Showing posts with label Runners World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Runners World. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This fail is all on me

Post-fail elapsed time
Today's run (street): 4.5 miles

Once again, I encountered a problem timing my run and this time it was self sabotage. Without a working watch to help me keep track of time, I took my stopwatch that I sometimes use for intervals. That simple tool would give me everything I'd need to calculate my performance on today's run. I've had so much bad luck with the devices I use to capture my running metrics that I decided going low tech was the right path. What I didn't count on was how easily I could screw that up.

The weather was perfect when I went out this morning. There was no sign of humidity and the strong breezes cooled without biting. I love fall running and easily settled into a steady rhythm while I mentally mapped out my route. I've been taking advantage of the new sidewalks along SOB Road that provide a nice straight section that goes on for a while. As I neared the end of that road, I stopped for a moment to check my time. I put my hand in my pocket to pull out my stopwatch and my finger brushed the reset button. Before I looked, I knew I had wiped out my time.

Gmap'd route
I stood in front of the town library and thought about what to do. I had only a hazy idea about when I started my run so that wouldn't help me calculate my overall time. The one thing I knew was where I was when I checked (and screwed up my time) so I could use that as a starting point for timing the rest of my run.

Now where did I put that cheap trinket?
I restarted the stopwatch and continued along through my last miles, pushing harder than I had before my timing failure. The cool weather helped a lot and I probably would have gone further if I was able to track my actual distance. Now that I know how easy it is to accidentally reset the stopwatch, I'll be a lot more careful. A few years ago Runners World sent me a "running watch" as a subscription premium (see above) that was laughably cheap looking. I put it away somewhere. At the time I dismissed it as junk, but who's laughing now?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Personal distance best at Bethpage

Hardly sweating after seven
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 7.1 miles

I was determined to make progress against my distance goals this morning and set my sights on the Bethpage trail. I targeted seven miles to make this my longest run this year. The chilly, high 30's temperature compelled me to pull my Opedix Knee-Tecs out of storage as well as a mid-weight quarter zip. All geared up, I headed out early because I knew it would take a while to get through this run.

I didn't bother to drive to the park because last week they were still charging to use the lot. I went to our regular rendezvous spot and immediately took off south. I do most of my Bethpage runs north of Haypath Road, but lately I've been missing the old trail. I took off south and quickly got past the short, steep hill that greets runners about a third of a mile into that route.

This morning I read an article in Runners World that encouraged hill-haters to embrace them for their conditioning benefits. I tried to keep an open mind as I encountered one hill after another. The Bethpage bikeway is rolling, with a few challenging hills and a lot of elevation changes. Sometimes these lesser hills seem like bumps and other times they seem mountainous. It may have been the mindset I got from the article, but none seemed that bad today.

Record breaker
My longest run in 2015 had been about 6.4 miles, so my plan was to turn around after 3.5 to guarantee my seven. Since I went out early, I had the path pretty much to myself. I appreciated the sights, sounds and maple-y smells of the late fall morning. The few who were out on their runs were friendly, although there were two teams of three cyclists who didn't quite get the concept of sharing the path. One of them passed me pretty closely and almost got the concept of my sharp elbow.

Despite my layers, I remained fairly comfortable as the temperature rose to low 40's. It struck me that today's run felt no more taxing than yesterday's, even though that was less than half the distance. With four workouts this week and my personal best for distance, I'll consider this a good week of running.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Running with pride in the 18th ranked state

Greenbelt trail head
Today's run (street): 5.3 miles

A few years ago we went on a vacation to Colorado Springs, supposedly the fittest city in the country. Except for the Olympic Training Center, I saw scant evidence of that. Even on the trails I saw few other runners, but I did see some fit looking deer. I hadn't thought much about fitness relative to geography since then, but Runner's World has an interesting analysis of how each state compares in terms of running.

My home state, Massachusetts, came in first (overall), followed closely by my brother's adopted state (Vermont) which ranked third after Oregon. New York, where I've lived since 1990, came in 18th. At the other end of the scale is South Dakota (48), West Virginia (49) and Louisiana (50). South Dakota's low ranking surprises me because I'd assume the runners there are fairly hard core. I also expected New York to rank higher given the active running communities on Long Island, NYC and boroughs, as well as the suburbs north of the city.

