The assortment of things that happened on yesterday's long run

Finally (!) the big project at work is over--all the late nights and weekends are done, for now. I updated my timesheet this morning and I was appalled at the total for last week: 66.75 hours. It sucked, but what made me feel worse was that I got the better end of the deal. Some people pulled 100 hours last week. Sigh. Such is advertising.

I officially wrapped up my part of the work on Saturday night at 8pm. Which left me free and clear to destress during my scheduled 11 mile long run. While I didn't completely destress, several curious things happened and some unconnected thoughts floated into my head:
  • I wondered if I could live a day without verbs. (After confering with friends later the consensus was that I could, but if I only said "yes" or "no" all day.)
  • It was the first time in a long time that I ran with music--and I'm not sure if I missed it. It was nice to have the music to entertain and distract, but it felt unnecessary.
  • This was the first run in months that I needed to bust open a gel pack while on the run--those CLIF Shots aren't so hot, I miss GU.
  • A twig/small branch fell from the sky and landed directly in front of me. It frightened the bejesus out of me.
  • During this run I ran over three bridges: the Queensboro, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges. Each one of these bridges is over 150 feet high and 1.5 miles long. Last time I did this run I had shin splits for a week. This time I conquered the three bridges pain free and in top condition.
  • I almost got hit by a car...I should probably pay a little more attention to where I'm going.
  • Summer streets are almost here!
  • My goal pace was 9:15--which still sounds so painfully slow--I finished with a 9:13 pace.

That long run concluded week four of NYCM training. Only 14 weeks to go until race day!


Uncle sRod

Yesterday was a very exciting day around here! My sister was induced into labor yesterday at 6am. I spent the entire morning checking my phone, calling my mom for updates, and getting IMs from aunt. After what sounds like a very quick labor she gave birth to (not so) little Dominic, weighing in at 8 lbs. 9 oz. and measuring 19 inches tall.

Below are Dominic's first pictures shared with the world.

Welcome to the world Dominic! Wifey and I will be there in a couple of days to say hello in person--and maybe take you on your first tempo run. (Ha ha, yes, I know it's too soon for that--I should start him on the long run.)


Random thoughts

Some things I'm thinking about while waiting for my boss to show up for this 2pm meeting he called (yes, it's Sunday, and yes, it's 3pm right now):
  • FML
  • I should have planned to go to the beach yesterday. Mr. Weatherman you lied about the rain on Saturday--it was perfect summer weather. I need to place less trust in your forecasts.
  • I really, really, really want a dog. Particularly this one. Or this one. Stupid landlord and his no pets rule.
  • I would prefer a job that rewarded me for the amount of work I put in.
  • I really need to sell that table from our kitchen and those shelves we don't use and donate some random stuff lying around the apartment.
  • I'm very curious about how life would be if I wasn't in New York
  • My in-laws' bakery seems to be having a good summer, I hope they can keep the business going through the winter.
That's it for now.


Muted running

I think it's been pretty well established that I like listening to music while I run. So I find it very odd that I have taken Liam on a run exactly once during the past three weeks of Marathon training (about 15 runs). I realized this on Thursday when I went to the track for Yasso 800s--which usually require music--and didn't even realize I forgot Liam until I arrived back home.

I have to say, I'm starting to see some truth to all that stuff about "listen to your body, not your music." Without music I'm finding it a lot easier to manage my pace. I'm also having a better time controlling my breathing--and training myself to inhale/exhale with my left step as to avoid stitches. I don't miss the music and I don't find myself getting bored either.

That said, today is going to be my first long run by myself in about six weeks. And I'm putting together a playlist now (borrowing heavily from our recently purchased, 50+ track, Michael Jackson Essentials albums) to accompany me on the run. Old habits, right?


So my job continues to kill me slowly--this has been another hectic week with crazy hours and mad dash work. I'm just trying to get to July 28 at which point I'll be a free (and very tired man).


Unintentional cross training

It's been almost two weeks of training for the NYCM and everything is going great. Despite interference from work* and my first gym-free training program in years, I've done every run so far according to plan (at the right pace, on the right day, at the right distance). Actually, I've found a few benefits of taking the gym out of the equation. I now have to warm up and cool down for .6 miles--the distance from my apartment to Astoria Park. I can get up later because I don't have to walk to and from the gym. Also, every run now has a hill component because I've realized that there is no way to run more than three miles in this neighborhood without coming across a hill.

