Saturday, November 13, 2010

NYC Marathon Race Report

So it's taken me a couple days but I am finally getting around to doing a race report for NYC.  First off everything went great and I finished in 5:31:49, with a smile.   Now to the report.

First I need to thank many people.

  • My folks.  They've been great, and my dad has been a trooper as he's recovered from prostate cancer and my mom has been wonderful supporting him.   They're always and inspiration and I couldn't have done it without them.   
  • Noel.  She was an wonderful source of guidance and inspiration as I trained over the months for the race.  She had helpful guidance and kept me injury free.  More importantly, she also gave a ton of herself to make sure that the weekend was all about me and that I had a great time.  She's simply great.   
  • The munchkins.  Jake, Sophie and Rebekah were rockstars.   During training they never complained when I headed out for Sunday morning runs and were always excited when I got home.  During race weekend they were amazing.  There was never an "are we there yet" or a complaint about their sibling and they were a ton of fun to watch soak up all that is New York City.  They were also an inspiration to see along the course.   Noel and the kids spectated at miles 3, 7, and 18.  They cheered great - and particularly at mile 18 - brought a smile to my face.   Good job kids!
  • Zero - The Project to End Prostate Cancer.  They organized a great lunch and with the $75,000 that last weekend's runners raised are going to be able to ensure that even more men detect prostate cancer early.   
  • The people of New York City.  All I can say is wow.  For the 26.2 miles of the course there were people - often 5 deep - on each side of the course cheering on runners.  There were folks handing out potato chips, bananas, paper towels and holding signs.  The signs were great and inspiring.  Some of my favorites included, "You're feet hurt becuase you kicking ass."  "You're all Kenyans today." (which made me think of a funny video asking if the President is a Keynesian ... anyway) or at mile 24 "Your only fucking option is to finish."   Also big props to the guy at mile 3 giving out "Free Hugs."  I got a free hug and it was awe-some.    If some one's only interaction with New Yorkers was at the marathon they wouldn't be able to come away with anything other than a glowing opinion of them.    
  • Everyone who supported my fundraising.  Quite simply I wouldn't have gotten there without you.  Knowing I couldn't let you down helped me slog through the tough miles at the end.  

Onto the race.

Race day started at 4:30 a.m. roughly (although the hotel folks decided to goof on DST can call me at 3:30 am).   I rolled out of bed, got ready, did my stretches and headed out the door.  We were staying over in New Jersey and I was taking the bus from the Meadowlands to Staten Island.  We got there a little before six and I kissed Noel and loaded myself onto the bus (with my sleeping bag).  The bus ride over was uneventful until we got to the staging area.  The bus driver for some reason missed the drop off spot and started to get back on the highway towards New Jersey.  We literally had to scream at her to stop the bus and let everyone off.  She did and we ended up walking about a 1/4 mile back to the drop off.  Not the end of the world.

The waiting at Staten Island was pretty uneventful. I did get to join a minyan with the JRunners  while I waited which was an excellent way to spend some time before the race started.  I also used the sleeping bag as a pillow to try to nap a bit.

The start was a bit more daunting than I had really considered.  The race starts at the foot of the Verrazano Narrows bridge, so basically the first mile was a climb.  It wasn't the end of the world for me but I didn't have to worry about going too fast and getting carried away.  I quickly settled in to what would be a bit slower than usual pace.

After some of the downhill we were in Brooklyn.  I think the first thing that struck me was that there were an amazing number of people in front of me.  Forever.  There were just little bobbing heads as far as I could see.   This was in fact a very large race and there were definitely 45K people running this race.

Note Sophie's head and Bekah's pink beanie
I settled in and got ready for the long slog.  Everything was going well.  I wasn't running as fast as I had in my training runs, but I didn't really care and wanted to have fun with the race.  At mile 3 I got my first glimpse of the crew.  They were yelling on the side cheering for me and I was able to cut across the street and get a bunch of high-5s from my peeps.

They were able to give me the heads up that they would see me again around mile 7.   This was good because there were so many folks along the course that it could be hard to find them.   I was lucky that they realized that "Tom" and "Dad" we're going to work and they were going to have to signal me with "Tom Jones" to get my attention.

I'm the guy in the middle with the orange beanie
Bekah ran and screamed for me for a bit and Jake cruised along about a 1/2 block on his skateboard taking some pictures of me.

After mile seven, things went pretty well until roughly mile 10.  And then I just started feeling like crap and not really wanting to run anymore.

At mile 10.
Things were going in the crapper.

I had a momentary bout of "Oh my goodness this day is going to be cut short before I even get to Manhattan."  I refocused though and got through the momentary panic and reassured myself that I had run much farther than this for a long time and I could plow through.   Whatever it was lifted early into mile 11, but thinking you've hit the wall at mile 10 of a 26.2 mile race is not a good feeling.   Fortunately it passed.