The route
Doing my part for New York, I got out early today and headed off to the northern end of the Greenbelt bike trail. After seeing people on the trail yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to take on the long hill along Sunnyside. The air was cool and dry and the sun was still rising when I made my way across the middle school field. I quickly reached the Woodbury neighborhood that leads to the start of the bike trail.

Running before 8:00 AM on a Sunday in the fall is a peaceful experience. Almost no cars and just a few people out walking their dogs. I made it to Woodbury Road and followed the path that starts flat but begins to climb after a quarter mile. The section I ran continues on a moderate incline until reaching the apex where it gets somewhat steeper. I took it to the overpass at the Northern Parkway and turned around. It was far easier going the other way, although a 10 MPH wind undercut the downhill's efficiency.

Once I reached Woodbury Road, I turned right and followed it east for half a mile before crossing the street and switching direction. Along the way I passed Meyer's Farm that had a sign saying you could buy ears of corn for $0.16. I thought that was a good deal until I realized that I have no idea how much an ear of corn normally sells for. So I continued on cornlessly.

The section of sidewalk that leads to the Woodbury neighborhood is one of my favorite local routes. In fall, the path gets covered with leaves and parts of the walk are unpaved so it's like being on a mini trail run. I soon reached civilization and did the opposite route through the neighborhood before crossing back toward the middle school and then back home.

Later in the day my son and I retraced part of my morning route (walking, not running) and I took the above picture of the trail head at Woodbury Road. I felt I covered a lot of ground this week, but I only totaled 17 miles. Not too far off the mark, but I do need to stretch my base runs past six miles on weekends.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

That "women-only" thing, again

Today's run (treadmill): 26 minutes

Runner's World ran a story on their site today that reminded me of a post I did in June 2012. The RW article is titled "Do Women-Only Races Still Have a Purpose?"and my post was titled "Are gender-specific races sexist?" In both posts, the point was made that the original reason for having "women-only" races was to provide a safe experience for women.

I didn't write my 2012 post to debate that reasoning. I agreed that women-only races were a good idea back in 1972 when women were marginalized as competitors. Even worse, women encountered hostility from men who were clearly threatened by female competition. But in 2014, gender plays no role in the outcome of an open race and I have never seen hostility directed towards women at any event. In fact, in 2013, almost 2/3 of participants in open races are women (per the RW article).

I think what continues to bother me about women-only races is the tacit suggestion that: 1. women are still disenfranchised, 2. women have not yet achieved parity with men in non-professional competitions and 3. women need to be treated differently. This type of exclusion would not fly in other circumstances where a population's civil rights have been restricted. Can you imagine if someone suggested a "gay-only" race to the LGBT community or a race that excluded all but one ethnicity? You can say this is different, but is it really?

Despite my arguments, I appreciate that many women seem to love the experience and the camaraderie of events like the Mini-10K and the Diva and Princess Half Marathons. But I still think it supports a double standard.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Four years emerging and a trail run to celebrate

Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.2 miles

Four years ago today, I published my first post on the Emerging Runner. I had made some unsuccessful attempts to run in the past, but in 2008 I fully committed to running as a lifestyle. I'd also started a few blogs before that time but never managed to keep them going. My hope on that day that I published that post was to break that cycle. After four years, I think I can say that I did.

In the October issue of Runner's World magazine, Captain "Sully" Sullenburger was featured in the section called "I'm a Runner." The interview is short, but interesting. I especially liked this quote, "I'm not a good runner, but I'm better than someone who doesn't do it at all." That statement sums up everything I've written over the last four years.

Over the past four years I gone from being someone who faced every run as a difficult challenge, to a solidly mid-pack race competitor. I was talking to my brother yesterday about my four years as a runner, and how I struggled so hard on my first runs. I remembered hoping for the day when I'd be able to run and think of something besides discomfort and pain. Soon enough, my runs became my best process for thinking through any problem.

