Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Spirit of the Marathon

Yikes!  It's been too long since my last post. My apologies. I could list a bunch of excuse, but that's just what they would be. Let's move on.

Last night I watched a great movie, The Spirit of the Marathon.  Basically, it is a look at the 2005 Chicago Marathon with a lead up before, giving background on a couple amateur and a couple professional runners. It's a great movie that is a must watch for any runner. It's good inspiration and tells an easy story to watch that isn't dragged out forever.

Enjoy and I will be back full swing, just after the Christmas Bonanza!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16/2014 Day 2 of the march, 30 minute walk

Day 2 was pretty uneventful.  I managed to get in a 30 minute walk this afternoon to stretch the legs.  I continue to plan long term rather than day to day in order to keep from stressing out about any one workout.  Tomorrow, I cross train with some jump rope and work on my overall fitness and a little weight loss!

Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15/2014 Day 1 of the march to Ridgewood, a 5 miler

After a little time off, I began the march to Ridgewood today.  Basically, that means today was my first committed day heading to my number 1 goal of 2015.  As stated in a previous post, 17:59 for the Ridgewood Memorial Day 5K.  I ran a basic 5 miler today at a pace of about 8:30/mile.  It was nice outside for the time of the year and I have been psyching myself up to run outside so it was relatively painless.  

I dressed appropriately and didn't suffer a bit.  I really hate running in the cold, but as long as I dress well, I can handle it (that's what I keep telling myself anyway).  I have had real issues the last few years with running through the winter.  I generally lose all my fitness and have to spend the spring build back up my base.  Consequently, I am generally a fall racer.  However, in documenting my road to Ridgewood, I am trying to hold myself accountable through the winter and hit the spring ready to race.  

Starting today, I will document every single day until the race in May.  Active or not, my day will be spelled out right up until day 161, the day before the Memorial Day Run.  I'm excited for the race, the training, and the challenge of committing 100% to my training.  

In the coming days, I will share my running goals for 2015.  I have been thinking about them for a few weeks and I am trying to be realistic and demanding at the same time.  What are your running goals for the upcoming year?  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

12/03/2014 Afternoon 5 miler, negative split

It's been awhile since I ran a negative split workout.  I love to do them for the fitness benefit, the challenge, and to break up the monotony in a run I have done over and over.  Sometimes I have to run the same place over and over  and over, etc. repeat, again, blah!  Besides gaining less physically, repeating the same course can drive you mad.  However, running a negative split eliminates all that.  

Today's run was the basic negative split.  I ran 5 miles.  The first 2.5 I ran at a pace of about 9:15-9:20/mile.  The second 2.5 miles I dropped down the pace to about 8:35-8:40/mile.  These aren't scorching times or even a hard workout, but simply running the second half of a run faster than the first half helps build your fitness and your aerobic capacity.  Switching speeds on already worked legs increases stamina for race day.

A second type of negative split workout I like to do is a sort of progression run.  The easiest way to think of this is to break a run into 3-5 parts.  Start with a basic speed in part one and get faster each step of the way.  It may look like this:

Mile 1- 8:30/mile
Mile 2- 8:15/mile
Mile 3- 8:00/mile
Mile 4- 7:45/mile
Mile 5- 7:30/mile

The breakdown doesn't have to be perfect.  If you use a watch a few times and monitor during the runs you do, you will start to get a feel for what the different paces are that you run frequently.  I know for myself, when I am fit and running a lot, I can find a pace I want to run and keep it or change it pretty accurately.  Actually, as I was running today, I realized that I think it's easier for me to control my paces running than it is when I am driving.

Regardless of your pacing knowledge, just go out and try some negative split running. It could be a couple miles or more, but the benefit is tremendous.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12/02/2014 7.5-8 mile run, thoughts on what lies ahead for The Daily Fitness Journal & my running

I stayed inside today and ran in the warmth for an hour, finishing off about a 7.5 mile run, maybe 8 miles.  It was good to be running and for most of the time I was reflecting on almost a year of The Daily Fitness Journal.  I started this blog last January as a way to combine my running journal and my know it all attitude towards whatever I am talking about :)

I mentioned in a post about a week or two ago that I have some things I would like to do on here to be more helpful and interesting.  While I will not divulge everything, I will say I am going to introduce an interview series once in awhile with a variety of people connected to the running world.  In fact, I already have a first guest in mind!  Also, I plan on increasing workout specifics for those of you looking to do things in your own training that is separate from what I am doing.

Personally, the next 25 weeks are very important to me as a runner.  It's at the end of those 25 weeks that I will be attempting to run 17:59 at the Ridgewood Run on Memorial Day.  I'm not going to lie, I am already nervous.  However, I am also resolved to put 0 limits on what I can do physically.  More on that in a coming blog post.  