I actually feel into a halfway decent stride between mile 11 and roughly mile 16 where we got to the Queensboro bridge.  I had come to grips with being a bit slower than my usual pace, but I was moving with a good rythmn and was enjoying the hoods.   When we turned onto the Queensboro the climb looked pretty steep, but I figured it was an on-ramp that would take us upto the deck of the bridge.   After about 10 minutes of climbing the on-ramp I realized that this was the bridge and we were going to be climbing for a while.   It was long and tiring, but I was able to distract myself with some spectacular views off the bridge of Manhattan.  Sadly when we finished the climb we did not get an equally long respite on the downhill, but merely got a relatively steep off ramp onto 1st Avenue.   Oh well.

Putting on a happy face
I started slogging up 1st avenue and caught the crew again at mile 18.  I was feeling a bit rough and I suspect wasn't looking too good either, but it was a treat to see them again.  I do wish I had some photos of the guys in their goofy hats.  We all bought bright cheap beanies from a street vendor so we would be easy to identify in a crowd.   The crew looked stylin in the $5 knit caps.

I actually got a second wind - or just blew whatever was in my tank as we headed into the Bronx.  I went over the bridge into the Bronx strong and came out strong, but when I hit mile 22 ish, things started to try to go pear shaped.   I had been good about not doing any walking and wanted to see if I could do the whole thing without any walking, but I finally got to the point where I needed to walk for a second.  My friend Steve had told me not to walk, but in the event that you did walk, count to ten and on ten just start running.  This strategy proved vital.  The little walk breaks were rejuvenating, but I didn't want to let my body shut down and I didn't want to walk any more than I had to.  I think all in all I probably walked a mile and a half for the whole race.  But Steve's strategy worked and I was able to keep myself from shutting down and I was able to run across the finish line.

As the video show's I finished.

I will very very likely do another marathon.  I think I will modify my training to make things a bit more rigorous though.

All in all it was an amazing adventure and very satisfying.  I'm extremely glad I got to share it with Noel and the kids.

Thanks again for everyone's support and I look forward to keeping you updated on the blog as I train for more events.

BTW: you can see some photos of me here:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

As If American’s Aren’t Fat Enough | Candid FitNut

As If American’s Aren’t Fat Enough | Candid FitNut

I think this might have to be my post marathon meal in a couple weeks!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's all mental

As you can see from my last post, my last run sucked.  complete and total train wreck sucked.   I was pretty demoralized afterwards, becuase I was convinced that I had broken something and the marathon training was coming off the tracks.  To compound things, the muscle along the bottom of my foot (plantar fascia) was starting to hurt.  I'd heard numerous horror stories from Noel's runner friends on how plantar fasciatis had sidelined them for prolonged periods of time.  In the best "glass-half-full" tradition, I assumed that my foot was shot and I wasn't going to be able barely able to hobble for weeks.

Noel basically dug me out of ditch on this one.  On the foot front, she had a frozen bottle of water in the freezer and had me do some rolling on the bottle right away and gave me some stretches that I should and shouldn't do to relax the muscles that were making my foot hurt.   By Thursday my foot was feeling relatively normal and I seemed to have gotten past that problem.

I was still pretty worried about the run come Sunday morning.   I was assuming that something horrible would happen when I got out on the trail - somehow last week all of my running ability had been sucked out of me and I was completely screwed.

Noel reminded me that sometimes you just basically have crappy runs, and that there were in fact some very real reasons for last week's anomoly (fasting and heat).  And more importantly, it was going to be cool out that morning and I had eaten and hydrated properly the last couple days.

The run itself was pretty routine.  I felt strong thoughout.  It wasn't easy by any means --- 18 miles likely will never be, but I finished with Dizzee Rascal on the iPod and felt strong.  The weather cooperated alot - it drizzled and stayed in the 60s...even dipping a bit to get almost cold for a few minutes.  Also on Noel's advice I increased my fuel intake to not less than one Jelly Belly Sports Beans packet per hour.

Mentally and physically I felt very good about this run.  I maintained a 10:30 pace which was strong for 18 miles for me.

Finally I capped the whole thing off with an ice cold chocolate mile.  Best recovery drink ever.   Feels good to be back on track.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What a miserable run

So -- yesterday's run sucked.  I'd like to come up with a more sophisticated way to phrase it, but suck really seems to sum it up.   

It sucked pretty much from beginning to end.  The plan was I would run a 3 mile loop at the beginning, 5.5 miles of trail out and then back and the same 3 mile loop at the end.  

When I came out of the first loop I looked at my watch and I was 45 seconds off my usual pace.  At 3 miles in.  At that point I really should have just gotten back in my car and gone home.   The next 11 miles got slower and I struggled back to the start feeling like crap but theoretically ready to do the last three.  I really should have gotten in the car and gone home.   

About a half mile into the last loop, I completely bonked.  If you're not an endurance athlete: 
Bonking is, of course, slang for running out of energy during exercise. It usually happens when the working muscles run low on glycogen, which is the body's limiting fuel source for sustained activity.
Bonking is bad.  It sucks all the life out of you and its pretty darn demoralizing to boot.   Think on your knees trying to find the energy to walk.   After the run, I ate a burger and a milkshake, watched maybe an hour of football and fell asleep somewhere around 5:30 and pretty much slept until the next morning.    My body stopped working somewhere around mile 14 and cashed its chips in for the rest of the weekend right there.  

Fortunately I can pretty much locate all the causes of this disaster. 

