Training Log: May 12th & 13th 2016


Wednesday was big for me.  Yesterday was a big step backward,  The knee barked again – and I listened by taking a rest day.  I need to get back into a groove after a bit of a slump, and that’s exactly what will happen.  By the time I found myself in front of the boob tube watching The Avengers for the 28th time, I was big-time sore and it took a bit of effort to get my lazy copious backside off the couch.  The fact that I fit in am AM and PM session was HUGE for me – because that’s the habit I need to form in order for me to have the best chance at becoming an Ironman this year.  Most of the Ironmen I have spoken to have been willing to share their training plans and ideas with me readily – they seem to simply love speaking about the sport.  So I’ve developed what I think is a fair estimate of the average number of hours they log in a normal training week.  The number scared me a little:  30.  So – I need to form solid habits, I need to do it quick, and they need to include two-a-days during the week.

 

Since yesterday felt like a success, I need to build on that and begin to develop the two-a-day habit.

  1. 4am Run: shooting for at least 6 miles this morning.  Easy pace.  Slower than yesterday.  I beat myself up yesterday, and I cannot do that to myself every single day – I’ll break down.  And that would suck.
  2. 5am Swim:  I need to work on my form, so I need to go find some wisdom.  My gym and my triathlon team offer weekly sessions at my gym’s pool, so I need to start showing up to them.  However – before I do – I need to build a simple base.  Once I can crank out 250 yards in the pool (5 complete laps) without stopping for a breather, I’ll be ready to join the other tadpoles in the class setting without worrying about looking like an utter fartknocker.  So this morning’s session will require me to log 1000 yards (20 laps) in a 10 x 100 format.  This should take somewhere around 30 minutes.  The Ironman swim is 2.4 miles (4,224 yards) in less than 2 hours and twenty minutes.  for my little 25 yard pool, a complete Ironman swim would be 169 laps.  169.  Crap.  Based on the math, I have approximately 54 seconds to complete each lap (50 yards) in order to give myself a small cushion of time as a buffer to get my butt out of the water and into T1 (the transition area where triathlete go from the swim to the bike).  To say I have work to do is a SEVERE understatement.  This should be fun!
  3. 6:30am Cross Training: This is a class that apparently combines endurance and strength.  I’ve gotten over the hump in my first classroom setting within the gym – now it’s time to see whether I can keep up with the Jones’ in a class that doesn’t involve me peddling a bike like a rapid lunatic for 45 minutes.  My legs will be a bit tired from the run and I should be feeling it all over from the swim (now that I know I need to become the Ironman equivalent of Aquaman, I’m going to be so focused on lap speed that I bet I’ll go harder than I ever have before in the pool), so this class should SUCK.  And as Tolstoy once said, “one must embraceth the suckatude.”
  4. 6:30pm Spin Class: On the way home from work, I’m going to shoot for 17 miles over the course of 45 minutes on the bike.  My speed has increased – so I am psyched about that.

In addition, I get to visit my doctor today.  Oy joy.

Training Results:

 

Training Log: May 11th 2016


So today is Bounce Back day.  After allowing my knee to recover by resting for most of the day on Monday and all day Tuesday, I decided that my knee felt a bit better – so I intend to pump up the volume today.

 

Morning Training Schedule:

4am – 1 hour tempo run.  I’m looking to shake out my legs at the start and then fall into a rhythm and crank out mileage for 60 minutes.  The pace will be slightly uncomfortable, and slightly quicker than my normal pace per mile.  My tempo runs are usually completed on Mondays – but last Monday was FUBAR (Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition), so I need to make up for the lost effort.

 

5am – I’ll transition from running to strength training.  This is important because it will burn out my arms and back before spin class.  Since the Ironman could take me more than 15 hours to complete, I am trying to break out each training session into several parts, with each part burning out a core muscle group.  Then the last section of my routine would require me to continue to perform at a decent level while my legs and arms are already sore or fatigued.  I need to get used to this feeling.

