Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lift From the Core

Coaches Jeff and Diane have been encouraging their clients to submit a short video of him/her running on a treadmill. Jeff and Diane then review the video and discuss things that are going well and things that need improvement. As you know, they believe that natural running is the most healthy and efficient way to run. Once I was comfortable in my Newtons, Coach wanted to see a video of how I was running in them. In short, he said that I have a nice forefoot/midfoot plant but I need to work on lifting my legs from core. The way I run now, my legs swing. I should be lifting from the core and then driving down. I'll let you see for yourself. Try not to laugh.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Plans for 2011

I'm calling this "plans" instead of "goals" because to me, goals are associated with a particular time. It is way too to start thinking about time goals for my spring "A" race, the Vermont City Marathon. Instead, I'll mention several races that I'd like to run in 2011. A few days ago I asked to Coach to suggest when and what types of races I should target leading up to VCM on May 29. Here's what he suggested with some initial thoughts in red. I need to see the NJ race calendar before I start signing up for races. This is based on what I know as-of this writing.
  • A 5k or 10k on or around February 6: NYRR Gridiron Classic is a 4 miler on Super Bowl Sunday morning. I've run this race before and had fun. People run in football jerseys and there is a football throwing contest after the race. It'll also give me an excuse to chow down at a Super Bowl party later in the day.
  • A 5k or 10k on or around March 6:  Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5k. One of the few NYRR races outside of Central Park. It's easy for me to get to and I could warm up with a run over the George Washington Bridge. If Coach OKs a half marathon there is the E. Murray Todd Half Marathon in Lincroft, NJ on March 6. I signed up for this race in 2009 but the race was canceled because of snow. The Asbury Park Half Marathon on March 13 looks interesting as well.
  • A Half Marathon on or around April 3: TBD. NYRR's calendar doesn't go out that far and I can't think of a NJ race. 
  • If possible, a half marathon on or around May 1: This would be my final tune-up before VCM. The NJ Half is on May 1. The price tag, $80 as of this writing, is scaring me away.  I have a hard time paying $80 for half when I paid $85 for the full at VCM. I'll have to keep my eye out for something.
For those reading in the NYC metro area feel free to suggest a race. Just, remember I don't roll on Shabbos.

I am still undecided about a fall marathon. Mrs. Ansky made an interesting comment the other day. She said I am a much happier person when I am marathon training. I did not run a fall full in 2010. I had a great summer with my family without the pressure of marathon training. However, when fall racing season came around I missed being a part of it. Registration for Marine Corps Marathon starts on February 23. I am also in the lottery for the New York City Marathon. I'll probably sign up for MCM and if I get into NYC, I'll defer one until 2012. My only concern is with VCM so late in the season, I don't have a whole lot of time to rest and recover before jumping into fall marathon training.

What are your plans for 2011?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010: The Year in Review

It's that time of year where us running bloggers take some time to reflect and to write about what we accomplished in 2010 and to look ahead to 2011.Overall, 2010 was a good running year for me. There were by far more highlights than lowlights. So here's how the year went:

  • 2010 started out with bang with a shiny new 5k PR on January 1 at the Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k. I didn't think I had PR in me that day but somehow I PRed and ran a 21:55, my 1st (and still only) sub-22:00 5k. A few weeks later, came another first, my first sub-1:50 half marathon. Elyssa and Amy paced me to a 1:48:46 at the Manhattan Half Marathon.
  • The Manhattan Half kicked off my training cycle for the Pocono Mountain Marathon. I started training with Coach Jeff. We butted heads early on as I was getting used to his style of training. But once we got on the same page, he took me to places I didn't think I could go. I starting using words like "easy," "relaxing," and "pleasant" when talking about long runs at 8:15 - 8:20 pace.
  • Passover presented some problems nutritionally. My usual long run fueling choices are forbidden on Passover so I had to get creative. Mrs. Ansky and my mom concocted a kosher for Passover sports drink. The combination of the sports and dates (in place of gels) fueled me through a 21+ miler in South Florida.
  • After Passover, in late April, I raced the George Wodika Hook Mountain Half Marathon. Despite one doozy of a hill, I set a new PR of 1:45:21. I was peaking at the perfect time, 1 month before the Pocono Mountain Marathon.
  • My "A" race for the year came on May 16, the Pocono Mountain Marathon. I knew I had trained well but the taper got into my head and started to doubt myself. A few days before the race I spoke with Coach Jeff about my race plan. At the end of the chat, he e-mailed me a link for a pace band and told me to set it for 3:39. He was right on the money. I left everything out on the course and ran a 3:39:47, a 13 minute PR.
  • After some rest and recovery, it was back to the roads. I ran the George Washington Bridge Challenge (10k), the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, and the Wall St. Run. All were fun in their own way. The GWB Challenge was my friend's, MB, first road race. He started to run a few months before and felt ready to run a race. I don't always have the nicest things to say about the JPMCC but it's always fun to do something non-work related with co-workers. Despite the heat, I enjoyed running the Wall St. Run. The post-race festivities were great. I met in person a bunch of NYC running tweeters.
  • The dog days of summer were in full force. It was brutally hot and humid in the NYC metro area and, I, for one, was wishing it was winter already. My asthma was out control and it was impossible to put together a decent run. I ran the Van Cortland Park 2 x 2 mile relay with Joe. Even though and Joe and I finished ahead of Elyssa and Amy, they were the ones that left VCP with muffins (thanks for sharing Elyssa).
  • My only goal for the Bronx Half Marathon was to have fun. I finished in 1:56:11 and was able to run in a part of NYC I don't usually visit.
  • Sometime after the Bronx Half I started training with Coach Jeff again. I had taken a few months off from any sort of structured training to find my running mojo again after the Pocono Marathon.
  • The initial plan for the Newport Liberty Half Marathon was to pace a friend to his first sub-2:00 half. About 5 miles in, my friend was struggling and told me to run the rest of the race at my own pace. I did and finished in 1:54:38. As for my friend, he finished in 2:02:35.
  • Training became fun again and I targeted the Terri Roemer Paramus 10k Run as my "A" race for the fall. I finished in 45:22 which was a PR by 4+ minutes. 
  • New York City Marathon weekend is always exciting. I picked up a pair of Newtons at the expo and spectated the race on Sunday. 
  • After a 5k to benefit Lil Ansky's school's scholarship fund, I closed out my 2010 racing season with a 5 mile Turkey Trot. MB, who finished his first 5k just a few months earlier, ran and finished the Turkey Trot. His first 5 mile road race.
Wow! Now that I've written it all down, 2010 was a really good year. I hope that 2011 is just as good if not better. This post has gone on for long enough. I do have goals for 2011 which I'll share with you in an upcoming post.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Spring Marathon

May 29, 2011

I am very excited about this race. I've heard so many great things about this race. This will be my first "destination" race where Mrs. Ansky and I will make a mini-vacation around the race. Twitter friend Michael is also running the race. Since we are both observant Jews, we plan on staying at the same hotel and have Shabbat meals together. Other Twitter friends running as well. I'm looking forward to meeting them. 
The course is not easy. As you can see from the elevation chart, KBVCM is not flat.

