Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yikes!! Time to get going.

Hopped on the scale when we got back to NJ the day after Thanksgiving. That was scary but it seems to have triggered the motivation switch in my brain. I've been tracking calories all week. I've been to the pool at 6AM twice this week and I'm running like a man on a mission.
Of course it's only been a few days but I'm hoping this is the rally I've been waiting for. The biggest hurdles are to stay well rested and to keep healthy food available.

The week leading into Thanksgiving was rough. I didn't think much of it at the time, but the other thing that was triggered upon my return to NJ were a few shingles blisters on my ankle. So strange but maybe it's like my own personal stress meter or something. Who wouldn't want one of those? (sarcasm).

I hadn't been going to my normal pool much of this year. It's always way too busy unless you are there at 5 or 6AM. So I had been going to other locations. Well, I'm almost afraid to say it out loud, because I might jinx it. The pool actually looks and feels clean right now!! I don't think I've been able to say that for the last 2 years. I've often questioned if they've drained it in the last 24 months, but kind of didn't want to know the answer to that.
I'm crazy slow right now and 2500m seems like a good stopping point for a workout. I know it will improve in just a few weeks. Which I can't say for some of the others I've seen at the pool this week. There is one guy that puts in the time but has not improved a bit in the last 12 months. I'm seriously considering inviting him to one of my lessons with Coach Q. It's just wrong to spend that much time in the pool and not get any faster. Or at least have it feel easier!!

One final comment just for keeping track of things: I no longer feel injured!
I spent so much time the last couple years with hamstring issues. That bit of tension or whatever you want to call it just changed everything. I never felt like I could push hard. I think I was modifying my stride to avoid further injury. It was a huge drag.
My last few runs have felt great. I'm not saying I'm in great shape. Just that everything is moving well, and that I'm hoping will lead to better times ahead.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

NYRR 4 miler Race to Deliver

Late race report here. Last Sunday I ran my 9th race of the year for NYRR, a 4 miler in Central Park.
I didn't wear my watch. I was just going to take what I could get. My training has been hit/miss because of commuting issues with the trains here in NJ.

I put myself in the back of the 2000 corral because I really have not been starting off quickly lately. That got me to the start line 2 minutes or so after the starting gun.
First mile was an 8:30 pace.
Second Mile I lost track of my math and stopped trying to figure it out.
As we cut across the transverse in Central Park, there were now huge piles of wood chips from all the trees/branches they've had to deal with from Hurricane Sandy. We are talking 10 feet high, 10 feet wide and maybe 50 yards long. I'm guessing there was much more that went elsewhere.
3rd mile, felt like I was climbing the hill rather well. Didn't feel like I was losing ground to those around me anyhow.
Finish, didn't even bother looking at the clock. I just ran in as quickly as I could, hoping I could offset the slow first mile split.

Well for the first time in 3-4 years of running these races, my timing chip wasn't read. So I had to wait until pictures were posted. Then I had to dig through the finish line pics to find myself. I crossed at 33:45. So less the 2 minutes at the start gives me a 31:45, or 7:56 min/mile. Nothing to write home about.
Todd on the other hand knocked 10 seconds off his best pace ever at at NYRR run. He ran on a 6:33 pace. He figured that was his Marathon training pay off.

The biggest thing slowing me down right now is my weight. I'm really sick of talking about it but not being able to get any momentum behind it. I guess it's going to have to become THE focus in order to get it going. So I've got to set some short term goals to make that happen. More on that later.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Long Overdue Marathon Update

The journey to the 2012 NYC marathon was interesting. I started the refinance of my home loan a month before the marathon. 2 weeks before the marathon, I start getting calls about needing estimators and inspections on the house. That was no big deal except then there were complications. (which turned out to be minor but felt like a big deal to me at the time). I knew it was bothering me because instead of my typical zen’ed out state when I would be out running. All I could think about were these problems.

To add to my worries, when I signed on to my online banking Saturday, the normal login page was gone. In it’s place was a notice from the FDIC. The bank had been closed by the FDIC and they would be mailing me a check for the balance of my account, which I received about 11 days later. Thankfully I had a 2nd account with some cash in it and that my mortgage payment was paid just before the bank was closed down. I did end up having to pay interest on my credit card because I didn’t have the funds to pay the entire balance from the other account. Stress and Frustration.