6:30am – I’ll transition to spin class and try to get at least 45 minutes in at a pace over 20mph on average.  By the time I finish this portion of the workout, I should be spent.

 

Since Wednesday is speed work day, I’m going to throw in an evening run after work.  I’m going to do something that one of my spin class instructors told me about, called Hurricanes.  Hear’s what the workout boils down to:

  • You find a hill.  You find a crappy, annoying, stupid hill.
  • You run up the hill.  Why?  Because hills suck, and I am learning to embrace the suck.
  • Once you hit the top of the hill, shoot over to the closest patch of grass and do one set of a core exercise.  I’m going to simply hold a plank for as long as I can.
  • Then you waddle on down the crappy, annoying, stupid hill and you do it again.
  • And again.
  • And again.
  • Until either a) you want to kick yourself in your own shin for simply getting yourself off the couch to do this to yourself, or b) you heave all over your Asics.
  • NOTE: According to this absolute BEAST of an instructor (and you know I reserve that word for dudes / dudettes that kick royal ass 24/7/365), if you want to make the workout even more challenging, throw in a second exercise at the top of the hill.  Maybe I’ll try that tonight.  Shoot up the hill.  Hold a plank until failure.  Then pushups until failure.  Then waddle down the stupid hill and do it again.  Like Judas Priest said: here I am….rock me like a hurricane.

 

Results:

The run was awesome.  Why?  Because I shot down Broadway from 72nd Street to the bottom of Madison Square Park (23rd Street), before heading up 5th Avenue, then to Central Park South, into Central Park and over to the gym.  The pace was solid, consistent, and uncomfortable due to pacing.  The knee hardly barked at me at all.  Once in a while, it would send a message to my brain: “look, I’m still here – but I’m diggin’ this run so I’m keeping my mouth shut for now”.  The highlight of the run was a conversation with a tourist that was looking for the closest greek diner at 4:30am.  My response: sorry, dude, but you’ll need to take he train to Astoria.”  A close second was being offered a Bud Light from a couple of guys that were in the process of trying to figure out how in the blue hell they were getting back to their dingy hotel with no money (they apparently spend their cash on booze).  Note to those bombed yet jovial amigos – you were drinking in the bar NEXT DOOR to your dingy hotel.  You’re welcome.

I hit the gym and went straight to the locker room to change shirts and shorts.   I run every morning with a backpack, so I have spare clothes to change in to so that I am not a disgusting sweaty gob of humanity by the time I am sharing space with other human beings in an enclosed area.  Then it was straight up to the weight room to knock out a strong lifting session.  By the time I finished there, I felt something that bodybuilders call The Pump.  It’s kind of awesome.  If you do heaver weights and really push the last few reps of each set, the blood gets pumping in the area that you are exercising.  It’s kind of cool.  hasn’t happened to me a long while – and I want to do that again manana.

I then headed up to the cycling room to spin.  Cranked out 22.whatever miles in an hour of work.  I left feeling absolutely jacked for the remainder of the day.

This evening, I cranked out 8 hurricanes.  Up the hill.  Hold a plank until failure.  Pushups until failure.  Waddle on down and do it again.  By the time I was done, my chest and abs were screaming at me.  They used words that would have made a sailor cringe.  They used compound curses.  My left oblique even swore at me in Italian and, while it sounded awesome at the time, I have to admit that my feelings were left slightly bruised.

 

Until tomorrow, my friends: if your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.  Now go scare the crap out of yourself.

 

Check us out at:

Website:  www.doawaywithsma.org

Facebook: Do Away With SMA

Twitter:  @dawsforsma

Instagram:  dawsma

Email: info@doawaywithsma.org

 Podcast: Running Coast 2 Coast (available on Itunes!)

 

Training Log: May 9th & 10th 2016


I had some big plans this morning.  Swim.  Bike.  Run.  Not in that exact order, since I usually try to get my run in before the gym opens at 5.  Then I rush to the pool and try to score a lane before the masses come to squash my mojo.  Then I hit the 6:15am spin class and try to burn the legs out before heading home for a massive amount of coffee.