I'm told the toughest parts of the course are around miles 8 and 15. The course is supposed to be spectator friendly so Mrs. Ansky will be able to see me a bunch of times on the course without having to move around so much. 
My only concern is with the race in late May is doesn't give me much time to rest and recover if I want to train for a fall marathon. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

Coach already mentioned to me today that he will start incorporating some longer zone 2 runs over the winter so I am really strong going into my training cycle. I'm ready, bring it on!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sign of the Times

For a little while I used to go to a small independently owned running store in a nearby town. The owner and the staff got to know me and I enjoyed going in there to talk about races, shoes, gear, etc...Over time, it became inconvenient for me to go there. They closed before I got home from work and closed early on Saturday before the Sabbath ended. The apparel and other gear were all name brands and very expensive.

Slowly but surely I found myself going to a nearby big box running store to support my running habit.Their prices are good, they are open late during the week and Saturday night, and their selection of stuff is much larger and they have something for every budget. What I missed were the personal touches from the smaller store. No one got to know me, they didn't care about what I races I was running. They were only interested in making a sale.

A few weeks ago I was in the big box store to buy some stuff, and I heard a familiar voice. I looked around and found the source of the voice, it was the owner of the independently owned store. We started to chat and he told me that he has been trying to sell his store. Between the economy, on-line retailers, and big box stores, business was not good and he wanted to cut his losses. I felt bad for him but he said he's happy working in the big box store. His hours are more stable, he has benefits, a regular paycheck, and at the end of the day, he still gets to do what he loves.

Now that I know someone in the store, I'm starting to consider this particular big box store my local running shop. There is someone I can talk to about my running who is not just interested in making a sale. They are also involved in the Bergen County running community. They sponsor many races, and they organize group runs on the weekend albeit mainly on Saturday :(

I try as much as possible to support local, independently owned business. They give back to the community and get to know their customers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Transition Has Started

My Newton Terra Momentus, which I bought at the New York City Marathon expo have finally made their way our of the box and on to my feet.

Sunday was a rainy and windy day in NJ. I've been fighting a cold so rather that run my step-up intervals outside and risk further illness, I decided to run on the treadmill. Now that my 2010 racing season is over, one of my goals for the off-season is to transition into my Newtons. What I have been struggling with, is how to change shoes mid-run. Brandon suggested I carry my other shoes in a small sport bag on my back. I'm not crazy about the idea, I think it will be uncomfortable have the shoes bump into me. Coach Jeff suggested I run 2 miles in the Newtons, stop at home, change into my other shoes, and continue on. I think this could work, I just have leave myself enough time to finish whatever run I have to execute that day.

Back to Sunday....I put on the Newtons and took my other shoes with me to the gym for a 9 mile step-up interval run. I ran the first 2 miles in the Newtons. I have to say, they pretty good. The shoes did not feel awkward and I didn't find myself altering my gait because I was in the Newtons. After 2 miles, I paused the treadmill, changed shoes, and continued the run.

Many Newton runners I've spoken to, said to transition slowly. Coach wants to see a video of me running in the Newtons. We'll then talk about what else I need to do to improve my form and finally make a complete transition for my 2011 spring marathon training cycle (more on this shortly).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chanukah Special: 8 Races I'd like to Run in My Lifetime

I've been a bad blogger. The last race I wrote about was the Jerusalem Half Marathon for the 2nd night. As tonight is the last night of Chanukah, I will include the remainder of the races in one post.

Night 3: Jerusalem Marathon:
The first ever 26.2 mile road race in Jerusalem is scheduled for March 25 2011. Unlike, the Jerusalem Half Marathon Course, the Marathon course does go through the Old City including, Jaffa and Zion Gates, and the Western Wall. I hope that the race coverage is focused on the actual race and not on the Arab - Israeli conflict.  Jerusalem is a hilly city, check out the elevation profile:

Night 4: Great Wall Marathon:
This is looks like an unbelievable race. A portion of the race includes 5,164 steps of the Great Wall of China.

Night 5: Disney Marathon:
What's not fun about running through Cinderella's Castle, other famous parts of all 4 Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, and Disney Hollywood Studios). as an added bonus, marathoners get into the parks for free after their race on Sunday and the day after on Monday. The Goofy Challenge, which includes the half marathon and the full marathon, is also something I'm interested in. However, the half marathon is held on Saturday.

Night 6: World Marathon Majors Not Named Boston or New York:
That would be Chicago, London, and Berlin. New York was my first marathon in 2007 and Boston, well, you'll just have to keep reading. I think it would be nice to say that I've run all 5 World Marathon Majors races.

Night 7: Big Sur International Marathon:
Big Sur is described as a beautiful but brutal race. It offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean but it also includes a 2 mile, 700 foot climb up to Hurricane Point then a 500 foot descent to the half way point on the Bixby Bridge. There's also someone playing a grand piano at the half way point on the Bixby Bridge. Click here for a virtual tour of the course. It looks absolutely stunning.

Night 8: Boston:
Boston is the race that most marathoners train their butts off to qualify for. Boston is the world's oldest marathon and is often considered the "holy grail" of marathoning. My BQ time is 3:15. I think this is out of my league. MY BQ time goes up by 5 minutes to 3:20 when I turn 40 in 2 years. If I never get to run Boston, I will be proud of the races I've run and not feel like less of a marathoner.

So there you have it, 8 races I'd like to run in my lifetime. As I said on the first night, these are not the only races I'd like to run, they're just a sample. Maybe I'll pick 8 more and do another 8 day series for Passover.

What are some of the races you'd like to run in your lifetime?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chanukah Special 8 Races I'd Like to Run in My Lifetime

Jerusalem is the holiest city in my religion. It is mentioned frequently in our daily prayers. At the end of Yom Kippur services and the Passover seder we declare "Next Year in Jerusalem."  It would be cool to run a half marathon in my holy city. The course itself does not go through or near the Old City but it would be special to run the same hills that Maccabees did when fighting the Syrian-Greeks and when Israel Defense Forces defeated its Arab enemies in 1967 to re-unite Jerusalem. According to the race website, there are plans for a full marathon in Jerusalem in 2011.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chanukah Special: 8 Races I'd Like to Run in My Lifetime

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. Which means it's time for the 2nd annual 8 day Chanukah special on this blog. Last year, I wrote about 8 things I loved about running.