If not for Hurricane Sandy, I'd be spending most of this post recapping the Long Beach Turkey Trot that was scheduled for this morning. The hurricane devastated that city and destroyed the boardwalk that is almost half of the 10K course. I love racing in Long Beach for its ocean views and flat, runner friendly roads. I hope the community gets back to normal quickly, not for the runners, but for the sake of the residents. 

High visibility on the trails
Today called for a change from the neighborhood roads that I've run since returning home after our power was restored. Stillwell Woods was the perfect choice and I headed over with a plan to run my favorite two mile loop a couple of times. I'd recently bought a nice, high visibility running shirt at TJ Max for the bargain price of $7.99 and thought Stillwell would be the perfect place to use it.

The mountain bikers were out in force and most shared the trails very well, politely warning me when they were closing in. I'm sure the bright orange shirt helped them see me in plenty of time. I took it easy on the trail and was careful to avoid branches that had fallen on the path from Sandy. It was difficult at times to see the trail because the rising sun was hitting me head-on. I got whacked in the head a couple of times by overhanging branches but my hat protected me from any damage.

It's been a nice fourth anniversary of my running/blogging life so far today. Later on, the Emerging Runner family is heading to East Northport to assist in an effort to get food to elderly and housebound people whose lives were disrupted by Sandy. Next week is Thanksgiving but I am thankful often, especially today when I am able to help myself and help others. The decision I made to run in 2008 has much to do with that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Take it easy (at least 70% of the time)

Today's run (treadmill): 2.5 miles

I read in a recent Runner's World that 70% of your running should be done at an easy pace. This was defined as running at a speed that allows you to comfortably maintain a conversation. The concept behind this "Easy/Hard" ratio is that slower running helps build capillary beds within muscles. Hard running tears up  muscles and easy running repairs and strengthens them.

With the almost constant rain we've had since Sunday night, I planned for an indoor morning run. I really don't like the treadmill but I planned to focus on easy running and save the harder stuff for the end of the week or the weekend. Since I was indoors I skipped wearing a running shirt and that helped keep me cool. I started very slow (5.1 MPH) and worked my way up by tenth of a mile increments until I reached a 9:00 pace. 

In all, I covered my usual morning distance although it did take me a couple of extra minutes to do it. Hopefully the weather will clear and I can get back outside in the morning. Will I run it easy or hard? With my lower back still slightly tender, I'm thinking that I'll defer to the 70% side.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Runner's World moment

Emerging Runner: "Don't quit your day job"
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Besides my occasional Central Park runs, my "day job" has nothing at all to do with running. Yesterday these two worlds collided (or at least touched) at an industry lunch event. A small group of us had been invited to discuss digital media and sitting across the room from me was David Willey, the editor of Runner's World magazine. Despite the temptation I didn't ask him if I could write a guest column.

My run this morning went fine. The humidity is supposedly lower today, and that may be true, but lower is a relative term. I was already drenched in sweat by the 1.5 mile mark but in certain directions the cooling breeze worked as effectively as an air conditioner. I chose a completely different set of roads to run, yet completed today's run in exactly the same time as yesterday's. I am consistent if nothing else. C'mon Runner's World, give me a shot!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Runner's World got it wrong on the Hattori

I'm happily in the middle
Yesterday afternoon's workout (Cycling): 4.6 miles

After a year of trying to adapt to a mid-foot stride I am finally sure that I've actually done it. Not everyone is comfortable running this way but (fortunately for me) my transition was fairly painless. The Saucony Kinvaras helped that a lot. I'd assumed, after running in the Kinvaras for over a year, that I'm landing closer to my mid-foot. However, the 5-6 mm ramp angle of  both the Kinvaras and the Mirages made it difficult to know that for sure.

Every sharp rock that I land on with the Hattori's (as happened on Saturday) confirms that I'm landing on my mid-foot. Sunday's run of almost seven miles in the Hattori's showed me that heel cushioning and forefoot padding aren't necessary for middle distance running. A mid-foot stride lets your foot's natural shock absorbers -- the arch and the ball -- disburse the pounding.

