On your mark, get ready, GO!

I just got back from the gym. I did a 30 minute run on the treadmill because it was pouring outside (you could call me a fair-weather runner). I couldn't concentrate for a damn minute because I'm too excited for Long Branch this weekend. I'm so excited to be back in my zone that I can't wait to hop in the car and head down to the Jersey Shore.

Additionally, yesterday was last day at my old job. Of course it's a relief to be out of there, but there's also an odd mix of emotions. Disappointment: I thought I was a tougher cookie and could handle my old agency for more than just two years. Anxiety: I'm leaving my team, they are only people I've worked with in advertising, so it's kinda like leaving your family. Happiness: I've spent the past two years on the same account, which made me feel stagnant, so I'm happy that is over...for now.

Some people were sad to see me go. Some just saw me as part of the natural turnover in advertising. Overall, I got out of my old job what I wanted: a solid foundation in advertising and a basis to start a long career in the industry. Here's to hoping the new job can deliver everything I want out of it: a creative atmosphere, a freer approach to advertising, and a healthier work environment.


Good to go!

A week from today I'll be running the Long Branch Half-Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. Since it's been about 7 months since I last ran a race I'm a bit out of practice, but after a solid two months of training not only am I back at the level I was at back in September, but I think I might even improve my time. Yesterday I ran an 8-mile loop around Central Park and maintained an 8:30 pace--which is fan-f***ing-tastic because there are some monster hills in Central Park, as opposed to the Long Branch course which is all flat. I'm completely stoked because there is a good chance I could make a PR during this race.

Yesterday I also went through the first of my pre-race rituals: I put together the playlist for my iPod. A week before every race I put together my playlist for the race. The process takes a good hour or so. I start by taking a look at my iTunes library, pick out the best running songs in it, and put them into one playlist. (Normally, I buy several new albums between races.) Then I rate the songs using the stars and the following system:

  • 1 star ("inspiration songs") = exciting, super high energy start song to help set the pace
  • 2 stars ("transistion songs") = similar to 1 star songs, but just a tiny bit slower to make sure I don't burn out in first half of the race
  • 3 stars ("groove songs") = these are the pace songs, they are the slowest in the mix, but they are good for keeping pace and help for the "workhorse" middle portion of a race
  • 4 stars ("warning songs") = faster than 3 stars (and kinda like 2 stars), these warn me that I'm close to the end and that I better pick up the pace if I'm behind because the end is around the corner
  • 5 stars ("power songs") = the crown jewels of the mix, these push me through the finish line and tell me to start sprinting if I'm not there yet (these can also be called the "oh shit" songs, because they mean "oh shit, I have to haul ass")

After rating all the songs then I sort the list by rating and make sure the songs gel from one to the next and then take it out for a test run. The mix for Long Branch is pretty good, I may end up switching out a song or two, but here's the mix in playing order:

  • 1 star section:
  • Proud Mary, Tina Turner (always my first song)
  • Spirit, Caesars
  • Out Here All Night, Damone
  • Cubicle, Rinocerose
  • Say This Sooner, The Almost
  • Heartbreak Stroll, The Raveonettes
  • Crankin' Up, Caesars
  • 2 stars section:
  • Filthy Gorgeous (Extended Original), Scissor Sisters
  • Abra Cadaver, The Hives
  • Evil and a Heathen, Franz Ferdinand
  • Tres Deseos, Gloria Estefan
  • Is It Any Wonder?, Keane
  • I'm Waiting, The All-American Rejects
  • Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand
  • Suddenly I See, KT Tunstall
  • 3 stars section:
  • Hang Me Up to Dry, Cold War Kids
  • SexyBack, Justin Timberlake
  • I Like the Way (Radio Edit), Bodyrockers
  • I Turn My Camera On, Spoon
  • The Fallen, Franz Ferdinand
  • Unknown song from my friend
  • Freedom 90, George Michael
  • Tell Me in the Morning, Cold War Kids
  • 11:11 PM, The All-American Rejects
  • Lights, Editors
  • Rubidoux, Cold War Kids
  • 4 stars section:
  • It's Not the Fall That Hurts (US Mix), Caesars
  • Hey Teacher, Louis XIV
  • You Could Have It So Much Better, Franz Ferdinand
  • Let's Go Parking Baby, Caesars
  • Vertigo, U2
  • Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones, The Hives
  • 5 stars section:
  • Soulchaser (US Mix), Caesars
  • I Don't Feel Like Dancin', Scissor Sisters
  • Move Along, The All-American Rejects


Real fast

Just did 7 miles in 59:04. I did cheat a little: I walked for 1 minute at the 40 minute mark because I got too ambitious in the first half. But still if you add that in that's 7 miles in 60 miles. That's roughly an 8:30 mile. For me that's fast.

Really happy.


Crap, crap, crap...

...that's all I can think. Thanks to some last minute travel plans I haven't been able to go running for about a week now. Normally, that wouldn't throw me off too much, but I have a race in 12 days--now is not the time to be missing runs!!

My shoes; lonely, sad, unloved:

Don't worry boys, we're going out soon!