This year I am going to write about 8 races I'd like to run in my lifetime. All of these will be road races, no trails, relays, or ultras. Some of these will be in exotic locales and some might be a little closer to home.. Believe me, I have many more on my list but Chanukah is only 8 days long. I'm going to save my #1 race for the last day. The other 7 will be in no particular order.

What's so special about the Brooklyn Half? In it's current form, it is the only race that is preventing me from being able to complete the New York Road Runners Half Marathon Series. The Half Marathon series consists of a half marathon in each borough of New York City. The Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens halves are all held on Sundays. The Brooklyn half is the only race in the series that is on a Saturday. You all know by now that I don't run on Saturday. The course starts in Prospect Park and ends on the boardwalk in Coney Island. It would be really cool if, for one year, NYRR held this race on Sunday so me and my fellow Observant runners can participate and have a chance to complete the series.

Totals for November 2010

Total number of Runs: 15
Total Miles: 86.40
Total Time: 12:20:08

Average Distance: 5.76 miles
Average Time: 49:20
Average Pace: 8:33

November was chock full of fun:
The plan for December is go into "maintenance" mode and spend more time focusing on form and transitioning to my Newtons. Because New Year's Day fall on Saturday, I will not be able to run the Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k. My next race will probably be the Manhattan Half Marathon at the end of January.

What are your plans for the off-season? Do you have any winter races planned?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Race Report: Rockland Road Runners 5 mile Turkey Trot

Could not have asked for a better start to Thanksgiving. The weather was great. Overcast and temps in the high 30s. The Rockland Road Runners 5 mile Turkey Trot is a new race for me. In 2008 and 2009 I ran the Dick Meighan Memorial Run in Upper Saddle River, NJ. My friend MB is new to running who has been extending his distance after several successful 5ks.On the way up to the race I told MB that I run with him and get him across the finish line of his first 5 mile road race. He said I should run my own race and try for a new 5 mile PR (current 5 mile PR is 36:55). I told him that Turkey Trots are about having fun and that there will be other opportunities to go after a new PR. Today was not that day. We came through the first mile in 9:34. I paid attention to MB's breathing to get a sense of how he was feeling. So far so good. Our mile 2 split was 8:50, much quicker than expected because of the long downhill. Between mile 2 and 3 I could sense that MB was having some problems, his breathing became more labored and he started to lag behind me even though I was running at a 9+ minute pace. Just passed mile 3, I turned around and MB was pretty far behind me. He told me to go and finish at my pace. I took off and hammered the last 2 miles, 7:40, 7:05. Once I finished I made my way back to the final straightaway and waited for MB. I cheered him on as he ran towards the finish and congratulated him after he crossed. He said he felt good but the last mile was tough. we grabbed some post race refreshments and then headed home.

This race left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling for the rest of the day. It was great to see a close friend who is new to running finish his first race at a longer distance. Congrats MB and keep it up!

Thank you to the Rockland Road Runners, the volunteers, police and EMS for a great race experience. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Several co-workers of mine have asked me this week if I celebrate Thanksgiving. I was surprised by the question. I've always considered Thanksgiving an American holiday. I'm sure in it's original form Thanksgiving has more Christian themes but over the years it's become more of an American holiday. Giving thanks is not an unusual concept in Judaism. We give thanks every day in our prayers, we give thanks after we eat a meal, and we give thanks during all Jewish holidays. Eating a festive meal is also not uncommon, being able to watch football at the same time is. Joking aside, here are some of things I am thankful for:

  • Living in the United States: I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to practice my religion openly without fear of persecution. I thankful that I can express my opinions in the spoken word as well as in writing on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter. 
  • My Family: I am thankful for a loving wife and daughter. They are my biggest fans and support me unconditionally.  They may not understand why I would want to go out and run 20 miles on a brutally cold Sunday morning in February but they always ask "how was your run?" when I get home.
  • Friends: I value all of my friendships. My friends outside of running remind me every day that running is only one part of life. To my running friends, thank you for your support, encouragement, and overall positive energy. To those that I've been fortunate to meet in person and run with, thank you for the company. To those that I have not yet met, I hope that our paths cross soon.
  • My Coaches, Jeff and Diane: Thank you for helping me unleash my potential. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the running community via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and your live show. Thank you for coaching athletes of all abilities.
  • Race Organizers, Volunteers, and Public Safety Officials: Thank you for putting together great races that I look forward to racing year after year. Thank you for braving the same conditions I do to make sure I have a great race experience. It's not easy standing out there for hours on end in the extreme heat, cold, rain, or snow to point us in the right direction, to hand out cups of water, to put a finishers medal around around necks, to keep us safe. This is a good place to mention that if you are running a Turkey Trot sometime over Thanksgiving weekend, please thank the volunteers for taking the time out of their holiday to make sure we have an enjoyable experience. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Balancing Running with Work, Family, and Observance

Last Sunday, I was a guest on the Geeks in Running Shoes podcast. On episode 17, Jason was talking about how difficult it was getting his miles while working full time, going to school, and having a family. While co-host Ray does not yet have a family, he is in school full time and often works long into the night studying and completing assignments.

Jason and Ray wanted to pick my brain and find out how I balance my running with work, family, and my Jewish Observance. Here are some of the tips I shared on the show.

1) Find that part of the day where you can run consistently: for me it's early in the morning before work. On most nights I am in bed at 10:00 and up at 5:00. I am usually out the door by 5:30. During the week, this affords me a solid hour to run before I need to be back in the house to give Lil Ansky breakfast and for me to shower, get dressed, and go to work. On the weekend I might start a little later but always before Lil Ansky wakes up. For those of you with kids, you how hard it can be to go out for a run once the kids wake up.

Early morning works for me, it may not work for everyone. For some of you, the evenings might be better. For others lunch time might work. The point  is find a time during the day and stick with it.

2) Run to work or school: If you can, leave a bag of clean clothes, towel, toiletries at work or school the day before and run to work the next day. You'll find it invigorating and the endorphins are better than a cup coffee. Lastly, you can show off at work or school by saying that you ran there that morning. 

3) For most of us, running is just a hobby: Unless you are getting paid to run or to train someone, running is something we enjoy doing, but it's not the most important in our lives. On the show, I told Jason and Ray that family and religious obligations ALWAYS come before running. I've blogged before about my observance of the Sabbath on Saturday and my observance of Jewish holidays. Those are days for me to go to synagogue, to reflect, and to spend time with family and friends. Running is off limits on those days.