 

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

 

I felt a sharp pain in my right knee – it felt like someone stabbed the area behind my patella with a dull knife.  So, about three miles in to my run, I shut it down and made my way home.

 

The only way I can accomplish my goals this year is if I stay healthy.  If I exaggerate an injury, I risk Ironman as well as any chance I may have to set a personal best in the marathon this fall.  Those are my goals, and I am focused on them.

 

I feel like I made a solid call in blowing the whistle this morning.  I am going to give myself tomorrow off as well, and see where I stand on Wednesday morning.

 

I know there are a ton of people out there that like to push through pain during workout.  Lord knows I am one of them.  But I remember what one of my high school coaches said to me after I got absolutely crushed behind the line of scrimmage because I took too damn long to get rid of the ball during practice: he looked down at me, splayed out on the deck with those cartoon yellow birds circling my helmet, and said “well – are you hurt or are you injured?” I looked up and saw three portly, bearded dudes staring back at me – so I took a long moment before pointing at the one in the middle and said “hurt.”  His response: “then get the hell up and get back in the huddle. You’re the QB – start acting like one.” There is a big difference between being hut and being injured, and as an athlete you need to know what that difference is – because each of us are different.

 

After a long, hard workout lifting weights, my arms and back are really sore.  If someone pokes me in the tricep, it physically hurts.  But it’s a hurt that I like.  It confirms that I pushed myself and didn’t simply go through the motions.

 

After a hard speed work session of hill repeats, sprints, and / or fartleks (yes, that’s a real thing – check it out on Google), my legs are usually sore – sometimes even to the touch.  My lower back aches and there is absolutely zero chance of me touching my toes to stretch out afterward (I just wave to them and wish them well).  It hurts.  But it’s a hurt that I like.  It confirms that I went as fast as I could.

 

After my weekly long run or a particularly tough spin class where I completely burnt my legs out, I am sore for the remainder of the day.  But – say it with me – it’s a hurt that I like.

 

Most people dislike the discomfort that comes with hard effort.  But there’s a basic concept that’s talked about A LOT during triathlon training, and that is the ides of simply “embracing the suck”.  Your arms hurt because you lifted weights this morning?  The discomfort sucks – so embrace it.  You ran your butt off this morning doing hill repeats until you puked?  The discomfort sucks – so embrace it.  You just completed your weekly long run and now you feel like you just went 15 rounds with Marvelous Marvin Hagler?  This discomfort sucks – so embrace it.

 

After you fall into your weekly workout routine, the discomfort should subside (either that, or you’ll simply get used to it hanging around like that pungent odor of smoked weed in the hallway of your fifth floor walkout on the lower east side).  You’ll understand how it feels to hurt after a workout.  And, as a result, you’ll be better equipped to identify what a potential injury feels like when / if it starts showing it’s ugly no-good rotten face.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no doctor, and if you feel like some soreness that you are experiencing is not normal, you should definitely have it checked out by a qualified professional.  Since I know how I normally feel after a workout, I could easily tell that this pain was NOT my usual soreness.  So a erred on the  side  of caution and shut things down for the day.  I allowed by body to heal a bit, and crossed by fingers that what I felt would subside.

Training Log: May 8th 2016


Sundays are normally considered a recovery day.  However, I am training for my first Ironman and right now I am really worried about creating a base.  I need repetition to breed some confidence, and the only way that’s going to happen is if I put myself through the steps of a triathlon as often as I can.  I am betting that I’ll still be achy from Saturday’s workout – so this one should really test my current level of preparedness.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – I’ll start the day with a 90 minute run.  Looking to rack up at least 8 miles.  Any more is money in the bank.  I need to get to the gym by 7am.
  2. SWIM – Stage 2 of the morning is a one hour swim session from 7 to 8am. I’m looking to piece together 100yd repeats, and I’d like to see how many yards I can rack up in 60 minutes.  In an Ironman, you have 2 hours and 20 minutes to swim 4,400 yards.  So I really need to nail at least 2,000 yards at this point in order to feel a little confident.
  3. STRENGTH – After the swim, my shoulders, back and arms will be tired.  So at 8am, I’ll transition to some strength training.  The goal here is NOT to release my inner Ronnie Coleman – shooting for low weight and high reps instead of trying to primarily build muscle mass.  The goal here is to further fatigue my arms and back – really burn them out – before hopping on the bike.
  4. BIKE – 45 minutes  of spin class.  Rack up at least 16.5 miles.  Case closed. The goal here is to just stay focused on getting through the distance feeling as crappy as I am sure I’ll feel by this point.
  5. YOGA – That’s right – yoga.  Again.  Another Yoga For People That Cannot Touch Their Toes With a Ruler class for me.  By the end of this process, you guys will just refer to me as the Bronx Dali Frackin’ Lama.  Namaste, dammit.