As always, I look forward to writing for you and would love to here from you.  Thanks to Jon Holato again for the post on his Philly Marathon and also asking for more information on specific training tips and performance ideas through nutrition and/or racing strategies.  More to come on those topics!  Also, remember to go back to previous posts for a variety of insights.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back from a brief hiatus, a Philadelphia Marathon report by my guest, Jon Holato

I first have to apologize for the brief hiatus I have taken over the last week.  Between starting the week off sick, mixing in Thanksgiving, and deciding on and buying new kitchen appliances, flooring, and countertops, it has been a busy 7-10 days.  It's good to be back though and I am sharing a great race report from my neighbor and friend, Jon Holato.  Last Sunday, November 23rd, 2014, Jon ran the Philadelphia Marathon.  Jon's a good guy and was nice enough to tell us about his race weekend.  Thanks a lot Jon and congratulations on your 26.2 in Philly!

The Philadelphia Marathon weekend began for me on Friday night. I did not want to drive down to Philly from Northern New Jersey the morning of the marathon so a hotel was the only other option. Unfortunately, because I was a late registrar I could not find any rooms for Saturday night alone, so my wife and I headed down on Friday night and stayed through the weekend. The next day, Saturday, was pretty low key, the only thing I really needed to do was go to the expo at the Philadelphia Convention Center to pick up my race packet. While there I was also able to get a new pair of Yurbuds which are currently my favorite running headphones. Besides that we walked to the starting line of the race so there were no logistical surprises the next day. The night was capped off with a (probably too big) pasta dinner and I headed to bed early with the alarm set for 4am.

Jon & Karen after the race
When the alarm went off at 4am, I of course hit the obligatory snooze once or twice, but eventually made it out of bed and ate a whole wheat bagel to give some energy for the race in a few hours. I spent a lot of time on Saturday stressing out about what I was going to wear for the marathon. I have hardly any experience running in cold temperatures, just once a few weeks ago during my 20-mile training run, and I feel like I wore too many layers that time. So, with the weather a few degrees warmer than when I had done that training run, I opted for slightly less clothing on the top. On the bottom I wore under armour leggings with workout shorts over them, and on the top an under armour short sleeve running shirt with a sports jacket over it. Then I threw on a hat and some gloves to finish the gear. I chose the jacket specifically because it has a large front center pocket where I can store food for the race and other things I may need. 

I finally suited up and rather than walk 25 minutes to the starting line in the mid-30s, I opted for a taxi. The pre-race information stated that runners should arrive no later than 5:30am. With the taxi I arrived around 5:20am and it was way too early. Most of the runners didn't arrive until around 6:00am and they didn't even start putting people into corrals until 6:20am. This was my first experience at such a large race with corrals and so late in the year when it is cold, so needless to say I did not plan accordingly and I froze for about 2 hours until my race began. Also, there were noticeably large lines for the porta-potties, I feel like there should have been more especially since this race has been going on for over 20 years.  They should know better.

Things really started picking up around 6:30am when there was someone on the loudspeaker starting to hype up the race, the mayor also spoke and mentioned that he would be giving high-fives to runners on the way out - apparently this is a tradition for this mayor. This last 30 minutes went by pretty quickly. I was located in the 4th corral after the elites, so by the time I made it to the starting line and took off it was about 7:15am. I was worried from some of the reviews I read about NYC that it could be hours of waiting but lucky that was not the case. 

The race began and I felt great as I'm sure all runners do.  You're not tired yet and you have a ton of adrenaline, what's not to love! The first part of the race was actually running through downtown Philadelphia, which was awesome. The scenery is distracting from the task at hand and the crowd support is wonderful. I was shooting for a 9:30/mile pace for the first hour to ease into it with a goal of having negative splits, but of course my emotions got the best of me and I decided to stick with the 4:00 hour pace team. Despite an unexpectedly early bathroom pit stop at mile 2, I was able to re-catch the 4:00 hour pace team and even run ahead of them for a while. I was doing great until probably mile 10, we had starting heading out of town a bit and began encountering more hilly terrain, which I did not expect on this course. Until that point I was averaging 8:50/mile pace, but then I peaked and the rest was slowly downhill. 

I slowly began interspersing some walking breaks and made it to the halfway point with a time of 2:02, which is a few minutes slower than my last marathon and I was somewhat disappointed at the time. It was at this point that I started questioning all the goals in my head....could I break 4 hours? can i break 4:30? will I at least break my last time of 4:36? All these questions and self-doubt inevitably enter your mind at some point and this is when the real struggle of the marathon begins. Sure, my body was starting to hurt a bit, but the challenge is to keep the mind strong to get to the finish line.

