Friday, April 30, 2010

Totals For April 2010

Total Number of Runs: 17
Total Distance: 157.43 miles
Total Time: 22:16:24

Average Distance: 9.26 miles
Average Pace per Mile: 8:29
Average Time: 1:18:36

To date, this is my 2nd highest mileage month ever. That is saying a lot considering I missed several days because of Passover and travel. I set a new half marathon PR this month at the George Wodicka Hook Mountain Half Marathon (link to race report here). May will be all about tapering, rocking the Pocono Mountains Run for the Red Marathon, and then recovery.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sometimes Getting Out the Door is the Hardest Part

Yesterday's run was my last long run before the Pocono Marathon. Coach Jeff assigned me 3 hours on a "rolling" course and allow my heart rate to gradually move from zone 1 to zone 3. When I woke up Sunday morning, it was 45 and raining steadily. I had no motivation to go out and run for 3 hours in the rain. If I could run a marathon in similar conditions, why was it so hard to get out the door? I sat at my dining room tracking TK's progress at the London Marathon (she ran a bloody good race finishing in 3:48:56) and tweeting about how I no interest in running. Within the span of a few minutes, I get this tweet from Elyssa:
you can do this. hard work now pays HUGE dividends may 16. not to mention better weather:-D

this tweet from Neal, who is running the Green Bay Marathon the same day I'm running Poconos:
3 weeks to our marathons, last really long training run. By which I mean: let's get this today!

and this one from Michelle, who was on her way to the More Half Marathon in Central Park:
you can do it! I am on the train to the race!! Go for it!

So I decided to go for it. On top, I put on a thin compression base layer to keep my core dry and warm, a short sleeve tech shirt, and my rain jacket. I with shorts on bottom. Late last week, I was trying to map out a "rolling" route that would be fun and interesting. I was getting tired of running the same hilly streets in around Teaneck, Palisades Interstate Park is too hilly and would beat me up, and 3 hours in Central Park was too much for me. Amy came to the rescue and mapped out a route from my house, over the GWB, across Dykman St, through West Harlem, and into Central Park. It seemed like a nice alternative to running the West Side Greenway which is not exactly rolling. Unfortunately, my turn sheet got soaked and unreadable. So I modified the route by running straight on St. Nicholas Ave./Manhattan Ave. from 155th Until 110th and Cathedral where I entered Central Park smack dab in the middle of Harlem Hill. I drew upon the energy of the More Half Marathon which was well underway. It was quite inspiring seeing 6,000 women running or walking 13.1 miles in less than ideal conditions. I purposely wanted to end my run in the park to simulate the hills come towards the end of the Pocono Marathon. I wanted to see how my body would react to hills towards the end of a run.

20.77 miles in 3:00:02 (8:40 average pace)

Yesterday's run put me at 50.3 for the week. I peaked exactly at the right time, 3 weeks before. Thank you to everyone for your motivation yesterday. Now it's time to taper.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Race Report: The George Wodicka Hook Mountain Half Marathon

A few days before the race I spoke with Coach Jeff to discuss how to approach yesterday's race. We knew that the middle miles would be the toughest. That's where the rolling hills of Rockland County State Park and the (in)famous "hook" down to Nyack Beach were situated. Coach said to conserve energy early so I can tackle the climb back up the "hook." Depending on how I felt after the hill, I should let it fly for a fast finish.

I was excited for yesterday's race. My last race was the Manhattan Half Marathon back in January and I wanted to see how far I've progressed. My training has been going well, but with 4 weeks until the Pocono Mountain Marathon I wanted to see if I could put it all together. I needed practice pacing, fueling, and hydration all in a race environment. Most importantly, because of the hilly course, I could practice racing downhill and uphill, both of which I would encounter in the Poconos.

The first 4 or miles were mostly flat. I started out at what felt like a pace I could hold, only to hear the marshall at mile 1 call out 7:30. Could I really hold a 7:30 over 13.1 miles? I was about to find out....I did pretty well through mile 7, my miles 2 -7 splits were: 7:37, 7:41, 8:10, 7:57, 7:46. Not bad right? Just before mile 8 at the entrance to Nyack Beach there was a steep little hill. My mile 8 split was 8:36. I held back a little during mile 9 know that the "hook" was looming between miles 9 and 10. My mile 9 split was 8:05. Then came the part of the race that this race is (in)famous for, the climb up Hook Mountain. I ended up having to do a run/walk up the hill. It was one tough climb to the top, but I was determined not to let it break me. There were plenty of spectators shouting words of encouragement, almost willing the runners to the top. The mile 10 split, was just past the crest of of the hill, 9:37. This is where I would see what I had left. I let my legs recover and off I went. The rolling hills I encountered in miles 4 and 5 were back. Mile 11 split was 8:11. With 2 miles to go and the hills out of the way, I decided to see what I had left. I did mile 12 in 7:39 and mile 13 in 7:37. I saw the clock on the finishing chute just flip to 1:45 as I made the final turn. I knew I had a new half marathon PR. Here's a shot of me crossing the line, with a new half marathon PR of 1:45:21.