4) Bring your family to a race: most local races have runs of various distances for the the kids. This is a great way to expose your kids to your hobby and get some miles in. Last Sunday there was a 5k to benefit Lil Ansky's school. I offered to run the 1 mile with her but she wanted to run it solo. I made sure to be there at the final stretch to cheer her on. Once she finished, she mentioned she wanted to do another one. This time of year is a great time to get the family involved. Many turkey trots are family friendly. It's a great time to put the competitive juices aside and have fun.

We spoke about other topics as well. If you haven't listened to the show you can download it here or from iTunes.

What works for you that allows you to balance running with work, family, and other obligations?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report: Westfield Garden State Plaza 5k

Yesterday was the 6th annual Westfield Garden State Plaza 5k to benefit the scholarship fund at Lil Ansky's school. The course hasn't changed, Almost 2 laps of the mall parking lot. I know not very exciting. I didn't think I was in shape for a PR so the goal was to race well and finish strong. I made the same mistake I make in most 5k I've raced. I went out too fast and I faded at the end. I finished in 22:26, about 30 seconds slower than my 5k PR.I think it's safe to say that the 5k is now my nemesis race distance. I cannot race a 5k well. Plain and simple, it's too fast and furious for me. I cannot get my legs turned over quickly enough to race it well. I'm a distance guy. I need to time to settle into my race pace. There's no time to do that in a 5k. 

After the 5k, there was a 1 mile run. I offered to run with Lil Ansky but she wanted to run it solo. She finished in 10:58. I am so proud of her. In car ride home she mentioned that next year she wanted to run the 5k. Many local races have races for the kids too. It's a great way to get kids into running. Once spring arrives, I will definitely be on the lookout for some more races for Lil Ansky to do. I think there's a future runner in the family.

Question: What is your least favorite race distance?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New York City Marathon: The View From 86th & 1st

The New York City Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart. For those of you that don't know, the 2007 New York City Marathon was my first marathon. Immediately after finishing my first 26.2, I knew I had become addicted.I knew that I would want to run another marathon (I've run 3 marathons since NYCM 2007). For quite a while, I was not the biggest fan of New York City. It was a place I come to work and couldn't wait to go home to New Jersey. September 11, 2001 changed that. We all know what happened that day. The way the City came together that day and in the aftermath of the worst acts of terror on American soil made an everlasting impression on me. I appreciate the City in ways that I didn't think possible The 2007 New York City Marathon solidified that feeling. The volunteers, the crowds, and my fellow runners reminded me why NYC is the greatest city in the world. 

This past Sunday was no different. I had trouble sleeping. I woke up a number times throughout the night afraid that I was going to miss my alarm. My body thought it had to run a marathon that morning when in reality all it had to run was 1:15 in HR zone 2 with 3 minute surges every 20 minutes. I had some extra pep in my stride. I ran 8.87 in 1:15:47 for an 8:33 average pace. One of the best runs I've had in a while.

I got into the City around 10:00, about an hour after the elite women started their race. 1st Avenue was quiet and peaceful and few spectators lined the sidewalks. A few minutes later the lead wheelchair racers are flying down 1st Avenue. The few spectators that were there cheered them on and screamed words of encouragement. I saw youngish gentleman with 2 prosthetic legs fall. With the help of guides, he picked himself up, brushed himself off and continued his 26.2 mile tour of New York City. Everyone cheered and clapped and urged him to keep going.  Disabled athletes are inspiring. They do not let their disability get in the way of doing what they love.

After the wheelchair racers came through, a few people around me asked me if the elite women came through yet. "Not yet, but soon" I replied. Then we saw it, the police escort, the lead car, and the lead pack. I spotted Shalane Flanagan comfortably tucked in the pack. I would later find out that she would take 2nd in her debut marathon. Last year's winner, Derartu Tulu was not in the pack. She ran by a few minutes after the leaders. It was not her day.

Then it was time to wait again. More spectators filled 1st Avenue. They were anticipating the elite men. They were expecting to see world record holder Halie Gebrselassie and  last year's New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi at the front of the pack going stride for stride. I was shocked when I didn't Geb or Meb in the lead pack. I saw Meb and Ritz running together about 30 - 40 seconds behind the leaders but where was Geb? I learned from an iPad holding spectator next to me that he dropped out of the race at mile 16, which is just before entering Manhattan from Queens. Meb would finish 6th and Ritz 8th.

Then it got fun. First the local elites started trickling down 1st Avenue. I saw Brad and Kate, coaches from Wednesday night speed at Paragon Sports. The first of my friends that I saw was Dr. Lam. New York was his victory lap and homecoming after breaking 3:00 in Chicago a few weeks ago. He stopped to give me a high five and ran on. I had so many friends running the race that I knew I wasn't going to see all of them. Turns out I didn't see any of them after Lam. Not Elyssa, not Amy, Carlos, Joey, Erika, Sharon, Maria. Where was everyone? I realized that, because of the wave start, not everyone started at 10:00. I had to leave at 12:30 which meant they probably haven't hit Manhattan yet. Before I left, I managed to spot Bobby Flay. The only thing that differentiated him from the other 45,000 runners was the word "Bobby" on his bib instead of a number. Bobby would finish in 4:01:XX.

Even though I didn't see as many friends as I would have liked, it was still an amazing day. I had so much fun watching from the side. Spectating at any marathon is fun. If you haven't watched a marathon from the side, I highly suggest you do.

Congratulations to all of the finishers!

Did you think I wouldn't take any pictures?
I was standing next to a group supporting runners from Austria

The calm before the storm 1st Ave. at 10:00 am
Wheelchair Racers

Here's the aforementioned disabled runner who would fall, get up, and keep going
Lead women's race car. Just north of mile 18

Elite Women
Lead Car for the Elite Men. I was a few blocks south of mile 18
Meb and Ritz
2004 New York Marathon winner Hendrik Ramaala
Local Elites
Runners in Central Park. 2 miles to go

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Look What I Picked Up at the NYC Marathon Expo

A pair of size 12 of Newton Terra Momentus. Last Thursday I went to the New York City Marathon Expo at the Javits Center with 2 goals: 1) to catch up with some friends and 2) to try on some Newtons and hopefully make a purchase. I'm happy to report that I accomplished both goals. An impromptu Tweetup was arranged at the Newton booth for 6:00 p.m. It was great to see Elyssa, Daniel, Carlos, Lam, Brandon (who was working the Newton booth), Neil, and TK.

I tried on both the Sir Isaac and the Momentus and decided on the later. Brandon explained that both the Isaccs and the Momentus were build on the same chassis. The only difference is that since the Momentus is a trail shoe, it is sturdier and has a closed upper which will keep my feet warmer and drier. I was a bit skeptical buying a trail shoe but Brandon also explained that they run great on the road and on trails. I did notice the difference in weight but I liked the sturdiness of the Momentus over the lighter Sir Isaacs.