  1. I'm a lazy slob and didn't listen to my wife (always a recipe for disaster) and start my run at 6:30 like I should have...instead I slept in and rolled out at 10:45 to start my run at 11:30 (first person to leave a comment on where the sun is during an 11:30 to 3ish run wins a prize)
  2. I didn't eat at all for 25 hours on the proceeding day.
  3. I didn't eat enough during my run.  

So a couple things.  Fasting the day before a 17 mile run, is likely a bad idea.  I clearly didn't pull it off well and I clearly didn't fuel up properly at the all you can eat Chinese place the night before.  Starting the  day of the run with a bowl of oatmeal is clearly not enough fuel for a long run.   Lesson learned - eat regularly the day before and fuel up the morning of.

When it looks like its going to get hot out, and its 64 degrees in the morning, run when its 64.  Don't wait around until its 69 and rising to venture out to the largely shadeless trail to run in the heat as its rising to 85 degrees.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.  

Finally I somehow didn't eat enough food.  I need to crank up the number of calories I am putting into my body during my run.  Somehow I am not disciplining myself to do this ... have to be aiming for ~200 per hour.  

So some days you have good runs and some days you have bad ones.   I'm not going to let this get me down because, I''m pretty sure the fast was not coordinated well with the run.  Also I've done 14 miles at least 6 times before without these problems.   

18 miles next week.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

16 in the Rain

I was awoken at 6 am by pouring rain.  When it's loud enough to stir me from a sleep it's raining pretty hard.  I had pushed the weekend run to Sunday so I was figuring that I was going to have to run in a frog-strangler.   I went back to bed flirting with various scenarios to postpone my run -- I'd do 16 after work on Monday (nothing makes more sense than running until 9:30 at night in the district), I'd do the run after dinner in Edgewater (ditto on late night running in AA Co.) or I'd just blow it off and wait another week (unlike the President of Turkenistan I can't manipulate the calendar and I have increasing increments of runs each week between now and Nov. 7th - there are no spare weeks)

So after a few hours of fitful sleep mulling over various implausible excuses to not drag my butt out and run in the rain, I woke up and went and checked out the weather.

Fortunately the frogs were no longer being strangled, but it was still raining.  The little indoor/outdoor thermometer thing on top of my TV said it was 64 degrees out --- nearly perfect running temp, so I really had no good excuse not to get out on the road.  So I packed the girls up for Hebrew School and started my long run.  

The rain was one of those persistant mists that just keeps blowing a constant spray in your face, but doesn't sting and never really pushes you around.  I suspect it's what it's like to run in Seattle.  

The run itself was pretty good.  I increased the quantity of hills by starting the run at the synagogue and heading over an overpass and up a hill before I got back to the Naval Academy bridge.   The NA Bridge was at mile 4 and by then i was getting into my groove and feeling fairly strong.  I was trying to dose out the energy in a relatively even pace and not dump it all out in the first few miles.  I maintained a roughly 10:10 pace through mile 8.   I turned around and headed back to the beginning, where I promptly lost the satellites on the Garmin and any idea of what kind of pace I was putting up.  

I felt strong throughout the run.  I think I probably averaged around a 10:30 pace for the last 8 miles.   I don't have an exact time for the run, but I didn't feel pooped at the end and feel very ready to put up 17 next week.  

All in all once I was soaked - which was about 5 minutes in - the run was very enjoyable.  Because of the rain, I pretty much had the trail and roads to myself.  I saw maybe 5 runners and 5 bikes - which is astonishing for a fall Sunday morning - and a squad of mids doing PT.  One guy had gotten shelled out that back, but had his buddy running with him entreating him to "keep up the pace."  Always impressive young men.

I felt good when I got home and I got a "Give me a D" "D" A D D Y from Noel and Bekah when I came in.  As always, Team Jones is super supportive.

Here's my course:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good week of training

I had a nice week of training.  Rocked the cross training this week.  Had a nice road bike ride with Noel on Monday from the house to the naval academy golf course.  Being that it was Labor day the roads were pretty empty, making for a nice ride.   Tuesday night I did a nice six mile run from my office down the mall and around the Lincoln Memorial.  Thursday night I jumped on with the MORE MTB riders and did a cross practice/mtb ride over in Fort DuPont.  Fort DuPont is a hidden gem over in Anacostia -- 10 minute ride from the Hill where you can hit some decent trails close to home.  The trails are well maintained and theres some nice swooping up and down some hills.

Other than the two flats and me forgetting to bring a spare or a pump, the ride was great and nice to try to sharpen the bike handling skills in advance of 'cross season starting in a couple of weeks.

With fall starting it looks like we might be in for a prolonged period of nice weather.  I'm going out tomorrow morning to knock out a 16 mile run.   Longest run evah.  I'm optimistic that it'll go well.  More details soon.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A mile a week

I'm doing my darndest to keep true to my training plan.  This week I knocked out 15 miles (up a mile from last week's 14).  I was able to keep a 10:30 pace for the duration of the run.  It's not the 4 hour 40 minute pace I wanted to aim for for the marathon, but it is a sub 5 hour marathon....although considering the cliff that my splits fell off of on the last couple miles of Saturday's run, I might be timing the last few miles of the marathon with a calendar (if I can ever figure out how to display the splits you'll see things going awry).   In fairness to me though, I do seem to run better when I am running with thousands of my friends.   Since there will be 35,000 of my closests friends with me in NYC I will hopefully get a huge boost.