Needless to say, I am beyond pleased with how yesterday's race went. I averaged an 8:00 pace and that's with a 9:37 mile. I think I am right where I need to be, 4 weeks before race day.

Details, including the elevation chart of yesterday's can can be found below.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Yes, it's that time when many of my friends are making the trip to Boston to toe the line in Hopkinton on Monday. I am very excited for each and every one of them and can't wait to track their progress on Monday and read their race reports when they hit blogosphere. However, I would be lying if I told you that I don't have a case of Boston envy. Each year when the third Monday in April approaches, I find myself asking "when will my time come?" A 3:15 marathon seems so far out of reach. I know that I've progressed as a marathoner, going from a 4:21 to my current PR of 3:52 in 3 years.I also know that since I started training with Jeff, I have become a smarter, stronger, and yes, faster runner. But there is a huge difference between being able to run a 3:40 marathon and running a 3:15.

I know it sounds like I'm selling myself short, but isn't the ultimate goal of most marathoners to get to Beantown? Bottom line is, I don't know if I have the time in my life and the physical ability to train for a BQ.  Boston is also the one race race that I would not run as charity runner. Nothing against those that do, but I am in the camp that believes that I need to earn the right to run Boston by running a qualifying time.

I don't know what the future holds for me. I will continue to train hard and see how far I get. Some day in the distant future when I can no longer run marathons, I will be proud of my accomplishments regardless of if I ever toed the line in Hopkinton.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When a Marathon Isn't a Marathon


This is an ad from last week's Jewish Standard for a 10k & 5k race sponsored by our local JCC. For those of you that don't read Hebrew, the word on the right is the Hebrew word for "marathon." I thought, this is strange, isn't a marathon 26.2 miles? After consulting with my mom (who is a teacher of Hebrew language) and some other Hebrew speakers, the Hebrew word "marathon" is used to describe a road race of any distance not just 26.2 miles.

P.S. The Rubin Run is a pretty good race. If you live nearby and looking for a local 10k or 5k, definitely check this race out. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium: Registration Opens on May 5

Online registration for the 2nd Damon Runyon 5k at Yankee Stadium for cancer research opens on May 5, 2010.

This year's race is scheduled for Sunday, August 15, 2010.

Capacity is being expanded to 4,000 participants this year, but be sure to sign up early to secure a spot.  Registration fees will remain at $50 for adults and $35 for students and children until July 15th, but will increase to $60 and $40, respectively, from July 16th through August 6th. Registration will close at 5pm on August 6th or when capacity has been reached.  The Runyon 5K provides a great opportunity for families to come out and enjoy a unique day at the ballpark, and children at least 5 years of age are welcome to participate.  A separate Kids Fun Run will not be held this year.

Start times for runners will be staggered, based on pace per mile, beginning at 9:30am, while walkers should expect to take to the course at approximately 11:30am. Participants should plan to arrive at the Stadium 30 minutes before their assigned start times to avoid congestion. Start times will be assigned the week prior to the event.

If you plan to run as an individual, you should indicate your approximate per-mile pacing when registering.  This will determine your start time, with the fastest-paced runners starting first.  If you plan to run with friends, family members or teammates, please coordinate with them prior to registering so that you are assigned to the same heat.  Please ensure that everyone in the group selects the pace of the slowest-paced runner in your group.  We appreciate the extra effort and advance planning that this requires.

Please note that you can be part of a team that includes both runners and walkers for fundraising purposes, such as corporate teams, groups of friends or family members.  In these cases, team members planning to walk will be assigned a later start time than runners in order to avoid congestion along the route.

Further details will be posted online at in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please feel free to contact us at

When a Good Effort Doesn't Feel Like One

Yesterday's run was 2:45 with 3 minute surges every 20 minutes and a strong 3-4 minute finish.  This was my first run since coming back from South Florida on Thursday. I hadn't run in a week and I was chomping at the bit to get out there and put together a solid long run. I'm not sure what happened but from the get-go I had a tough time staying focused mentally. My legs also felt the effects of not running on hilly terrain the past two weeks. The only hills in South Florida are mainly bridges that cross the Intercoastal. The roads within my parents' development are pancake flat so my legs were not happy when I re-introduced them to the hilly terrain of Bergen County, NJ.

18.91 miles in 2:43:01 (8:37 average pace)

I know what you're all thinking, I should be pleased as hell with an 8:37 average pace over almost 19 miles. I am, but as the title of this post says, it didn't feel like a good effort. 