I plan on transitioning to the Newtons over the winter so I can be fully transitioned by the time I need to start training for my spring marathon. There will definitely be more written about once I start the transition. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kansas City Part II

On my second day in Kansas City, Coach Jeff assigned me an "embarrassingly slow" run. Coach always says you need to teach the body to run slow before you can fast. Let me tell you something, running "embarrassingly slow" is not easy. These are the types of runs to work on form. It also afforded me the chance explore more of KC without having to worry about heart rate or pace.

My conference started at 8:15 so I didn't feel comfortable running in the dark in an unfamiliar city. After the conference, while most of my colleagues were rushing to the bars for happy hour, I rushed back to the hotel and changed into my running gear. Ryan couldn't meet up with me so I went to the 2nd best source of finding the safe and easy running routes, the hotel concierge. The Westin Crown Plaza was well prepared for my request. I didn't have to ask, the conceirge saw me dressed for a run and handed me this:

That's right, they handed me a handy dandy turn sheet with a 3 or 5 mile route. He then said, that I could also run through the Power and Light District and down to the banks of the Missouri River. It was an easy route, basically and out and back on Grand. The Power and Light District has a lot of nice sports bars and restaurants as well as the Sprint Center, which at one time was rumored to be the new home of the New York Islanders. Once past the Power and Light District, the run down to the rive was through a mainly industrial district with lots of warehouses. Once I reached the river, I turned around and ran back the same way towards my hotel. 

I still had about 20 minutes left on my run so I decided to run the paths around the National World War One Memorial.The Memorial itself sits up on a big hill and I saw several runners doing hill repeats up there. It was a beautiful setting to finish up the run. The sun was setting, the Memorial was lit up, and the view of KC was amazing from the top of the hill. 

This is what I love about running, you can do it just about anywhere. All you need are some shoes, a shirt and shorts/tights and you're set. It's a great way to explore a new city. Business travel is not a regular part of my job if I need to travel again, I will not hesitate to bring my running gear and use Twitter to reach out to my fellow runners.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Totals For October 2010

Total Number of Runs: 13
Total Miles: 98.42
Total Time: 14:56:48

Average Distance: 7.57
Average Time: 1:08:59
Average Pace per Mile: 9:06

October featured my "A" race for the fall, the Paramus 10k. As I wrote in my race report, it's a bit unusual for an "A" race to be something other than a marathon or half marathon. I knocked my 10k out of the park setting a new PR of 45:22. The other highlight was meeting up with Ryan while I was in Kansas City, Missouri for work last week. If you find yourself in a new city, I whole heatedly recommend using social media to reaching out to fellow runners. What better way to explore a new city than with someone that lives there. 

Coming up in November: a 5k to benefit my daughter's school scholarship fund and a 5 mile turkey trot on Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kansas City

Last week I was in Kansas City, Missouri for a 2 1/2 day conference. In addition to my business casual attire, I packed my running gear and was excited to explore a new city. Problem was, I had no idea where to run or where the "sketchy" neighborhoods were. The only thing I knew about KC was that is bordered Kansas. Since I have no idea when then next time I'll find my in KC, I got this idea into my head that it would be fun to run across the state line from Missouri to Kansas. The questioned remained, how do I do it?

This is where the power of Twitter came into play. Ryan lives in KC so I sent him a Tweet asking if he wanted to meet up and show me around. He gladly obliged and we decided that Tuesday morning would be the best time to meet up. Ryan was nice enough to pick me up at my hotel and we drove to the start of a popular KC running route. We started off by running through the Plaza district. The shops and cafes in this part of KC had a very Spanish look to them Ryan mentioned that The Plaza was modeled after Seville, Spain. I immediately noticed that we had the entire sidewalk to ourselves. Ryan mentioned two things 1) most people in KC drive everywhere and 2) The Plaza will be packed later since it is mostly a shopping district. I commented, that there are very neighborhoods in NYC where you can run on the sidewalk unimpeded at 7:00 a.m.

From there we picked up the Trolley Track Trail. Ryan mentioned that this is where most of the KC running community goes to get their miles in. I expected to see lots of runners getting their miles in before work. For the most part, Ryan and I had the trail to ourselves. Every so often we would see a fellow runner but for the most part it was pretty empty. Ryan mentioned that the trail is usually pretty crowded in the evening. During the run we chatted about running, race plans for 2011 (Ryan's are much more ambitious than mine), the New York City Marathon, Coach Jeff (we both train with him), and who knows what else.

After an out and back on the Trolley Trail, we hit some of KC's hills. Anyone who thought that KC was flat because it's in the Midwest and surrounded by prairies, is sorely mistaken. There are some serious hills in KC. After we crested the final hill and ran down the other side, we stopped and Ryan said, "here we are." "Where?" I asked. "Kansas" he replied. Really???? I was expecting one of those signs you see on the Interstate that said "Welcome to Kansas." No such luck, all I saw was this:
I was slightly disappointed that there was no sign. Ryan mentioned that since people travel between Kansas and Missouri almost every day, it's not a big deal. I travel to New York every day and there's a sign on the George Washington Bridge that says "Welcome to New York." Just today, Mrs. Ansky and I drove to Rockland County, NY and there was sign. No sign between Missouri and Kansas? WTF? At least I have this:

Anyway...we finished up our run and Ryan drove me back to my hotel. I thanked him for showing me around and we parted ways. Should you find yourself in a new city, I highly recommend trying to meet up with someone you may only know virtually. It's a fun experience and what better way to find the good running sport than from someone who lives there?

Question: How do you learn about the good running spots in a new city?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I've Made a Decision

A few posts back, I mentioned the possibility of running the ING Miami Marathon. At the time there was a possibility that we might be in South Florida for a family vacation. Well, after much "should we" "shouldn't we" with Mrs. Ansky, we decided that this is not the best year for me to run Miami. We've been pushing off some home improvement projects and we need to use the money to fix a few things around the house rather than fun in the sun. There are also some other expenses coming down the pike and we don't want to overextend ourselves. Going to Florida would involve 3 plane tickets, a rental car, food, activities to entertain Lil Ansky, and a hotel room in Miami. 

Am I bummed? Of course, but I am OK with it. In the meantime, I'll close out my 2010 racing season with a 5k on Nov. 14 to benefit my daughter's school's scholarship fund and a 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. After that I will go into maintenance mode until it's time to start training for a spring marathon. I have a few races in mind, but there is no rush sign up. I'll also take time over the winter to improve my running form and transition to Newtons.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Race Report: 32nd Annual Terri Roemer Paramus Run

It's been about 18 months since I last raced a 10k. My current 10k PR was 49:47 which I set in May 2008 at the Ridgewood Run. In fact, this blog didn't exist at the time. My goal for the 2010 Paramus 10k was simple, a shiny new PR.