Today I am trying to mix things up a bit.  It will work my endurance by the simple fact that I’ll need to work for a prolonged period of time.  However, this test gets harder by forcing myself to try new exercises that should work muscle groups that ordinarily don’t get stressed during my regular routines.

Results:

  1. RUN – I felt strong this morning.  the pace was slow but steady, and a little soggy.  The highlight: high-fiving a cameraman for one of those morning shows shot in Times Square.
  2. SWIM – 20 laps.  1,000 yards.  slow as all hell.  If I don’t pick this up, I’ll never make it to the bike portion of the Ironman.  And swimming is normally a strong suit for me – so I hopped out of the pool royally pissed off.
  3. STRENGTH – I transitioned to the weight room and did 4 sets of my normal
  4. full body routine.  By the time I finished I was completely burnt out.
  5. BIKE – the bike portion of my morning was cut short with a stabbing pain that developed on the inside part of my right knee.  that freaked me out a bit – because my bad knee is my left knee.  Wonderful…..
  6. YOGA -I scratched yoga class today.  why? because there’s some pain in my knee and I’m starting to worry about it.  The doc will check it out Thursday – so that will suck….

I did some research – and I found that Caesar used to require his legionnaires to enjoy wine before battle.  Better late than never – now where the hell is my corkscrew?

Training Log: May 7th 2016


Saturdays are tough workout days.  It’s usually long run day, so I have tried to pack on the workload that will build overall endurance and also round out demands on each core muscle group.  By the end of this long day, I should need a damn nap.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – I start the day with a long, relaxed run.  Out the door at 6am, and arrive at the gym just before 8am.
  2. BIKE – Stage 2 of the morning is a 45 minute spin class. This class on Saturday mornings is usually a lot of fun.  Great music.
  3. STRENGTH – After biking, I’ll take some time and work on core strength.  Gotta release the inner Thor.

Today is basically me getting into a core form of training routine.  Most days, running, biking and strength training will be a part of morning – so I need to build a base.

Results:

  1. RUN – that was fun.  very relaxed  8 miler got me down Broadway to union square and back.  the blah weather sucks, but jamming with a homeless dude to Stevie Wonder made up for it.
  2. BIKE – spin class.  45 minutes – 17.4 miles crushed.  Felt good afterward.
  3. STRENGTH – The Woo Dude was not around, so this workout was uneventful.  I just realized who the Woo Dude from the other day looked like…..he was the spitting image of Andrew Dice Clay’s character from that movie Casual Sex.  The Vin Man.

Totals:

Swim –  0 yds

Bike – 55 miles 

Run – 17 miles

Strength Training – 1 hour

Cross Training (Classes) – 1 hour

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – 0

Training Log: May 6th 2016


Fridays are normally a more low-key of the week, as the weekend training schedule is usually pretty demanding.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – Heading outside tomorrow morning EARLY.  Looking to be out the door at 4am.  Going to shoot for a 10 miler this morning, and I should be at my gym at 6am to change out of my sweaty clothes and into stuff to ride in.  4am in Manhattan is pretty interesting….
  2. BIKE – 6:15am Spin Class.  The goal here is to clip off at least 17 miles in the 45 minute class.  This can be done by holding a pace somewhere between 21-22mph.
  3. CROSS TRAINING – At 5:30pm, I’m heading to a cardio Sculpt class.  THIS should be funny, because I don’t play well with others.  And….well…..yesterday may carry over a bit and I’ll WOOOOOOOOO for no reason whatsoever.

