Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out and back: 5 hard miles

Continuing my goal of getting close to 15 miles this weekend I set out to Bethpage State Park yesterday to run the bike trails. I originally thought I might continue to the wooded trails afterward but the effort to cover 5 miles on pavement was plenty. I got to the park at around 5:30 and was able to drive right in without paying a parking fee. It was in the low 70's and while there was plenty of sun it was not as intense as midday.

Starting on the bike trail is psychologically challenging because the first eighth of a mile seems to go straight up before leveling off. I thought about how nice it was last time I ran there since the last leg is eased by a this downhill segment. I mapped the route I followed (2.5 miles out and back) and also mapped the elevation. I was surprised that it showed the hills are not much greater than 2%. Near the end they feel like mountain ranges. There were plenty of bike riders along the way but I didn't encounter any other runners. As I become familiar with the paths I have context for distance covered (plus the fact that distance is marked periodically on the paths which I compare to what the Garmin tells me). Like last time, I turned around after 2.5 miles and headed back. The first half mile back was all uphill and my legs were tired but I kept telling myself that I had to keep going regardless of pace. When I encountered downhill segments I appreciated the respite and used them as mini recovery periods to prepare for the next hill. I kept thinking about the final hill that comes at about 4.5 miles and when I reached it I simply gritted my teeth and pushed, all the time searching for the crest and then the final run ending downhill.

By the end I was so spent that I couldn't consider a short run in the woods so I got in the car and headed home quickly so I'd still be hot by the time I hit the pool. I only went in for a couple of minutes but it was enough to cool me down. My right hamstring was really hurting and my knee was also a little sore so I put ice and compression on them. This morning there's still some residual pain around my hamstring but it's not intense. I'm going to try a short run and spend some time in the pool today. I'm sure I won't make 15 miles but I'll do my best.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Getting up to speed (literally)

I was thinking about my upcoming race on June 7, 8K (5 miles) in New Hyde Park, NY. This will be my longest race to date and it will certainly push me to the limit in terms of effort and conditioning. After dedicated focus on running for the past nine months I have reached the point where I can handle the distance but not necessarily at the pace that I'd like to run. I am satisfied with my performance on the 4 miler and the 5K but while I was consistently running below 9 minutes per mile a month or two ago my speed seems to have regressed to the point that I'm still in the 9:00 to 9:10 range on most of my better runs. It's possible that I'm doing better than I think. Since I changed the battery in my Garmin 50 foot pod its distance accuracy has been questionable. The other variable is my shoes. I switched from My Nike Turbulence 13's to the Brooks GTS 9's after the 5K. The Brooks feel great and my hip and leg problems have gone away for the most part. Could it be that I just don't run as fast in them?

I am excited about the race but I'll admit my anticipation is different now that I know more what to expect for the most part. I'm trying to pick up as many miles earlier in the week and taper near the end of the week possibly running a slightly shorter but faster course next Friday.

Yesterday AG and I did our weekly city run down the bike trails along the West Side Highway. We did this run as an end of the week recreational run rather than a business update. We started close to our building and went west about a mile before heading south along the path to the park behind Stuyvesant High School on Chambers Street. In total we covered close to 5 miles and after we returned to the office we Gmapped the route to calculate our pace. It was hard to determine the true pace because I only timed the longer southern route but it appeared as though we ran around 9:30 or so per mile. I kept the pace relatively slow because I wasn't feeling strong enough to work on speed. At one point she turned around to look at something we had just past and ran backward for short time at the same pace I was running forward! I'll blame some of my slowness on the fact that I just run better in the morning. I'm also not feeling all that great this morning and I'm wondering if I was fighting a slight fever. But it's easy to make excuses.

My plan today is to run about 5 miles and I think I may do that later in the day. I also want to work in some speed drills. I'm sure doing that helped me achieve a decent pace in the 5K. Eight days and counting to the 8K. It's coming fast.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giving in to low tech

During the check-in for my 5K race there was a man handing out flyers for the New Hyde Park 8K race that's scheduled to be held on Sunday, June 7. The race is only a few towns away from where I live and my wife encouraged me to sign up. Although the application says you can register online at the site is still set up for 2008. I tried to find more information online but everything kept pointing back to the New Hyde Park Runner's Club website. I started wondering if the event was even going to happen and I was concerned that with no online registration there would be few people participating. The race is nine days away and although I have been training for it I started thinking that it might be a good idea to start looking around for another race.

As it happened, I tried one more time to find information and saw a link to the Runner's World Racefinder. The listing had contact information, including a phone number, so I called and spoke to Harold Axelrod who told me the race is very much on but their website is having problems. I asked him how many runners he expected for the race and he said 350 to 400. That sounded good to me. Harold offered to send me an application but I already had one in paper form. I told him I'd send it in and he wished me well in the race.

I'm excited that I'm back on track for this 5 mile race. I've been running about 20 miles per week over the last month and have been focusing on both pace and hills. The race starts at 9:15 on the 7th and I'm hoping that the sun won't be too intense at that time. Tomorrow AG and I are planning a long run along the Hudson (weather permitting) with a goal pace of under 9:00/mile. She's just had two consecutive weekends of highly intense competition and this will be her first run since the Patch Sprint. I'm looking to cover 12-15 miles between tomorrow and Sunday, perhaps starting with 5 or 6 on Friday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This past weekend was a busy combination of activities. Some I enjoyed (long runs, buying running clothes, swimming) and others I didn't enjoy at all (an all day reception on Saturday). In between that I spent a few hours organizing my workout storage area consolidating everything into a wooden wardrobe in the guest room. I placed my running sweats, compression tights, thermal wicking jerseys, winter head gear and gloves into their own section and created new spaces for summer jerseys, running shorts, socks, etc. Now I no longer have to bounce back and forth between the bedroom, cabinets and baskets to collect my gear for a morning workout. I'm hoping this better organized setup will shave off a couple of minutes of prep time for me in the morning. Every minute counts.

As I was doing this task it occurred to me that I still have drawers filled with clothes that no longer fit me. Over the past few weeks I'd transferred some suits into the donation bin but I still had dozens of tee shirts, polo shirts and dress shirts that now look huge on me. I've recently bought some new casual clothes so it was easy to let go of most of the tees. I drew the line at my MIT shirts since they are special and many still fit. There were some items that had me on the fence like long sleeve comfortable jerseys. I had to fight the urge to retain them but out they went. The purge continued with pants and shorts and by the end I must have had 50 lbs. of clothing ready for donation.

