Although somewhere deep, deep, deep down inside I miss the subways, and the crowds, and the bitter cold, and the six hours of sunlight, I think I can make due until we wrap up our vacation on Sunday.
P.S. - I wish I had brought my running shoes--I'm so jealous of all the runners here!
It has been almost a month since the Breakers Marathon and I am so out of it. Without a training schedule or a goal in mind I really just lose focus. When I go to the gym I wander around a bit before I decide on weights (which I ought to do since I avoid them during training) or the treadmill (which I should do to avoid losing any more conditioning).
In an effort to get myself back on track, I started researching my next race: The Little Rock Marathon.
Now you may be wondering why I'm heading to middle-of-nowhere Little Rock for a race. Well, first and foremost there's the whole 50 state goal, so at one point I will have to travel to Arkansas. Then, my good friend is in grad school in Little Rock, which means there's a futon with wifey and I's names on it (even though I doubt Little Rock hotels are expensive by NYC standards).
However, I am facing a bit of a dilemma: do I race the half or the full? I've been thinking about this for a while now and here are the pros and cons of each:
- The Marathon has the largest medal in road racing--hell yeah I want that!
- Start off the 09 racing season with a fun, big crowd Marathon (about 12,000 runners)
- I have to train through the winter, which not only means cold-ass temps, but also no water fountains throughout the city, ice patches, and less daylight (who wants to run in those conditions?)
- Then, when I get to Little Rock, it will be about 80 degree and humid--so all that Marathon training will be decimated by the weather
- Not sure how easy it would be to keep on racing in April and May after a Marathon
- Shorter training schedule
- Shorter training runs (so I wouldn't have to worry about the weather as much)
- With the shorter distance I could better deal with the change in climate
- I could start of the 09 racing season with a Half-Marathon and ease into a second half-Marathon in April and then a Full Marathon
- No big medal for the Half-Marathon (only the Full Marathoners get the famous one pound medal)
Actually, now that I've written these all down I realize that the only reason I'd do the Full over the Half is completely for pride purposes. Since pride and showing off has gotten me no where in running so far, so I'll be going with the Half and settle for a picture of the biggest medal in racing.Now to start building the training calendar.
If you add up all the ways I'm currently being billed out, I am technically putting in 175% of my time: 50% each for my two main clients, 25% each for my two side projects, and 25% for the team that was understaffed. This translates into many 12+ hour days and lots of dinners at work. This also translates into a lot of stress that unfortunately made it's way home, dominated dinner conversations, and even snuck into my dreams. Yeah, not pleasant.
With this crazy schedule and no race to train for, I wasn't running or making it to the gym at all. It took until this Thursday for me to realize that my major stress reliever was missing from my routine and that I needed it now more than ever.
On Thursday once I realized I could wrap up my work at a reasonable hour (7:30p) I bolted out of the office. By 8:30 I had made it home, changed into running clothes, and headed to the gym. The plan was four miles and then some ab work afterward.
The run was exactly what I needed--better than any kind of massage or night of vegetating in front of the TV. I was able to physically beat the stress out of me. The repetitive motion and isolation allowed all the burdens of the week slip out of my brain. And then the sprint to the end of mile four--if you could call it a sprint, because I have lost all my speed since the race--gave me the sense of accomplishing something.
At the end of the run I was exhausted. I still don't understand how a run that I would have done in my sleep a month ago can suddenly become so difficult (I guess I lose conditioning pretty fast while I'm taking a post-race break). After some lower back work and some lifts on the captain's chair (I will have a strong core, damn it!) I went home a hungry and sweaty mess in the oddly warm and humid November night.
Wifey had gotten home right before me and I could smell the steak cooking as I was walking up the stairs to the apartment--food, food, delicious food! Wifey was making a fantastic dinner of steak and onions with couscous (my favorite side dish of late) and was almost done. I had just enough time to take off my shoes and jacket before dinner was ready. By the time I was done with dinner any thoughts from the previous weeks were blissfully out of my head, while I sat with a delightfully full stomach.