The second half of the marathon was brutal. The amount of walk-breaks slowly increased in frequency and ultimately duration for the remainder of the race. There was a long up and back stretch along the Schuylkill River that seemed to never end. I think it was around Mile 18 that I started texting my wife that I was dying. Ultimately, I finally made it to the end in a time of 4:38, essentially the same as my last marathon, thanks to inspirational messages from my wife, and the encouragement from the fans and my fellow runners. One thing I love about the marathon is the camaraderie that you feel toward the end, when it's not about who finishes ahead of who or what your time is, rather the only thing that matters is to get across the finish line no matter what. I ran the last part without taking any walking breaks despite my legs burning like they have never before.

After crossing the finish line there was a several block long finisher's section where they provided you heating sheets, a medal, post-run snacks, and you could pick up your checked belongings. While I agree all of these things are necessary I didn't like the way this was done for a couple reasons: 1) you were in a barricaded corridor that friends and family could not get in to; and 2) it took me about 15 minutes to walk through the corridor so I could get out. The last thing I want to after finishing a marathon is walk for 15 minutes before I can sit down and collapse of exhaustion. Once I made it through the corridor I met up with my wife and we subsequently caught a taxi back to the hotel to rest for a few hours before heading home.

In reflection, the overall marathon experience was great. Philadelphia was a fantastic host and the volunteers and fans were tremendous. It's definitely a marathon I wouldn't rule out doing again at some point in the future. I know different runners prefer different environments, but for me the big city marathon experience was better overall than the smaller marathon. Although at first I bit disappointed in my time, because I had been training so much more than prior to the first marathon I expected to easily, if not at least, beat my previous time with a goal of close to 4 hours. However, if I am honest with myself this is probably a fair result. My training peaked in late August/early September and I was not able to take advantage of it at the time. I've had a lot of health issues the past few months so to do a second marathon in roughly the same time I feel is a good achievement. Next year I'll be looking for a warmer marathon and hopefully I can better time it to when I am at peak performance, and whether I can break that illustrious 4-hour mark is yet to be seen, at least I know I'll have fun in the process and unlimited pride afterward no matter what happens.

Here is a photo from the conclusion of the race (those heat sheets are amazing!).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Training Schedule & my top goal for 2015

I have been thinking a lot about how 2014 went for me with regard to training, races, etc.  I have no regrets, but I want 2015 to be better.  I have specific goals in mind for races and results.  My specific goal for the year is to take place on 05/25/2015.  I plan on running the Ridgewood Memorial Day 5K Run as always and my goal time is 17:59.  For a 3.1 mile race, that equates to a 5:47/mile pace.  

Consequently, I have some work to do and I have developed a simple training plan to help me.  The plan is based on my schedule and what I think will promote me to success.  I am going to start with this plan and re-evaluate at the end of January to determine what I feel needs to be tweaked. I plan on expanding on my other goals for 2015 in the future, but for now, this is the big one.  

The training plan is as follows in its simplest form:

Mondays-- Long runs at comfort pace
Tuesdays-- Medium length run at comfort pace
Wednesdays-- Sprints, Hills, or Intervals
Thursdays-- Short/Medium length run at slow pace
Fridays-- Short/Medium length run at comfort pace
Saturday-- Rest/Recovery
Sunday-- Rest/Recovery

Most of the information above is easy to understand.  The one personalization I have made is the difference between a slow pace and a comfort pace.  I consider a slow pace what it sounds like.  A pace picked simply to recover from harder/longer workouts, but still build base miles.  However, a comfort pace will require a pace that is slightly faster than a slow pace.  In terms of time, I would consider my comfort pace to be about a minute faster per mile that my slow pace.  You could also call it a Tempo Run pace if familiar with that term.  

The specific mileage I will run will be evident in individual posts.  I simply wanted to put this basic formula together for anyone looking for a simple approach.  If you would like help translating this program to something specific for you based on where you are at, let me know and I would be happy to help lay it out.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/18/2014 Drop the watch round 2, 45 minute run

Start. Run. Stop.  In my second day of disregarding the watch/splits/times, I have to say I feel free.  I may be on to something here.  I have now set my goal to do the week without a real emphasis on my watch.  I hit it for 45 minutes today, a little more healthy of a pace, but still comfortable.  If you pressed me, based on what I felt, I would say I ran around 5-5.5 miles total.  Really though, I don't care.  Without the watch, it kind of feels less like a job to run.