All the while I was throwing clothes into the donation basket I wondered if this was a fool's errand. What made me think I would continue to remain the size I am now? What if I gained 5 or 10 lbs? I decided that I had to press on as I fully intend to remain focused on fitness and running. I lost my weight quickly but I did that through a sustainable program of portion, sugar and (bad) fat reduction. I don't starve and running keeps my weight in balance. I could always buy bigger clothes if that became necessary but my dislike for shopping for (non-exercise related) clothing is so intense that it may be enough to keep my diet in check.

After all my dreading of the treadmill I did get on it this morning for a quick couple of miles. I started off at a comfortable pace and increased it periodically until finishing the last two minutes under an 8:00 pace. I ended up running 8:32/mi overall. It was fine but I miss the street. AG lent me a head lamp and reflector vest from her relay team supplies so I'm planning to try that as an occasional alternative to the weekday treadmill events.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This week's Sedentary Man

This week SM talks about healthcare and its 19th century roots. His definition of trepanning reminds me of how I felt negotiating grade 5 hills this past weekend. Here's this week's column.

After a long weekend of challenging distance runs I decided to do a recovery workout on the elliptical this morning. All my aches have gone away and I'm debating whether I'll get back on the treadmill tomorrow. I'm seriously considering the headlamp and reflector vest option rather than running indoors again. Since I have neither of those items I guess I'm stuck with three options: treadmill, elliptical (again) or a rest day. I'm planning to do a city run on Friday and I want to get at least one run in before that. Oh how I wish the sun would rise at 4:00!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trailing off

It's been an activity-filled long weekend and we've taken great advantage of the sunny weather. The pool has been well used and the new Aquabot has shown to have a great work ethic. There was too much to do this morning for me to work in a run so I decided to wait until late afternoon to head over to Stillwell Woods for a run on the dirt trails.

At 4:00 PM it was still very hot and sunny so I wore my new "Boston Marathon" AdiStar tee that is supposed to have superior cooling and wicking properties. I've learned that not all technical shirts are alike and that you do tend to get what you pay for. My Nike Sphere Dri-Fit shirt keeps me much drier than the Champion jerseys I use for everyday workouts. The Adidas performed very well and I was glad to have worn it.

I purposely parked at the street end of the lot to give myself a quarter mile of paved road to run before hitting the entrance to the trails. I wore my NB trail shoes that work very well on dirt and pavement and I was glad to have them once I started on the first path. Like last time I ran Stillwell there were a number of people staging for riding but I didn't encounter any hardcore bikers throughout my run. I did face a handful of casual bikers and had some tight spots where we practically brushed arms as we passed. Stillwell's main trails are wide enough to ride (or run) two across but the feeder trails are barely wide enough for one. It was almost claustrophobic in parts but I appreciated the respite from the sun and I was amused by the number of rabbits and other small creatures I saw scampering across the path. My plan was to run no more than 25 minutes and I ended up running 2 1/4 miles in a little less than 21. I came home, quickly changed and dove right in the pool. While in the pool I tried "running in place" holding on to the side in the deep end. It felt like I'd had a good post run stretch by the time I came out.

Overall, it was a great long weekend with lots of different activities and some really good runs. I think I'm in good shape for my June 7 race. Still waiting for them to put up the online registration!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bikes, at least, have gears

This morning I drove over to Bethpage State Park to check out their trails. I had read a lot about the bike trails that begin in Bethpage and reach as far south as Sunrise Highway allowing a person to ride (or run) 13 miles. You could conduct your own personal marathon by turning around at the end and running back! The cost to park was $6 and I hesitated for a moment thinking that there are plenty of places to run for free. My curiosity got the best of me and I drove on and parked in the main lot which is situated north of the paved trails and golf courses (including the famous Black Course which will host the US Open this year).

I started my run at the beginning of the paved bike trail that starts immediately with a sizable hill. There were a number of bikers and walkers out at that time but it wasn't so crowded that I had to avoid people or slow down at any time. Once I crested that hill I ran on a mostly downward slope. The whole time I was on that part I was thinking how hard it would be tailing in with that long incline. There were other hills and descents over the first mile and a half and I mentally banked the work I'd be doing upon my return. My plan was to run about 20 minutes and then turn back. The paths ran parallel to both highways and streets but the trees blocked most evidence of civilization. I started seeing runners from the other direction and figured most people start from the southern part of the trail and then run north. Everyone was courteous and despite all the bikers I never felt that I was in danger of being run over. I reached a point where the trail was marked "4.0" and turned around to come back.

I felt good throughout the run. The trees provided good cover from the sun and I moved along pretty well. Having just run the trail from the north direction I had a sense of progress coming back. I did start to tire at mile 3 and winced at the thought that I'd be hitting the biggest hills near the end. I passed a number of walkers along the way and waved to a couple of bikers and other runners that I saw earlier from the other direction. I encountered a few up and down spots and tried to conserve energy on the declines, taking shorter strides on the hills. The last hill was as long going up as I'd remembered it coming down. I wasn't going to stop and I didn't. Once I realized I'd crested I knew that the only thing ahead was running down the big hill to the end. In all I covered 5 miles and probably would have gone a little further had the trail extended another mile.

Later that day we took a quick trip to the outlet stores so I could get a couple of needed items. While there I went into the Adidas store to look at running shorts. I have about a dozen pairs of shorts but, besides my Pearl Izumi's, most aren't made for running. I ended up getting a great deal on an expensive jersey that reminded me a little of a Zoot shirt that I covet every time I visit City Sports in NYC. After that we hit the pool and then headed back to Bethpage to walk the cinder trails. Those trails are really well maintained with lots of different routes to choose. I wore my NB trail runners for that walk and my daughter and I did a little running together so I could get a feel for the trail. I'll be back soon, dressed fully for running.

I loved my experience at Bethpage but didn't love the parking fee. The guy at the gate said I could buy an Empire Passport for $65 that allows access into any NY state park. Seven visits to Bethpage alone would pay for it so I think that will be a good family investment

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorable Memorial Day

We had an event that took up most of our day today so I got an early start to my run. I took off around 6:30 AM with no planned route or distance. I figured that I'd do at least 30 minutes and let my location relative to home determine my full distance. I got off to a good start navigating through my neighborhood for a couple of miles before crossing over to neighborhood #2. The weather was cool and I wasn't having any issues with my leg so I figured it would be a fairly smooth run. I did a loop through neighborhood #2 and by the time I exited into the far end of my neighborhood I was starting to feel some fatigue. Throughout the run I was thinking about pace and I was a little frustrated that I wasn't getting an accurate read from the Garmin foot pod. The pace it was showing was about 9:47 yet I knew I was running close to race pace at that point. I really have to do a focused calibration on the Garmin this weekend.