Experiencing this, I was dismayed to read Runner's World's characterization of the Hattori as a "trainer for efficient runners to use as cooldown shoe or for speedwork drills on grass." This bias surprises me. I'm certainly not an efficient runner when running in highly constructed, stabilized and cushioned running shoes. But when I run in the Hattori it's a whole other story.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best guess how to dress

This weekend I played around with the Runner's World feature that provides suggestions on how to dress for different weather conditions. I was curious because I sometimes underestimate how many layers I should wear during a run in the cold. Since I'd rather be too cool than too hot my default has been to wear clothes that will be comfortable for most of the run, even it that meant a chilly first mile. This has worked most of the time but I've been fooled once or twice when the wind turned a mildly uncomfortable run into torture. I thought that the RW "What should I wear?" widget would be a helpful way of determining the right set of gear. My experience with the app was mixed. Though it did represent a logical set of clothing and accessories based upon specified conditions it seemed like there was little difference on recommendations whether the temperature was 15 degrees and mild versus -15 degrees and windy. From experience I know those conditions require a completely different set of gear.

I went out this morning for an easy 2.3 miles. I wore both short and long sleeve tech jerseys and tight running shorts with my Brooks lightweight running hat and gloves. That was probably more than the RW app would recommend  but it was comfortable for the 48 degrees. I plan to run tomorrow and then do a final 30 minute+ run on Thursday, rest on Friday and race on Saturday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My favorite app (hint: it has something to do with running shoes)

Without a doubt my favorite iPhone app is the Runner's World Shoe Shop. This free app has a simple interface that enables quick navigation across the 250 or so running shoes reviewed by the magazine. The company that created this app, NearbyNow, has a holiday gift guide featuring items from retailers and fashion magazines that works in the same way as the shoe app but the content isn't very rich. I give Runner's World a lot of credit for its elegant implementation that includes some nice store and price finder features.

I don't know exactly why I like running shoes so much. It may be due to my interest in technology or the fact that there seems to be so many interesting differentiators between models and brands. I'll never be a competitive runner but I want to do the best I can and it all starts with the shoe. I think it's interesting that when I made my commitment to running a year ago I simply put myself at the mercy of a Foot Locker sales person who sold me a pair of Nikes with no conversation about how I run or whether I pronate. Those shoes worked okay until I reached 300 miles where I began to have problems with my left leg. Those problems exacerbated to the point that I debated running a 5K in trail shoes to avoid further injury.

Looking back, those Nikes were decent shoes and I did end up running the 5K in them, coming in 2nd in my age category. I retired them the next day once I purchased the Brooks GTS-9 Adrenalins. The Brooks did not impress me right away but after almost 400 miles they've never given me a problem (except for the occasional pinching issue at the top of my foot). I check in with the Runner's World Shoe Shop on a daily basis looking for information that will guide me to my next pair. I wish it had more updates and covered more of the specialty brands like Newton but I'm still very pleased with what they offer today. Plus, the price is right.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The great (internal) debate

I've been reading the December issue of Runner's World and I'm finding a lot of great stuff. I love this magazine and I'm always excited when I get a new issue. There's a lot in the front section about preparing for winter running. I'm interested in that because I want to get through the season without losing any fitness but I am extremely adverse to treadmill running. I'm concerned about days when I'm greeted with a blanket of snow on the ground and 18 degree temperatures. I'm thinking about purchasing some Yak-Trax so I can go outside on days that would normally require an indoor workout.

I've had some tough runs this week and AG, who is the best coach I've ever had regardless of sport, suggested that I skip this weekend's runs so that I can fully recover from the Cape Cod Relay and last week's seven mile bike trail run. Skipping a run during the week is always a self-debate but ultimately an easy decision. My weekend runs mean something different to me and I really look forward to them throughout the week. In the past I've only skipped a weekend run day when resting for a Sunday race. Still, since AG recommended it, I needed to take that seriously. While I read through Runner's World this morning I saw a piece that reinforced the idea of maintaining a consistent running routine with the point that to maintain fitness the workout can still be easy.