I also find myself paying attention a lot more to what I am thinking about, in my head, regarding work, home, recreation, etc.  Let's not kind ourselves, a moderation of everything is the best road to take, whether it's working out, nutrition, work parameters, whatever.  It's just at this current juncture, I am down with the freedom and contemplating how long it is going to last.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Drop the watch, 1.5 hour run to de-stress

Today, it has been one of those irritating Mondays that people talk about, post cartoons about, and generally despise.  It all started with a puddle I stepped in five feet outside my front door.  Then, it moved on to full on irritation regarding contract stuff at work.  I do not want to elaborate.  Consequently, I decided that my best choice today was to simply run.

I dropped the watch, got changed and just went and ran for an hour and a half.  I simply took note of the time on the clock when I started and occasionally looked at it, ending when I was an hour and a half through.  It was good to run simply to run and even though I thought about a lot of stuff during the run, it helped me move on.  I am more focused on some key things and feel like I can be more productive for myself, my family, and my colleagues.

Going without a watch goes back to the days of running when your were a kid.  Just moving the legs, getting exhilaration from it, and sucking wind when you tire.  I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment that is unique, more intrinsic, when I run for feel rather than mile per hour or for time splits, etc.  I strongly suggest that everyone simply go for a basic run once in awhile.  I didn't run slower or take it easy necessarily, I just didn't focus or document the time and distance correlation, splits, intervals and such.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

11/13/2014 6 miler with hill sprints

Today's 6 mile run at a pace of 8:10/mile finished up in about 49:15ish.  The significant part of the run wasn't the distance or the pace though.  I made today's workout unique by infusing a short hill sprint about every .3 miles or so.  I finished not only with the 6 miles done, but also about 20 hill sprints built into the run.  Hill sprints or repeats are significant to workouts for a few reasons.

First, hamstring strength and flexibility is directly affected by the longer strides needed to cover an uphill sprint/repeat.  It's a natural lengthening because the ground comes up quicker, hence you need to lengthen your stride to move up the hill.

Second, the hill work when done correctly, can a real benefit to proper running mechanics.  Uphill running requires good form, with shoulders back and your hips under you, rather than slouching and letting your upper body lean and lead you.

Finally, mentally attacking hills, especially when tired, is a good way to get some toughness.  This is not only beneficial to your workouts, but also your races when you are tired.  The resiliency of a runner is evident by what they do not when they are fresh, but rather when they are wiped out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, good for you and tasty!

I took this recipe from the website called Citronlimette.  It looks like a great tasting, good for you autumn smoothie.  Simple ingredients to find and throw them in a blender, you are set.  I am doing this for breakfast tomorrow.  It is packed with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, etc.  I am probably going to play with the amount of maple syrup I put in as I am a big no added sugar guy.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 cup ice

11/12/2014 33 minutes of sweat and fatigue, video included

I just packed in a great workout in 33 minutes.  I am roasted head to toe and my heart rate was elevated the whole time.  The best thing, I only used three pieces of equipment and a chair.  

I started off with a 5 minute jump rope warm up (piece #1 of equipment).  This got me warm and brought my heart rate up in the direction I wanted.

Next, I ran through two sets of the following circuit:

Pull ups- 10 reps
Russian twists- 30 reps
Lunges- 30 reps
12 lb. Med ball (Piece #2) slams- 10 reps
Reverse Crunches- 30 reps
Air squats- 30 reps
Farmer's walk ( #3, 2, 30 lb. buckets of water) until failure
Russian twists- 30 reps
Box jumps to chair- 30 reps

I did not rest between sets, but I rested one full minute between the first and second run through the circuit.  It took me about 23 minutes to do the circuit twice through.  

I included the video above for an idea of how to do the farmer's walk.  I do the exercise with 5 gallon buckets instead.  I have about 4 gallons of water in each and like the added instability of the water bouncing around.  I think it's a great test of grip strength and an added bonus instead of just using dumbells

I then finished with another 5 minute jump rope session in order to keep my heart rate up and work a little more.  All total, the 33-ish minute run was nonstop and it efficiently gave me a good workout.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11/11/2014 Second round of cardio, high speed spin

Keeping myself in check, I chose not to jump on the treadmill and overdo it tonight.  Instead, I rode the bike at a high speed cadence for some light cardio and some flushing of lactate in the muscles.  I always find that 30-45 minutes on the bike makes me feel good, no matter what I have done during the day.  It's a rejuvenating activity for my body to simply spin fast and free of resistance.

During the bike ride, I continued my read of the Hal Higdon book, 4:09:43.  It is shaping up to be a powerful, fascinating read.  I do not want to ruin it for anyone so I will simply say that everyone that is a runner needs to read this book, no matter what you consider yourself, recreational, semi-serious, or elite even.  Get the book and read it.