This morning’s workout is all about endurance.  I need to develop this routine so that knocking out double-digit mileage does not tax my system to the point where I am fried for the rest of the day.  This week I am treating myself like a lab rat, trying to find out how I react to levels of  physical stress.

Results:

  1. RUN –OK, so I called an audible while under the awning of my apartment building this morning.  At 5am I decided to hit the gym and mix up some stretching, ab work and sprint intervals instead of slogging through an extremely rainy early morning.  I completed 30 minutes of interval training on the DREADMILL, with 2 minutes sprinting and one minute of recovery.  Began at a 10min pace and actually pushed VERY hard at the end, getting the pace to be sub 7 minutes for the last minute.  I felt awesome at the end.
  2. BIKE – After the interval training, I changed into some fresh workout gear and hopped on the bike.  The class worked on sprints here as well, getting rpms up over 95+ at times, with decent resistance.  So by the end, I logged over 17 miles in 45 minutes…the morning overall made me feel exhausted but accomplished.
  3. CROSS TRAINING – So I took an hour’s worth of cross training classes this evening.  First was a Cardio Sculpt class – which was 45 minutes that left me wading in a pool of sweat, following by an Ab Lab class  – only 15 minutes long…but I felt cranky by the end of it.  Ab exercises are not my forte….

Totals to Date:

Swim –  ___ yds

Bike – 38 miles

Run – 9 miles

Strength Training – 1 hour

Cross Training (Classes) – 2 hours

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – ___ hours

Training Log: May 5th 2016


Since yesterday was May the Fourth Be With You, I’m guessing that today is technically The Revenge of the Fifth…right?  An auspicious day to begin this endeavor.

 

Schedule:

  1. STRENGTH – I need to get my butt to the gym this evening and first hit the weights.  I’ll spend about 30 minutes lifting, focusing on my upper body strength.  I want to try to burn out my chest and arms through rapid fire sets.  I’m not going to take much time in between sets at all to catch my breath.  This is going to suck.
  2. RUN – I’ll hop right on to a dredmill after lifting, and I’ll do some interval training this evening.  One minute on and one minute off.  Going to shoot for 30 minutes and going to gun for about 3 miles.  The goal here is to fatigue my legs and upper body before hopping on the bike and pushing the pace a bit.  I want to make myself tired before being required to step things up a bit.
  3. BIKE – 6:30pm Spin Class.  the goal here is to clip off at least 20 miles in an hour.  IRONMAN requires a 112 mile bike ride that athletes normally have about 8 hours to complete.  This means that athletes need to hold a 14mph average for the duration of the ride, and that’s after a 2.4 swim has sucked a bunch of energy out of them.  Hopefully, lifting before the class will burn my arms out a bit and the intervals will sap some energy from my legs.  Then we’ll see how I do on the bike.
  4. RUN – I’ll hop off the bike and I’ll do a simple “BRICK” workout, which means that I’ll transition as quickly I can to running by hopping back on the dreadmill for a messy 2 miles before calling it a night.

 

All in all, tonight’s workout should take me about 2 hours and 10-15 minutes to complete.  My running times should truly suck.  And I should basically feel like mush when I’m through.

Results:

