Thursday, December 31, 2009

Totals for 2009

I ran my last miles for 2009 yesterday. I closed out 2009 by cross training at the gym today. So here are my totals 2009:

Total Number of Runs: 157
Total Miles: 1,026.1mi.
Total Time: 142:09:36

Avg.Distance 6.5mi.
Avg. Time: 54:19
Avg. Pace/mile: 8:18

I'm still working on my goals and racing plans (at least for the spring racing season) for 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Winter Treat

Today we were blessed with one of those rare warm winter days. When I turned on the TV to check the weather, I couldn't believe my eyes 53 degrees at 7:00 a.m. I had to check a few channels just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.All the local channels confirmed the mild weather. I layed out a cold weather outfit the night before so I had to go upstairs quietly, so not to wake the family, and pull out a pair of shorts and a long-sleeve tech shirt. It's always a treat being able to run in shorts during the winter. We don't get too many of those days so I wanted to take advantage of it and run long.

I chose a particularly hilly course so my legs would be used to the hills of Central Park when I run the Manhattan Half Marathon on January 24. I had no pace in mind and all I knew I wanted to run more than 10 miles. My only mistake was not bringing a GU with me. I had 20oz. of Gatorade with me but a gel might have made to run a little less painful. My quads were hurting from the hills but I expected nothing less.As I got close to home I took a peek at my Garmin and saw that I was a few tenths of a mile short of 13.1. I ran up and down some local streets until I hit 13.1. Stats for today's run: 13.1 in 1:50:08 (8:23/mi). I'm pretty thrilled about this considering I haven't run this far since August 2.

I haven't started working on my training plan for the Pocono Mountain Marathon on May 16. I know I will have a good base since the Manhattan Half is the first official day of my 18 week training cycle. I'll talk about this more later but I know I will have train my legs for a net downhill race. It should be interesting and challenging. Bring it on!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


While many of you were sleeping soundly or unwrapping presents Friday morning, this Jewish running addict ran his 1,000th mile for 2009. I consider this a pretty big accomplishment considering I took a week off in January (family vacation), a week off to find my mojo, a week off to get over the summertime blues, missed 6 weeks in September and October with a fractured rib, and missed other runs because of religious observances. I also only ran 1 marathon in the spring so my weekly mileage was not as high during the second half of the year.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I can't wait for 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009: The Year in Review

At the end of 2008 I laid out some goals for this year. Let's see how I did:

Stay healthy through the winter so I can run the New Jersey Marathon on May 3.
CHECK! Aside from a minor calf strain 4 weeks before the marathon I did stay healthy, no other injuries or illnesses to speak of. My training went very well. I started doing winter speedwork with the Nike pacers and got to race day feeling strong and confident.

I would like to race more.
CHECK! In 2008 I ran no more than 5 or 6 races. This year I ran 8. All but the Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 miler were non-NYRR races. A secondary goal was to run more local run races, so CHECK to that as well. I set new PRs  in the first 4 races that I ran: Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k (22:46, 1/1/09), Prospect Park Track Club Cherry Tree 10 Miler (1:19:50, 2/22/09), New Jersey Marathon (3:52:54, 5/3/09), and the Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 miler (36:55, 6/28/09). In September I bested my 10 PR by 2 seconds at the South Nyack 10 miler (1:19:48, 9/13/09).

Continue to focus on nutrition and overall good health.
CHECK! With the help Mrs. Ansky, RD I practiced better eating habits (the occasional bowl ice cream included). I learned what foods work for me before a race or long-run (whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter) and for recovery (oatmeal, choclate milk, omlets).

Get faster
PUSH. I did set 4 new PRs this year but...I didn't run a sub-1:50 half or a sub 3:50 full. I'm hoping that I'll be able to accomplish both in 2010.

Other Highlights and Lowlights of 2009
Excluding the PRs, the highlight of 2009 was my run to Yankee Stadium. I decided to have some fun on that Sunday in August. Rather than going with my buddies in the car, I traveled to the Stadium on foot and met them in the parking lot.

The other highlight was meeting some amazing new people.At first we were all like minded runners writing about our running in and around New York City.We only knew each other in the virtual world, Blogspot, Wordpress, Facebook, and Twitter. Then we decided to meet up in person, at Nike Speed, at races, and then at Tweet-up runs. Now, we are not only fellow runners, we are also friends.