11/11/2014 1 hour of light cardio to rejuvinate

As I knew I would have to, I am on 24 hour lockdown for strenuous exercise.  I gave blood yesterday and got the speech from the blood dude about no running/weight training, etc.  He sounded rather serious and I'm glad he mentioned it because I would have definitely just went for a run today.  It is like 70 degrees, sunny, with a little breeze.  Even my dad couldn't complain about the weather today!

However, I stuck to his advice and simply did a 4 mile walk, for an hour.  Nothing crazy, but it stretched me out and got me some light exercise.  I averaged 15:00/mile and it was nice to be outside again, without the fear of being cold.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Round 2 of the #offcourse workout for time @athleteonfire & a 6 mile run

Ok Scott, here's my time, 23:50 for the workout and it hit me hard.  I'm attributing it to me being a runner adding in workouts rather than me being a 40 year old trying to get in shape!  I changed it up while I did the workout too.  I did smaller sets at first and ripped through a first round, then did a bigger second set of everything and finished with a third set, lower reps.  It's a cool workout because it's simple and you can modify order of exercises, reps in a set, time goal or no, etc.  

The second phase of my workout today was a 6 mile run and it took about 50 minutes to run comfortably.  I jogged/ran an easy pace, on a great day, after my strength work.  I wanted to get in a good long combined workout today as I am giving blood later and will take tomorrow off completely.

I thought about pushing through tomorrow and running anyway, but I don't want to do anything stupid at my age!  All I need is to pass out, fall, break something and never be right again.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/09/2014 6.2 mile run on a perfect fall day

It's been awhile since I ran my staple 6.2 mile run.  I use it often as a guage of fitness and as a solid run because of the uphills and downhills involved.  It was a great day to get out and avoid the treadmill.  I ran a solid 49:18 for the run which is about an 8:06/mile pace.  

On a side note, I am on my second day back on carbs and I definitely felt like I had more in the tank than the last couple weeks.  I felt like I had the necessary energy as well as feeling a couple pounds lighter.  It wasn't a remarkable difference, but it was enough that I noticed.

Looking ahead, I have multiple ideas planned for the blog.  The plans are in the works for some new formatting, a new series of reoccurring posts, and some interaction with some local and national level athletes.  I want to keep the content interesting and if anyone has any anything they would like to know more about or would like to see/hear, let me know.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

TCS NYC Marathon race report; Guest blogger & 4 time finisher, Sean Pinney

Guest blogger of the day is my good friend Sean Pinney.  Sean just finished up his fourth NYC Marathon and this is what he has to say about the race.  Thanks for the write up Sean and again, congratulations!  Enjoy!


Although this was my 4th NYC marathon, it was the first I have run in 11 years. What I remember most about it was the wind. It was present throughout the day. From the time I picked up the bus at the Meadowlands until I finished, the wind never went away. The staging area was just brutal. For safety reasons, they could not put up the tents so we were all huddling together without any protection. One guy actually crawled into a plastic trolley being used for clothes donation to hide from the wind.

Running across the Verrazano was like running in a wind tunnel. I wanted to run in a pack to get protection from the wind, but I started at the tail end of the third wave and was exposed. The wind was unrelenting and was blowing us sideways. Those were 2 long miles.

A highlight for me was running through Bay Ridge. I was on the green start and it took me on a different route through the neighborhood. It was a great pleasure to run into co-worker who was waiting to cheer me on. I saw her, ran over and smiled. I gave her a high five and then kept on running, making the turn onto 4th Avenue. 

The fans in Brooklyn were fantastic. They were packed several deep along 4th Avenue and cheering loudly. I loved hearing all the bands, in particular the one playing “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, and another who was playing something from Rage Against the Machine. That definitely got the blood pumping. 

I also loved running through Brooklyn because of the diverse people from one neighborhood to the next. Going from 4th Avenue to Lafayette and on to Bedford Street, the look and feel changes. I saw a woman in Williamsburg wave hello to a Hasidic man who did not wave back or respond in any way. In Greenpoint, there was a group of friends on a balcony who were in great spirits and probably had already consumed a great amount of spirits as well. Running through Brooklyn there would be times when the wind would disappear for a while only then to come back and hit you in the face. I just smiled and kept on going.  

My right knee started hurting at the 9 mile mark. Prior to that, I was running perfectly consistent 10 minute miles in order to conserve my energy. After my knee started hurting, these miles began to stretch out a bit. I made the halfway point at the Pulaski Bridge at 2:13, which I was pretty happy with. I was feeling good and still had lots of energy. I had plenty of gas in the tank. My knee still hurt a little, but my legs weren’t too bad. I figured I would make 4:30 at this pace and would be happy with it.