But there was one aspect of outdoor training that I was not expecting: the pigeons.

Those rats with wings are everywhere. At least once a run I end up running through a handful of pigeons picking food off the ground. The little f!ckers don't start to disperse until I'm right on top of them, but then they start flying forward--so I wind up chasing the virus bags for a couple yards before they realize "oh, I can turn left and avoid this guy."

It's annoying, but I'm considering it a type of unintentional cross training. It's getting me mentally and physically prepared for those similarly annoying opening miles of a race. Those miles when you're stuck behind people that have seeded themselves way too forward and you have have to bob and weave your way around them. And you don't want to step on them because they might give you E. Coli. (Ok, the last one might only apply to the pigeons.)

*Note: my life is in suckage mode for the entire month of July: a major project at work means that I'm working late nights and now I'm working this weekend. So if I'll be a bit MIA until July 28. My apologies now if you're still getting comments from me on posts older than your mother.


What's that in the air?

It's that time of year.

The time of year when get an extra spring in my stride. The time of year when I consume food by the shovel. The time of year so exciting that the jasmine trees in Astoria Park burst with their sweet smell (it's true!). Why, what time of year is it? Fall Marathon Training Season, of course!

As is no surprise my fall marathon this year is none other than the Grand Dame of Road Races--the NYC Marathon. I've wanted to run this race pretty much since I learned that I could run for more than five minutes, and after two unsuccessful lottery bids I'm finally in.

Ever since I got my email confirming my entry, I've been researching training plans, analyzing what was weak in my last training schedule and what worked really well. After lots of back and forth, I think I've nailed down what will help me avoid stitches on race day yet hold on to the green shoots of speediness I've found. Now that we are 18 weeks away it's time to start the slow/painful/delirious/sleep-depriving experience of preparing for the 26.2 mile jaunt through the five boroughs.

Here are the changes I've made to plans to help ensure success on November 1. Some are minor and some are quite drastic, starting with:
  • No gym. That's right, the guy who brings you Gym Carnies will not be going to the gym for the next 4.5 months. That Hatsumomo post was 100% timed. Why? My gym is damn expensive. Almost $80 a month (plus another $80 for Wifey) to use a treadmill and sometimes the weight equipment--this was actually long overdue. What do I want this to achieve? I'm hoping to see gains in overall running performance since I'll be working 100% for all my runs now.
  • Combining cross training with an easy run. Why? I introduced a day of cross training into my schedule for Flying Pig training. It definitely helped in the overall fitness department, but I didn't notice any running benefits. So I'm stripping it down to push-ups, pull-ups, dips, etc. and using the rest of that day to do an easy run, bringing my weekly run total up to five for the first time ever. What do I want this to achieve? Allows me to focus on slowing things down with an easy run without completely neglecting cross training.
  • Speeding up tempo runs. Why? Because I'm good at them. I'm starting with 5 miles at 8:00 pace and will end at 8 miles at 7:30 pace (ouch!). What do I want this to achieve? This is specifically to help carry speed into the later miles of the race and get a 3:40 PR (there, I'm calling it!).
  • Adding in Yasso 800s. Why? They seem to be all the rage, but I'm really just curious to see if they work. What do I want this to achieve? Help improve speed and temper my expectations for race day.
  • Adding in Marathon pace runs. Why? The night before the Pig I was going over my race strategy and noticed that I'd have to run a 8:24 pace for a 3:40 Marathon. I had no idea what the hell an 8:24 pace was. All my runs were either faster or slower than that. This was a huge flaw that I never realized while training for any of my other races. What do I want this to achieve? Teach my body what the appropriate race pace is before the race.
  • Slowing down the long runs. Why? Because I know I should do it and because I never have actually done it. I always get suckered into some super happy sprint halfway through long runs and then end up burning out 3/4 of the way through. I think I've been stuck thinking that long runs are supposed to be race day simulations--which I realize now is not true. They are just a different type of work out targeting a different set of muscles/skills that you will need on race day, much like a tempo run or hill run. What do I want this to achieve? Not burn out on long runs so that I can actually benefit from them and better prepare against stitches on race day.

So that's my plan. And it's laid out in the sweetest Excel spreadsheet you could image--it's all color-coded and formularific. I would post it here for you to see if I could figure out how to do that. Although I probably shouldn't, because I don't think people should be exposed to that much Excel awesomness at once. (Can you tell that Excel is my video game?)