Next Sunday, I will be running the George Wodicka Hook Half Marathon in Congers, NY. It's a tough course, and I don't expect to PR. Based on the elevation profile, it should be a good workout and will be a good test for the Pocono Marathon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Mini Break

I haven't run since my 21 miler last Sunday. No, I am not experimenting with a 5 week taper before the Pocono Marathon nor am I injured (knock on wood). The rest of the week has gone something like this:
  • Monday & Tuesday: no running due to my observance of the last two days of Passover.
  • Wednesday & Thursday: we were driving back from Florida. Getting a run in wasn't going to happen.
  • Today (Friday): We got home later than expected yesterday due to some significant construction projects on I-95. Once we got home, I had a bunch of stuff to do when I got home and I didn't get to bed until 11:30. I was bone tired from the drive so I allowed myself to sleep.
Since tomorrow is Shabbat, my next run won't be until Sunday. Coach Jeff assigned me a 2:45 long run with 3 minute surges every 20 minutes and a fast 3-4 minute finish. I am looking forward to getting out there on Sunday and rocking my long run. I'll admit that before my vacation, I was feeling a bit tired and worn out. I hate to say it, but there have been times recently where running was something that I "had to do" rather than something I "wanted to do." I'm hoping that the extra rest will rejuvenate me for the final push to May 16.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Passover Long Run

I couldn't wait to get started this morning. After Shabbat mom and Mrs. Ansky concocted my kosher for Passover sports drink. Before I write about the run here is the recipe:

Passover Sports Drink
24 oz. water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1/3 bag jello mix (for flavoring)

Dissolve jello in warm water then mix with other ingredients. Chill and enjoy.

Back to the run. I decided to stay within the confines of my parents' development. Within the development there are sub-divisions each with a bathroom and water fountain. I started out about 5:45 hoping to get most of run done before the sun came up and baked me to a crisp. I utilized the bathroom once and the water fountains often during the run. I tried to vary the scenery by switching off running an outside loop then an inside loop. Each time I finished an inside loop, I stopped at the pool area in my parents' sub-division for some of the sports drink. Once the sun was up it started to get hot. By 8:30 I started to feel the heat. I continued on, but paid close attention to my body. I had no qualms cutting the run short if I felt like the heat was too much. Thankfully that didn't happen and I made it to 3 hours with no incident.

21.30 miles in 3:00:10. Average pace 8:27.

I am now off from running for 4 days. The last days of Passover begin tonight at sundown and end Tuesday night. Wednesday and Thursday, the Anskys will be driving back from Florida. My next run will probably be Friday morning before I go back to work. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recipe: Passover Granola

I know that Passover is half over but I wanted to share an awesome recipe that Mom made. Quality snack are difficult to find during Passover, crackers, pretzels, and peanut butter are all chametz and not kosher for Passover. There are potato chips and cracker-esque things for Passover but they are not that good. My mom made Passover Granola and we can't stop eating it. I am sure many of you have made your own granola but this is an awesome healthy snack that we are enjoying during Passover.

Passover Granola (courtesy of Bergen County Jewish Standard)
3 cups matza farfel (kind of like matza croutons)
1 cup pecans, chooped (mom used walnuts)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 chopped apricots
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, stir with a spoon until mixed. Grease a cookie sheet with sides and spread mixture evenly on it. Bake for 75 minutes or until mixture browns. Watch this carefully after 50 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. Stir it occasionally. Can be made up to a week or two in advance, Store in an airtight container. Makes 5 or 6 cups.


Greetings from Sunny Florida

The Anskys are having a grand ole time in Boca Raton. Our seders were really nice. Mom cooked up a storm, we drank some really good wine, soaked up some rays, and most importantly spending quality time with family, including my soon to be 99 year old grandmother.

I have been running. I won't bore you with the details. You can read about them on my Dailymile page. Yesterday was the only full day of Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days of Passover where it's permissible to run, watch TV, drive, etc...). After a leisurely morning at home, we spent the afternoon at South Beach Park hanging out on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and playing in the sand. After dinner, we took Lil Ansky to Boomers for a night a go-kart riding and arcade games.

Shabbat doesn't start until 7:30 p.m. in Boca so we took advantage of the long day by visiting the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in the morning. It's a habitat for herons, egrets, turtles, fish, and of course alligators. If you're a photography buff and find yourself near Delray Beach, FL I suggest you visit. After lunch, I helped Mom cook for Shabbat then it was time for a pre-Shabbat swim.

That's it for now. Shabbat is tomorrow which mean more quality time with family. Sunday is long run day. That should be interesting given that it's still Passover. I wrote about my Passover nutrition plan about a week before Passover, check it out here. I will definitely let you know how it goes.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Totals for March 2010

March was my highest mileage month ever. It's quite obvious from the totals that my training is intensifying as the Pocono Mountain Marathon gets closer.

Total Number of Runs: 21
Total Mileage: 164.6mi
Total Time: 22:49:43

Avg. Distance: 7.8mi
Avg. Pace: 8:19/mi
Avg. Time: 1:05:13