I was very nervous about the Queensboro Bridge. I was afraid that the winds would be like headwinds going across Verrazano. Also, the Queensboro Bridge was my nemesis in 2003. I had unexpectedly hit the wall back then between mile 15 and 16. It crushed me. This year, I was mentally geared up to get across. It turns out that there was little wind going across and I was psyched that I made it without any problem at all.

I turned the corner at 16 and smiled because I knew I would make it and would finish strong. I felt that way until up until the Willis Avenue Bridge. Crossing into the Bronx, my legs began to get sore and cramped up at the 21st mile. I had to walk a bit and stretch them out, but was able to start jogging again. It was great to make it across the Madison Avenue Bridge and be back on 1st Avenue. I got hit again by the wind and just smiled and kept moving on. What else could I do?

At the 23rd mile, I passed by Mount Sinai where I work. It was good to be back on familiar territory where I spend my days. I turned back into Central Park at 90th street and felt tired, but good. Then when I was running downhill, I had to stop because the pounding really hurt my knee. Who walks on downhills???

I finally ran out of the Park and turned onto Central Park South. The crowds were still packed 10 deep and cheering loudly. My knee was a little sore and my legs were tight. I had to shorten my stride, but I felt good and very excited to finish. I made the turn at Columbus circle and pushed for home. I made sure I got my arms up as I crossed the finish line. I did not feel exhausted or drained as I had in years past. It was probably because I ran slower than in the past. Final time 4:45:03.

I loved getting the finisher’s medal, wrapping myself in the Mylar blanket and feeling that immediate warmth.  Finally there was something that could break the wind.  Walking from the finish back to my car on the east side, people would stop and say “congratulations.” People always say New Yorkers are mean, but they really are nice. That’s what makes the NYC marathon a great experience. When else are New Yorkers going to stand out in the cold and cheer for you?

There were so many great sights and memories along the way. I came across people running their 30th marathon and looking strong. I saw a guy who was dribbling a soccer ball the entire way. Apparently there was also a guy juggling and another bouncing a basketball, but I did not see them. Everyone running was having a great time.

Some of the great signs I saw:

Toenails are for wimps.
You look great.
In your mind you are a Kenyan.

The phrase I heard the most from the crowd, “You got this!”  Running the NYC Marathon is always a blast for me. It’s a great way to experience the city and to see different neighborhoods. I cannot wait until I run again next year.

A powerful book I'm excited to read, 4:09:43 @higdonmarathon

I've been meaning to pick this book up for a few weeks.  It is written by Hal Higdon and is a look at the Boston Marathon bombing as told through the eyes of the runners that were there.  It looks to be a short read and I'm sure it's powerful.  I will let you know how it goes, but I have heard good things. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

11/06/2014 TCS NYC Marathon race report with Jeremy Basis

Here is a race report from my good friend Jeremy Basis.  He just finished up his first marathon in NYC and this is what he has to say about the race.  Enjoy and Thanks for the report Jeremy!  Congratulations on your race!


My 2014 NYC Marathon Experience

I woke up at 4:30am after a night of restless sleep in Wayne New Jersey.  I slept there at my friend Seth’s house the night before the Marathon. Seth and my other friend Vincent were running the marathon as well. We ordered a car to drive us to Fort Wadsworth, the staging area for the start line of the NYC Marathon.  It was cold and dark as night when we left and reports of a cold and windy day were sending this already anxious and nervous first time marathoner into a state of panic.  We arrived at Fort Wadsworth at 6am.  We were to be in the final wave of the day at 10:55am but everyone needs to get to the staging area early due to road closures.  Consequently, for the people like myself who were in the final wave, it meant a five hour wait for before we even toed the start line.  This was just one of the many tests of our physical and mental fortitude which we would encounter that day.  We huddled around and tried to stay warm while passing time by uploading pics to Facebook and receiving messages of support from all of our family and friends on social media and text message.  It led me to wonder how bad it was for marathoners before there were cell phones and social media during the pre race.

Once the anxious five hour wait had come to an end, it was time to enter my coral and head to the start line.  It was at this point when the energy started to build for me.  I was so excited to finally get moving and warm up.  As we moved closer to the start and heard the national anthem from the distance, we realized we were only seconds away.  Then Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was glaring and the excitement was higher than ever as we stood at the start line on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge… it was go time!  I’ve driven over the Verrazano hundreds of times in my life, but today I was getting a different view as I ran the two miles into my hometown of Brooklyn where I grew up and spent the first 27 years of my life.  As a New Yorker for most of my life, I had never went to watch the runners on Marathon Day so I never knew what it was like until this day.  It was the most amazing New York experience I’ve ever had.  Running from borough to borough and getting a taste of the different ethnic neighborhoods was a clear example of what a melting pot New York is.  These people were total strangers but on this day they treated runners like family.  They hand you tissues and pretzels and give you high fives along the way and it really picks up your spirits when you are feeling like you can’t go on anymore.  I started feeling that way after mile 11, which was a bit odd because I had trained hard and done all I was supposed to do.  I suppose the 5 hour wait and the windy conditions took a huge toll on me and the infamous “wall” came early.  I had a moment of extreme worry about how I was going to push through 15 more miles in this state.  I am not the most talented runner but one trait that I know I possess is I won’t stop until the job is complete.  So I just kept moving and inching towards my goal refusing to listen to the doubt that was trying to take me over.