The big lowlight of 2009 was my fractured rib. I missed about 6 weeks of running and had to drop out of my fall half-marathon. I learned a lot during that time. I was beyond frustrated that I couldn't run but my time off the roads allowed me to help others accomplish their goals. Trea was training for her first half marathon during this time and she was very nervous about being to finish what she started. This was a way for me to stay involved in the running community while not running myself. BTW...Trea ROCKED her first half marathon, finishing in 2:00:xx.

Lesson Learned
I learned to listen to my body this year. During the year, I lost my mojo and had the summertime blues. Both times, running just wasn't fun. I was going through the motions and felt like my running had no purpose. I took a week off both time to re-focus.

I also took a week off while on vacation with my family. I wanted to enjoy the time with my family and not worried about getting my miles in. Bottom line, it's OK to take a week off. Nothing will happen.

So there you have it. 2009 certainly wasn't perfect, it had its highs and lows. The important thing is, I'm ending 2009 on a high note. It took me a while to fully recover from my rib injury but I'm finally feeling strong heading into 2010.

Thank you all for reading and commenting on the blog. Best wishes for a Happy Holiday season. 2010 should be a safe, prosperous, and healthy year for all of us.

Happy Holidays!

To all of my readers who are celebrating, best wishes for a Merry Christmas to you and your families.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Safety First

Winter finally showed it's ugly face by dumping 8 inches of snow on my town (some place got a lot more) Saturday night into Sunday. Once the snow stopped, plows started coming through and pushing the snow to sides of the streets and many sidewalks were not yet shoveled. I needed to get some miles in, so rather than playing chicken with the plows, I moseyed over to the gym for a treadmill run. I wasn't looking forward to doing 7 miles on a treadmill but I took Matt's advice and kept an open mind. Thanks to the Run Run Live and Run Digger Run Podcasts, the experience wasn't so bad. I finished the 7 mile in 57:19 for an 8:11 pace.

Last night as I was walking home from the bus stop, I made sure to look at the conditions of the roads and sidewalks. There was still lots of snow on the side of the street and the most people did a bare bones shoveling. On top of that, people started to park their cars on the street again instead of in their driveways. WHY????? YOUR HOUSE HAS A DRIVEWAY PLEASE USE IT!!!!

All of these factors, coupled with the fact that I run in early in the morning when it's still dark, do not make for very safe running conditions. So this morning, I went back to gym for a 4.5 mile tempo run on the treadmill. Fortunately, I had Brandon's newest podcast to keep me company. I did today's run (4.5mi) in 34:55 for an 7:45 pace. I hope I'll be able to get out for my other mid-week runs, if I can't, it's OK too. I don't want to risk slipping or something worse. I am thinking about getting a pair of Yaktrax but they wouldn't solve this particular problem. The streets are in good condition, the bottom line is, it's not safe. Between the snow, the parked cars, and the cars on the road, there isn't enough room for me to run.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Runing

Night 8: Camaraderie

I know, I know, on the first night I wrote about how much I loved the solitude of my weekend long runs and most of my early morning runs. I believe there is a place for enjoying the solitude of a weekend long and  for running with company. Whether it's a small local 5k or the New York City Marathon, there is no better feeling than race day. The energy on race day is amazing. After I ran the New York City Marathon in 2007, people asked me if I ran with anyone I knew. My response was, "I ran with 38,000 of my closest friends." I am sure that most us have made conversation with total strangers during a road race.

The Nike Speed sessions is another place where I've enjoyed the company of other runners. I just can't see myself being able to run intervals at the right pace if I were running solo. The coaches are great motivators and give advice about form and breathing. The other runners in my group were also great company. We would provide motivation during a tough part of the workout and high five each other afterward.

The popularity of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have made it even easier to meet new runners. I've participated in a few Tweet-up runs in New York. It's a pretty amazing thing. Up until a few weeks or months ago, these were people I only knew in a virtual world. Now groups of us are meeting up on a pretty regular basis. Running on the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, from Midtown to Battery Park, and in Central Park.

As tonight is the last night of Chanukah, this will be the last post in this special series. I had a lot of fun putting this together. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a comment letting me know what you think or what aspects you love about running that I didn't write about. I hope to do more of these special series in the future. For now, it's back to writing my everyday running and whatever else comes to mind.

Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

Night 7: You Can Do It Anywhere

Running is one of those hobbies you can do almost anywhere. I can walk out my front door and run, if I'm on vacation, I can walk out of my hotel room and run, and it's not weather or time dependent. Skiers need snow, scuba divers usually need to travel to exotic locales, golfers can only play on a course or at a driving range. In it's simplest form, all you need are shoes, shirt, and shorts. No bulky equipment to schlep.

