Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Report:: American Heart Association Start! Wall St. Run and Heart Walk

Brutal is the only way I can describe Thursday's race. I decided hours before the race that I would run instead of the race the Wall St. Run. It has been brutally hot here in New York City all week. Temperatures have been in the mid to upper 80s, with 90 - 100% humidity. There have been a few days this week where the mercury cracked 90 degrees. Thursday was no exception, it was well into the upper 80s with the heat index making it feel like over 90.

The decision to run and not race was an easy one. Not only was it hot as Hades out but I had been on my feet all day traipsing around the City with Lil Ansky and my Mom. First we went to the Jewish Museum to check out an exhibit about H.A. Rey (in case you're wondering the H.A. is short for Hans Augusto), author of the Curious George children's books. After lunch, it was on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out the "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity" exhibit. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea but Lil Ansky and Mom loved it.

After chatting with Michelle for a bit in the Winter Garden we headed outside to check our bags and make our way to the start. The start of the race was more loosey goosey than the Corporate Challenge. No red or yellow stickers, no pace signs, just a free for all. I saw Joe and  he asked me if I could pace him to a 7:30/mile average pace finish. Since I had no particular goal for the race, I gladly obliged. Once the horn went off, all hell broke loose. Just like the Corporate Challenge, there were people that lined up at the front that had no business being there. The streets of lower Manhattan are so narrow that many runners had to run on the sidewalk. I felt bad for the people who were leaving work still dressed in professional attire only to be met with a hoard of sweaty runners as they left their offices. Many had to play a game of chicken with the runners as they tried to cross the street to their subway or PATH train. At about the 1.5 mile mark, Joe was hurting. He needed a walk break and some water. I offered to stick with him but he told me to keep going. I ran the rest of course at an easy pace finishing the 3 mile course in 23:25 (7:49/mi average pace).

Perhaps the best part of the evening was the post-run Tweet-up at Pound and Pence, and English style pub near my office. A great crowd showed up and it was nice to relax with friends after a brutally hot race.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Observations From the Movie Theater

 I just came back from seeing "Toy Story 3" with Lil Ansky and a friend. The purpose of this post is not to review the movie (we all enjoyed it), rather I wanted to share a few observations with regards to movie theater food.

  • When I bought the tickets, I was told that I had accumulated enough rewards points for a medium drink. I handed the coupon to the cashier and she started to fill what looked like a pretty big cup. I asked "that's a medium?" She replied with "yes." I then saw an even larger cup next to it, which must have been the large. Thankfully, without any arm twisting from me, Lil Ansky and her friend agreed on the iced tea. I still felt it was a lot for them drink between the 2 of them so I took a 3rd straw and they let me share.
  • We usually share a small popcorn as a special treat when we go to the movies. Today, her friend did not want  popcorn so she decided on candy as well. Lil Ansky currently has a palatal expander in her mouth so sticky candies such as Twizzlers are off limits. As my luck would have it she chose one of the better candies, a Kit Kat Bar.
  • I saw plenty of children walking in with a large bucket of movie theater popcorn. I can't believe parents get that for their children. A large buttered popcorn has approximately 1,200 - 1,600 calories. Even if they share it with a sibling, that's still 600 - 800 calories per child.
Even the healthiest of eaters have their indulgences. Mine are ice cream and baked goods. Personally, movie theater concessions are not something I like to indulge in. Every time eat movie theater popcorn, I leave the theater feeling sick to my stomach.

What are your indulgences?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Race Report 2010 JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

Despite my rumblings and grumblings about last year's Corporate Challenge, I found myself heading to Central Park with approximately 50 of my work colleagues. I was hoping this year would be better. Not only would this year's race be chip timed, but a loosely formed corral system was instituted. A red sticker (under 7:00/mile) on your bib got you all the way to the front, a yellow sticker (7:00 - 8:00/mile) put you right behind the red corral, and then everyone else. I'm not quite sure how it happened but I had a a red sticker on my bib. My co-worker, JN, also had a red sticker so we decided to run together. We crossed the start line about 20 - 25 seconds after the horn sounded. Because we were close to the front, JN and I were able to settle into a comfortably hard pace pretty early on. Mile 1, which was mostly uphill on the west side, was 6:56. JN and I were feeling pretty good, so we pushed a little harder and clicked mile 2 in 6:46. Perhaps we pushed a too hard to soon because we both had trouble during mile 3. Our mile 3 split was 7:16. As we passed mile 3, JN said to me "if you have anything left, now is the time to let loose." The good thing about this course is the last half mile takes the runners down Cat Hill, past the Boathouse and into the finish on the 72nd Street Transverse. I didn't have that much left, but I picked up the pace on the way down Cat Hill and covered the rest of course in 3:57.