As for the run itself, it wasn't too bad.  I started at the local grocery store on the other side of the Naval Academy bridge.  By doing that I tossed two significant (the bridge) and two more minor hills into the run.  Since I am going to be climbing who knows how many bridges during the marathon, I figured that I should do some hill climbing.     

The first climb over teh bridge wasn't too bad.  Considering I was about 3/4 of a mile into the run this shouldn't have been any surprise.   I ran the rest of the way up to the B&A trail which I've done at least 15 times in the past.  It's a pretty well traveled route and on a beautiful Saturday morning there were tons of bikers, runners and families out traveling the trail.  It was nice to have such beautiful weather to share a good run with my neighbors.

As an aside, leaves are starting to fall already and it's only a matter of time before the trails are littered with beautiful, albeit dangerous, orange and yellow leaves.   The end of summer is upon us.

The duration of the run on the B&A was unremarkable.  I did enjoy listening to Dizzee Rascal a bunch of times along the trail.  Dirtee Disco is a quality running track. 

The run on the way back over the bridge was considerably less fun.  Intellectually I know it wouldn't have been faster walking, but the pathetic way I was trudging up the bridge half hunched over was a bit demoralizing.   I got to the top though and I finished the last 3/4 mile strong and not dead.

I got back to Grauls, downed a bottle of milk chocolate, a ginseng tea, pint of limeade and 4 Enduralites.   I need to keep the salt in otherwise I get a killer headache.  I headed home, cleaned up and took a nap.

All in all a good run, and while I don't know that I would have wanted to do another 11 on Saturday, I think if I had had to I certainly could have.  I'm feeling good that by the time the marathon comes that I will be able to put in 26.2 without it completely killing me.

Below are the details on the run.

As always, you can donate here:  to support my run.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Justin Gimelstob Likes Odds of Completing Marathon - Andy Roddick Does Not -

Ok - I'm not this bad, but there are times when its been tough..

Justin Gimelstob Likes Odds of Completing Marathon - Andy Roddick Does Not - "The highest tennis ranking he attained was No. 63 in 1999. Over his career, he has had 29 cortisone injections. He has a surgically implanted screw in his left foot and, as he explained, he sweats while brushing his teeth. Gimelstob is more likely to cramp up into the fetal position than run 26.2 miles in less than five hours, but those who saw him scratch his way through a 12-year tennis career say his determination will prevail."

I'm confident he can do it. If he's had the commitment to become a professional tennis player he's got to have some serious mental toughness.

Also I'm going to highlight this article next time my wife points out to the spin instructor at 24 Hour Fitness that "I'm a sweater" and asks that the fans be turned on.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Upping the miles

I'm finally on my way to upping the miles in preparation for the NYC Marathon.   The Marathon is a little more than 10 weeks out and I'm at 14 miles now.  I'll tack on roughly 1 mile a week to my long runs and in the next 6 weeks or so I should be up around 20 where I need to be in advance of the marathon.

So far I feel pretty good about things.   The hot weather has to break some time soon and we should get some nice fall running weather in the next few weeks that will make the running a much more enjoyable.   I feel comfortable that I can tack on the miles without too much difficulty...ask me again when I get to mile 20 how I am feeling about that.

Other than that I am just focusing on the fundraising.  I am about $1500 short of the minimum I pledged to raise for Zero - The Project to End Prostate Cancer, but I am confident I can raise that by the deadline of October 1st.

I would love if you would be able to help out with a donation by clicking here. 

Thanks again for all your help....below is a map of my latest run.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bangkok - summer in the city??

Lots of time on a plane....20 hours in the air, ~28 door to door.  
Slept alot on the plane.   Went out and ran tonight.  A nice 4.5 miler in bangkok. It had cooled off a little bit so the weather wasn't too bad, but it was still pretty hot.   Streets were deserted which was great for running, but the park I wanted to run though was closed, so I ended up running around it.

I'm looking forward to running when the sun's out so I can see some of the sights.

Alrighty.  Its 2 am.  Off to bed.  Here's the map of where I ran.

Monday, August 09, 2010

When's this heat going to lift

The heat around here has still be pretty oppressive.  I've even resorted to the occasional treadmill run when its gotten too bad out.

I was pleased last Saturday when we got a short lived break in the weather to be able to run in 70 degree weather.  I was able to put in 12.25 miles at a 10:15 pace, which was extremely exciting for me after way too many 12:00 minute paces in 95 degree heat.

This week we're on staycation with the kids so I will try to grab some runs here and there before heading out of town next week.  

Other than that I am still plugging away on the fundraising and could still use your help.  If you want to click here to make a donation, I would really appreciate it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still Chugging Along

Things on the training front are still going relatively well.  Per Noel's suggestion I have dialed back the milage a little bit lately from the 16 that I topped out at a couple weeks back.  I've been doing 10s and 12s lately, with some short week night training thrown in here and there.   Jake's also going out for JV soccer this fall so we've been practicing after work some nights, so I've been supplementing the straight running with some soccer practice.    I've also been keeping on the bike.  I've started to see announcements for cyclocross races come through my emails, so I am starting to realize that I need to get some cycling miles in to be ready for 'cross in the fall.    Had a great ride with Josh from the team last week and he stomped on me on the hills so I'm going to need to do some hill work before the season starts.

