Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Open Letter to the 5:30 a.m. Boot Camp Class

Dear 5:30 a.m. Boot Camp Class Which Meets on the Teaneck High School Track,

I applaud you for getting up early in the morning to workout, I really do. However, you need to be taught a lesson in track etiquette. Proper track etiquette says to leave the inside lane (sometimes known as lane 1) free and clear for crazy people like me who do speed intervals (intervals) as part of their training regimen. If you don't know what intervals are, allow me to explain. Intervals are where a runner run around the track for a specified distance at a very fast pace. After a short recovery, the runner runs another interval, recovers, interval, etc... until the runner has completed their assigned (usually from a coach) number of intervals.

So why is it important to leave the inside lane clear? First and foremost is for safety reasons. If you're walking in the inside lane and I'm running around the track at a very fast pace, someone could get hurt. Sometime I will alert you by saying "on your left" or "on your right." Warning you doesn't help if you have earphones in your ears. The second reason is that the inside lane is the most accurate in terms of distance. So if my workout calls for 800m (2 laps of the track) intervals, I need to run the distance as closely as possible. If I have to run around your class to an outside lane, I'm not only adding distance but I'm also exerting additional energy that I should be conserving for future intervals.

There is a sign on the entrance to the track that says "walkers, joggers, etc... should use the outside lanes (sometimes known as lane 4-8). Why is rule so difficult to abide by? For the past 2 weeks I have asked you nicely to move to the outside lanes when I'm doing intervals. If it happens again next week, I may just run someone over.


Friday, July 22, 2011

I Drank the Cycling Kool-Aid

Coach Jeff has been encouraging me to get a bike for quite some time now. I kept putting it off for 2 reasons. 1) it was too expensive and 2) I was afraid Mrs. Ansky would divorce me thinking that I wanted to start doing triathlon. A few weeks ago, Brandon was selling some items he couldn't take with him to Boulder. I half-jokingly asked him if he had a bike he wanted to sell me. As luck would have it, he asked me if I was interested in his 2007 Felt Z90. After talking about it with my wife (and assuring her that I had no triathlon aspirations), Brandon, and Coach Jeff, I decided drink the cycling kool-aid and bought the bike.

The first thing I needed to do is get it tuned up, so I took it to the Cosmic Wheel in Ridgefield Park, NJ which came highly recommended by many cycling enthusiasts in Bergen County. When I went on Wednesday to pick the bike up, John, the owner, put the bike on a trainer and told me to get on and start pedaling. He made some adjustments, gave me a quick tutorial about how to shift gears, and told me I was good to go. I thought to myself "now what?" I brought the bike in from the car and left it in my living room. Mrs. Ansky put me on notice that I need to find a better place to store it. I told her I'm keeping it upstairs because I'm taking it out for a ride tomorrow morning.

Thursday morning, I took it out for a spin around local streets. I'll admit, I was very nervous when I first started pedaling but I got more comfortable as the ride went on.I managed to ride for an hour without falling or hurting anyone (including myself). I practiced which gears to use for going up hill, down hill, and on flats. The ride went well but I quickly learned that I need to buy a pair of cycling shorts. My tush is still sore.

Running will always be my #1 sport by I'm excited about adding cycling into the mix for cross training, recovery, and building strength. Stay tuned for more cycling adventures.

P.S. I found a great spot in my basement to store the bike.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Less Than Stellar

Last week was the start of another marathon training cycle. With 16 weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, it was time to start "officially" training again. Week 1 of training started off well with a fun form workout on Tuesday and a solid medium distance mid-week run. The form workout consisted of a 10 minute warm-up then 10 x 20-30 seconds at 10 seconds faster than 5k pace. The key was to focus on good form, lifting from the hips and landing with my feet under my center of mass. I did this run on the treadmill because of brutally hot and humid weather. Thankfully the humidity broke Tuesday night, and I was able to run a solid medium distance, zone 2 run (9.15 miles in 1:15) Wednesday morning.

We were invited to go rafting with friends on Sunday which meant Coach had to cut one workout out of schedule so I could run long on Friday. My planned long run was 2:30 on a hilly course. The best way for me to run long when it's not Sunday is to run to work. The plan was to run from the George Washington Bridge, down the West Side, around Battery Park City, and hit the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges late in the run before finishing near my office. Unfortunately, I got a late start and had some GI issues both of which forced me to cut my run commute short. It was a solid effort (13.87 miles in 156:15) but I did not get in the time I was supposed. Coach noticed and called me out on it. He said now is the time to focus and get the time and distance dialed in. The Jewish holidays will be here before I know it. This means days in September in October where I can't train. I need to be in good shape now knowing that I'm going to lose time later in the cycle.

Despite, brutally hot and humid weather predicted all week, I'm hopeful that this week will be better. I need to be diligent about getting to bed at a decent hour (before 10:00) and getting out early not only to beat the heat but also to be home with enough time to clean up and get to work. Here's how my week looks:

Today: Total Body Workout
Tuesday: Step-up run: 20 minutes in zone 2, 20 minutes in zone 3, 30 minutes in zone 4, 10 minute cool-down. 1:20 total
Wednesday: 1:00 bike ride (yes, I bought a bike. More on this later) or running form workout. If my bike is ready at the bike shop, I'll take it out for a spin. If not, I'll do the form workout.
Thursday: Coach Diane's ab/core workout
Friday: 4 x 1200
Saturday: Shabbat, day of rest.
Sunday: 2:45 on a hilly course. Run the hills in zones 2-3, otherwise keep it in zones 1-2.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Proud Abba (Dad)

This is me and Lil Ansky after the G.R.A.C.E. 9/11 Tribute 5k/2k Run in Glen Rock, NJ on July 4. While this is not the first race she ran, it is the first one we ran together. We decided to run the 2k distance and had a blast. With the exception of a short walk break Lil Ansky ran almost all of the 1.2 miles. When we reach the split between the 2k and 5k courses, she asked how far we've run. When I told her 1 mile, she said "all ready?" I asked her semi-jokingly if she wanted to run the 5k course instead. She thought about it for a moment and decided I against it. I didn't push her because I wanted to keep the experience fun and memorable.

That's exactly what it was fun and memorable. The atmosphere at the race was exactly what a July 4th race should be, relaxed. There were some competitive runners but for the most part, there were lots of parents running the race the with their kids. A few minutes after we finished she asked me when the next race is. I am thrilled that she is enjoying it and that running is bringing us closer together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Totals for June 2011

Total Number of Runs: 15
Total Time: 13:55:27
Total Distance: 99.81 (had I know I would have run a little farther to crack 100)

Average Distance: 6.65
Average Time: 55:41
Average Pace per Mile: 8:22

June was all about regrouping and having fun after my DNF at the Vermont City Marathon. I jumped right back into racing and ran a great 4 miler at the NYRR Celebrate Israel Run on June 5. I ran with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. I also started running with Lil Ansky (more on that in the next blog post). Basically, it was nice to just run without the pressure of an "A" race.

That's all about to change on July 11, which is 16 weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30. The weather is already hot and humid and I've been slowing down as a result. The plan is to be safe and run at an effort I know I can safely sustain for however many minutes or hours I'm running on a given summer morning. I know that the efforts I put in now will translate into better efforts once the weather gets cooler.