I'll admit it's hard to consider a 10k an "A" race when all of my friends have run will be running fall marathons. With all of the Jewish holidays and other social obligations, I simply did not have time to devote to the marathon. So I targeted today's 10k as the race I was going to train hard for.

The first mile took us out of the Paramus Park parking lot and on to the residential streets of Paramus. I wanted to run the race by feel and pay more attention to my heart rate than to the mile clocks on the course. The first challenging part of the course came between miles 2 and 3. There was hill followed by short flat followed by another small hill. My pace slowed slightly but I was able to recover well. Right around mile 5 there was another small hill which again slowed me slight but I was able to recover. From there it was downhill to flat to the finish. Once I made the final turn onto From road I could see the finish line in the distance. I knew I had a new PR well in hand the only question is by how much. I tried to find my finishing kick but I just couldn't muster the strength to move my legs faster. So I held my pace and crossed the line in 45:22, which translates to a 7:18 average pace and a shiny new 10k PR by about 4:30.

I don't know about you, but I find the 5k and the 10k very difficult distances to race. I either go out too fast and bonk at the end or go out to slow and find myself trying to make up time later in the race. I find it hard to hit settle into a pace that's fast enough to PR without feeling like my heart is going to jump out my chest. I think I ran a very good race today. I might have gone out a little too fast but I adjusted quickly to a pace that I could maintain for the remainder of the distance.

Next up: Nov. 14 - a 5k to benefit my daughter's school's scholarship fund
              Nov 25: 5 mile Turkey Trot in Congers NY

I don't have any updates about Miami. Mrs. Ansky and I are still trying to hash out some details. I need to decide to soon so I can start training in earnest. Stay tuned......

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Getting an Itch.....

and it's getting harder and harder not to scratch. That itch is to run another marathon. Up until very recently I was not ready to start training for another 26.2 journey. I was enjoying running for the sake of running and not having to worry about training, workouts, pacing, or racing. Then the weather got cooler, I started training in earnest with Coach Jeff, and many of my friends are tuning-up for their fall marathons. Then today, I spent a good deal of the morning watching the live stream of the Chicago Marathon (thanks and tracking my friends as they made their way around The Windy City. I started to get excited. With Marine Corps and New York City only weeks away and Philadelphia soon after that, that excitement is here to stay.

My original plan was to run marathon #5 in the spring of 2011. Vermont and Providence were on my short list. But......that may change. Nothing is definite yet but there's a chance the Anskys will be in South Florida for a family vacation at the end of January. There are still several details to hash out but if the vacation materializes, my next marathon will be the
Like I said, it's not definite yet. I hope to know more in the next few weeks. Stay tuned......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Totals for September 2010

Total Number of Runs: 11
Total Miles: 90.46
Total Time: 13:21:44

Average Distance per Run: 8.22
Average Time: 1:12:53
Average Pace: 8:51/mile

The Jewish holiday "season" dominated September. Although it's a hectic time of year, I enjoyed quality time with family and good friends with lots of good food  and single malt scotch. Needless to say, running took a back seat and I was pleased with whatever miles I was able to get in. Now that my holidays are over, I look forward to restoring a sense of normalcy (is there really such thing.). That means regular work weeks, getting back to a normal diet, Lil Ansky having more than 10 school days in a month, and running a least 4 days per week. Next up for me is the Terri Roemer Paramus Run (I'm running the 10k) on October 17.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Race Report: Newport Liberty Half Marathon

When I signed up for the Newport Liberty Half Marathon in Jersey City, NJ the goal was to pace a friend to his first sub-2:00 half marathon. His training was progressing well throughout the summer and into September and I thought he should be able to accomplish his goal. A few days ago he texted me that he just finished a 7.2 mile run at an 8:30ish average pace. I thought to myself "he has this in the bag!"

Heading to the race, my friend was not feeling confident. The first 2 days of Sukkot followed by Shabbat just ended. This means 2 things 1) no running for 3 days and 2) taking part in many festive meals with large amounts of food usually served with wine or scotch. I told him to trust the work he's put in and that I would run all 13.1 miles with him to get him across in under 2 hours.

Everything was going well for the first 4 miles. We were on a consistent 9:05 pace and everyone was feeling fine. At mile 5, my friend mentioned that he wasn't sure if he had it today and that I should go ahead and we'd catch up at the finish line. I felt bad so I asked him one more time if he was sure I should go ahead before I took off. He told me to go, so I did. After pacing at a 9:05 pace for 5 miles, I knew I couldn't PR so I took off at a comfortably hard pace. Liberty State Park offered some amazing views of The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. It was not hard not to look around and enjoy them. We exited the park between miles 10 and 11and I tried to pick up the pace even more since we were back on wider streets. The wind started to pick up when we made the turn towards the waterfront. Rather than fighting it, I maintained my effort until I made the final turn towards the finish line. I crossed the line 1:54:38 (8:45ish avg. pace). I'm happy with the effort considering I spent 5 miles pacing at 9:05.

As for my friend, he finished in 2:02:35. He came close to accomplishing his goal. I think with a little more training and attention to nutrition and hydration he'll finally be able to run his sub-2:00 half.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old Race Bibs Make Great Sukkah Decorations

Four days after Yom Kippur is the festival of Sukkot. One of the primary requirements of the 8 day festival is to eat your meals in a Sukkah. The Torah says:

"You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt." (Leviticus 23:42-43).

We eat in a temporary structure so that we remember how our ancestors lived while traveling through the desert after their exodus from Egpyt. Some Torah commentators give another reason for eating outside. They say that we leave the comfort of our homes to remind us that ultimately G-D is our protector. Just like He protected the Israelites in the desert, so too He protects us in modern times. of the fun parts of preparing for the holiday is to decorate the sukkah. Usually, our sukkah is decorated with plastic fruit, wind chimes, and some projects that Lil Ansky made when she was younger. This year, I added a more personal touch to the sukkah by hanging some old race bibs.

Chag Sameach!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur 5771

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, embarrass, or upset you. I will try to do better in 5771. May you be inscribed for a year of health, peace, and prosperity. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Fruit Fail

One of the many customs of Rosh Hashana is to eat a "new fruit," meaning a fruit that has recently come into season that we have not had the opportunity to eat yet. For many years my parents would buy figs or dates. Other new fruits included star fruit, guava, papaya, persimmon, and pomegranate. So after we made kiddush (the traditional blessing over wine) and hamotzei (the traditional blessing over bread), my mom brought out the new fruits for 5771. We usually play a game and try and identify them. No one in the family, not even my dad who is a biology teacher succeeded. The first one looked like this:
Can you guess what it is? Give up? It's a Mamey, also known as a memey sapota. It is grown primarily in Mexico and other Central American countries. When ripe it's taste most resembles a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries. Unfortunately for us, this mamey was not ripe. It was impossible to peel and slice. When I bit into it, it was chalky and tasted like bathroom spray.