The cut back in running miles has actually been nice considering the weather in the mid-Atlantic lately.  Its just been to plain hot to run.   Hopefully that will break soon.  

Other stuff is pretty quiet.   I am of course still fundraising.  I got a nice mention on dcBlogs and welovedc  of my recent fundraising solicitation.  You can of course click here to support my fundraising efforts.  

I'm also thinking of running the River Valley Ranch 10k if my schedule permits this summer.  Looks like it should be a fun trail run.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Prostate Exam Sponsored By:

Many fundraising races offer you the opportunity to "sponsor" athletes as they train and compete in endurance events.  Some people offer the opportunity to "sponsor a mile" in their marathon or sponsor a message on their cycling jersey.

I'm offering you the opportunity to sponsor a prostate exam for that special man in your life.  

Yes, you read that correctly.   A prostate exam.  Yeah it's what you think.  Talking about it makes us uncomfortable - maybe a bit squeamish, maybe it even makes you blush, but it's a deadly serious subject and men - dads in particular - need to be thinking about it.  And that's where I come in.  For a donation ($100 wouldn't hurt but any amount is greatly appreciated) to my campaign to raise funds for the Zero - The Project to End Prostate Cancer, I will take the bullet for you and bring up the awkward subject with that man in your life.  I'll offer two options - a heartfelt handwritten note from me letting him know that you've asked me to reach out to him and let him know that he needs to head to the doctor and get a prostate exam - or - if you'd prefer, I'd be happy to pick up the phone and call him and discuss with him the importance of getting to the doctor.

I can't think of anything more important this Father's day than helping the Dad in your life stay healthy.  Whether it's your dad, your nephew's Dad, or your son's dad, this Father's day is the perfect time to make sure they're getting a prostate exam.  

As you may know, my Dad is recovering from prostate cancer.  We discovered it when he was hospitalized while we were in California for my wedding.   He's doing very well now and I'm looking forward to many more Father's days with him.  Unfortunately, prostate cancer killed my uncle.  And sadly it's going to kill many more men. "Prostate cancer deaths are expected to jump 17 percent this year," according to estimates based on National Cancer Institute data.  It doesn't have to be that way though. If prostate cancer is diagnosed before it spreads, a patient has a 99 percent survival rate for five years.

Dad's have enough ties and barbecue tools.  This year get him a gift that really matters. Have me explain to him how important it is to you that he has a doctor poke around his bum to make sure he's healthy. It very well could save his life.  Next year you can buy him an ugly tie and let him burn some steaks.

Your donation will support the work of Zero – The Project to End Prostate Cancer which funds testing, education and research on prostate cancer.  Please click here to donate.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

16 and 1 - 1

So I set out to do a 15 miler yesterday morning.   Running from roughly downtown Annapolis through some of the neighborhoods and back.  Noel and I set out together with her planning on doing 7ish and me planning on doing the 15.  Since it was another one of these typical hot and humid days in Maryland it was moderately oppressive when we started out so I forced Noel to chug along at a roughly 10:30 pace....which I've become convinced is my "hot pace."

As for the run itself it went pretty well.  We did 7 miles through the largely shadeless streets of Annapolis to one of the parks in the area - "Quiet Waters" park.  At that point Noel peeled off and headed back to the car and I put in the rest of my miles.  Since we were at the park I decided that I should duck into the park and run on their trails where I'd be in the shade.  There is a nice paved shaded trail in the park that runs for roughly a mile and a half.  I did two out and backs on that and headed back towards the car.   I put in another three miles finishing up right over the Annapolis/Eastport bridge and turned left onto Duke of Glouster street which heads uphill to State Circle.  I quickly discovered that I really wasn't up for an uphill run.  I called it a day and walked back to the car.

As for the run it wasn't too bad.  The heat was pretty oppressive, but I'm just going to have to suck it up and deal with that.  Fortunately the marathon will be in November so heat shouldn't be much of an issue there.  I had some mysterious pain across the top of my foot between miles 8 and ~11 but it seemed to work itself out so I am not too concerned about that.  I speculate it was related to the wonkyness of the trail I was running on (roots and stuff across the trail).  I also managed my sodium intake much better this run.  I dumped in 6 Endurolyte tables during my run.  With the way I sweat, this was probably even lowballing it for me.  But I did notice that the post hot run headaches that I had been experiencing lately was only mildly present in the aftermath of this run.   To be fair though, this wasn't completely scientific because I finished off my run with a bloody mary and two Genius Stouts at Ram's Head tavern.  Endurolytes of stouts...who know's.  Guess I'll just have to have a stout after know for science.

I did experience some pretty significant pain after my run though.  I had what I would characterize as significant soreness from about mid calf to mid thigh in both legs.  I walked this off for about and hour and by the time I had finished up lunch of nachos and onion rings (and the drinks mentioned above) at the Ram's Head, I felt reasonable.