While I wasn't really all that tired or in any way winded as I approached 30 minutes I recall feeling like I was working harder to run 3 miles than I had in recent days. It was hot this morning but not oppressive. As I ran I kept thinking about how it would feel to jump into the pool when I got home. So much of running is accepting some pain and tedium and while last weekend's runs seemed a lot like floating today's felt less buoyant. Despite the way I felt I decided to run another 10+ minutes towards home. It was getting hotter as the sun rose higher and I decided to push the pace a few times to test my conditioning. As I reached the last couple of streets I began to feel some slight discomfort coming from my right inside leg. I held back a little concerned that it could be a groin related issue but I did push the last quarter mile. Knowing the Garmin is currently inaccurate for distance I Gmapped the run and calculated that my pace was 9:07 for 4.82 miles.

I gave myself a few minutes to get my heart rate down, quickly changed into swim trunks and jumped in the pool for the first time this season. I entered the pool hot and sweating and emerged freezing (which was a much better feeling). The rest of the day was spent at an event where the music was too loud and the high calorie food was too available. I certainly exceeded my calorie and fat quota today and didn't much enjoy it. I know I'll run it all off but I'm feeling a little guilty, especially about the sugar.

I saw AG's tweet reports from the Patch Sprint 12 mile mountain race. Her team all finished the event and one teammate finished 2nd. Great going to all. I'm hoping the rain hold off tomorrow so I can try the Bethpage trails. I did 20.6 miles this past week and I hope to total at least 13 over the long weekend. 8 miles to go!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Weekend plans

I'm looking forward to this weekend, not only because it comes with an extra day off but because, as of this weekend, I'll have an opportunity to jump in the pool after my long runs. I've been reading about different approaches to cross training and swimming appears to be a good choice. I'm eager to try running under water as a no-impact training alternative but mostly I'm looking forward to the instant cool-down after diving in.

Another thing I've been reading about is the relationship between speed training and distance. I've both read and have been told that tempo runs and intervals are extremely beneficial to distance runners, especially those that need to increase their anaerobic efficiency. I appreciate that but my reaction to anything like drills is fairly negative. I have done speed drills and I'm sure that it's helped me but what I really want to do is get into the zone and just run. I'm looking to combine tempo training and trail running this weekend. I'm targeting the bike trails at Bethpage State Park for that. I don't know what to expect from that in terms of surface. I know the bike paths are paved but I've also heard there are good dirt trails.

Instead of facing the treadmill this morning I ran 1.6 miles in Central Park before starting my work day. It was cool and sunny - perfect conditions for a light run. AG is doing her second consecutive weekend of torture, this time she'll be running up and down four mountains in the Patch Sprint race. I have about two weeks before my next race so I'll continue to work on distance and aim for 20 miles per week until then. It's been a great week for city running, once in Boston and twice in NYC. I'm dreading the heat of summer but I'm thinking that even on the hottest days, running in the early morning hours can still be bearable.

I'm using the Moji Knee this morning to see how it feels post-run. AG will field test it this weekend during her 12 mile mountain race and we'll report on its performance. So far I like the way it feels.

In addition, I will be testing a product from QStarz, a Hong Kong based company that makes the BT-Q1300S which, according to the company is "a GPS sports-recorder designed for out-door sports fans to set up the weight loss plan, Keep Track of workout status, and strive toward even the best record." I am eager to to try it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Visiting Brooklyn the hard way

Yesterday provided another new city running experience for me as AG and I again held our weekly update meeting outdoors. We spent the first 15 minutes discussing some key business items in my office before heading out. AG brought in some Clif Shot Bloks that were left over from her relay. She wanted to try them to see if they provided some benefit since she's facing 12 miles of dirt, brush, rocks and hills (mountains actually) at this weekend's Patch Sprint. I tried a couple out of curiosity and I'm glad I did since what lay ahead was no picnic.

We headed downtown by subway and staged at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Our plan was to run over the bridge to Brooklyn, make our way to the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, run that length, and then return. The temperature sign from my office said 78 degrees and I was wearing a black Dri-Fit jersey. It wasn't too bad in the shade but in the sun it was hot. The Brooklyn Bridge is sizable but not scary at all. The cars are a level below and the most concerning thing is that you're sharing a relatively narrow path crowded with walkers and cyclists. The first half of the bridge is an incline but I had no trouble with that, possibly due to the pre-run carb load. Once we headed down and off the bridge I was feeling pretty good. AG warned me that we'd encounter a big hill soon and that had me a little worried. I should have been much more worried.

Once we were in Brooklyn we ran through DUMBO and then took a left where we hit the mini mountain and charged our way up. When I say charged up I mean I ran about as fast as a slow walker. I'm sure AG could have zipped up the hill at twice the speed but we did it together. I was very happy to see it start to level and although the street continued at a slight incline it was tolerable. We swung down to the Promenade and ran that to the end. At the turnaround the Garmin showed exactly 2 miles. We continued back and encountered the hill again but it was much easier going in that direction. There were two guys charging up as we made it down and I felt for them.

After we reached DUMBO I requested that we walk for a few blocks as I was pretty spent and we still had the bridge to cross. That helped and we resumed our run as we made our way up the steps to the bridge. It was hot, crowded and we ran on an incline until we made it to the middle. The rest of the way was downhill and we finished where we started, exactly 4 miles later. We bought some bottled water and headed back to work, hot and sweating but feeling energized.

Taking into account the walking, we ran at least 3.75 miles in conditions that were tougher than any I've seen in weeks. I had been feeling weak and tired most of the day on Wednesday and the run knocked that out completely. Today I still feel strong and energized. At the rate I'm going I should make 20 miles this week and if I get to the trails I'll be able to push myself again. Three bridges in three days has been lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Size matters

A week ago I had a meeting with some people who I have not seen in months As I greeted this group, the lead person asked me "Did you lose a lot of weight?" Today, I met wth an industry colleague and the first thing he said to me was "You look great, have you lost a lot of weight?" There are many other examples of this including a hit and run on the elevator today with a colleague from another floor who asked me the same thing.