The second fruit looked like this:
Any idea what this one is? It's a quince. A quince is a relative of the apple and pear and mainly found in Asia and the Mediterranean. Unbeknownst to us, a quince is not eaten raw because of it high tannin content. It's best used in jams, jellies, and preserves.

I give the Paramus Fairway Market  for showcasing exotic fruits that can be used as new fruits for Rosh Hashana. However, I also blame them for this year's new fruit fail. If you're going to showcase exotic fruits that most of have never seen, it would have been nice to include some signage about how to pick a ripe mamey or let us know that the quince should not be eaten raw.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shana Tova! aka Am I Ready For Rosh Hashana?

 That's the question Michelle asked me today. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Well, the meatballs are made. Mentally and spiritually I'm definitely not ready."

Michelle: "How do you get ready mentally and spiritually?"

Me: "Honestly, I'm still figuring it out myself."

See, the Jewish High Holy Days begin tomorrow night. That's right Rosh Hashana begins tomorrow night at sundown. The High Holy Days are thought of as a time for introspection, to renew one's relationship with the Creator, and to think of ways to improve in the coming year (5771). To help get us in the "mood" we start saying Selichot prayers at least 4 days before Rosh Hashana to start asking forgiveness for our transgressions in 5770. During the 2 days of Rosh Hashana (Thursday and Friday), I will spend more time than usual in synagogue asking G-d to forgive us and to pray for a successful, healthy and peaceful new year.

Not all Jews observe the holiday like do. Some simply don't work and spend time with their family and/or friends and talk about all of the happy, and, not so happy moments of 5770. For those that must work or can't make it to services, JewsOnline is streaming all important High Holiday services on it's website. 

So to answer your question Michelle, no, I'm not ready! You would think that after so many years of observing the holiday, I would know exactly what to do to prepare. But I don't. The day to day aspects my life take over and BOOM! next thing I know it's Rosh Hashana. I don't have much time now. All I can do is concentrate on my prayers, hope to be inspired by the Rabbi's sermon, be kind to others, enjoy quality time with my family, and hope that a favorable fate is sealed for me on Yom Kippur.

May 5771 be a year of peace, health, happiness, and prosperity!
Shana Tova U'Metukah! (that's Hebrew for "have a happy and sweet new year.")

Happy Belated Blogiversay

I'm a bad blogger! For the 2nd year in a row, I missed my blogiversary. RunAnskyRun turned 2 on September 5.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

The theme of Labor Day weekend 2010 was family time.

I've been nudging my dad and brother to come with me to a Yankee game for a while.Well our schedules finally aligned and we were able to go to Sunday's game against Toronto. Also joining us were Lil Ansky and my niece. My dad really enjoyed spending time with his two sons and two granddaughters. We brought food from home to avoid eating too much junk but it's hard to avoid it all together. We all shared a bag of popcorn, my brother and I had a beer each (at $9.00 per beer it's hard on the wallet to have more than 1). Later in the game, Lil Ansky and my niece shared a helmet cup ice cream. Despite the Yankees loss we all had a good time.

Mrs. Ansky had to work, so I had Lil Ansky all to myself. I decided to run long today. My assigned run was 2:15 in zone 2 with 3 minute surges every 20 minutes. The run was going really well until my right hammy tightened up about 1:45 into the run. I ran a few more minutes so I'd be closer to home and stopped at 1:51. I don't think it's anything serious but I spent some time tonight on the foam roller and stretching it out.

Lil Ansky and I had a lazy morning at home. I had some "grown up" stuff to do, pay some bills, take care of some synagogue business, etc...Finally after lunch, we decided to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather and play some mini-golf. We went to a "Joizy" themed course in Paramus and a blast. Here are some of our favorite holes.

Lady Liberty
 George Washington Bridge
Jersey Shore, no Snooki or Situation here. The next hole was the "Boardwalk" hole complete with sand and amusement games.
"E-Zpass" heading back on the Garden State Parkway to North Jersey from the shore
Abbot and Costello hole, both were born in NJ. Abbot in Asbury Park and Costello in Patterson

Because it was such a nice day, the staff allowed us to play a second time for free. Today would not have been complete without a visit to the local ice cream truck. It's nice that they pointed out which of the products were kosher.They know their customers.

Fortunately for me, this one was.

I hope everyone enjoyed the unofficial end of summer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Totals for August 2010

Total Number of Runs: 19
Total Distance: 109.62 miles
Total Time: 15:20:26

Average Distance: 5.77 miles
Average Time: 50:01
Average Pace: 8:40/mi

August was a weird month. I finally got my asthma under control but I also got sick and it took me at least 10 days to fully recover. I ran, not raced the Bronx Half Marathon and had fun doing it. September will be challenging because of my holiday "season." Not including Shabbat, there are 6 other days where I won't run. I am running the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on September 26. I am not too worried about missing additional days since I am racing this for a PR. Rather I'll be pacing a friend to what should be his first sub-2:00 half marathon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fall Plans

Many of you have been asking me what fall race I'm training for. Well, I finally figured that out myself. I am not running a fall marathon this year. The Jewish holiday "season" starts very soon after Labor Day and runs (no pun intended) through the first weekend of October. Similar to the Sabbath there are days during that time where I do not run. Instead I will be spending a lot of time in synagogue reflecting on the past year (5770) and praying for a successful, happy, and healthy 5771. Once my holidays are over we have several Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations to attend. Some of these start with services in synagogue in Sunday morning followed by a reception. To make a long story short, I simply do not have time this fall to devote to the marathon.