I banked 15 hours of sleep last night and by the time I woke up this morning I felt great.  I jumped on this morning and I discovered that I hadn't run the 15 miles that I planned to run, but I had in fact run 16 miles.   Noel tells me that 16 miles and beyond is the point where things start to break and you need to start being careful with your long runs.  I have 4 months until the race, so I can take it pretty easy on the build up.  She's putting together a training schedule for me so we'll see what the next few Saturday and Sunday mornings have in store for me.

All in all I think m performance was mich like that of the United State team vs. England yesterday - respectful but not outstanding and still leaving room for improvement.  Also for those of you who are curious why it was vs. England and not the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, here's the wiki on why.

Also, keep an eye on the blog this week.  I'm going to have a Father's day related sponsorship opportunity available in the next couple days.

Map of the run below:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I always thought it was "because he can"

Turns out it's in the service of science:
Dogs may be able to sniff out the smell of chemicals released into urine by prostate tumors, setting the stage for a new means of early prostate cancer detection.
Full story at WebMD. (Its really good news.)

No, it really is the heat

Those of you who live in the greater DC area, know we've just rolled through a bit of a mild heat wave. We had a stretch there where we knocked out a couple 95 degree days. I had the poor sense to run in those temperatures, a couple times at mid day. Which in hindsight was just plain dumb. It was also a bit demoralizing, because my pace was getting it's ass kicked. I was starting to think that the strong time that I posted up in Providence was an aberration and my running strength had gone to poo.

Turns out I think it might have just been the heat (although the humidity didn't help either). I went out thonight in lovely 75 degree weather and felt very strong. Did a nice 6 mile run from my office to the Lincoln Memorial and back and felt really good when I finished. Although I didn't have my Garmin with me so I might just be imagining I have more ability than I do.

Anyway, provided greater DC doesn't see another day this summer over 75 degree I should be golden.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some times you have great runs

and sometimes you don't.  Yesterday was one of the don'ts.   I'm slowly but surely adding a mile every couple weeks to my distance until I get up to 20 miles in advance of the marathon.   I went out yesterday and did my longest run of 14 miles.   I've done 13.1 a couple times, but this was quite a bit tougher.  In hindsight I think there were a couple things that sent the run off the rails.

  1. Starting too late in the day.  I started at 11:45.  I think I may have picked the hottest part of the day.  Dumb.  Its cooler in the morning and the sun isn't directly overhead.  
  2. I didn't really fuel up properly in the morning.  I started the day with a bowl of chocolate mini wheats.  Not even close to the breakfast of champions.  
  3. I decided to fuel up mid run with 2 chocolate covered Oreos at mile 9.   This was just to not feel so bad about only spending $3 on the charge card at the take out place.  In hindsight, pure knucklehead.
So between the height of the day heat, the poor nutrition, and eating Oreos, my stupidity conspired to make for a really bad run.  Oh yeah, and at mile 3 I realized that I hadn't cover/lubricated my nipples (pretty sure those last 4 words are going to make for some great referrals in the traffic stats) so I got to run 11 miles without a shirt on...that alternative being chaffed / bleeding nipples.    It was one of those runs where I would look at the Garmin and see my pace and convince myself that the GPS was hinky and I was really farther than it thought and was clearly miscalculating my distance....nope, I was just running really slowly.   

That all being said, I slogged out the 14 miles.  Farther than I've ever gone and I don't feel like death today (YAY!) and I am going to get the bike out tomorrow and ride a bit with my honey.  So all in all I count it as a victory.  

I have learned though, that my next long run is going to start with the old faithful of a bowl of oatmeal, will begin early in the morning, and won't include any Oreos.  And my nipple with be properly prepared.   

Hopefully this will lead to better results.   15 miles in a couple weeks.   Details below.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Latest Happenings

A couple good points to note.

I've had great support from donors.  I'm 23% to my goal of raising $3,500 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  Thank you to everyone who has supported me.  I really appreciate it. Your support is providing vital services to fathers, sons, husbands, brother and uncles everywhere.  Thanks! If you'd like to make a donation please click here.  Checks are always welcomed as well.  Please email me and I can give you my home address.

For those of you in the DC Area:
DASH FOR DAD, the premier prostate cancer race series in the U.S., is a heartfelt tight-knit community event that brings together athletes, cancer survivors, physicians, caregivers, family members and friends. Proceeds from each 10K race are used to provide free prostate cancer testing for men in the local community of the event.
Is coming to Alexandria.  This is a great way to help out the cause and run a little shorter route.  The run through Alexandria should be great and a lot of fun.

On the running side, I think I might have gotten the trail running bug.  As you might remember from my last post, Noel and I spent some time on the trails when we were up in Rhode Island.  I had so much fun up there that I decided that I would do one of my long runs on the trail down here this weekend.  I decided to head to Patapsco Valley State Park outside of Baltimore and put in roughly 12 miles on the trails.  I figure a good 12 miles on the trails would be like 14 on the road.  I'm not sure if that's the right conversion, but it was a blast and did kick the daylights out of me.