It felt like days had passed and the sun was starting to set on the day, but the energy was still high in Central Park as I came up on the final 800 meters of the race.  My body was in extreme pain, my mind was exhausted and I had experienced every kind of emotion possible over the course of the race.  One of the things I like most about distance running is that it’s exactly like life.  You go through ups and downs.  At times you feel on top of the world and other times you feel the world is caving in on you.  Either way you must press on.  When I finally hit the last bend around and had the finish line in my sights I had never in my life been so emotional.  Tears were pouring down my face and I couldn’t believe it was finally over.  I would tell anyone who is into running and has a goal of doing a marathon that the NYC Marathon is a great race to add to the bucket list.  Beyond finishing my first marathon, I am proud to have run for Team JDRF and raised $4,000 for Type 1 Diabetes research.  This is a disease my brother Austin has been living with since age 9.  Two years ago today, I was not a runner.  I actually did my first road race on Thanksgiving Day 2012.    I didn’t realize at the moment I had crossed the finish line what I had accomplished, but now as I sit here a few days later I am starting to understand that I just completed the New York City Marathon and NOBODY can ever take that away from me! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11/05/2014 My run at the OffCourse workout, @athleteonfire #offcourse

The other day I previewed a workout I saw on AthleteonFire.  It looked awesome and I just wrapped it up.  On paper, it doesn't look horrible.  However, when you do it, it kicks your a$$ a bit.  I like the addition of a time goal.  I won't say it's a constraint, but merely a goal.  It is awesome and total body.  With an absence of equipment, I found it even more appealing.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

I am not sharing my time with you, but will say that the 20 minute mark is still a goal.  Hey, nobody said it would be easy right?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/04/2014 5 miles, no carbs, slowly dying

I think the no carbs thing is finally beginning to hit my workouts/runs.  I just finished up a 5 mile run that took a lot out of me.  I averaged a pace of 9:07/mile.  That is a little slow for me, but I was running simply for comfort at the beginning.  I did not worry about pace or even look at my watch until I was 4.65 miles into the run.  

I do not care how long it took, but find it interesting.  Even up until a couple weeks ago, my long runs of 8, 10, 12, 15 miles were all done at faster paces than today's.  However, I had glycogen stores back then.  Also, I was taking in carbs as I ran to refuel.  No carbs, no refueling, no major energy sources.  It will benefit me in the long run though.  Learning to run depleted is a great way to further your paces, thresholds, and efficiency.

It was also great to be out there as it is sunny and about 65 degrees with no wind.  I will hold on to mild weather as long as possible.

Monday, November 3, 2014

11/03/2014 NYC Marathon Congrats and a combo workout, strength & cardio

I am feeling reinvigorated after watching the NYC Marathon yesterday.  It is always inspiring to watch the runners battle, hear their stories, and see the faces of exhilaration when they are running/finishing.  If you watched any of it or live in the tristate area, then you know yesterday was brutal in regards to the wind.  I cannot imagine the feeling being on any one of the 5 bridges during the race and getting hit with those winds, let alone simply running the whole time in wind.  

I applaud and congratulate all those runners, including my friends, Sean Pinney and Jeremy Basis.  Both completed NYC yesterday, with Sean running his 4th NYC and 5th overall marathon and Jeremy getting his first marathon medal.  Great job guys!

I started today's workout with a 5 minute jog to warm up.  I then did 2 sets of the strength circuit I did the other day, however, I did it in reverse order.  I started with lunges and worked my way to the pushups, again doing about 45 seconds of each exercise before moving to the next with virtually no rest.  I rested one minute after the circuit and did it a second time through.  

When I finished up the circuit, I immediately ran 5 miles at 8:30/mile pace.  In total, the whole workout took me 1:03:30.  It felt good to strecth a workout to that length.  I rarely do combo workouts and I am not sure why.  It's probably because of how little strength stuff I had been doing.  I look forward to a regular Monday and Wednesday strength workout plan and I am going to vary it weekly.  

Wednesday, I am starting from scratch as far as the exercises go and the following Monday I will reverse it again and also do the cardio first, finishing up with the strength part.