  1. STRENGTH – Burned my arms out.  Big time.  Mission accomplished.  At one point, this dude next to me decides to do something tacky and flex while admiring himself in the mirror. He was working out solo, as was I….so I had no idea who he was speaking to when he began his imitation of pro wrestler Ric “Nature Boy” Flair.  He just decides to yell out (to no one in particular) “WOOOOOOO!!!!!   I’M STYLIN’ and PROFILIN’ !!!!!” I found this amusing.  I think I’ll WOOOOO from time to time, just for S’s and G’s.      woooo
  2. RUN – I hopped on to a dreadmill in the weight room and completed 30 minutes of intervals.  1 minute slow followed by 1 minute sprint.  My 1 minute sprints started at a 10 min pace and I finished up at my Boston Qualifying pace (7:13).  Almost heaved all over my Asics during the last minute.  Decided not to WOOOOO, because a WOOOO may have gotten messy.
  1. BIKE – 6:30pm spin class is awesome.  I felt burnt out from the work thus far, but the music and the instructor can be a rush just when you need it.  Oh I WOOOO’d.  I even got others to WOOOOO along with me.
  2. RUN – I was a sweaty disgusting mess from the class, but I hopped back onto a dreadmill for two slow miles.  My legs felt like crap and my shoulders were a little sore from the weights.  So I now have a little taste of what the beginning marathon miles of the IRONMAN will feel like.  On the THIS SUCKS Scale of 1-10, this was an 8.776 (the French judge decided to use decimals).

 

Totals to Date:

Swim –  ___ yds

Bike – 21 miles

Run – 5 miles

Strength Training – 30 minutes

Cross Training (Classes) – ___ hours

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – ___ hours

 

 

 

 

 

My Inferno.


I’ve probably said this before – but I’m not very creative, so I’ll repeat myself: I have a strange way of dealing with stuff that I suck at.  I wasn’t very comfortable with speaking in front of a group – so I took stand-up comedy lessons in a club here in Manhattan.  I got heckled by drunken strangers that I knew I would never again see in my life, and confronting this fear allowed me to get over it.  So now I have another fear: I’m afraid of failing to finish Ironman this year.

 

It’s a realistic fear.  It’s a fear that comes as a result of trying to walk the walk after talking the talk to my daughter.  For a while now, I’ve tried to instill in my kid the basic concept that if your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough.

20121231-215923.jpg

I keep telling her this….but I think it’s also important to show her that I can back up my words with deeds.  That supports the other concept that I’ve tried to drill into her head over the years – to quote Ovid:”Facta Non Verba”.  Put simply – Deeds, Not Words.  (Or, to put it as Batman once did – It’s what we do that defines us.)

 

facta_non_verba_tile_coaster

I used to dream HUGE as a kid.  I’m betting that all of us did, didn’t we?  Well becoming an Ironman has been a dream of mine since I first learned about it in high school.  I used to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and I remember some buddies of mine at Fordham Prep telling me that a person had to be a little nuts to try something like that.  Terms like “those dudes need checkups from the neck – up”, to “their elevators definitely don’t go to the top floor”, to the ever-so-colorful “the cheese fell off their crackers a long time ago, dude” were normally how I heard triathletes described when I was a teen.  When I transitioned to college and joined the school’s crew team, I remember one guy on our varisty men’s squad was a triathlete – and this was when the sport of triathlon was not nearly as mainstream as it is today.  This dude wasn’t muscular.  He wasn’t really tall.  He was not the best varsity oarsman as it came to rowing technique.  But there was one thing his dude had in spades, and that was endurance.  He simply never got tired.  When everyone else appeared to be on the verge of burning out, he would get stronger.  I looked at him as if he were a human power plant.  That was how I wanted to be.  We discussed the sport of triathlon, and it further fueled my fire to give it a shot.

 

But…as the song goes….life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

 

As the years went by, the dream of becoming an Ironman stayed with me, but I never actually did anything to pursue it.  Then my kiddo came along, and my entire way of thinking was flipped on its butt overnight.  While its always been my goal to allow my daughter to be her own person and let her figure out for herself what she likes and dislikes, it is a proven fact that kids observe and absorb their parents’ actions and preferences.  That simple fact made me begin focusing on how I spend my time.  I needed to show her that it’s important to have a goal, and then work like hell to achieve it.  And that, quite simply, is how I found the  sport of endurance running.