Whenever I run away from home, I look forward to uploading the map of my run from my Garmin. I look at as a memento from my travels. It sure beats any t-shirt, snow globe, or other item that I would otherwise buy in a gift shop.

Happy Chanukah!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

Night 6: The Sense of Accomplishment

Most of you can remember the exact finishing time of your marathon (mine was 4:21:57, NYC 2007). I also remember the wave of emotions as the finish line in Central Park came into view. A small part of me was saying "thank good that's over. What the hell was I thinking?" A bigger part of me was on the verge of tears and was saying "Holy Shit, I just ran my first marathon!" It wasn't until later that night for the sense of accomplishment to hit me. I reaped the benefits of the long runs, speed work, and hill repeats. The training schedule that was mounted on my fridge for the past 18 weeks had all come together. 

This sense accomplishment isn't limited to your first marathon. Setting a new PR at any race distance, conquering a particular hill, running your first sub-whatever mile, are all major accomplishments. Brandon became an Ironman this year, Allan did his first triathlon, Sarah ran her first 100 mille race, and Allen qualified for Boston.  I could go on and on. The point is, be proud of of what you accomplish, it is one of the many motivating factors that gets us out the door each and every day.

As 2009 comes to end, us running bloggers will devote a post or two about what we accomplished in 2009. I know I will be sharing mine before the sun rises on 2010. It's also not too early to think about what you want to accomplish in 2010.

Happy Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

Night 5:  Being Fit

Even though I was very active in high school and in college, I always carried some extra weight around my belly. I paid no attention to my diet. I ate with reckless abandon. Pizza, fries, burgers, fried chicken, etc... I always wore baggy clothes to hide the extra weight. It wasn't until I took up running when things started to change. My clothes were even baggier and my body was not happy when I ate large amounts of fried foods. Friends and family began to comment that I was beginning to look good. Yes, I was losing weight but more importantly, I was losing inches. A few summers ago, my family was doing some outlet shopping and I was trying on polo shirts. Out of habit, I went for the large, too big. Medium, too big. Small, just right. I can't remember the last time I wore a size small.

Being fit isn't only about looking good in your clothes. It's also about how you feel. I started paying more attention to my diet. I had help from Mrs. Ansky, who not only is my wife, she is also my dietitian. I learned the words "in moderation," "lean proteins," "whole grains," and "complex carbohydrates." Not too long ago we had a fire drill at work. Part of the drill involved taking the stairs down to the lobby instead of the elevator. Many of my co-workers, were huffing and puffing after a few flights. After the drill, everyone was waiting in the lobby for the elevator. I decided to take the stairs. No problem, not even a little winded. A good friend's father is still running marathons well into his 70's. I you saw him, you would think he is his early 60s. Every time he is in town I say that I hope to keep running marathons when I'm in my 70s.

Happy Chanukah! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

Night 4:  Seeing Places From a Different Perspective

Most of us fail to notice to our surroundings are we are speeding by in our cars. Being out on a run affords us an opportunity to not only take notice but also to appreciate our neighborhoods. As most of you know by now, I do almost all of my running early in the morning before I leave for work. One of the many things I love about running during the pre-dawn hours is being able to see my neighborhood wake up. I notice so many things about my neighborhood that I otherwise would not have had noticed had I not been on foot. Houses being built, being put on the market, construction progress of new businesses, etc...

My favorite pre-work run in New York City is on the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. There is no better time of day to run on the bridges than early in the morning. Any runner who has done this run during lunch or after work, finds themselves dodging other walkers, runners, or tourists. Early in the morning, the views of Lower Manhattan, Lady Liberty, and Brooklyn, are amazing and there are no crowds to deal with. Regardless of how fast you run, it's hard not to take notice.

During my last run with TK, a major rain storm passed through the night before. The skies were still cloudy but traces of sun were visible in the distance. When we passed the Intrepid, she commented that the scene before us reminded her of a scene from a naval thriller (Think Hunt for Red October). Further south on the West Side Highway, she commented that even Jersey looked good. These are the types of things we notice when we're running. I doubt the same comment would be made if we were speeding down the West Side Highway at 60mph. 

Happy Chanukah!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I love About Running

Night 3: The Adrenaline Rush/Endorphine Addiction

Many of friends often comment that I'm addicted to running. Truth be told, they are not entirely wrong. I know that if I miss a run I'm often grumpy and difficult to be around for the rest of the day. When I broke my rib and couldn't run for 5 weeks, I was miserable. I felt like going through withdrawal. In fact I was withdrawing. My body was so used to having it's daily dose of endorphins, that when it didn't get it them, my body let me know.