The pleasure of a Saturday morning run plus the RW article tipped me toward running and I set off with the intention of going 30-35 minutes without regard to pace or distance. I dressed warmly since the temperature was 30 degrees and I didn't want to be tempted to run fast to warm up quickly. I felt very good and actually worked hard to keep my pace moderate. I covered parts of my neighborhood and parts of neighborhood #2 going 3.9 miles in about 37 minutes. I was surprised that my pace was mid 9:00 because it felt slower but I verified the distance on Gmaps. It was the best run I've had since the relay and although it wasn't taxing it produced the requisite level of endorphins to reinforce the value of the workout. I think I characterized this type of running as "comfort food miles" and that's how they felt today. I'm considering a very brief speed workout tomorrow (4 x 800m) if I feel strong. Otherwise I may just rest. Hopefully AG will approve!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I guess horribly wonderful describes it

There's a great Adidas ad in the July issue of Runner's World: a background of pavement with two running shoes, the back of one and the top of the other. The image evokes two runners in line. The tag line is "Because I'm loving every wonderful horrible minute of this." So true. I'm probably the 50 millionth runner to conclude that running is fun because it's hard but it's also fun to see that sentiment recognized by others. Even if it's in an ad.

Last week I came across a book in the library by a British author named Russell Taylor. The title of the book is "The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner." This title is obviously homage to
"The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" by Ian Sillitoe but the book is actually a diary of writer as he prepares to run the New York Marathon. The format of the book reminds me of my own blog with its daily (or, in his case, not daily) accounting of workouts and progress. He's a lot funnier than me and his one year plan to go from being an out of shape late 30's aged guy to a marathon runner is more ambitious than my modest goals. Reading the book does remind me of the obligation one takes to remain fit and to keep progressing. But we do it because - to borrow from the Adidas copywriter -
we love every wonderful horrible minute.

This morning I rounded out my holiday weekend running with a 4.7 mile run that (not counting when I take a car) took me farther outside my neighborhood than ever before. I intended to explore neighborhood #4 and then make my way over to neighborhood #2 but I reached a point where I could run along the sidewalk of a relatively busy road that would lead to a new series of neighborhoods in Woodbury. The sidewalk on this main road was covered with dead leaves that had a cushioning effect not unlike cinders. I enjoyed the respite from the pavement when I could. I turned into one neighborhood and realized that we had looked at houses on the street before we bought the one that we're in. I ran by the house and decided we'd made the right decision because the neighborhood we chose is much better for running.

Yesterday I took our bikes out of the shed for the first time this millennium and after pumping up the tires, fixing the chains and washing them off they were ride ready. I took my bike out a couple of times, the second time I followed one of my running routes. It was amazing to cover that distance in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the effort. Fun but not the horribly wonderful experience I get from running.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

19 days and counting...

My race countdown clock is now at 19 days. What was once an abstract, future date is now just three weekends away. Many runners I know have competed for years. They have t-shirts, running bibs, PR's and stories. Aside from a corporate challenge I ran in 1992 that is disturbingly fuzzy in my memory, I am a complete newbie.
I do appreciate the encouragement that I've received from more accomplished and experienced runners. Unlike other sports where I've competed, ice hockey, karate and, yes, tennis, there seems to be little in the way of trash talking among those who run. The Runner's World Loop community is an interesting and eclectic group of runners at all stages. Some are new to the sport and others are quite experienced. I often see RW Loop blog posts from people who run 6 and 7 minute paces and wonder what they think of those (like me) who brag every time they break a 9:00 mile. My guess is that they think "good for you" based upon the encouraging comments I've seen on mine and other's blogs.

I weighed in today exactly where I wanted to be. I ran 1.8 miles at 9 min/mile and, by stretching before I ran, I had minimal leg soreness. I'm ready for my first race. In fact I wish it was this upcoming weekend. But since it isn't happening for 19 days I'll take the opportunity to refine my performance a little more. I hope to maintain or exceed an 8:50 pace for the 4 miles. I've heard that racing provides extra motivation and adrenalin and I'm counting on that for meeting this goal.

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