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.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Totals For July 2010

Total # of Runs: 18
Total Miles:115.67
Total Time: 16:26:03

Average Distance: 6.43
Average Time: 54:46
Average Pace per Mile: 8:31/mile

Even though my average pace was good, I felt like July was a struggle. July 2010 was one of the hottest in the NYC Tri-State area on record. My asthma was out of control and my long runs were hot, sweaty, and slow. The end of July yielded some cooler mornings which made track and tempo workouts easier and more enjoyable. Hopefully cooler weather is right around the corner.