A couple things I discovered.  Mentally trail running is a lot more taxing and challenging.  You've got to keep your eyes on the trail constantly and think about how you're going to run all the time.  I ran without my iPod and my brain was constantly working (especially when I got off the GPS track a couple times. )  I also noticed that its a lot harder, which is great.   It took me 3 and half hours to run roughly 12 miles.  Last week it took me 2 hours 8 minutes to run 13 miles on the road.   I had a blast though and always had something to focus on out in the woods.   (BTW: there are a ton of busy woodpeckers in that forest.  It's a shock that there are any trees left.)  I was also completely spent at the end of the run.  I had to duck into the local Burger King on the way home and try the new Burger King A1 Steakhouse XT Burger (which I heartily recommend once in a great while.)

I am considering investing in some trail specific shoes and need some help from friends to find some other trails...especially those a little close to Annapolis.   (comments please)

The map of my run is below (it only says 11.2 but I ran a little me.)

Other than that, that's about it.  I'll be doing another fundraising appeal in a week or so and may plan an auction / happy hour for the summer.

Thanks again everyone.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Providence Half

So Noel and I had a great marathon / half marathon weekend up in Providence. Most importantly, we had a great time hanging out together enjoying each other's company and poking around Providence.

A couple quick observations about Providence.

  1. There are "Hot Wieners" (NY or Conney Island System) everywhere.
  2. The city seems to have a higher than average share of strip clubs.
  3. There are alot of psychics; and
  4. Everyone must be getting tattoos.
That aside though, we did have a nice time in Providence.  I think we covered a fair portion of the city in our 4 day weekend up there.  We hit the Italian section of town for lunch one day (yum handmade gnocchi), had goat with some friends in the Latino part of town another night, and did a little bit of shopping here and there the other days.  We stayed at the Johnson and Wales Inn and enjoyed the hospitality of the students.  

A couple times we were able to head over to the James V. Turner Reservoir down the street from the hotel and do some trail running around the reservoir.  The community has done a great job preserving the area around the reservoir and the trails were in great shape (in spite of the recent flooding).  The first night we got there and hit the trail as the sun was setting and were able to watch the sun set through pines around the water.  We were also able to have a nice stretch out run on Saturday morning the day before the race.  Both very enjoyable and a running treat.  I truly enjoyed the trail running and might have to find some good trails back home.  

The race itself was excellent.  We were blessed with some really great weather.  It was lightly overcast with temperatures right around 70 at the start of the race.   Other than the promoters putting the port-a-johns in the same space as the starting corrals, the start came off without a hitch.  (BTW: I think the announcer might have been phil liggett, but that' just speculation)

The first couple miles were nice, snaking out of the downtown core and through the area around Brown and RISD.  Beautiful communities and the only real hill on the course.  I didn't feel great at the beginning, but I think I am finding it takes my legs a little while to open up.

By about mile four I really started to feel strong.  I had my garmin with me so I could tell that I was doing a 6 mph pace keeping myself right at my 10 min pace.  This was feeling good on a long stretch out along what looks like a municipal park of some sort (that we would come back along later).

In the mid miles I largely continued to feel good, pushing myself a bit, but not so hard that I'd be out of gas at mile 10.   I started to feel a bit rough around mile 8 / 9 but was able to chug through it and felt better after we did a short downhill and got along the water around mile 10.

I don't know that there was any point where I knew I was going to do really well, but when I hit mile 10 I remember the timing sign saying 1:40.  Knowing that it took me a couple minutes to cross the start line and that I had to take my shoe off at mile two to clear a rock, I knew I was running well below my goal and if I could keep on trucking along at the pace that I had been I would beat my goal.  

Miles 11 through the end were pretty uneventful and were just a matter of slogging things out and getting to the end.  I would note though that you're ever cheering on a race, never ever tell someone that they're "almost there."  Especially not at mile 11.5.  Until you cross the line you still have a ways to go.  Clap and yell.  I suspect most folks either know what mile they're at or are doing their best to be wilfully ignorant and are in their happy place.  Shouting that "you only have a mile and half to go" at mile 11.5 is just mean.

I finished strong (although not as strong as the guy next to me who dipped into the suitcase of courage and sprinted across the finish line.)   I was able to get cleaned up and go cheer for the marathoners and wait for Noel as she came across with a really strong time.

I feel really good about my performance.  I think the training is working and my body is handling the runs better.  I will say though that I could have put another mile or two in after the race, but my body still has a ways to go until it can get to 20....but I've got a couple months and alot of training miles.  

All in all a great success all around.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'm in!

9:49 pace
34 seconds faster pace than last half.
More details later.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This weekend.

So I didn't quite get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get in the long run which was the main focus of the weekend.  Events overtook the day on Sunday and I didn't get out and get on the bike.  I did get alot accomplished around the house though.

The 13 mile run went relatively well.  I headed out over a local bridge straight into the wind.  Back down back into Edgewater.  More wind.  The first seven miles were relatively uneventful, if not a bit windy.   As I turned back in for the second six, I started getting a few twinges in the right calf I blew up a couple months ago.  I was able to take a few moments, pause, and stretch my calf a bit.  I seemed to do that trick and I finished up the 13 feeling tired and sore, but not at all injured.  I'm thinking that doing another 13 weekend after next should be completely manageable (I think I'll be doing the Providence Half while Noel does the full.)