I am happy that I've lost weight and it's always nice to hear that you look good (apparently I looked much worse 35 lbs. ago) but I still look forward to the day when I run into someone that I have not seen in a while and that's not their first reaction. For one thing, I hope to maintain this (healthy) weight level and as long as I continue my running I will. The other thing is about stabilizing my wardrobe. For the last 20 or so years I've worn the same size for suits. My waist size may have expanded a little but I've consistently worn size large jerseys since college. Even as my weight decreased I was convinced that I still needed to buy my shirts in large but recently I was given a medium sized running shirt that fit me very well. I then realized (despite the many times my wife tried to point this out) that clothes should fit you in a way that shows that you actually have a body shape. Over the last six months I've had some of my suits tailored to fit my form better. While that has allowed me to walk around without fear that my pants would fall down, my suit jackets still resembled the one David Byrne wore in the concert film "Stop Making Sense."

Last weekend I actually spent some time in clothing stores and bought two new suits, a bunch of (medium sized) t-shirts, some shorts that fit me and swim trunks that are far less likely to leave my body after diving in the pool than my current pairs. The downside to having correctly sized clothes is that more people are apt to notice my weight loss.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Going negative - let's start with my elliptical

I'm feeling a little grouchy this morning and I'm not sure why. It could be due to my workout this morning. The workout itself was fine, about 23 minutes on the elliptical. What wasn't fine was the noise that my BH Fitness X1 unit often makes during operation. I've written before about my dislike for (among other things) the noise that my treadmill motor produces and lauded the elliptical for its quiet, human-powered operation. Unfortunately my X1 still manages to create a racket often producing a loud clicking/banging noise that's hard to tolerate. We've had people service the unit four times. They have no remedy for the noise and each time the unit has been serviced it has operated a little worse than before. Hard to know if my unit is a lemon or if BH Fitness just makes problematic equipment. Either way, I suggest that anyone who's considering buying a "gym quality" elliptical to avoid BH Fitness units.

While I'm complaining I'll turn attention back to the treadmill. I read an interesting column in Running Times yesterday called "Step Off the Treadmill" written by Tamara Rice Lave, a former US IAAF marathoner. Her complaints about the treadmill were consistent with the mine (and those who have commented on the subject). Lave did present a balanced view and admitted that it works well for many. I spent a few minutes looking at the sunrise calendar yesterday desperately hoping to see that daylight and 4:00 AM would coincide some time this summer. Unfortunately not, the earliest sunrise is 5:23 so I'm going to have to keep running indoors in the morning.

I've been adding one long run into my routine every week and it's helped get my weekly distance up closer to 20 miles. I want to be in good shape to run my 8K and I really want to run the Great Cow Harbor 10K in the fall. AG is running the Patch Sprint this weekend which is a grueling 12 mile course over the four Pok-O-Patch mountains. The note that accompanies the waiver indicates "IT IS VERY POSSIBLE THAT YOU WILL DIE BECAUSE MEDICAL PERSONNEL CANNOT PHYSICALLY GET TO YOU IN TIME." Sounds like fun!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Over the river and through the Park

CAMBRIDGE - I got out early today, a little after 6:00 AM, with a goal of running along the Charles River to Boston and back. I ran up Main Street toward the Longfellow Bridge but when I got to it the pedestrian walkway on the outbound side was closed. I changed direction and ran down to the paths that parallel the river along Memorial Drive and followed that to the Harvard Bridge. There were many other runners out at that hour: students, moms with jogging strollers and a few groups of people running together. The weather was cool, dry and overcast - perfect conditions for a run. I crossed over the bridge and ran along the other side toward the Esplanade. I always think about my wife when I'm around that park because she put on a big event at the Hatch Shell when she was at Emerson College.

I continued on my way toward the Longfellow Bridge and crossed back over to the Cambridge side. It was an amazing view and at the mid-point of the bridge I could see both the Boston and Cambridge skylines at once. I ran up Broadway to finish at my hotel. According to the Garmin I ran 3.52 miles (I mapped it on MapMyRun and it was actually 3.59 miles). I only stopped because I had to get ready for my meetings at the Media Lab. The Cambridge to Boston loop is a great, fun run and I'm glad I was able to do it again.

Adventure Girl update: Her Ragner Woodstock-to-Bronx relay team (Have Fun - Go Fast) finished 11th out of 26 in their division. They covered 181.1 miles in 26:47. That's a, 8:52 pace. Very impressive considering it was a team of 12, ranging from 7 to 11 minute milers who each ran three measurable segments in less than a day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heading to the Charles

I'm getting ready to leave for another trip to MIT. I have a busy day on Monday but I'm planning to take a little time in the morning to do my favorite run along Memorial Drive in Cambridge. This morning I ran about 4 miles at 9:08. I'm not quite sure why my pace has slipped back over 9:00 but it has. I've been concentrating on distance and less on speed but all the same I feel like I'm pushing pretty well. I tried to calibrate the Garmin this morning using the automatic feature. It didn't quite work out but I believe I've managed to get it back to spec through manual adjustment.

Only three weeks until the New Hyde Park 8K. I wish they'd put the online registration up on the site already!

This week's Sedentary Man

Last weekend Sedentary Man did the unthinkable: he moved his daughter into a walkup apartment with eight flights of stairs. SM discovered a lot about himself, most importantly that riding an exercise bike doesn't prepare you for 17 consecutive trips up the stairs carrying heavy objects. Read this week's column...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thanks coach

Over the past nine months I've put some serious time and energy towards running and fitness. It's been a great experience and the benefits are clear. Although running is a form of voluntary suffering, I'd define it as a good kind of pain. Unlike my first attempt at serious running, I've been careful to minimize elements that de-motivate me (unrealistic expectations, unfavorable running conditions, unstructured monitoring of progress) and instead focus on those things that promote my interest. A big part of that is the guidance I've received from other, more experienced runners who have helped me set my goals and expectations.

Among those who have brought me along are my friends CK and CMcC who are both accomplished runners who have competed for decades and probably have over a dozen marathons between them. They are both low-key athletes who are long past the surface level fascination with the sport. They don't need a GPS to tell them how far or how fast they've run. They know what works and what doesn't, how to train and how to avoid injury. They are generous in their advice and I listen closely. I am fortunate to have a shortcut to progress. Another big source of valuable information is Adventure Girl, my work colleague and running partner. Although I have some years on her I am definitely the student when it comes to running. She's helped me set expectations and has given me great encouragement over all these months. Her guidance on choosing running gear has been extremely valuable, as has the coaching she's given to me as I prepared for my first races. AG will soon reduce the amount of time she'll spend at the office as she starts her Master's studies at Yale in a few months. The good news is that she'll be part of my team for the next two years. That's great because I still have lots of learning to do.