There's also nothing like that adrenaline rush you get during a race, during a particularly good training run, or during an intense speed session on the track. You feel spent but it's a good kind of spent. Your body might say "STOP" but you feel like you can keep going. When I started running again after my injury, I wasn't running well and was feeling discouraged. I stuck with it, and slowly but surely, things started to click. This week, I had a great tempo run, a great run on the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and then today I did my first double digit run in a few months. It's a great feeling when everything just comes together.

Happy Chanukah!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

Night 2: Eating Anything (well, almost anything)  I want
When I am at the peak of a marathon training cycle, I am constantly eating. A handful of nuts here, a bowl of ice cream there, a cookie, you name it, I eat it (except for egg salad and melon). On more than one occasion, Mrs. Ansky has asked me what happened to the leftovers in the fridge. She's seriously considering leaving me notes "OK to eat" and "Not OK to eat." 

This is also particularly relevant this time of year. Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, or nothing at all, we find ourselves surrounded by food. Co-workers are bringing in baked goods and candy, and don't forget the holiday parties. Running alleviates a lot of the guilt many of us feel by having an extra plate at the buffet, a 2nd helping of dessert, or an extra cocktail (yes, cocktails have calories too). Our annual family Chanukah party is Sunday afternoon. I will have no problem indulging in Mom's potato latkes and a jelly doughnut or 2 especially after a 10 mile run.

Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah Special: 8 Things I Love About Running

In honor of Chanukah, I will be blogging for the next 8 days about 8 things I love about running. I have to give props to my daughter who gave me the idea. These are in no particular order, just as they came to mind.

So without further adieu, I give you the first thing I love about running: Solitude

I do many of my morning and weekend runs alone. I often tell people that when I'm out on run it's truly the only the time I have to myself. No family obligations, no work deadlines, no "honey do" lists, it's nothing but me, the road, and my thoughts. Some people look forward to a quiet Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and a newspaper before the family wakes up, that is what running is for me. During the week, it is a time when I release stress from a hard day of work the day before and prepare for myself for what that day has to bring.

Happy Chanukah!

Disclaimer: Judaism holds by a lunar calendar which means that this post should have been posted last night which was the first night of Chanukah. Since tonight is the 2nd night of Chanukah, I will be writing another post a little bit later tonight.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Chanukah!

Happy Chanukah to everyone celebrating. In honor of the holiday I will attempt to blog for the next 8 days. I'm not sure what about yet, I'm open to suggestions. Please leave a comment. Chag Urim Sameach!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And My Spring Marathon is.....(drumroll please)

May 16, 2010

There are a few reasons why I chose this marathon:
1) It's cheap - $65 + $5.64 ( processing fee). The $70.64 is cheaper than the New York City Half Marathon ($79 + $5 processing fee) and the Rutgers Half Marathon. Why anyone would pay more for a half marathon than a marathon is beyond me. 
2) It's close to home - The Poconos are less than 2 hours from my house in NJ.
3) I have an offer for weekend hospitality from a friend who will remain nameless.  
4) I can cross Pennsylvania off from the list of states I've run marathons in. 
5) Proceeds from the race benefit the Monroe County Chapter of the American red Cross and will go directly to help the disaster relief program.

This is going to be a much different marathon experience. Last year's race had 411 finishers. My previous 3 marathons were much larger (NYC 2007, Marine Corps 2008, NJ 2009). Chances are I will be running large chunks of the Pocono Marathon alone. I'm not too concerned since I do most of my training alone. However, the energy that comes along with larger races will be missed. 

Lastly, the Pocono Marathon has a reputation of being a "downhill" race. As indicated by the elevation profile, there is a net decline in elevation

  but, based on what I've heard from people who have run the race and from the reviews on Marathonguide, there are rolling hills in the second half of the race that can beat you up if your are not prepared for them.

So there you have it. Training officially begins on January 24, which happens to be the day I will be running the Manhattan Half Marathon. What better way to kick off my training than than with a winter half marathon in the hills Central Park.

Stay Tuned.....

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Kind of Weather

The weather gods teased the Northeast with some snow on Saturday. No major accumulation just enough to cover my lawn and to get everyone complaining about how much they hate winter. Truth be told, I have a love-hate relationship with old man winter. I can certainly do without the shoveling, scraping ice off the car, and juggling work schedules becuase daughter has a snow day.