 

After taking up marathoning in 2005, I stayed with it and began to up the ante a little bit over time in an ongoing attempt to demonstrate to Mini Me that, if you continue to work hard at something and do not quit, you can accomplish things that you never thought were possible.   2012 saw me try a marathon a month to raise money for the Dream Team Project.  In 2014, I tried a multi-day event (the inaugural Dopey Challenge).  In 2015…well I got a little nuts and did a long distance run from San Francisco to Anaheim to benefit Do Away With SMA (www.doawaywithsma.org).  That last one did a real number on me, as I returned home to New York City after Labor Day Weekend rather burnt out.  The past few months have gone by in a haze of unfocused training and lackluster effort.  Well that changes right now.

 

I’ve decided that 2016 will be the year that I chase after that goal that I’ve had hidden inside me for 30 years: The Ironman.  My original goal was to run the Vineman in Sonoma on July 30th – but I don’t believe I will be ready in time.  So, I am announcing that it’s my intention to compete in Ironman Maryland on October 1st.   I’m going to compete in this event as part of a larger 2016 effort, in order to raise awareness and donations for Do Away With SMA – a charity that helps fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

 

Since this event takes a TON of training, I’m going to use this blog to be my daily training log.  And, since this training should make me stronger (and maybe even a little faster), I might as well take advantage of the juice that my hard work should zap into my body, right?  Glad you agree.  So I’ve put together a series of races that I’m going to attempt on the heels of the Ironman that I have lovingly named after Dante’s masterpiece….

Dante's_Inferno_(1924)_-_film_poster

My 2016 Inferno:

October 1st: IRONMAN Maryland

October 9th:  Chicago Marathon

October 16th:  The Nationwide Childrens Hospital Columbus Marathon

October 30th: The Marine Corps Marathon

November 6th: The TCS New York City Marathon

November 19th: The New York City 60k

…and, since there are nine rings of Hell within Dante’s work, my 7th ring will be attempting to run at least 2,016 miles in 2016 (which means that I’ll need to average 8.36 miles a day from today through December 31st to hit that number), the eighth will be to log enough miles on the bike to cover the distance from Central Park to Disneyland (which is 2,793 miles –  meaning that I’ll need to average 11.60 miles per day starting today and going through December 31st), and my final goal will be to earn my Coaching Certifications from bother the Road Runners Club of America (“RRCA”) and Ironman U.

 

I have a game plan.  I just need to execute it.  And whether I am successful or if I choke miserably, I hope you’ll follow me on my quest.

 

 

 

The 2016 NYC Half Marathon: A Review


I haven’t been posting very much lately because of my insane schedule.  What’s that old quote…”Life is what what happens when you are busy making other plans”.  Well my plans included a brief break from the stress of daily life…until reality basically told me cancel my plans and get the hell back to work.  So much for the mental break I so desperately needed.

 

I was lucky enough to have the time to run the 2016 New York City Half Marathon last Sunday, March 20th.  I wanted to provide my readers with a brief review, just in case anyone was considering running in next year and beyond.  So without further gilding the lily, off we go…..

 

The Expo: Held in the flatiron section of Manhattan, it was easy to get to by mass transit, and it was open and well-staffed during the week.  Picking up your bib and your race shirt is a quick and easy process – I was in and out of the expo within minutes.

 

Pre-Race: OK, let’s be honest here – security was tight for this race, as it had been in prior years.  Each runner has to go through a metal detector – and there are not many of them – in order to gain access to Central Park and the runners’corrals.  There were plenty of bottlenecks and the wait time was a bit annoying; however, in light of what occurred in Belgium just yesterday, let’s just appreciate the added level of safety that these precautions provide – waiting in line is a small price to pay.  If you don’t like lines, then show up early with a blanket and a book.  The race was organized into three waves, set of go off with spaces of 15 minutes in between each.  Accessing the corrals was easy, and there were plenty of port-o-crappers available to runners right after they passed through the security check.  Runners were able to check a clear plastic bag with your bib number affixed to it before you walked through the TSA-like checkpoint.  They also had a number of large blue bins inside and outside the corrals for depositing any layers of old clothing you may have worn to keep warm before the start.