I have a new coach and he is very focused on my training program. He's my 9 year old son and he's taken it upon himself to design a daily training program for me. On his own he's structured a schedule that includes tempo runs, cross training and distance runs. He tells me things like "Daddy, if you want, you can trade a distance run for a trail run next weekend." When I come home from a long run and tell him I ran 4 miles he'll say, "That's very good, next time you can do 5." He's tough but fair. If I follow his program I'm sure I'll be in great shape for my June 7th 8K. In addition, both my wife, who's been active since I've known her, and my daughter, who is a natural athlete and runs with me occasionally, have been there for me throughout my return to running. They encourage my activity and indulge my interest. Most importantly, they always make sure I never leave the house for a run dressed too weird for public viewing.

This morning I ran 5.3 miles (Gmap verified) at 9:08 although my Garmin under-counted by almost 5%. I can accept the variance but it's annoying that sometimes it over counts and other times it under-counts within a 5% range. I guess I'll need to put it through the manual calibration process to get it as close as it was prior to the battery and shoe switch.

I've been monitoring Adventure Girl's progress through Twitter and they are on the last cycle of the race (12 runners each running 3 legs). The last Tweet is from an hour ago when she was about to start her third and final run, 6.7 miles, just in time for rain. Sounds like the team is doing well and tracking to pace. 182 miles in 24 hours. That will be something to reflect on when they're done. For now it's probably just a lot of work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back on track (or is it tread?)

I realized last night that I had not run on the treadmill since the Tuesday after my 5K. That seems like a long time but it actually makes sense because I've integrated an extra long (street) run during the week and have finally started taking weekly rest days. In between street runs I've used the elliptical and I've been tracking about 19 miles per week since May.

Today I returned to the treadmill and I'll admit I really didn't want to use it. My last time on it had gone poorly and I really wasn't looking forward to the tedium. Nothing has changed since the 5th, the machine still droned and the display flickered. What was different about today's session was that I was running pain free and my new Brooks felt stable and comfortable. I was still grateful when my finish time approached but I was pleased to have covered two miles at an 8:43 pace.

Today is Friday, the start of Adventure Girls's Ragner relay. I'm happy to report that she found a new teammate to fill out her roster of 12 and things will get started at 1:00 PM EST. I'll be following progress through Twitter and report results. Best of luck to the team!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Got my Moji (almost) Working

I recently came across an innovative icing system for athletes. The product is called "Moji" and it consists of a flexible, freezable, gel filled pad that wraps around an area like a knee. The pad is held in place by a stretchable wrap that resembles a knee brace. The company was gracious enough to supply a sample to test during this weekend's Woodstock to Bronx Ragner Relay. The 12 member team will put it through its paces and I'll publish a full review after the event. We received the sample yesterday and were extremely impressed by the quality of the device. It is a well designed, top end piece of gear and I will provide pricing along with the review.

Yesterday I accompanied Adventure Girl on her last run prior to Friday's race. We ran over to the bike path that parallels the West Side Highway and follows the Hudson on the right. It's a different view of NYC and the weather was clear, sunny and not too humid.

We covered 4.8 miles in what seemed a blink of an eye and jumped on the subway for the trip back to the office. During the run we did our business update, combining exercise and work. I liked being able to put in a longer distance during the work week as I move closer to my 8K.

This morning I worked out on the elliptical going 23 minutes at a fairly good rate using medium resistance. Tomorrow I'll return to the treadmill (or the dreadmill as my Runner's World Loop friends call it). I'd be tempted to do a solo run on Friday in the park but my schedule isn't cooperating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Treadmill depreciation day

It's so cold this morning that people are wearing gloves and winter jackets as we wait for the train to arrive. I wish I could put in a quick three miles on the road to take advantage of this perfect running weather. Hopefully the low temperatures and dry air will continue throughout the afternoon.
I haven't run since Sunday and I miss it. I  did an elliptical workout on Monday and rested yesterday. I took a rest day because I know they're important but part of that decision was based upon my growing dislike for the treadmill. It may be related to the frustrations I've had with measuring my performance and the problems I've encountered with the treadmill display. The data from the treadmill has never really matched my other tracking devices. I could calibrate the Nike+ Sportband and the Garmin 50 foot pod so I knew that I was accurately capturing speed and distance. Recently my Garmin has become inconsistent, tracking under and then over by around 5% on consecutive days. I'm finishing my treadmill runs wondering how I've really performed.

Besides the tracking issues I've found running on the treadmill to be increasingly tedious. The more I run outside the more I dislike running inside. Besides a lack of visual stimulation (television is not a good alternative for me) I'm also finding the noise annoying. I know I should appreciate the treadmill for its convenience and consistency (surface and elevation). I'll try to keep that in mind when I hop back on tomorrow.

Until then I will resume my training today with an afternoon run in the city. I'm hoping to make 20 miles a week until the 8K on June 7 and I do mileage better outdoors. I know I shouldn't be so hard on the treadmill, it's lasted us well over a decade. My wife puts me to shame in terms of the time and distance spent on the machine and she never complains about it. Still, a new quiet and modern unit with a home entertainment center and virtual reality would be nice to have.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Adventure Girl Needs Your Help!

As I've mentioned before, Adventure Girl is leading a team of 12 runners on a Ragner relay race from Woodstock to the Bronx. This looks to be a great adventure and the race starts this Friday and goes until Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately one of her teammates has been forced to drop out due to an injury and she needs a replacement runner. Each runner will do three legs of the race. The open slot has three segments, one in New Paltz, one in Peekskill and the final leg (which is also the last leg of the race!) is from Yonkers to the Bronx. The total amount of running would be 16.4 miles so if you're training for a half marathon this would be great practice exercise.

If this sounds like something that you'd like to do please contact Don't delay!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garmin 50 - quirkiness just isn't cutting it

My Garmin 50 is a quirky device. I had some initial trouble navigating its interface and getting it accurately calibrated. Once I mastered that (no thanks to the Garmin manual and online "help") I was able to capture my run data and study different ways using Garmin Connect. After my prior frustrations with the Nike+ Sportband I thought I'd found a great and inexpensive alternative with the Garmin 50.