An awesome workout without equipment, from @athleteonfire @offcourse

Check out this workout I just found on one of my favorite sites, AthleteonFire.  It is the epitome of a workout made for me.  All continuous exercise, no equipment, kicking your a@$ to complete it.  I cannot wait to try it for my Wednesday workout.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 31, 2014

10/31/2014 Happy Halloween! Bike workout

Happy Halloween everyone.  I hope you all ate more candy than I did!  Day 5 of no carbs and I was able to keep it on track.  No candy, no sugar, no carbs.  I am focused and motivated to get where I want to go.

I am definitely sore today from yesterday's strength workout.  It's nothing crazy, just a bit sore, and I am happy about it.  Tonight I road the bike for a good half an hour and kept the speed up around 20-22 MPH.  

Focus on the weekend is to get another good run in either tomorrow or Sunday and head into next week ready to get in some serious miles with virtually no carbs stores.  Training the body to work hard even without a lot of glycogen stores is a popular practice right know among elites and the everyday runner as well.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10/30/2014 Treadmill workout at goal marathon pace

Tonight, I got in a fast 5 mile run on the treadmill.  I set out to run what I hope will be my next marathon pace in the spring or fall of 2015 (really hope spring!).  My pace for the 5 miles was 7:30/mile.  I finished the run in a total of 37:30.  Looking back, I am pretty sure I could have pushed myself another couple miles at the same pace.  If I can progress my endurance and increase my runs over the next few months, I definitely think I could handle this pace for a full marathon.  It would have me finishing 26.2 miles in 3:16:38.  That would be huge and I am shooting for it.

On my side, I ran a half marathon, my first ever, in 1:34.  This breaks down as a pace of 7:11/mile.  Because of these numbers, I feel confident shooting for that goal.

I need to now go online and find a marathon to apply this training towards.  

10/30/2014 High Intensity workout

That's me after 1 workout
My whole workout from start to finish just now was only 25 minutes.  I am dripping sweat more than after a 45 minute run.  High intensity workouts with virtually no rest are a great way to get fit and burn calories.  My workout consisted of two sets of the following circuit below.  There is literally no rest between exercises and only sixty seconds rest between sets.  I did each exercise for forty-five seconds (Farmer's walk was more like 1:30 because of distance).  

Pull ups
Air squats
Push ups
Box jumps
Farmer's walk
Lunges w/twist

I started with a five minute jog to warm up.  I then did the two sets of the circuit and finished with a five minute jog.  My total workout was 25 minutes on the nose.  It is my first strength training work in awhile, but I was pleased with my strength.  My plan is to do some strength work every week once or twice.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/29/2014 Day three of no carbs, I know why people go insane!

It is day three and although I have done the no carb thing before, I know that it's why people go temporarily nuts sometimes.  I currently have a running list in my head of around 600 things that I want to eat, some of which show my desperation.  Corn bread/muffins, chips, crumb cake, crusty bread toasted with butter, a Blondie, etc.  Suffering in the name of willpower!

The point of this is to reset my body, gain control of the out of control eating that has been taking place, and to get me more towards what I believe will be an optimal weight for my running/racing.  It is pretty simply that the more you weigh, the more you have to carry on your runs and in your races.  

As a side benefit, workouts and runs while having no glycogen stores built up can be helpful to your body to train it to use other energy sources efficiently, ie fats.  A couple weeks at this and I should get to a good place and simply start to add in a normal diet to maintain energy and stabilize my weight.

Tonight is the first Knick game of the season so I will sit in bed and enjoy a big bag of nothing or a handful or air as a snack!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10/28/2014 New Fartlek 5 miler, fast endings

I did a new Fartlek run today and I am happy about the way it went.  In total, the workout was 5 miles.  for the first 3/4 of a mile, I ran comfortably around 8:00-8:30/mile pace.  At the 3/4 mile mark, I kicked it up to a fast pace of about 6:00/mile pace for the final 1/4 to finish the mile.  I did this each mile.  It was 3/4 mile run, then fast 1/4 mile for all 5 miles.  

This run is beneficial for two reasons.  It helps your aerobic capacity and it teaches your mind and body how to run fast on tired legs.  Both of these topics will come in handy on race day, as well as long runs and tempos.  

It is also a great way to get out of a rut and run some different paces than you are used to.  A big no no in my mind is running the same pace too often.  As I began my run today, I was still deciding what I wanted to do, a long run or a Fartlek.  The Fartlek sounded more interesting so I went with it.

For the second day in a row, it was the perfect fall day for a run.  High 50's/low 60's, little breeze, and the crunching of the leaves under foot.  I am no photographer, but I snapped a couple picks along the route.  

Rumor has is that we are supposed to get snow this weekend.  F