Still hurts

So last night went on the treadmill for 8 miles. Shins still hurt and not sure why. I actually had to stop the machine at the 2 mile mark and stretch my legs because I could feel the mounting tightness. I finished just fine, but I could just feel my shins getting tight (which makes it difficult to want to run faster or increase the incline). I think the Bridges run I did last weekend really threw me off--that'll show me about being super ambitious about suddenly throwing in massive hills into my training.

But in other, perhaps more exciting news...I got a new job! And while I am in advertising, which has very little to do with runnning, my new boss is a marathoner. Isn't that something, I will actually have something in common with my boss. It will be a first. The new office is in swanky SoHo, which is an extra 15 swanky minutes further than my current midtown job. 15 minutes sounds like a short amount of time, but I feel like it may be the deciding factor between being on a post-work "I'm-going-running!" high and a post-work "I'm-exhausted-from-the-work-day" low.



Went for a quick run last night--5 flat miles on treadmill. My goal was to finish at a 8:30 pace, so a time of 42:30.

Extremely excited that I started off strong, hitting 7.0 mph within the first few minutes. I was coasting along a little too easy when this started to happen during mile 2:

My shins started to get tight. So I tried to adjust my stride, but no luck. Once I have my form down for a run, it's very hard to change.

In the name of saving my legs for another day I took a break at 3.75 miles. After a little walking I hit the machine again--ignoring the dull pain (as I probably shouldn't have). Finished spectacularly in 42:25, but oh my shins. Poor boys.

I don't know if it's the shoes (which need to be retired) or the little hill I threw in at the beginning of the run or the 3 enormous hills I did on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be fixing the shoe one soon...you know, if I ever make it to the running store. What kind of runner forgets to stop at the running store even when they pass it everyday on the way to work? Me.


Running in new territory

Yesterday as I was getting ready for my run I had a stroke of genius: since I missed a run this week, I'm going to try to make up for it with an extra hard run today. Instead of going over the Queensboro, going down the East Side, and going up the West Side, I mapped out a route going over the Queensboro, down the East Side, over the Manhattan Bridge, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and ending at Battery Park. As mapped here: http://beta.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/ny/new-york/322813642.

WTF was I thinking?

First off, it turns out that between 59th Street and 34th Street you can't run along the river--there is just no path. Once I found this out I had to backtrack to 1st Ave until 34th Street. At 34th Street I completely miss the entrance to the path along the river and end up taking a 5 block detour. This whole time I thinking: who designs a running path that you can't access?

Finally, at 23rd Street (maybe 28th) I manage to get on the running path and start getting into a nice stride (this would be about mile 3 or 4). Eventually I see a bridge and figure that I have to get on the other side of the street to get on to what I think at the time is the Manhattan Bridge. Turns out it was the Williamsburg Bridge. And after another 5 block detour I'm back on the East River path.

After going through 50 red lights in Chinatown I made it onto the Manhattan Bridge. After so many detours and reroutings the last thing you want to see is a barrel view of a 135-foot climb. And immediately follow that with the Brooklyn Bridge. By the time I landed back in Manhattan my knees, quads, and hamstrings were screaming to stop.

The last mile was forgivingly flat and I coasted to my endpoint (the Whitehall Stop on the R/W). The goal was 11 miles in 1hr 39min--but at 1hr 46min, who knows how much I had run. But I can tell you that even the seats on the NYC subway feel like leather sofas after a run like that.


Turning a blind eye

So hanging out with the friend won last night. Also managed to work until 8pm, which didn't help the situation. But hopefully skipping this one run (9 miles on a hills course on a treadmill) won't through my off too much. I know I'll be paying for it tomorrow: 11 miles around Manhattan. At least the route I'm comtemplating is relatively flat:

-Start at Queens side of Queensboro/59th Street bridge
-Run over bridge (get the hill out of the way early)
-Run down the East Side along the East River
-At battery Park turn north and run up the West Side along the Hudson

Still have to map this out to figure out if this is indeed 11 miles. Fortunately, the good people at Map My Run do an excellent job of making this easy. Just click, add a few points, and you have your route. For most purposes it is ideal. But be warned: if you map a complex run with lots of turns (e.g., Central Park) the site slows down tremendously. Also, the search feature on their beta site isn't fully functional yet (as of Wednesday night).


Friend in town

I'm in the last few weeks of training for the Long Branch Half-Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. I'm really excited about this race because it'll be my first race in 8 months and my first race as a husband. We are going to make a weekend out of it, renting a car, enjoying the beach--although with the way the weather is lately there won't be much to do in the vein of beach activities.

However, our good friend at the last minute decided to come up to New York (from Texas). So now we get to entertain and do stuff around town. Which brings me to my dilemma: at this crucial point in training (3.5 weeks out) how much training should I sacrifice in order to see my friend who I get to see only once a year?


...is this thing on?

So got this crazy idea to start a blog because I have yet to find a runner's blog that is maintained and not insanely technical. No offense to my training-focused brethren, but training programs are unique to everyone and--honestly--I'm not going to get anything out of learning that you logged 20 miles last week and did 3 hours of cross training.

Also, I'm curious about blogging and figured now would be as good a time as ever.