My trouble with the unit started about a month a ago when, after running close to a mile, I'd noticed that the Garmin was showing 0.00 miles traveled. A quick stop and restart seemed to fix that problem and it didn't return again until the day of my 5K race. On that day I noticed that distance was not recording and I tried to reset the device as I ran but I quickly gave that up since I knew the race timing chip I was wearing would provide the essential data.

After that race it was clear that something was wrong with the Garmin. The interface on the watch had changed and there was no option for showing distance traveled. I replaced the battery in the foot pod and that allowed the watch to recognize that unit but the interface was showing different combinations of data than before. For example, the display used to prominently display elapsed time, speed, cadence, distance and heart rate with the distance constantly displayed below the bigger numbers. Since the battery change the speed metric has switched to pace (which is actually an improvement) and the constant is now time, not distance. I can get used to this but I don't understand how to change it back. There's no documentation whatsoever and I've tried every sequence of buttons on the watch to no avail.

The real issue is that the foot pod, which was accurate to 1/100th of a mile, is now off by a measurable amount. On Saturday it over-recorded by 4% and on Sunday it under recorded by 5%. Consequently I have needed to Gmap my runs to get my true pace. I could do the same thing with a stop watch. I've been thinking about a GPS running watch because having accurate data when running is important to me. Still, I fear that I'll have trouble with satellite acquisition on cloudy days. I just wish there was an accurate and reliable tracking watch in the marketplace that didn't have these flaws. In the meantime I can always rely on Gmaps and Google Earth to calculate my key metrics.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A weekend of joyful running

I've really enjoyed running this weekend and I'll give much of the credit to my new shoes. The pleasure of running pain-free combined with the feeling of moving efficiently has often eluded me over the last couple of months. I am appreciating the Brooks although I do wish that the tongue extended higher past the throat to provide more padding when the laces are tightened. Other than that they are really great and they have quickly dispatched my leg soreness issues. I thought I might redeploy my Nikes as my office running shoes so I tried them again with the after market insoles I had recently purchased. Wearing the Brooks over the last seven days gave me an opportunity to compare the two pairs and the new insoles in the Nikes exaggerated the pronation and made me realize why I needed a stability shoe. I went back to the original insoles and that stabilized the Nikes enough to use them for another activity: a Mothers Day soccer game with my wife and kids.

As for running, I did more miles over a (two day) weekend than ever before. On top of yesterday's near six I ran 4.6 miles this morning. Like yesterday, I did this distance feeling very strong and I wasn't especially tired by the end. As I ran I worked on my form and stride and played with my pace a bit. I did the first quarter mile along a measured distance and noticed that the Garmin was tracking about 6% short. I knew I would need to Gmap my route against my total time to get my true pace but at least I knew that whatever the Garmin was reporting I had run faster and farther. I mixed up my route and covered some streets I haven't taken in a while. The whole run felt great and, for the second time this weekend, I reached the "zone" that I had heard of and read about but had never personally experienced. Where was the noble suffering that I had come to expect? Was this some great breakthrough that has propelled me from the status of beginner to something more? Had the Emerging Runner finally emerged?

Well, not exactly.

I do think that I've made progress and I'm a far better runner than I was nine months ago but much of this weekend's experience had to do with using the right gear and focusing more on duration and less on speed. My pace for today's run was 9:17 which surprised me because I thought I was moving along at a better clip. But I now know through experience that I can integrate speed into my distance runs every few minutes and gain 20 or more seconds per mile. In the meantime I'll be happy to have run 10.5 miles over two days and loved every minute of it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

So close and yet so far

When I finished my run this morning I was excited for the fact that I'd set a personal distance record. I was even more excited by the distance that my Garmin had recorded: 6.17 miles. Prior to this I had only managed to cover about 5.5 miles so getting past 6 was a big psychological barrier to cross. I took it slowly and didn't care about my pace. I felt very good throughout the run and my last mile felt about the same as my first. I only stopped because it was getting to be close to an hour and I didn't want them worrying about me at home. As I often do after a run, I mapped my course using Google Gmaps and was stunned to see that my actual distance was 5.95 miles. Not even 6! I studied the course I'd mapped hoping I'd left a street or two out but it was accurate. Due to the weather I ran with my New Balance trail shoes (that performed great, best $49 I've ever spent) and I'm guessing that the way I positioned the foot pod on my shoe threw off its accuracy.

So that's a disappointment but the fact remains that I covered more ground than ever before. Better yet, the LSD approach (pace was mid-9's) allowed me to maintain a steady pace and enjoy the ride. I did increase my speed over the last half mile but with a run of that length it didn't materially change my overall pace. The good news is that I could have run another two miles without much effort. I just wish I'd run another 230 feet.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This weekend's Sedentary Man

Sedentary Man has a new time slot with his weekly column starting on Fridays. This week he talks about listening to music which is a relatively easy thing to do, even if you are sedentary. Somehow this relates to his column's mission of chronicling his return to fitness. I think SM wants to spend enough time on "before" before he gets to "after." Read this weeks column...

Keeping my distance

Up until this March I was focusing much of my run strategy on building distance. As a relatively new runner I felt that I needed to establish a baseline for progress and that meant adding more length to my weekend runs. I was tracking very well through February and, though it's the shortest month of the year, I totaled more miles than any previous month. Once March rolled in my strategy changed as I focused on my April race. I put more attention to speed and pace and less on distance. My weekend runs that were averaging between 4 to 5 miles became shorter and faster. Prior to March my average pace was about 9:30 per mile and since April it's been under 9:00/mile. I'm pleased with my progress and with the results. My two races clocked in with pace times well under nine minutes.

Since my next race is 5 miles it's necessary for me to refocus on distance training. I'm okay about giving up some speed to do this but I'm concerned about finding a training route near my home that allows me to cover 5+ miles without the tedium of repeating many of the same roads. The issue is psychological. The farther away I am from the finish, the easier it is for me to run distances. Once I come close to my home I begin to fade in anticipation of stopping. In the past I've been able to will myself to take a longer path back when I'm near home but lately I've just headed in, usually after 3 to 4 miles. I used to trick myself by running up and down parallel streets to build more distance in a tighter area that was relatively far from my endpoint.