This week we'll be getting ready for Jacob's Bar Mitzvah so I expect that I won't be running to much.  Maybe I can take advantage of the 24 hour part of 24Hour Fitness next week and squeeze some workouts in.

Also thanks again to everyone who has supported my run.  Click here to help.

Here's the map of yesterday's run.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Training is going well.

Training is progressing along decently.   I got a ride in on Monday and ran a couple miles and hit a yoga class last night at 24 Hour Fitness. (BTW: those of you who do yoga in Annapolis should check out Di's classes at 24 Hour or Prana.  Challenging and reinvigorating)

Anyway,  I've noticed a bit more recently that my body is clearly unbalanced.  My right side is visibly stronger and has much better balance that my left.  I'm not sure how I fix this though.  I've thrown single leg spins into some of my rides to try to strengthen the left leg, but I don't really think there is an equivalent running exercise. Should I hop a half mile every few miles??

This weekend looks good.  Looks like a long run (maybe 13 miles) on Saturday morning and a ride some time Sunday, to spin out the junk and get the cycling fitness up.  

In addition to NYC Marathon, Noel and I are tentatively planning on doing the Philadelphia Colnago Gran Fondo.   It seems like it should be a lot of fun...a little less casual than some rides, but not a hammerfest by any means.  I've ridden outside of Philly in the past and the roads a good and the terrain fairly challenging.  I'm optimistic that it'll work in the schedule.    

Things are good.  I'm still holding my weight at 198, which as I've mentioned on FB is a big accomplishment for me (lowest weight since college), but is still about 18 lbs over where I want to be.  If you see me with a cookie, slap it out of my hand and scold me.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kicking Prostate Cancer's Butt

As some of you may have heard, on November 7, 2010 I'm going to be running the New York City Marathon as a fundraiser for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.   I've done a half marathon in the past, but this will be my first full distance marathon.  I'm both excited and pretty intimidated.  I'm confident I can do it, but there's going to be alot of work between my current fitness level which comfortably takes me 13 miles and a level of fitness that will allow me to comfortably finish the 26.2 miles in Central Park this fall.

The reason I'm doing this is simple - prostate cancer killed my uncle and could have killed my dad.

I headed west last summer and got married to my wonderful wife Noel. We were married in San Diego and spent the week out there with the kids.   My parents joined us for a part of the week.

On Thursday my dad called me at 5 am saying he was sick and needed me to come down to his room.  The fact that it was 5 a.m. and my dad wasn't just toughing it out was a clear red flag that it was something big.

Without going in to too much detail, Dad's gall bladder had called it a day.  As part of the diagnosis of Dad's troubles the hospital ran a bevy of diagnostics.  One of those was an MRI of his abdomen.  This discovered a spot on his kidney. Turned out it was probably stage 2 or 3 cancer.  Had Dad not gotten sick there would have been no reason to MRI his abdomen and the cancer would still be on his kidney doing the nasty things it does.  And even though my dad had been vigilant about getting prostate screenings - after losing his brother -  during blood
work at the hospital they discovered problems with his prostate. Turns out there was cancer there too.

Fortunately they caught the cancers early enough and after a couple surgeries, my Dad's healthy again and cancer free.

Not everyone's dad is that lucky though. Estimates are that 28,660 American men lost their lives to prostate cancer in 2008.

Fortunately, prostate cancer can be beat.  That's why I'm running.  Annual screening saves lives. One man in every six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, but if caught early, nearly 100 percent survive.  ZERO - The Project to End Prostate Cancer - - has some great resources that explain how prostate cancer can be kept at bay.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I'm running the marathon as a fundraiser to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  I've committed to raise $3,500 to support the programs of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.   Your tax-deductible contribution will fund ZERO's efforts to end prostate cancer by providing comprehensive treatment information to patients, education to those at risk, and conducting more free screenings than ever before.  By clicking here: you can donate online to support my race and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  If you'd prefer to donate with a check, please send me an email at and I will send you my address.

Thanks in advance for your support of my race and the  fight against prostate cancer.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

In NYC Marathon

Hey guys - I'm going to have a more thorough posting on this in the next couple days, but I did want to let everyone know (yes, both of my readers) that on November 7th I will be running the New York Marathon - my first marathon - as a fundraiser for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. More details to come.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Coming Soon

So i am tee-d up for running the B&A Half Marathon this weekend. I'm feeling good. I've accidentally run over 13 miles before (missed some turn arounds) so I feel pretty good about my ability to run the 13.1.

Also coming soon, I'm going to be doing some fundraising for the New York Marathon. I'm tentatively planning to run teh NYC Marathon with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. It also means I might be asking you for a few bucks to support prostate cancer research and treatment. I'll write soon about the half and then more details will come on the marathon.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snowpocalypse Run

So I was able to get my "10 Miler" in yesterday.  I was supposed to have been Saturday but training was cancelled because of the storm.

Looks like fundraising and training with the Prostate Cancer Foundation will be a go this year, and depending on whether Noel gets into the NYC Marathon via the lottery we will either do NYC or Chicago.   More details to come.