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?