Official time: 24:52 (7.06 average pace). I finished 8th on my team. It was nice to see so many colleagues participating. Some mentioned to me that my running inspired them to come out and try and run the 3.5 mile course. It was humbling to hear as I am just your average mid-pack runner. I told them that there is a group at the office that goes out for lunch time runs and invited them to come along. I hope they take me up on it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

American Cancer Society's George Washington Bridge Challenge

Yesterday, I took part in the American Cancer Society's George Washington Bridge Challenge. I'm not calling this a race report because it was not organized like a typical road race. There were no winners, no prize money, no age group awards. Rather the GWB Challenge was a fun run to benefit the American Cancer Society. The event featured 5k and 10k runs as well as 4, 25, 33, and 63 mile bike rides.

What's unique about this event is that the lower level of the bridge is completely shut down to traffic and all runs and bikes begin with participants running or riding an out an back on the lower span of the bridge. I've run on the upper level pedestrian path many times but I thought it would be fun to run in the middle of the bridge where thousands of cars cross each day.

The start of the event was well organized. Cyclists went out first at 7:30 followed by the runners at 7:45. The run on the bridge reminded me a lot of portion of the New York City Marathon that crosses the 59th bridge. Mainly silence except for the breathing and footsteps of the runners. When we got off the bridge, we ran up an emergency egress up to Hudson Terrace. This is where things got a frustrating. When I came off the ramp I heard someone shout "5k and 10k this way." Next thing I know, I'm running towards the Port Authority Building where the run started. I thought "this can't be right" so I ran back down Bruce Reynolds Blvd. and joined a group of runners heading down on Hudson Terrace towards Edgewater. Little did I know they were running the 5k course, this was the second time within a few minutes that I had taken a wrong turn. Once I got my bearings straight, the rest of the run went pretty well. I've been struggling with my speed since the marathon so,  I pushed the pace curious to see what I had. Unfortunately, my Garmin lost its signal while I was on the bridge so my pace and distance were off. The 10k course was quite hilly up Hudson Terrace and on the residential streets of Englewood Cliffs. The run ended in Allison Park, near St. Peter's College.

Other than getting briefly getting lost, I was happy with the event. It's something to do once for the novelty of it. Best of all, yesterday's event raised over $180,000 for the American Cancer Society. There is still time to make a contribution to the American Cancer Society in support of my run. If you have the means, donations of any amount can be made by clicking here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

NYC Natural Running Clinics

Brandon asked me to help spread the word about 2 natural running clinics in New York City this week. While Brandon is a Newton runner, he notes that you don't have to wear Newtons to attend. The clinics are for all runners interested in improving their running technique.

What: Natural Running Form Clinic with Newton Running

When: Tues., June 15 at 6:30 pm

Where: Meet at The Boat House, Central Park NYC (See map below)

Why: Join Newton Running for a free, open to the public event featuring
Newton's co-founder and running form expert Danny Abshire, as well as
Newton's R&D/Education Director and adventure racing world champ Ian
. Danny and Ian will lead a clinic to demonstrate how proper running
form can improve speed and efficiency, and decrease the risk of injury.

*NOTE* Do not feel any pressure to be a Newton wearer in coming to this clinic! This is for ALL runners who want to improve their form and efficiency.

Some more upcoming form clinics:

June 16th: Newton Running Symposium, The Track and Field Store (997 Madison Avenue, NYC) 6:30-8:30pm Symposium, Q and A

June 17th: Runner’s Edge, Farmington, NY 6:30-7:30pm Symposium, Q and A 7:30-8:30pm Form Clinic

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Help Me Fight Cancer

On June 13 I will be taking part in the American Cancer Society's George Washington Bridge Challenge. The GWB Challenge is the only event that shuts down a span of the George Washington bridge to traffic. Participants can walk, run, or bike across one of the busiest bridges in the world, free from traffic, with great views of the Hudson River and New York City. The GWB Challenge is a fund-raising event to support the mission of the American Cancer Society.

For runners and walkers there are 5k and 10k courses (I will be running the 10k). Bikers can choose from 4 mile, 15 mile, 25 miles, 33 mile, and 63 (metric century) routes. 

If you have the means, a donation of any amount is appreciated. Donations can be made by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Totals for May 2010

Total Number of Runs: 15
Total Miles: 105.02
Total Time: 14:29:12

Avg. Distance: 7 miles
Avg Time: 57:56
Avg. Pace: 8:16/mile

It goes without saying that the highlight of May is was my new marathon PR of 3:39:47. Compared to March and April my mileage was down mainly because of marathon taper and recovery. I have 3 shorter distance races planned for June:

Time to get back on the horse.