 

The Course: This course has changed a few times over the years.  The 2016 version of the race began along the east side drive of Central Park, right near the 72nd Street Transverse.  Within the first quarter mile of the race, the runners climb Cat Hill, and then head north along the outer loop.  Just after you pass the hockey rink at the northeaster-most section of the park, you turn west along the outer loop, and then exit the park briefly on Central Park North.  A quick out and back brings you back into the park at the 3 mile marker.  From there, you climb Harlem Hill and make your way south along the west side drive.  You exit the park just past the 6 mile marker, and spill out on to 7th Avenue.  The first six miles of this race are fairly quiet as far as fans are concerned.  If you are running it, focus on getting past the hills.  When you exit the park, the hardest work is already behind you.

As you spill out onto 7th Avenue and head toward Times Square, there are numerous races held for kids along the left hand side of the course.  So runners can also cheer the young runners on as they begin the trek downtown.

Once you hit 42nd Street, you hang a right and head west, to the West Side Highway.  After waving hello to the USS Intrepid, you are at the 8 mile marker.  At this point, the course becomes flat and fast as you make your way toward the southernmost point of Manhattan.  You pass Ground Zero and the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and then turn back north toward South Street Seaport.  A couple of quick left turns brings you to the finish line.

Crowd support is solid along the course from miles 6 through 8.  The course is very quiet until you close in on the finish.

 

There were 20,149 finishers in this year’s installment, with the winning men’s time of 1:01:35 by Stephen Sambu of Kenya.  Think about that for a second: The winner averaged approximately 4:45 pace for 13.1 miles.  I have one word for that: BEAST.

The story of the day was the women’s race – which was won my Mollie Huddle by…are you ready for this….eight one-hundredeths of a second…over the second place finisher, Joyce Cheplrul of Kenya.  The winning time?  1:07:41.  That’s somewhere between a 5:10 – 5:15 pace for the race.

 

It was cold – approximately 37 degrees at the start, with some decent wind along the course.  The wind definitely chilled things off along the west side highway during the latter half of the race.  So I recommend running in layers – this race falls at a time of year where the conditions are hard to predict.

 

All in all, it was a solid, fun race.  Well run.  I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Rollin’Old School…


This past weekend, I decided to mix the old with the new in a number of ways.  Let’s face it: we all have music from the 70’s that we love, and we all have some current music that finds its way onto our IPrecious.  Right?  So this weekend I made a playlist that mixed old rock with new stuff as the musical score for my workouts.  Why?  Because I was going to mix the new exercises I’ve been doing with some old school routines, resulting in a weekend of calorie-rockin’ workouts.

 

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On Saturday, I did a BRICK workout, which begins with cycling and then a quick transition to a run.  For me, that’s one of the newer workouts on my list, as I am a newbie to triathlons (plus, BRICK workouts are tough – and tough workouts take effort – and sweating results in a bad hair day for this dude).  The combination jacks up your metabolism and challenges you as an athlete.  I went home after finishing my run feeling rather awesome.

 

Sunday, it was time to roll old school with my workout.  I started by hitting the gym at 7am and I immediately hit the pool.  I think everyone has a “natural environment”, and mine is the water.  Ever since I was a little kid, I loved swimming.  I could spend all day in Long Island Sound or the pool at the New York Athletic Club, and return home tired yet happy.  So at 7am, I plopped into the pool at the gym and cranked out some laps.  After my laps were done, I dried off and headed to….the rowing machine.

 

The ergometer – or “erg”, as rowers call it – is a fantastic way of burning calories and having fun.  When I was in college, I was a member of the Iona College Crew Team…and we spent a TON of hours on the ergs, making our legs and lungs burn.  The hard work paid off – our team was awesome.  So I decided to test myself with a 2500 meter race.  OK – so I’m not as fast as I was over 20 years ago, but the exercise brought back wonderful memories….and from now on I’m scheduling an erg test for myself weekly.  A small nugget to look forward to in weeks to come.

 

While Lord knows I’m no coach, I can make this recommendation: if you want to kick-start your workout routine and you’re looking for something new and interesting to throw into the mix….go old school.