave the same way. My daughter isn't always the best behaved, but she understands not to disrespect other people's (public or private) property.

The whole situation left a very bad taste in my mouth.  I could go on and on but I won't.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Belated Blogiversary to RunAnskyRun

I totally forgot that on September 5, RunAnskyRun.Blogspot.Com celebrated its 1st blogiversary

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feelin' the Need for Speed

Michelle and Trea asked me questions recently recently about incorporating speedwork into their training plans to improve their race times. I started taking speedwork seriously in this past January during my training for the 2009 New Jersey Marathon. Within a few weeks I started to notice that not only were my race times improving but so were my training runs.

Most of my speedwork consists of various intervals on the E. 6th track. A group of experienced pacers lead the workouts. The intervals vary in distance and intensity. One week we could be doing 8 x 400m (1 lap) at 3k pace and the next week we could be doing 6 x 600m (1 1/2 laps) at 5k pace. Every 6 weeks or so we go off the track for a tempo or fartlek run on the West Side Highway path.

Trea asked how fast to run the intervals. My weekly group splits up by 5k pace. The groups start with the 6:30 milers and increases by 30 seconds. The pacer then tells us the splits we should be aiming for on each interval. What if you can't find a group to do speedwork with? The McMillan Running Calculator is a great tool to help any runner calculate their splits for speedwork. Simply enter a recent race time and McMillan will produce a range of times to run most typical intervals. There are two important things to note here: 1) When using McMilan, you need to enter a recent race time not a goal time for your next race. The reason for this is that your current fitness level is probaly not up to running your goal time just yet. If you run the intervals  based a goal time, you will be running faster than your body is used to. 2) Remember that McMilan produces a range. Some runners will be at the faster end of the end of the range and some will be at the slower end of the range. The key is to run each interval at a consistent pace within the range. Do not run one interval at the fast end and another at the slow end. Keep them consistent.

Michelle, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is having difficulty getting to an organized speedworkout and would like to incorporate speedwork into her daily runs. There are ways to do that as well.
  • Tempo Runs: The simplest way to define a tempo run is "comfortably hard." McMilan can help you calculate your tempo pace. Another easy way to calculate your tempo pace is to add 30 or 40 seconds to a recent 5k time or 15 to 20 seconds to a 10k time. Check out this article from Runner's World for more on tempo runs.
  • Fartleks: Fartlek is Swedish for "speedplay" and is an easy way to incorporate some speedwork into any run. All you do is simply run faster to a nearby landmark (like a tree, mailbox, stop sign, etc..) once you reach the landmark, slowdown and recover. Start with 2 or 3 of these "pick-ups" and build up to more when you feel comfortable.
  • Hill Repeats: During one of our runs, Brandon mentioned that running hills is speedwork is disguise. Try and find a hill about 1/4 in length and run up it 4 to 6 times. Again, keep your pace consistent. Don't sprint up the first time and walk up the time. How fast you run each repeat will depend on your current fitness level and the grade (steepness, if that's a word) of the hill. Find a pace that you think you can consistenly hit 4 to 6 times. 

Trea and Michelle, I hope this post answered your questions. I love getting questions, keep 'em coming. 

Statue of Liberty Trip

I don't know what the rest of the week and Labor Day weekend will bring but so far the highlight of my staycation has been yesterday's trip with my daughter to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. I can't remember the last time I was on Liberty Island, probably when I was my daughter's age (8). We picked up the ferry from Liberty State Park rather than trying to find parking near Battery Park in NYC. I work not too far from Battery Park and I've seen first hand the crowds of people waiting on line to go to the Statue. The crowds at Liberty State Park were much smaller. There was no wait at the security checkpoint and only a small line ahead of us for the ferry.

We had bought our tickets in advance but in order to get to the dock, we had to walk through the restored Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) train station Neaarly two thirds of the immigrants who passed through Ellis Island went on to CRRNJ where they boarded trains to begin their new lives in America.While we were waiting the for the ferry, daughter and I both knew it was going to be a great day. The skies were clear and the view of Manhattan was spectacular. Visibility was so good that we were able to see the George Washington Bridge.

First stop on the ferry was the Ellis Island Immigration Muesum.My daughter is too young to truly appreciate Ellis Island so we decided to skip it and spend the afternoon on Liberty Island.

First thing we did when we got to the Island was eat lunch. There was a nice area along the water where we could sit and eat. Tickets to go all the way up to the crown were sold out but we were able to get tickets to go up the the pedestal observation deck. In order to go into the statue we had to go through a security checkpoint similar to that at an airport, empty pockets, go through metal detector, etc...  The first thing we saw after clearing security is the Statue's original torch. Then there is a small exhibit with replicas of the Statue face and feet and other stuff related to Lady Liberty. We didn't linger at the exhibit because daughter really wanted to get up to the pedestal.  One thing I forgot to mention...while we were on line for security a park ranger came out to inform everyone on line that the elevator to pedestal was out of order and that we would have to climb

this many steps in order to get to the pedestal observation deck. There were  a lot of moans and groans from those on line but daughter and I said "no problem." After the exhibit we started walking up the stairs. Daughter asked to stop for a few minutes here and there but we finally made it. Upon reaching the observation lever daughter said "that didn't feel like 156 steps!" I did remind her that we had to walk down as well.  "No problem!" she said.

A park ranger told us to look up and we could the inside of the Statue. Then it was time to go outside. The views from the pedestal were incredible. Here are pictures:

Ellis Island with Jersey City in the background

Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges

Verrazano Bridge

Lower Manhattan

I just realized that I haven't posted any pictures of Lady Liberty herself. Here is one from the 11 pointed star. Finally after some soft serve ice cream, we boarded the ferry back to Liberty State Park and from there we drove home. It was a very special day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Totals for August

Total Number of Runs: 17
Total Miles Ran: 121.6
Total Time: 16:56:57

Avg Distance: 7.2 miles
Avg. Pace/mi: 8:21/mi

Despite some hot and humid weather, August turned out to be a pretty good month. I did struggle with my speed workouts but I'm OK with that. Hopefully September will bring some cooler weather (it did today).