So what are my plans?
  • On September 26 I will be running the Newport Liberty Half Marathon in Jersey City, NJ. I will not be running this race for myself. Rather I will be pacing a friend to what will be his first sub-2:00 half marathon.
  • A few weeks later on October 17, I will be running the Terri Roemer Paramus Run. I'll  be running the 10k. It's been a while since I raced a 10k and I'm hoping for a new 10K PR. There are also kids races so I hope to bring Lil Ansky with me and run with her after my 10k.
  • November 14 is the annual 5k to benefit the scholarship program at my daughter's school. I have to be at this race. The 5k is my least favorite distance but I have to participate.
  • I'll probably close out my 2010 racing season with a Turkey Trot. The past 2 years I've run the Dick Meighan Memorial 5k in Upper Saddle River, NJ. Like I just said, I'm not the biggest fan of the 5k, so I'm also considering the Rockland Road Runners Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile Turkey Trot.
I'm looking forward to all of these races. I can definitely train well for them and enjoy my holidays. I've already started to give some thought to my spring 2011 marathon which I'll share in a future post.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Race Report: Bronx Half Marathon

When I wrote my last post, I still wasn't sure if I'd be running the half today. I was still feeling sluggish and very congested. I woke up Saturday morning feeling a heck of a lot better. Mrs. Ansky noticed too and asked if I was thinking about running. The scales were definitely tipping more in favor of running but I still wasn't sure if my body could handle it. Then I remembered something that Diane tweeted at me Friday. She said running does not always have to be about training and racing and that it's OK to run just for fun without the pressure of training for a goal race. So by the time Shabbat ended, I decided that I would run, not race the Bronx Half Marathon. I would go up there with 2 goals 1) to finish and 2) to have fun.

What I enjoyed most about this race was being able to run through a neighborhood I wouldn't necessarily frequent. The course was strange in the sense that it was a series of out and backs on Mosholu Parkway and Grand Concourse. The miles on the Grand Concourse almost ate me up. I think at one point I even said to myself "this isn't fun anymore." I was feeling fine, nothing hurt, I hadn't coughed up a lung, it was just something about the Grand Concourse rubbed me the wrong way. At mile 11, I saw Erika and we ran the last 2 miles together. I crossed the line in 1:56:11 (8:56/mile) and I felt great. I ran for the sake of running. I had no time goals, no training plan to follow, I was simply there to run 13.1 miles in the Bronx on in incredibly beautiful summer morning.

 Mission Accomplished!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Update

It's been a rough week since my trip to Six Flag Great Adventure last Wednesday. The next morning I woke and I felt totally zonked. I was hoping to run but I could not get out of bed. As I went through the day, I was really sluggish. I thought I had some heat exhaustion from spending so much outside in the sun the day before. No big deal, I took Thursday as an extra rest day and laid out my clothes for a Friday morning run.

Friday morning arrived and again I woke up feeling zonked and sluggish. I didn't run and hoped that I restful Shabbat would lift me up for a Sunday morning long run. I woke up Shabbat (Saturday) morning and I felt like I got hit by a bus. Sinus congestion, aches, sweats, chills, fever, I had it all. Same thing on Sunday. Monday I felt a little better was I was still very congested and somewhat feverish. Of course by the time I got to the doc later that day my fever had broken. He suggested I introduce myself to the Neti Pot (more on this in a separate post) to flush out my sinuses.

I did run Wednesday and Thursday and felt OK. Not great, but I didn't cough up any lungs. Right now I'm debating if I should run the Bronx Half on Sunday. This virus took a lot out me and my last long run was 2 weeks. Do I think I can finish, yes, will I PR, definitely, not.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Observations From Six Flags Great Adventure

This past Wednesday we spent the day at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. I'm not much of a thrill seeker but, after some arm twisting from Mrs. and Lil Ansky, I did try a new ride, Skull Mountain. Turns out it wasn't that bad. Think the Runaway Mine Train or Thunder Mountain but in the dark. No big drops, just lots of rapid twists and turns.

Spending a lot of time in line or walking around is the perfect opportunity to people watch. Here is a snippet of what I saw:
  • Lots of overweight parents with overweight children. I kid you not, we witnessed a ride operator take someone off the ride because the safety bar would not close. Needless to say, this individual was not happy and starting yelling and screaming at the ride operator and threatening a law suit. Sorry buddy, rules are rules. If you are so overweight that the safety bar can't close or you can't fit into the ride, then you can't be on it.
  • It is easier to eat unhealthy than healthy. Almost all amusement parks make it easy to make poor eating choices. Funnel cakes, nachos, big pretzels, pizza, burgers, candy, OH MY! Wait....I forgot about the really big sodas with $0.99 refills. You buy the big cup at the beginning of the day and you can refill it for only $0.99! I think there was one out of the way place where you could buy a salad.
          Mrs. Ansky and I are not the type of parents to 100% not indulge nor do we not allow Lil Ansky to have a treat. She enjoyed her Dippin Dots ice cream and a lemonade but she knows better not to ask for the big soda. Since we are kosher, we cannot eat most of the food in the park. Last year, there was a kosher food provide, but for whatever reason there was none this year. Usually we make PB&J but we decided to switch things up and make some Dr. Praeger's Fish Fillets I also had some leftover salmon croquettes that Lil Ansky ate. We also had plenty of fresh fruit, almonds, and granola bars. I also prepared a homemade pizza with lots of fresh veggies for the trip home.

  • The Mrs. and I were also surprised by the way kids were dressed. We saw plenty of normally dressed parents and their children (not 16-18 year olds, I'm talking between ages 10 -14) were dressed in, shall we say, in less than flattering clothes. Maybe I'm old fashioned or too conservative for current society but there is no way I would ever let Lil Ansky leave the house in some of the outfits on display on Wednesday.

Despite the heat, we had a great day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Feeling Better

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you'll know that July was a struggle for me. It was on of the warmest Julys in NYC Tri-State history. My asthma has been out of control making any type of run difficult and deflating. Thanks to Amy, I saw an asthma specialist who is also a runner and triathlete. My primary care doc is specialized in pulmonary medicine. While he is a very good doctor, he's not athlete and I found it difficult to talk to him about my running. Anyway....I had a great visit with this new doc. He understood my struggles and which types of workouts trigger my asthma more than others. After 2 breathing tests and talking about my current medications, The doc decided that my current daily maintenance medications (Advair HFA and Singulair) did not need adjusting. He put me on a prednisone blast to reduce the inflammation and prescribed a new rescue inhaler (Xopenex instead of Ventolin) that I should also use before a run. He also suggested that I take my harder workouts, i.e., inside to the treadmill until cooler weather arrives.

Then something funny happened. For at least this past week, the mornings have been much cooler. This past week (the one ending this past Sunday) was the best week of running I've had in a while. I nailed last Tuesday's track workout (2 x 3200), my recovery runs were at a comfortable 8:35 pace and my 5 mile tempo run (which I did on the TM) was at 7:45 pace. The icing on the cake came this past Sunday when I joined up with the NYRR Long Training Run for 11 miles at 8:30 pace. Everything about the run felt good. I fueled and hydrated well, I didn't struggle on the hills, and I had some kick left at the end for a faster finish.

It's good to be feeling better and to be running in some cooler weather. I'm noticing it's still slightly dark when I leave at 5:30 a.m. I hope that means that cooler weather is right around the corner.