Then there was the fact that a hurricane was on the way.
I did have a bit of good fortune in the fact that a generator I ordered a number of weeks ago, happened to be delivered the Tuesday before the Hurricane hit. My biggest mistake was not going out to buy extra gas cans to fill during emergencies. I was hoping that because I had actually spent the money on this, that the hurricane would spin out to sea rather than head towards NJ and it wouldn’t be needed.
I spent the better part of 3 days preparing for the storm. Last year’s storm had so much rain that we spent the majority of our time in the basement running a shop-vac to get the water off of the floor. Eventually we just had to pull the floor drain and mop everything towards that. So we spent time taking important stuff out of the basement, just in case.
Well as I’m sure you are aware, the hurricane brought a lot of wind, created a storm surge for those that lived on or near the coast but fortunately, there wasn’t much rain, a couple of inches. So our basement didn’t have any problems at all. We did lose power for a couple days. Actually 80% of our town was without power. We were probably one of the few houses in the area that didn’t lose a tree. I was amazed at how many trees fell and ever more amazed at how little damage they caused on our block. Only one person had the roof of their garage damaged. A few others had wires torn from their house. Compared to the damage that occurred along the coast, the mess and what damage we had on our street seemed like a minor annoyance.
My place of work in NYC was out of power Monday night until Friday Evening.

Here is a video of the sky from our house. The flashing lights are electrical explosions from transformers. The video is cut short, it continued for about 2 and a half minutes like this.

Seeing all the damage on TV. Then hearing from friends and co-workers that have been without power for days, my stress about my refinance and banking issues were gone. Perspective can do that for you I guess.

Unfortunately, that stress was replaced by my feelings about the fact the Marathon officials and the Mayor of NYC kept saying that the marathon was still going to be run. There were so many people in need of help. Using any amount of city support to run a race, rather than helping those people seemed very wrong to me.
Then to as I started to read the social media (twitter/facebook) to find that people were saying that they would go to the race and Boo the runners as the went by. (mild). Find an overpass and spit on runners as the passed. (medium). Take their fire extinguisher and spray the runners. (ANGRY). Now I was even concerned for my safety running this event.
I spent way too much time stressing on this. When should we get our race number? They are telling us not to go into the city unless we have to because of the traffic and such. I hadn’t heard from Todd who was also running. I kind of figured that if he still wanted to run it, that I would go, rather reluctantly…. I think. It’s just so wrong tho’.
So when they finally cancelled the race, (I received a number of texts and phone calls almost immediately as it was announced on TV) I’m not sure that disappointment was the best way to describe my feelings. In fact I probably laughed about the fact that NOW they decide it’s probably best not to run it. I finally got a message from Todd. “Race cancelled, You can’t make this stuff up!”

I received messages from friends regarding other Marathons that I could still sign up for. The one that probably made the most sense was to drive up to New Hampshire and run in Manchester as it was the same day as NYC.  I could have stayed with my brother for the weekend. But my work had been closed for a week. I’d have to get back to NJ immediately after the race AND, it’s not the NYC Marathon.
I appreciated all the offers, kind of made me wish that I could do all of them. Instead, I’m looking forward to going back to my normal triathlon training and leave the challenge of the marathon out there for a while longer. It’s good motivation.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a single workout all week. My commute to the city was already a 3 hour chunk out of my day. With all of the problems with the train lines, I’m now dealing with 4.5 to 5 hours a day commutes. Which made me realize just how tight my schedule was. That 1.5-2 hours extra is basically my window where I fit my workouts in. I was speaking with a transit worker today and he feels it’s going to be quite some time until the entire system is back to normal.

I guess I’m going to have to make a plan to get my workouts done in the morning again. Which means I’ve just got to get to sleep earlier and putting my alarm clock further away than my nightstand. (I can hit snooze for a long time without realizing I’m doing it). I just need to change some habits. I’ll let you know how it goes.