When it comes to running, the cold weather is my friend. Safety always comes first, so if the roads are not safe because of ice or snow I won't chance it. This morning however, I was chomping at the bit to get out there. I put on my tights, compression base layer, half-zip pullover, fleece hat, and warm gloves and headed out around 5:45. There were some icy spots on the road but nothing dangerous that forced me to turn around and go home. I haven't run more than 10k since coming back from my injury so I was hoping for 7 or 8 miles today. I love running around my neighborhood in the early morning. I get to see the town wake up. Papers are getting delivered, people getting making their morning bagel and coffee runs (no pun intended), dogs getting walked, you get the picture. I ran 7.74mi in 1:05:26 (8:27 pace).

The cold air felt invigorating. I find that the cold air is better for my asthma than warmer air. During Tuesday night's Tweet-up run, EG mentioned how she's never trained thorugh the winter for a spirng marathon (she will be running Boston in April). I told her that I prefer to train in the winter. As long as you dress right, the cold should not be a problem. There is nothing you can do to make yourself feel cooler when it's 90 degrees and 100% humidity. So I'll leave you with this, don't be afraid of cold weather. Get yourself some quality cold weather running gear, get out there, and enjoy it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

From the Archives: "What's Ansky?"

Many of you have asked me recently the origin of "Ansky." I wrote about this in my 2nd ever blog post in 2008. Since this blog was not very popular back then, I'm reposting that post for your enjoyment.
So You're Probably All Wondering..... 

what the hell is ANSKY? Well, if you remember this Addidas commercial from the late 90s:

without giving out too much personal information....since my first name starts with "A" and my last name ends in "NSKY" and I am a rabid Yankees fan, my friends deemed me "Ansky."

Any Questions?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Enjoying the Concrete Jungle

The last time I ran in NYC I broke a rib and couldn't run for 5 weeks.Since I started running again in October, I've been doing early morning runs around my neighborhood in NJ. So you can imagine my excitement when the makings of a NYC Tweet-up run in Central Park started to take shape. For those of you not on Twitter, a Tweet-up is a get together of people you follow on Twitter. I'll digress for a minute by saying that if you have a hobby/passion/obsession etc... you should definitely check out Twitter. Whether you are a runner, knitter, chef, scotch drinker, etc.. there are plenty of like- minded Tweeters to share ideas with and get advice from.

We agreed that we would meet last Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. Before heading over to the park I met up with some fellow Tweeters at the New York Sports Club on 73rd between Central Park West and Columbus to stash my stuff. nycbklyngirl, NYCe, bklynrunner, lady_southpaw, and myself headed over to Central Park to meet up with the others. Waiting for us were: pigtailsflying, agaliza, sclevine, speedysasquatch, mikejoconnor (who was in from MA on business). It was a clear and chilly night in the city. The city looked great, all decked out for the holidays. Running in Central Park is always a treat. It's a runners haven in the middle of the concrete jungle that is New York City. Since I don't live in the City, I forgot how tough CP is. Yes, there is Cat Hill on the East Side and Harlem Hill at the north end of the park, but I forgot about the rolling hills on the west side of the Park. For some strange reason these felt the toughest. I paid no attention to my Garmin, the point of the run was to meet new friends. During the run, we started talking about how much fun we were having and we need to do this more often.

Well, fast foward to Thursday morning. TK, AKA, pigtailsflying, and I met up at 48th and the West Side Highway for a morning run. While I was waiting, I took this picture of the Intrepid decked out in holiday lights.
Took yesterday waiting for @pigtailsflying. Intrepid decked o... on Twitpic
It was an unusually warm December morning. So warm in fact that I was able to wear short sleeves abd shorts. The forecast was for rain and wind gusts of up to 40mph. I wore my rain jacket over my shirt. The rain never showed up but the wind certainly did. We were running south right into the wind which made the run feel harder than the actual pace. It was a fun run with good company and conversation. I dropped TK off at the subway station on Canal and Broadway and I ran down Broadway to my office in the Financial Distrcit. The West Side Greenway/Hudson River Park is another great place to run in the City. Running downtown towards my office is always a treat as there are great views of Lady Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

These 2 runs in the City made me realized how much I miss running in the City. With winter on the way, I have a feeling I'll be running in Central Park a lot more as it is usually clear of snow and ice. There aren't many safe place to run during the winter in my Neighborhood. Until the bad weather, I need to make an effort to run in the city more often.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Totals for November

Total number of Runs: 11
Total Time: 6:44:55
Total Distance: 49mi

Avg. Time: 36:48
Avg. Pace/mi: 8:15
Avg. Distance: 4.5mi

Are you effing kidding me? Only 49 miles for the month? WTF?????