The alternative is to go to the track and pre-establish a circuit with no stopping until I hit 20 laps. I have done this a number of times and while it is a solution it can also be mind numbingly boring. I'm thinking that, for tomorrow, I'll map out a route in my neighborhood that will allow me to cover 5 miles without traveling the same road twice that won't come close to my home until the very end. I'll incorporate neighborhood #2 to gain an extra mile or two. As for pace, I'll let nature take its course.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Members Only

I originally assumed I would sign up for my 8K race online since the application says that you can. When I went to the New Hyde Park Runner's Club website I saw that the registration links were still set up for last year's race. I'm sure they'll sort that out somehow and, worse case, I can mail in the application. What struck me about the website were the photos of the happy club members posed in groups or running in events. I've seen similar collections on local club websites like GLIRC and LIRRC. I've seen many club members at both my recent races and was impressed by their community and by the way they clearly supported each other. I then started thinking about whether I should join a running club.

Years ago I used to run with one or two people and I didn't love the experience. Part of that was due to a mismatch in conditioning between me and them (I was constantly challenged to keep up) and part of it was environmental as I found running the streets of NYC to be stressful and dangerous. More recently I've run with AG and it's better because I'm in much better shape than I was those years ago and she is willing to stay at my pace. It's also time well spent since we are able to cover the same business discussions while running that would normally occur in my office. Some weeks back I ran with a group in Central Park and that was fun. I didn't do much talking because that's still a challenge for me when running. That's still true when I run with AG but it works fine because the focus of our weekly meeting is an update and I listen more than I talk. During the week I run alone on the treadmill and on the weekends I usually do a solitary run around my neighborhood. I find these runs to be very fulfilling and they serve as an opportunity to focus on things without distraction. When I encounter others on the road, more often than not, my counterparts are also running alone.

On the weekends I sometimes drive to the track to do my runs and I usually see groups of runners heading along the road. I've thought about being one of them rather than being just one of the people sharing the track at the High School. I ask myself which scenario fits me better and every time I conclude that I'm better off by myself. I'll admit that running with others can help you keep a faster pace. In both my races I found that having faster runners in proximity helped me run faster. With that exception I think I'm better off being a lonely runner. Much as I enjoy a community I'm not very good at groups. I enjoyed the Lululemon run and I like the runs I've done in Central Park (and elsewhere - see below) but mostly because they are discreet events: assemble, run, depart. No barbeques, fund raisers, meetings, bylaws or committees. I'm not saying these things aren't great, they're just not for me.

Last night I did my first street run with my new Brooks Adrenaline 9's. AG and I did our weekly meeting while running both directions on the George Washington Bridge which was an intimidating concept to me (fear of heights, bridges, speeding cars) but it was very different than I'd expected. The bridge itself is fairly flat with a gradual rise to the center and than a decline to the endpoints. On each end are areas where you encounter stairs and a couple of places had jogs in the path where you had to be careful not to run into a cyclist coming from the other direction. The cars were far enough away that they didn't factor in the experience and the view of the Hudson on either side was more serene than scary. We only covered about 2.3 miles but I was happy with the run and very happy that the Brooks performed well and felt good. This morning it was back to the treadmill where I ran about two miles at 8:45/mile. I'm looking forward to my Saturday run where I'm hoping to cover at least 5 miles. The Brooks are already helping my leg problem and that soreness was a wake up call for replacement that I didn't answer. Next time I'll be ready.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Next Stop New Hyde Park

It was a bit of beginner's luck that I placed second in my age category in my last race. Considering everything, I did maintain a fairly good pace but with a larger field of runners it wouldn't have been a competitive time. The person that placed first beat me by at least four minutes and with more runners in the mix I would have ended up farther back in the standings. It was a fun surprise to see that I'd placed higher than at least ten others in my age range but I have no aspirations of being a truly competitive runner. I will be happy to continue to improve my pace but I recognize that the only way to measurably increase my speed is to become a "serious runner." By that I refer to the people I often see on weekend mornings at the track doing intervals, tempo runs and long runs. They fly by me so fast that I feel as though I'm doing something other than running. I watch their form as they pass and try to understand how their leg movements are allowing them to move so fast compared to me. Aren't we both doing the same thing?

During the check in to Saturday's race a man handed us a flyer for an upcoming race in New Hyde Park on June 7. The distance is 8K (5 miles minus 53 yards). My wife encouraged me to sign up for it. It will be the longest race distance for me to date. So far I have run a 5K and a 4 miler (6.5K). An 8K would be a logical progression toward my goal of running a 10K this year. I know I can run 5 miles. My longest distance to date is about 5.6 but I haven't run much farther than 4.25 for a while. Time to start concentrating on distance instead of speed. My goal is to run 20 miles per week until the race. This will require at least 10 miles on the weekends. I'm doing a city run this afternoon, probably around 3.5 miles, so that will help since I rarely get past two miles per day during the week due to time constraints.

I'm excited to try my new Brooks for the first time on pavement. I'm pleased with the way my leg felt after yesterday's run and I'm hoping for no surprises today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The shoe debate has ended

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by the Super Runner's Shop in midtown which is located a block from my office. I mentioned that I bought the Brooks Adrenaline 9's the previous day and was unhappy to later discover that they were a stability model. The man at SRS asked to look at my foot, said I had a low arch and told me that I needed a shoe that managed pronation like the GTS-9 or the Asics 2140. All the same he said he'd be happy to take back the Brooks if I was unhappy with them. I discussed all this later with AG and she said I shouldn't get hung up on whether a shoe is neutral or made for stability. The important thing was fit. I decided that I'd go back today and try on more shoes.

A funny thing happened when I got home and started packing up the Brooks for return. I'd thought about what the salesperson said about pronation and I looked at my Nikes to see if I could find evidence of that. I was very surprised to see that the outside edges of both soles (at the back) were worn quite a bit. I compared the back view of the Nikes with the back of the Brooks and saw how the Brooks were built to counteract that wear. Instead of boxing up the Brooks I tried them on again and then tried the Nikes. The fit of the Brooks was actually much better and my only issue was the tightness at the tongue. AG had told me that sometimes changing the lacing helps the fit of a shoe and I noticed that, unlike the Brooks, the Nikes did not have laces in the top holes. I took the laces out of the top holes of the Brooks, re-tied them and decided that they felt good enough for me to give them another chance.

This morning I gave the Brooks a true test on the treadmill. I changed the battery on the Garmin foot pod last night and was happy to see the 50 was once again recording distance so that wasn't going to distract me like it did on Sunday. I started at a comfortable pace and increased speed as I went. The Brooks felt very good, no complaints. I ended up running a couple of miles at an 8:39 pace. I didn't really push my speed during the run, if I had I'm sure I could have taken down the pace by ten seconds/mile.