That night I slept about seven hours, which was about an hour or two more than I had been averaging for the three weeks leading up to it--and it was the best sleep I've had in months! I woke up on Friday all refreshed and happy, without a worry about anything. Who knew that all I needed was a run to get out of a rut?
1. On Sunday wifey and I volunteered at the NYCM family reunion area and even though it wasn't a high-profile assignment like the finish line or a water stop it was an awesome experience. I've watched the race from home for two years, but this year, actually being there as the runners were meting their families, really brought the race to life. Despite all the hype about the NYCM ("it's the world's race" "the city opens its heart for the race" etc. etc.) it actually is one of the greatest events you can experience. Just seeing the city shut down and embrace 40,000 strangers running through the streets is jaw-dropping. And hearing every language except English is dizzying. I can't wait to run this race one day.
2. I was particularly proud to vote today because I live in Astoria, perhaps the most diverse neighborhood on Earth. Standing in the line to vote I looked around and noticed people of all types, all backgrounds, all ages, and all ethnicities. It was amazing to see this mass of people silently sucking up the difficulties of standing in a long line and having to sacrifice time from their day to come out and vote for our collective future. It was inspiring seeing this elegantly simple yet beautiful slice of America and warmed my heart.
3. Wifey and I have gotten the home-buying bug. So starting this weekend we are going to be scoping out places for March when our lease runs up. This could make the next couple of months interesting.
You see, we're in a bit of a technological bubble here in the sRod house. The major clocks in the house--the computer, the cable box, and the alarm clock--are all set automatically and therefore they adjust for Daylight Saving Time without having to touch them. So when I woke up yesterday morning I just assumed all the clocks had adjusted themselves and I was just really sleepy even though I had gotten an extra hour of sleep.
But after posting yesterday, I noticed that the manual clock in the kitchen was on the same time as all the automatic clocks, meaning that there was no time adjust on Saturday morning.
All is well now and I am a confirmed goof.
Off to the Marathon!
Running on the treadmill, at first, was like taking a dusty old toy car of the shelf and being pleasantly surprised that the little thing whizzed around and bounced off walls as if it were brand new. It took some adjustment at the beginning (it had been 1.5 weeks since any kind of running) but everything was working fine and nothing hurt, not even my IT band. The only thing that amazed me was how, after training and running races for seven months, this short little run demanded so much concentration and energy. This happens after every racing season: the first run after the last race is always the hardest, it's like starting all over again.
Eventually, I did find a kink and the kink was in my stomach and it wanted to get out of there about 2.5 miles into the run. Aha! There is the poop that I avoided during the Marathon. I tried to get myself through the last .5 miles of the run, I know I could fight back this "cramp" (if cramp is code for GI onslaught) because I had fought back so many first wave cramps in training (it's the second and third waves that get me), but I just couldn't. I stopped the machine at 2.58 miles and bolted to the bathroom.
Sigh. And we're back to square one.
Post-bathroom (yes, Miguel was there) I did some leg lifts on the caption's chair and some lower back exercises, but since I haven't done those exercises in, oh, four months, so I've been like an old man since Friday morning because I can't get up quickly from hunching over and I can't do anything that involves my ab muscles. That should have been my Halloween costume: an nursing home patient--it would have required no acting at all.
In other news...Halloween was fun this year. After being stuck in the office until 8pm (hearing the Halloween parade right outside the building was just torture while I was trying to wrap up budgets) I hopped in a cab and met wifey and friends to go upstate to the Headless Horseman hayride and haunted houses. The place was fantastic: you start on a haunted hayride were people come out and scare you, and then you're lead through a series of haunted houses and a corn maze. The only downer was that we were some of the last people of the night and I guess the zombies and chainsaw killers started clocking out for the night before we went through, so there were some empty patches during the houses and maze. Bummer.
We finally came home at about 3:30 last night (thank God for the extra hour this morning!). Now to run some errands today because wifey and I will be volunteering at the finish line of the Marathon tomorrow. To everyone running the five boroughs: Good luck and have a blast out there!!!!