So after all that I've decided to keep the Brooks. I told my wife this morning and she smiled and shook her head but supported me completely. I think I drove her a little crazy over the last couple of days obsessing about this purchase. I want to take the GTS 9's on a long run outdoors to really understand how they fully perform. Right now my feet and my leg feel pretty good. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9's, I'm sorry what I said about you before. You're more than okay.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Give me the old soft shoe

My Nikes served me well for Saturday's race and it was almost with regret that I set out on Sunday to find their replacements. On the advice of experienced runners I decided to visit a local running store in Huntington where I could get some informed opinions on the right shoes to buy. The woman who helped me certainly had the right attitude and she looked at the way I walked and confirmed that I have a neutral stride. I told her I wanted a neutral cushioned shoe with a good response for a front foot runner.

I was given a number of shoes to try from Saucony, Asics, Brooks and New Balance. They all felt okay although I found one pair a bit unbalanced. After some trying and re-trying it came down to the Asics 2140's versus the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9's. After some debate I chose the Brooks and took them home.

When I got home I looked up the shoes online and confirmed that the Brooks are more of a stability shoe for pronators (AG had warned of this) and the Asics 2140 had similar characteristics. I was deeply disappointed that I was steered toward this type of shoe despite my request for neutral cushioning. I spent the rest of the day deciding whether the Brooks, which felt okay, would be worth keeping. I ran with them on the treadmill and they felt fine but their responsiveness was not what I was hoping for. A big issue is the way they fit at the tongue, too tight against the front of my ankles. I felt like I couldn't have the laces any looser without feeling some slippage. I also think I've diagnosed the problem with my Garmin, a low battery in the foot pod. I'm hoping to find a replacement for that today.

I tried the Adrenaline GTS 9's again this morning and decided that I should be 100% happy with a pair of running shoes that cost twice what I paid for my trail shoes. Super Runners has a number of stores in NYC and their policy is to take back or exchange shoes if you're not happy. I'm going to take back the Brooks and try on true neutral shoes until I find a pair that feels as good as the Nikes did when I first brought them home.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Emerging Runner named #3 all time Runners World Blog

I'm proud to report that Emerging Runner has been reported as the #3 blog in the 100 most popular bloggers of all time on! You can see the full list here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 kilometers of fun

5K UPDATE - Official Results are in: 26:34 (8:33 Pace). Finished in top 20% and placed 2nd in my age division.
I've completed my second race in as many weeks and I'm very happy to report that it was another great experience. They haven't posted the official results but (by my calculations) I finished with an 8:31 pace. There was some drizzle about 30 minutes before the start but by the time we took off it was dry and clear. I wore a very light, waterproof but breathable running jacket that my wife encouraged me to buy at the Super Runners Shop booth at the Health and Fitness Exposition. The Expo was located adjacent to the race check-in area. I decided to wear this jacket even though it wasn't raining at the start and I regretted that near the end of the race when I started to get hot. It didn't make any difference in terms of my performance and I was relatively strong by the end of the race, much more so than the 4 mile race on the 19th. The differences between those races explains that as the 4 miler had some formidable hills and was a mile longer. Rounding out my gear, I wore a dry wicking running hat, my Pearl Izumi running shorts and a couple of items that AG gave me, some Merino wool socks that provided the extra cushioning I needed for my aging Nikes and a Nike Fit jersey that did a great job of keeping me dry.

Joining me this morning was my friend RDV who was running in his first race. My wife and kids served as the cheering section for both of us and there was a lot of excitement as we waited for the race to begin. There were a couple of short speeches and then we were sent off at the sound of an air horn. I started faster than I'd thought I'd go but I felt good and I was still cool so I figured that I could dial it back if I felt like I had been too aggressive. I passed a lot of people over the first half mile and most of them stayed passed throughout the race. Unlike the 4 mile race I also passed a few runners near the end. I was surprised when I saw the mile 1 clock reading 8:25 and I worried about sustaining that pace. My Garmin failed me again and for the second time it recorded time but did not display distance. I tried to start and stop it which had worked once before but it was a lost cause today. There was no clock at the two and three mile marks so I didn't know my splits but I had a feeling that I was doing well.

As I came around the final bend and saw our starting point I began to really enjoy myself knowing that I was about two or three minutes to the finish line. The race ended with a run through the stadium at the Mitchel Athletic Complex and I was pleased that I still had enough energy to push my speed for the last 100 meters. Looking up at the clock I was surprised to see that I came in well under 27 minutes which was my goal for the race. My friend RDV finished a couple of minutes behind me and he also exceed his pace goal.

So that was the day and I am happy to have completed one of my 2009 race goals (running at least 3 miles under 8:40/mile) and I'm halfway through my goal of completing four races this year. I want to start working on distance now so that I can run a 10K and be more comfortable on longer runs. But that will have to start next week, I'm going to relax the rest of today and maybe even tomorrow. I want to thank my family, my friends and my my blog mates who have been so supportive. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. I'll post the official results when I get 'em.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The clothes make the runner

If you know me or follow this blog then you are aware that I'm running in a 5K race tomorrow morning. I'm excited because racing is fun and every experience is different. This morning's temperature, despite the weatherman's claim of 56 degrees, is chilly. The intermittent rain is making the skies gray, dark and gloomy. I'm wondering if it's a sneak preview of tomorrow's weather.

As I stood on the platform this morning, waiting for the train, I imagined that I was standing at tomorrow's starting line. What would be the right clothing for those conditions? Would it be better to run without a rain jacket to stay cool? Would wearing a hat help keep the rain off my glasses? Are gloves a good idea? It's always hard to know. I've made some bad choices over the past months wearing too many layers and overheating or not protecting my face during runs in 12 degree temperatures. One thing I've learned is to error on the side of being too cold at the start because you're likely to get warmer as you run. But what's the threshold? I once got everything right except that I'd forgotten gloves and had miserably cold hands for miles. I'm definitely bringing gloves tomorrow.

As planned, I skipped my running this morning to give myself a day to rest up for the race. My leg feels good and hopefully that will continue. Later today I'll go the LI Marathon Health & Fitness Expo to check in and get my timing chip. That makes it real. Once the race is through I'll be half way through my goal of competing in at least four races in 2009. I'll also know if I chose the right gear for the race.

One other note: I was amused by a picture that my brother sent of my nephew reading my blog. Apparently he's a fan. I'd like to think that he likes the writing but I suspect it's more about the funny pictures.

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